Fayose finally recognises Makinde as leader of South-west PDP at party's zonal congress

Former governor of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose, has finally recognised Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde, as the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the south-west.

The two have been at loggerheads over who controls the soul of the party in the zone.

While some of the party members are loyal to Makinde, the only PDP governor in the south-west, others were rallying behind Fayose who once described Makinde as “baby governor.”

The situation was so bad that the two were supporting different aspirants for the chairmanship position hours to the ongoing PDP congress in Osogbo, Osun state capital.

The party’s efforts to reconcile them, however, paid off at the congress, where Fayose apologised for the internal crisis that had torn apart the umbrella, which is the party’s symbol.

Fayose described Makinde as the leader of the south-west PDP, thereby ending the prolonged leadership tussle that has torn the party apart.

“The governor of Oyo state, Governor Seyi Makinde, my brother, my friend and by the grace of God, our leader,” he said.

“The issue at this congress is circumstantial, the question is who is our leader, Governor Seyi Makinde is our leader. Therefore, our supporters and lovers should not be putting a wedge between us.

“I and Seyi Makinde are one from the beginning. Distinguish leaders, I want to assure you that we will make exploits together and anywhere it goes, I will accept.

“In any family, where there is cause to vote, there will be a divide, but I assure you, wherever it goes, I will abide.

"Arapaja was a Deputy Governor and is not a small man, even if he has abused me so much, that is politics, if you emerge the Chairman, I will be the first person to visit you in Ibadan, because there is nothing that lasts forever.

“No one offends me and if I have offended anybody, I apologise. I and Makinde were one since the beginning, politicking leads to this misunderstanding, but notwithstanding, you are our father.”

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) kicked off its zonal congress on Monday in Osogbo, amid tight security.

According to NAN, there was a heavy security presence at the Women and Children Development Initiative Foundation (WOCDIF), the venue of the congress.

Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security Service (DSS), and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were stationed at the entrance and around the venue.

Some of the security personnel were also stationed a few kilometers away from the venue of the congress.

A total of 42 aspirants were cleared by the PDP screening committee on Sunday to contest for the various positions in the zone.

The congress will be attended by 734 delegates across the six south-west states.

According to the list released by Austin Akobundu, the PDP national organising secretary, Oyo has 171 delegates, Osun has 130, Lagos 101, Ogun 112, Ondo 114, and Ekiti has 115 delegates.

Taofeek Arapaja, a former deputy governor of Oyo state, and Eddy Olafeso, the immediate zonal chairman of the party, are contesting for the chairmanship position.

Makinde is supporting Arapaja for the chairmanship position while Fayose is throwing his weight behind Olafeso.

It's not yet clear if Fayose and Makinde will now reach agreement for a consensus candidate.

Meanwhile, Governor Seyi Makinde said there would not be a winner or loser after the congress, describing the election as an attempt to reposition the party in the region.

“This is a family affair. It is an attempt to reposition our party in the Southwest. 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”, he said.

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