Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja has reinstated Mr Mahdi Gusau as the deputy governor of Zamfara. He was impeached by the state House of Assembly in February, 23, 2022, defying an existing court order. In his ruling, Justice Ekwo set aside all actions taken by the House of Assembly, former Governor Bello Matawalle, and the state’s chief judge with regards to the impeachment of Gusau while the court case was ongoing. He deemed all those steps null and void and of no effect whatsoever. The judge also admonished and reprimanded the speaker, governor, and chief judge.
Counsel to the fifth to 38th defendants argued that their clients were authorized by judicial authorities to take extrajudicial action while a case is pending in court, but Justice Ekwo rejected that argument.
To understand the context, Matawalle, the three state senators, members of the House of Representatives, and members of the House of Assembly defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Congress (APC) on June 29, 2021. The PDP and Gusau then filed a suit to declare their seats vacant, having abandoned the party through which they entered the positions of power. The lawsuit named the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, President of the Senate, House of Representatives Speaker, and House of Assembly Speaker as the first to fifth defendants, respectively. The Zamfara State Governor, Chief Judge, Bello Matawalle, the three senators, House of Representatives members, and all members of the state’s House of Assembly were named sixth to 38th defendants, respectively.
In conclusion, Justice Ekwo’s order restores Gusau as the deputy governor of Zamfara, and it effectively nullifies all actions taken by the House of Assembly, the former governor, and the state’s chief judge in the impeachment process.