PDP congress: Makinde-led zonal caucus nominates Arapaja as South-West zonal chairman

Ahead of the zonal congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Seyi Makinde led PDP zonal caucus has nominated former deputy governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, for the position of the National Vice Chairman of the party in the South-West.

Makinde announced the nomination of Arapaja at a PDP Zonal Caucus meeting held at Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, on Tuesday.

He explained that Arapaja was found worthy of the nomination owing to his depth, experience, honesty and acceptability by the party’s leaders.

“In Oyo State, many people have come to meet me on who should be nominated for the zonal chairmanship position of our party. Then, I asked some of our people to go and consult all our leaders, and the feedback they gave me is that the zonal chairman will be a member of the National Working Committee of the party. On this note, they said we need a person with depth and experience. We need somebody that is honest. They went around and the name they brought to me is Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja,” Makinde said.

Speaking further, Makinde appealed to party members in each state to ensure inclusiveness and harmony such that the March 6 congress will be largely a fanfare devoid of rancour.

Makinde said: “All the tendencies in each of our states, let us all come together and agree on whoever we want to nominate for each of the positions. This will help us to have harmony so that when we come back here on March 6, 2021, it will be a funfair. We will not fight one another. We will only validate whatever each of our states has done. This will be my expectation and will be my message to everybody.”

Speaking on the PDP faction under the leadership of former governor of Ekiti State and Dr Eddy Olafeso, Makinde said he expects the reconciliation committee under the chairmanship of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun State to deal with the issue.

He added that the committee had gone to all parts of the South West to broker peace, but decried that the Fayose faction has remained unyielding.

He decried that after he picked Oyinlola as chairman of the reconciliation committee in the zone, the other faction also picked his friend, Femi Babalola, an engineer, as chairman of its own reconciliation committee.

He however efforts to reach out to the Fayose faction for peace to reign in the party will be sustained.
Monday’s caucus meeting had in attendance former governors, Segun Oni (Ekiti) and Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun); Senators Abiodun Olujinmi and Kola Balogun; former governorship candidates of the party, Eyitayo Jegede (Ondo) and Olusola Eleka (Ekiti).

The roll call of attendees also included former deputy governors Olusola Erelu-Obada (Osun), Omolade Oluwateru (Ondo), and Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor (Lagos); Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin; the National Vice Chairman (Caretaker) in the South West, Dayo Ogungbenro; a member of Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Olu Alabi, and Dr Saka Balogun.

The Arapaja’s nomination came a few hours after the Fayose’s faction also nominated former National Vice Chairman, South West, Eddy Olafeso, as the zonal chairman which may culminate into paralleled zonal congresses in the South-West.

The meeting also saw members of the PDP BoT, National Assembly Caucus, ex-governors in the party, former deputy governors, serving and former members of state Houses of Assembly in the zone all affirmed Makinde as the undisputable leader of the party in the South West.

Sen Olu Alabi spoke on behalf of the PDP BoT; Sen Abiodun Olujinmi spoke for National Assembly members; Olagunsoye Oyinlola spoke for former governors; Taofeek Arapaja spoke for ex-deputy governors; while the Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, spoke for serving and former Houses of Assembly members in the South West, as well as the youth.

Sen Olu Alabi said: “This party belongs to all of us. We should not allow it to scatter. PDP is governed by certain mantras. We have two in PDP, which is the constitution and conventions. It is important for us to adhere to the constitution of the party and the conventions.

“Part of the conventions that we have been following in the party is that the governor in the zone that we have, will automatically be the leader of the party in the zone. Now in the South-West, we have only one governor, and automatically he is the leader of the party in the zone.

“There are a lot of responsibilities attached to being the leader of the party in the zone. I remembered when we used to go to Akure (Ondo State when Olusegun Mimiko was the governor) and Ado-Ekiti (Ekiti State when Ayodele Fayose was the governor). Then, Mimiko and Fayose were the only two governors PDP had in the South-West. There was nothing they said that we did not agree with them. It should not be heard that it is now that things will change.”

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PDP congress: Makinde-led zonal caucus nominates Arapaja as South-West zonal chairman

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