Taofeeq Arapaja, a former deputy governor of Oyo State, has emerged the National Vice-chairman (South-west) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Newsmen report that Arapaja, backed by Governor Seyi Makinde, scored 343 votes to emerge the winner at PDP South-west delegates congress held on Monday in Osogbo.
He defeated his rival, Eddy Olafeso, who scored 330 votes during the election. Mr Olafeso is the immediate past national vice-chairman (south-west) and candidate of former Ekiti governor, Ayo Fayose.
NAN reports that 675 votes were cast out of which 10 were voided.
Benson Abounu, Benue deputy governor, who represented his principal, Governor Samuel Ortom, as Chairman of the Electoral Panel, announced the result of the election.
Mr Abounu commended the spirit of sportsmanship exhibited by the contestants and the delegates for making the process free, fair and peaceful.
While Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State supported Arapaja for the chairmanship position, Ayo Fayose, a former Ekiti governor, supported Olafeso.
Reacting to his victory, Arapaja said both camps would work together 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.
“We want to reposition the party and I will work with my brother Olafeso to achieve our aims,” Mr Arapaja said.
On his part, Mr Olafeso promised to work with Mr Arapaja to move the party forward.
“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,” Mr Olafeso said.
Earlier, Messrs Makinde and Fayose, in their opening speeches, promised to accept whoever emerges as the South-West PDP Chairman.
In his remarks, Mr Makinde described the congress as a family affair and also an attempt to reposition the PDP in the South-west.
The governor said that whatever the outcome of the election, he would take it as a family affair.
On his part, Mr Fayose said the issue of the congress was circumstantial, adding that “Makinde is our leader.’’
He also said that he would accept the outcome of the election but appealed to his supporters and those of Mr Makinde to sheath their swords.
Although Governor Makinde waited till the results of the zonal congress were announced, Mr Fayose left before the result was announced.