The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, on Thursday, affirmed its earlier decision nullifying the expulsion of Senator Buruji Kashamu and others, by their party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Valentine Ashi ruled that although a party had the power to discipline its members, it must follow due process in doing so.
The judge had earlier in a ruling delivered on October 10, 2018, nullified the expulsion of the senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District and others, including the Chairman of Kashamu’s faction of the party in Ogun State, Adebayo Dayo.
The judge in the said ruling held that their expulsion was unlawful and amounted to a nullity as it was done in flagrant disobedience of a subsisting order of the court made on December 7, 2017.
He held that the court order violated by the party was reaffirmed on January 9, 2018, directing parties not to do anything to jeopardise the hearing of the pending substantive suit.
The court had specifically warned the party against carrying out any disciplinary action against the defendants (Kashamu and Dayo) without first having recourse to the court.
The PDP returned to the court by filing a suit marked, FCT/HC/CV/0303/2017, in which the party prayed the court to, among others, hold that it had the power to discipline its erring members.
In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Ashi agreed with the PDP that it had the power to reprimand or take disciplinary measures, including barring or expelling erring members, but added that the power must be exercised according to due process.
He also held that the affirmation of the party’s power to discipline its members did not imply that the earlier ruling setting aside the suspension of Kashamu and others had been reversed.
The judge ruled, “The decision to suspend the defendants was nullified because it was taken during the pendency of the suit, which suspension this court had reversed in an earlier ruling.
“That the plaintiff’s first and second prayers succeed is not to say that the ruling has been reversed.
“Parties are to revert to the status quo before the suspension. The plaintiff is at liberty to exercise disciplinary powers, but with due process.”
The judge refrained from making any declaration on PDP’s prayer seeking an order restraining Kashamu and others from disrupting the party’s non-elective convention.
He noted that it was no longer necessary to make any pronouncement on the prayer since the convention had been held.
Kashamu, backed by the Adebayo Dayo-led state executive of the party, is the Independent National Electoral Commission’s recognised candidate of the party for the 2019 Ogun State governorship poll. – Punch
– Dec. 14, 2018 @ 10:15 GMT |