Attempts by some suspended members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the South West to return to their positions suffered a setback on Friday as the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos rejected their appeal.
Those affected are the National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; National Auditor, Bode Mustapha; and the National Vice Chairman, South West, Segun Oni; all of whom are believed to be loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
They had asked the court to stay execution on the rulings of the lower courts which relieved them of their positions over improper election.
But the PDP, represented by its counsel, Joe Gadzama, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, asked the court to discontinue with the appeal saying PDP was no longer interested in it; a move which the three embattled former party chiefs resisted.
In its ruling, the three-member panel of the court made up of Monica Dongban-Mensem, Tijani and Ita Mbaba upheld the appeal for withdrawal.
Following Mr. Oyinlola’s sack, his deputy, Solomon Onwe has since stepped into the office in acting capacity; while Mr. Mustapha was replaced outright with Fatai Adeyanju.
In place of Mr. Oni, a former governor of Ekiti State, the ruling party also appointed a caretaker committee in the South West headed by Ishola Filani to pilot its affairs in the zone.
Their loss is seen as a loss by Mr. Obasanjo in his discreet bid to recover the machinery of the party in the zone.
Already, he has lost grip of the party in his home state, Ogun, as an executive committee of the party led by Dayo Bayo, and backed by a business mogul, Buruji Kasumu, is in charge of the party there.
Reacting to the ruling, Mr. Mustapha said “These judges ruled that I don’t have an appeal because my appeal has been withdrawn by Gadzama, the PDP lawyer and therefore that I cannot continue with the appeal.”
The former national auditor alleged that the court never considered the merit or otherwise of the suit, asking “Why was the appeal withdrawn in the first instance, does it mean that the appeal has no merit”.
Mr. Mustapha added that it has become clear that going by the ruling, Mr. Obasanjo and his loyalists are no longer wanted in the party.