The panel set up to investigate allegations of gross misconduct and abuse of office against Zamfara State Deputy Governor Mahdi Aliyu Gusau has begging sitting on Monday.
Ties between Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle and his Deputy Mahdi Aliyu Gusau soared after the governor defected to the APC from PDP in 2021 but his deputy stood his ground to remain in the PDP, the party under which they were elected in 2019.
Sani Tsafe, Secretary to the panel said Mr Mahdi has been duly served with all relevant processes and notices of the panel through his email and WhatsApp.
The Secretary presented copies of the scanned documents sent to Mr Mahdi as evidence of successful delivery of the electronic mails.
Counsel to the complainant (Zamfara House of Assembly), Nasiru Jangebe, presented seven witnesses who would testify during the sitting of the panel.
It would be recalled that Zamfara Chief Judge, Justice Kulu Aliyu, had on February 14, inaugurated the Panel following a request by the State House of Assembly, in a letter signed by its Speaker, Nasiru-Muazu Magarya, on February 10.
The Assembly had at its sitting on February 7, served the Deputy Governor with a Notice of Impeachment over alleged gross misconduct and abuse of office.
However, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on Monday, February 14, warned the Zamfara House of Assembly against the plan to impeach Aliyu-Gusau.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had issued the warning after Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), counsel to the Deputy Governor and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), prayed the court to restrain the lawmakers from carrying out the plan.
Although Justice Ekwo did not specifically give the restraining order, he had held that since parties in the suit had subjected themselves to the court’s jurisdiction, no party should take any action during the pendency of the matter.
The legislators had on February 15, declared that no court order could stop the impeachment of the Deputy Governor, quoting a section of the Constitution to buttress their stand.
“No court can stop the impeachment,” Chairman, House Committee on Information, Alhaji Shamsudeen Bosko, told newsmen in Gusau.
Bosko argued that the process (impeachment) was in line with Section 188 (5) (7), as well as Section 190 of the 1999 Constitution.
They said 18 of the 24 legislators voted in favour of the impeachment when allegations of financial misconduct, insubordination, and failure to perform assigned duties, were filed against Aliyu-Gusau.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Deputy Governor did not appear before the panel on Monday, and did not send a legal representation.
He had, at a news conference on February 20, in Abuja, described the Panel as illegal, “because there is a court order restraining the lawmakers from their impeachment plans.”