PDP Has Authority to Suspend or Expel Former Governor Nyesom Wike – Court

In a significant ruling, the Federal High Court in Abuja has declared that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) possesses the legal prerogative to suspend or expel Nyesom Wike, the former governor of Rivers State. Presiding judge James Omotosho delivered the judgment on Wednesday, settling the suit initiated by Wike against the PDP.

The legal dispute emerged against the backdrop of the forthcoming 2023 elections. Wike sought a court order to compel the PDP to maintain the status quo and refrain from taking any actions regarding the threats of suspension or expulsion directed at him.

The suit surfaced amidst a crisis within the opposition party, leading Wike and his associates to distance themselves from the campaign activities of Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.

On February 2, the presiding judge issued an order for all parties involved in the case to maintain peace and refrain from any actions that could render the motion “nugatory and worthless.” This directive aimed to preserve the integrity of the proceedings. Subsequently, on February 14, Omotosho extended the order, thereby restraining the PDP from suspending or expelling Wike.

In his verdict, Judge Omotosho emphasized that the expulsion or suspension of a party member, such as Wike, must adhere to the provisions outlined in both the PDP’s constitution and the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended). The judge emphasized that the court should not interfere in the internal affairs of political parties, except when a member’s rights have been violated.

“While the court will vigorously enforce these rights when necessary, it is important to note that they are not absolute,” Judge Omotosho stated. He also stressed that any party member who appears before a disciplinary committee should have the opportunity to defend themselves. Any decision made without affording this opportunity would be deemed null and void.

The presiding judge concluded by asserting that Wike possesses the right to associate, and any attempt to expel him without extending an invitation to defend himself would contravene Article 57 (1)(2) of the PDP’s party constitution.

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