The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has protested against the decision of the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle to join the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The leading opposition warned that the law only allowed defection in a situation when the party is in crisis.
The Zamfara Governor and some federal and state lawmakers in the state are expected to be received into the APC today in Gusau, the state capital.
The ruling party caretaker chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, will lead the team to receive Matawalle. He will be supported by other governors in the party.
Matawalle lost the 2019 election to APC Candidate Muktar Idris but was sworn in after the Supreme Court ruled that the APC worked against its constitution in picking its standard-bearer.
The situation affected many House of Assembly members elected on the APC platforms, who also lost their seats to the PDP opponents. This year, Matawalle will be the second PDP governor that will defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The Cross Rivers State, Ben Ayade also dumped the opposition PDP for the ruling APC on May 20.
With Matawalle’s defection, APC now has 22 governors to PDP’s 13. The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) controls the 36th state.
PDP spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan told reporters at a news conference in Abuja yesterday, “A combined reading of Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution as the pronouncements of the Supreme Court in Faleke v. INEC (2016) is clear in holding that it is the political party that stands for election.
"That votes scored in election belong to the political party and that the candidate nominated to contest at an election by his party acts only as the agent of his party.
“The PDP hopes that Bello Matawalle as well as members of the National and State Assembly from Zamfara State will take caution.”
Former Governor Abdulaziz Yari, who is the APC leader in Zamfara State, said members were set to receive Matawalle.
Yari told journalists that a meeting of stakeholders of the APC in the 14 Local Government Areas of the state had been convened ahead of the reception ceremony.
The former governor, who was in company with another former governor, Mahmoud Shinkafi, explained that the meeting was to inform them of the development and to see how every member of the party would be treated fairly.
Yari welcomed Matawalle’s decision to join the APC, saying the party members in the state believed that it would benefit the ruling party.
He said: “We hope Matawalle’s coming into APC will be of benefit as well as add value to the party in the state.
“We will not take any position without our people’s consent, and that is why we invited all the stakeholders to take a stand. We will not decide on anything that will not be of benefit to the party as well as the state.
“We agreed that the governor is coming with authority while we have the population in the state. So, we hope and pray that his coming to our party will be beneficial and will add value to the party in the state. So, we welcome Matawalle to the APC.
“As a party, we need as many people as possible to make us bigger. We called the meeting to inform our people of our decision to accept the governor in our party.
“I kicked against his joining the party initially because of nature and the way the information reached us. Some of our people were also against his joining our party because they believe it would affect the oneness.
“We are welcoming him because it shows that we are doing the right thing and APC is well built in Zamfara State. We hope it would come with a success for the party in future elections.”
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