Wike can be expelled if due process is followed – Court tells PDP

The court ruled that the party has the right to expel or suspend any member but such action must follow due process.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is constitutionally empowered to suspend or expel the former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, only if it follows due process.

This was the verdict issued by Justice James Omotosho on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, while delivering judgement in the suit filed by Wike to stop the PDP from either suspending or expelling him without according to him fair hearing.

It’d be recalled that Wike has been at loggerheads with the national executive of the PDP since the conclusion of the party’s presidential primary election in May last year, where he finished second behind Atiku Abubakar.

He and four other aggrieved governors (now former) insisted that it was against the spirit of justice, equity and fairness for another northerner to succeed former President Muhammadu Buhari and Wike in particular vociferously campaigned against his party’s presidential candidate.

The party has since suspended some members who participated in the rebellious act that partly contributed to its loss at the presidential election, but Wike in a move to pre-empt such faith befallen him asked the court to bar the PDP from axing him from the party.

Judge says PDP can suspend Wike

In his ruling on Wednesday, Omotosho held that suspending or expelling Wike without granting him the right to defend himself would amount to a breach of his constitutional rights as enshrined both in the Nigerian constitution and that of the PDP.

While noting that the PDP has the right to discipline any erring member, the Judge held that such action must comply with the provisions of its own law.

Justice Omotosho further affirmed that the court is duty-bound to wade into the internal affairs of any political party where the fundamental right of a member has been violated by the party without recourse to its own laws.

He stressed that fundamental human rights are rights enshrined in the constitution and which are sacrosanct, saying “Where these rights ought to be enforced, the court will do everything within its reach to ensure this.”

The Judge said the suspension of any member of a political party, without according to such person the opportunity to defend themselves before a disciplinary committee, shall be nulled and void.

While noting that Wike has the right to freedom of association, Justice Omotosho held that the threat to dismiss him without inviting him to defend himself contravened Article 57 (1)(2) of the party.

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