The Federal High Court in Abuja recently issued a ruling halting the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) plan to suspend Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his loyalists in the state over alleged anti-party activities.
The court’s judgment was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, who stated that there was merit in the suit brought by Wike and others to safeguard their membership of the party.
He added that the PDP, being an organization that operates within the confines of a constitution, must at all times follow the due process of law.
Justice Ekwo stressed that arbitrarily suspending the applicants without recourse to the rule of law would amount to a flagrant breach of their constitutional rights to freedom of association.
He emphasized that the court had the power to intervene in the affairs of a political party whenever there is a breach or the likelihood of a violation of its own laid-down rules and regulations.
The ruling restrains the PDP’s national leadership from suspending Wike, Rivers State governor-elect, Siminlalayi Fubara, his deputy, Dr. Ngozi Odu, and other chieftains of the party in the state.
News About Nigeria gathered that this is not the first time the court has intervened in the affairs of the PDP. Prior to the presidential election, the court barred the party and its leadership from taking steps to either suspend or expel Wike, who had openly campaigned against the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar.
The court issued the interim restraining order on February 2, while the presidential election held on February 25.
The court’s decision is significant in highlighting the importance of due process in political parties. Political parties operate within the confines of a constitution and must at all times follow the due process of law.
The judgment empowers members within political parties to seek redress when there is a breach or the likelihood of a violation of the party’s laid-down rules and regulations.