The Labour Party (LP) on Tuesday said the grounds upon which tribunals reversed the election of some of its lawmakers were in contravention of established jurisprudence.
LP National Chairman, Julius Abure, in a statement made available to newsmen noted that the Supreme Court, and even last week’s judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), had already decided such a matter.
According to Abure, the superior courts had ruled that “Where the leadership of a party regards a person as a member of the party eligible to contest the primaries, no member of the party can complain against such a decision.
“Such an issue is within the domestic and internal affairs of the party over which the courts have no jurisdiction as such is not justiciable.”
He regretted that the reverse has been the case in the pronouncements coming from the various tribunals.
Abure described as incomprehensible and ludicrous the conflicting decisions from different tribunals, noting that they give diverse judgements on the same matter.
“The courts have in a plethora of cases held that the court has no jurisdiction to intervene in the internal affairs of a political party.
“The issue of nomination of candidates as well as membership are internal affairs of the party beyond the jurisdiction of courts.
“It is only a political party that can determine who its members are and who their flag bearer for an election should be,” he said.
The National Chairman mentioned the Supreme Court judgement in SC/CV/501/2023, where the apex court held that “A political party that files a suit to challenge the nomination of the candidate of another party will be a nosy busybody, a meddlesome interloper, peeping into the affairs of his neighbour without any backing in law. No court of law can entertain such a suit.”
He also recalled that in the case of Ardo & Anor v. Nyako & Ors (2013), the Court of Appeal held that “It is a notorious principle of law that courts have no right whatsoever to descend into the internal affairs of political parties as to choose their candidates for them.”
Abure added that the position was further expounded in the case of Agi v. PDP & ors (2016), where the Supreme Court held that; “… a party is supreme over its own affairs…A party is like a club, a voluntary association. It has its rules, regulations, guidelines, and Constitution…”
He disclosed that part of the rules and guidelines of the Labour Party is to accord membership to any Nigerian, “including by way of a waiver.”
He stated the LP had activated this inalienable right to the fullest in the last general election.
“It is therefore a mockery of our judicial system for the lower court to upturn a judgement already delivered by the Supreme Court.
“Though the tribunal is not the final court we frown at the recklessness of our judicial officers in entering a judgement that looks suspicious.
“We are therefore calling the attention of the Nigeria Judicial Council to the injustice ongoing and to review the activities of some of our legal officers who may have been compromised and found wanting in the discharge of their duties.
“Labour Party must be encouraged to widen the political space and end the one-party system being vigorously pursued by the ruling party.
“Pushing the party under a moving trailer will not in any way help anyone,” Abure warned.