PDP can expel, suspend Wike if it follows due process – Court
The Federal High Court in Abuja has held that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), can either suspend or expel former Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike as its member but must comply with due process.
Justice James Omotosho stated this on Wednesday 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.
Omotosho held that suspending or expelling Wike without according to him the right to defend himself, would breach his fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitutions of the PDP and that of the country.
The judge held that though the party has the right to suspend or expel its members, such action must be taken within compliance with its own law.
Justice Omotosho further held that although the court will not ordinarily dabble into the internal affairs of any political party, it can, where the right of a member was violated by the party without recourse to its own laws.
He noted that fundamental human rights are rights enshrined in the constitution and which are sacrosanct, adding: “Where these rights ought to be enforced, the court will do everything within its reach to ensure this.”
He however said that as fundamental and sacrosanct these rights are, they are not absolute.
The judge held that any member of a political party, who appeared before a disciplinary committee, should be given the opportunity to defend himself, adding that if such a member is not accorded the opportunity, any decision taken against such a member shall be null and void.
Justice Omotosho further held that Wike has the right to associate and that the threat to dismiss him without inviting him to defend himself contravened Article 57 (1)(2) of the party.
He said that the PDP national chairman and his agents were bound to promote constitutional democracy.
The former governor’s suit was filed before the last general elections.