Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, candidate backed by the camp of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, has emerged as the new South-West Zonal Vice Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party on Monday.
Arapaja polled 343 votes to defeat Dr Eddy Olafeso of the camp of former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, who scored 330. Ten votes were voided out of the 383 votes cast.
Olafeso conceded defeat and promised to work with Arapaja, saying;
The storm is over, there is a new beginning for our party. We have to thank God Almighty that despite odds, there is a new beginning for our party. The time is now. I thank everybody who supported me.
Arapaja, who is a former Oyo Deputy Governor said;
We thank Governor Seyi Makinde and former Governor Fayose. It’s our party. We will work together and move the party forward. We want to reposition the party. I will work with my brother Olafeso to achieve our aims.
The journey to the congress had been bumpy with several failed attempts to reconcile the two factions.
It ended with a litigation which impeded conduct of the election in March.
While Makinde rejected Olafeso, who just left the position, Fayose insisted Olafeso must be returned.
Both stuck to their guns along with their followers with the party factionalised in four of the six states in the zone.
However, earlier during the exercise, Fayose reconciled with his main rival, Makinde, acknowledging that the Oyo State Governor is the PDP leader in the southwest region.
His reaction comes after months of leadership tussle for the control of the party among the duo.
Reacting to zonal congress, Governor Makinde said the PDP is ready to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He explained that the internal wrangling that has rocked the zone has now come to an end, stressing;
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.