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PDP Can Suspend, Expel Wike According to Law, Court Rules

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The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, told the former governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the right to suspend or expel him if the action is done under the law.

Justice James Omotosho stated this in a judgment on a suit filed by Mr Wike before the 2023 general elections to seek a court order to stop PDP from taking action against him without a fair hearing.

Mr Omotosho said the court had considered the processes filed by parties and arguments of counsel.

He held that suspending or expelling the applicant without affording him the right to defend himself would breach his fundamental rights as enshrined in the party’s and Nigeria’s constitutions.

He said though the party had the right to suspend or expel its members, it must comply with its law.

The judge said that though section 46(1) of the law vested jurisdiction on the court if one’s rights had been breached, he said the court would not dabble into the internal affairs of any political party, except where the party had violated the right of a member without recourse to its laws.

“Where this right ought to be enforced, the court will do everything within its reach to ensure this.

“However, as fundamental and sacrosanct these rights are, they are not absolute,” he said.

The judge, therefore, agreed that any member of a political party who appeared before a disciplinary committee should be allowed to defend himself.

“And if not, any decision taken shall be null and void,” he said.

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.”

The judge further said Mr Wike had 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 the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, and his agents were bound to promote constitutional democracy.

The ex-governor had sued the PDP, its National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) as first to third respondents.

Mr Wike, in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/139/2023, dated and filed February 2 by his lawyer, Joshua Musa, SAN, also joined Mr Ayu; national secretary of PDP, Samuel Anyanwu, and the Independent National Electoral Commission as fourth to sixth respondents respectively.

He had prayed for an order directing all parties to maintain the status quo and stay all actions relating to the threat to suspend or expel him by the first to fifth respondents, pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.

He asked the court to enforce his fundamental right to freedom of association which was allegedly about to be breached by the respondents.

But the PDP, through its lawyer, Johnson Usman, SAN, disagreed with Mr Wike’s submission.

He argued that the case was only based on speculation as Mr Wike had failed to provide evidence to substantiate that the respondents intended to suspend or expel him from the party.

He said the party had not contemplated suspending or expelling members of the G5 governors or the Integrity Group, despite engaging in anti-party activities.

He said Mr Wike and four other governors engaged in anti-party activities by forming the Integrity Group and campaigning for another presidential candidate in the February 25 election.

NAN

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Cyril Ramaphosa Re-elected As South African President

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The South African Parliament has, during its first sitting of the 7th Parliament on Friday, re-elected Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa as the President of the Republic of South Africa. He has been re-elected to serve a second term as the President.

Thia was hours after his African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance (DA) agreed to form a coalition, setting aside their rivalry in a historic governance pact.

In terms of the Constitution, the National Assembly must, at its first sitting after its election, elect a woman or a man from among its members to be the President.

Mr. Ramaphosa was elected with 283 votes against Mr Julius Malema with 44 votes. The Constitution states that when elected President, a person ceases to be a member of the National Assembly and, within five days, must assume office by swearing or affirming faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution.

The President-elect will be inaugurated during a ceremony in Pretoria which, according to the Constitution, should take place within five days after the President’s election.

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Finidi George Resigns As Super Eagles Coach

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Newly appointed Super Eagles coach, Finidi George, has resigned his appointment,  according to a post by ex-Super Eagles media officer, Toyin Ibitoye on X.com on Saturday.

He wrote, “News just in. Finidi George #FinidiGeorge_FG has resigned from his #NGSuperEagles manager position.”

The resignation follows the Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) decision to appoint a foreign coach to oversee him, despite his recent appointment in May.

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Appeal Court Insists Amaewhule, 26 Others Not Members of Rivers House of Assembly

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Friday, refused to set aside a judgment ordering the removal of Martins Chike Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Justice Charles Wali of the Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt, on May 30 declared the seats of the 27 lawmakers who dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in October last year vacant.

The judge, who delivered the ruling in a suit filed by the Speaker of the Assembly, Victor Oko Jumbo, and two others, also restrained Amaewhule from parading himself as Speaker of the Assembly.

Dissatisfied with the verdict, the aggrieved lawmakers approached the appellate court to set it aside.

However, at a virtual hearing of the matter on Friday, a three-member panel of the appellate court declared that the reversal of the lower court ruling would amount to pre-judging the appeal currently before it.

The panel, thereafter, fixed June 20 for the hearing of the appeal filed by the lawmakers in their quest to regain their seats in the Assembly.

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