The expulsion of Senator Chimaroke Nnamani from the Peoples Democratic Party has been overturned by a Federal High Court in Abuja, with the court ruling that the party’s action was without legal effect.
Justice James Omotosho, in his ruling on the lawsuit brought by Senator Nnamani, concluded that the expulsion imposed by the Peoples Democratic Party, under the leadership of former National Chairman Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, was illegitimate as the party lacked the authority to expel him over alleged anti-party activities.
In February, the National Working Committee of the PDP reportedly carried out the expulsion of various party leaders, including Nnamani, on the grounds of alleged anti-party activities and other serious offenses that violated the party’s constitution.
Disputing the expulsion, Nnamani resorted to legal action, contending that the NWC led by Ayu lacked the authority to expel him from the party.
However, the court maintained that the plaintiff was denied a fair hearing and emphasised that the power to discipline a member of the National Assembly lies solely with the National Executive Committee, rather than the NWC.
Additionally, the court held that the NWC cannot legitimately conduct a disciplinary hearing without ensuring a fair hearing for the plaintiff. It added that ‘the NWC cannot validly conduct a hearing and reaching a valid decision of suspending or expelling the plaintiff from membership of the PDP.’
The court, however, stressed that the NEC retains the power to discipline the plaintiff, but only if he is given a chance to present his side and a fair hearing is conducted. ‘the decision suspending the plaintiff is null and void. The decision expelling the plaintiff is nullified and set aside,’ the court said.
Consequently, the court provided an order of restraint, directing the PDP to refrain from acting on the nullified suspension and expulsion of the plaintiff.