A former deputy governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, has emerged as new South-West Zonal Vice Chairman of People’s Democratic Party.
Arapaja, the candidate backed by the camp of Governor Seyi Makinde, polled 343 votes to defeat his opponent, Dr. Eddy Olafeso backed by ex-governor Ayo Fayose who got a total of 330 votes.
Earlier, Makinde and Fayose had promised to accept whoever emerged as the Southwest PDP Chairman.
They both stated this in their opening speeches during the PDP South-West Congress yesterday in Osogbo.
The congress also gave both Makinde and Fayose, who had been emroiled in leadership tussle in the Southwest, to bury the hatchet as the party closed ranks in preparation for the 2023 general election in the region.
In his remarks, Makinde described the congress as a family affair and also an attempt to reposition the PDP in the South-West.
“This election is a family affair and also an attempt to reposition the PDP in the South-West and the outcome will have implications for our party at the national level.
“We don’t want to defeat ourselves but rather we want to defeat the opposition.
“At the end of the election, there will be no victor nor vanquished.
“As the only PDP governor in the south-West, I will work with anyone who emerges as the chairman in the zone and I will work with the team to reposition our party,’’ Makinde said.
On his part, Fayose said the issue of the congress was circumstantial, adding that “Makinde is our leader.’’
He also said that he would accept the outcome of the election, but appealed to his supporters and those of Makinde to sheathe their swords.
“The issue of this congress is circumstantial. Makinde is our leader in the South-West.
“Our supporters should stop putting division between us. Seyi and I are one. Nobody has offended me and if I have offended anyone, please forgive me.
“If Arapaja wins, I will be the first to greet him in Ibadan because nothing lasts forever,’’ Fayose said.