Former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Taofeeq Arapaja, has emerged the new South-West Zonal Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday.
Arapaja,the preferred candidate of the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, polled 343 votes to defeat his main rival, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, who scored 330.
Olafeso enjoyed that backing of former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.
Earlier during the congress, Fayose had reconciled with his main rival, Makinde, acknowledging the Oyo State governor as the leader of the PDP in the South West region.
Recall that the duo had been at each other’s jugular over control of the PDP in the South West zone, but a truce was called yesterday by Fayose, leading to the resolution all issues in the South West zone of the party.
In his reaction to the zonal congress, Governor Makinde said that the PDP is ready to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Explaining that the internal crisis that rocked the PDP in the zone has now come to an end, Makinde said, “We will take it in the spirit of a family contest. We don’t want to defeat ourselves, we want to defeat the APC.
“So at the end of this exercise, I promise you there will be no victor, no vanquish. As your only governor in this zone, whoever emerges belongs to me and I will work with the team to reposition our party.”
The Deputy Governor of Benue State, who represented Samuel Ortom, Benson Abounu, commended the candidates for the maintenance of the peace at the election.
Speaking after his declaration as the winner of the election, Arapaja said that he would work with Olafeso to move the party forward.
He said, “We thank Governor Seyi Makinde and Mr. Ayo Fayose. The PDP is our party. We will work together to move the party forward.
“We want to reposition the party and I will work with my brother, Olafeso, to achieve our aims.”
Olafeso on his part also gave the assurance that he would cooperate with Arapaja.
Others zonal officers elected at the congress include: Secretary, Chief Rahman Owokoniran; Treasurer, Mr Samson Omotoyosi; Organizing Secretary, Barr. Amuwa Benson; Publicity Secretary, Chief Olusanya Atofarati; Financial Secretary, Mr Adewoyin Rasaq Babarinde; Legal Adviser, Barr. Gbenga Kukoyi; Auditor, Dr. Adeola Adewumi.
Others are: Women Leader, Mrs Modinat Bosede Adedibu; Youth Leader, Mr Bamidele Seyi Abiola; Zonal Ex-Officio, Adeola Santos; Zonal Ex-Officio, Modupe Adetokunbo; Zonal Ex-Officio, Araoye Sikiru; Zonal Ex-Officio, Olugbenga Idowu; Zonal Ex-Officio, Segun Adewale Aeroland; Zonal Ex-Officio, Lanre Fajuyi; National Ex-Officio, Olakunle Paul; National Ex-Officio, David Kolawole Vaughan; National Ex-Officio, Ogunrinde Emmanuel; National Ex-Officio, Faboyede Clement; National Ex-Officio, Taiwo Kabiru; and National Ex-Officio, Oluwakemi Olayiwola.