PDP can expel, suspend Wike if it follows due process – Court rules

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) can either suspend or expel former Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike as its member if it follows due process.

Delivering judgement on Wednesday, May 31, in the suit filed by Wike to stop the PDP from either suspending or expelling him without giving him fair hearing, Justice James Omotosho held that suspending or expelling Wike without according 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.

Omotosho also stated that while 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 reiterated 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 also said that any member of a political party, who appears 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.

Omotosho who asked PDP national chairman and his agents to promote constitutional democracy, 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.