The battle for the soul of southwest PDP has been won and lost following the emergence of former deputy governor of Oyo state Taofeeq Arapaja, as the south-west chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP south-west congress was held at Osogbo, the Osun state capital, on Monday.
Two candidates locked horns for the position — Arapaja, who had the backing of Makinde, and Eddy Olafeso, who was supported by Ayo Fayose, former governor of Ekiti.
It would be recalled that Makinde and Fayose had been at loggerheads over control of the south-west zone, but in a move that seemed to point to an amicable resolution, they made peace in Osogbo on Monday, with the former Ekiti governor stating that he would accept the outcome of the election.
According to NAN, after the conclusion of voting, Arapaja scored 343 votes to emerge the winner, while Olafeso, the immediate past zonal chairman, secured 330 votes.
Benson Abounu, deputy governor of Benue who represented his principal, Samuel Ortom, as chairman of the electoral panel, announced the result of the election.
Abounu commended the delegates and the candidates for the conduct of the election, and also appreciated the stakeholders for ensuring a free and fair process.
Speaking after he was declared winner, Arapaja said he would work with Olafeso to move the party forward.
“We thank governor Seyi Makinde and Mr Ayo Fayose. PDP is our party. We will work together to move the party forward,” he said.
“We want to reposition the party and I will work with my brother, Olafeso, to achieve our aims.”
On his part, Olafeso also gave the assurance that he would cooperate with Arapaja.
“The storm is over. 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,” Olafeso said.
Meanwhile, according to NAN, while the Oyo governor waited till the result of the zonal congress was announced, Fayose left earlier.