Our reporter/ The federal high court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the right to suspend or expel Nyesom Wike, former governor of Rivers state.
James Omotosho, the presiding judge, on Wednesday, while delivering judgment in the suit filed by Wike against the PDP, said suspending or expelling Wike from the party without affording him the right to defend himself was contrary to the provisions of PDP’s constitution and the 1999 constitution (as amended).
According to the judge, the expulsion or suspension of party members must be done in accordance with the party’s law.
The court, he said, would not dabble into the internal affairs of any political party, except where the right of a member had been violated.
“Where this right ought to be enforced, the court will do everything within its reach to ensure this,” he said.
“However, as fundamental and sacrosanct these rights are, they are not absolute.”
The presiding judge added that any member of a political party who appeared before a disciplinary committee should be given the opportunity to defend himself.
“And if not, any decision taken shall be null and void,” he said.
“This court is convinced that the applicant is entitled to a fair hearing and that the respondent also has the right to discipline its members in accordance with the law.”
In the build-up to the 2023 elections, Wike, in a suit, asked the court to order the PDP to maintain the status quo and stay all actions relating to the threats to suspend or expel him.
The suit was filed amid a crisis in the opposition party which made Wike and his allies exclude themselves from the campaign activities of Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.
The presiding on February 2 ordered that all parties in the suit maintain peace and not take any action or step that may make the outcome of the motion “nugatory and worthless”.