The former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose, yesterday buried his ambition to lead the southwest zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when he affirmed the governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde as the party’s zonal leader.
Fayose surrendered to Makinde at the southwest zonal congress of the party held in Osogbo, Osun State yesterday in which Mr. Taofeek Arapaja, the candidate backed by Makinde polled 343 votes to become the southwest vice chairman of the PDP.
Dr Eddy Olafeso backed by Fayose’s camp got a total of 330 votes.
Addressing the delegates, Fayose declared: “Seyi Makinde is our leader.
“Our supporters and lovers should not continue to put wedge in between us. Either ways this election goes, I will accept it.”
“Taofeek Arapaja has abused me so much, I will be the first person to visit him in Ibadan.
“Nobody has offended me and if I have offended anybody, I sincerely apologise. Seyi Makinde remains our father come what may.”
In his remarks before voting, Makinde said the PDP does not want to defeat itself, describing the contest as a “family affair.”
It is an attempt to reposition our party in the southwest region.
“It has ramifications for our party nationally. Whatever the outcome is, we will take it in the spirit of a family contest. We don’t want to defeat ourselves; we want to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“At the end of this exercise, there will be no victor, no vanquish. As the only governor of the party in the zone, whoever emerges, I will work with them to reposition the party. I thank you for the peaceful conduct.”
Also, in an interview, he said: “We started from a storm yesterday when the city was invaded by thugs but along the line, the security operatives have done their bit to keep this place calm.
“The most significant thing we recognise is that this is a family affair. This is PDP, one of the cornerstones of democracy.”
“I am happy that this is happening because I have track records of performance, I have done this in the last four years and I have many things to sow for it across the zone, so if I am given the opportunity again, I will do better in the next four years. So, it’s something I am looking forward to. I am totally confident of victory,” he said.
In his speech, Olafeso conceded defeat, saying the he gave the contest his best efforts.
“The storm is over; there is a new beginning for our party. We have to thank God that despite odds, there is a new beginning for our party. The time is now. I thank everybody who supported me,” he said.
Also speaking, Arapaja promised to reposition the party.
“We thank Governor Seyi Makinde and former governor Fayose. 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.”
Other results of the contest showed that for the post of zonal publicity secretary, Mr. Adesanya Atofarati who got 327 defeated Mr. George Fadaka who polled 317.
For the post of zonal secretary, Mr. Rahaman Owokoniran got 338 to defeat Bunmi Jenyo, who got 328.
The position of zonal organizing secretary went to Mr. Benson Amuwa who polled 326, while Mr. Fasiu Bakene got 301 votes.