PDP South West Congress: Makinde, Fayose take supremacy battle to Osogbo

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Barring any last-minute change or court order stopping the zonal congress, 756 delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party will elect officials who will lead the party in the South-West today in Osogbo.

The congress which has witnessed postponement and change of venue in the past will pitch the governor of Oyo state, Seyi Makinde against former governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose. Although, both men are not on the ballot but this congress will decide who is the leader of the party in the zone.

Gov Makinde is backing former deputy governor of Oyo state, Taofeek Arapaja for the national vice chairmanship position while Fayose is rooting for erstwhile National Vice Chairman of the zone, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, who is from Ondo state.

All efforts to reconcile Gov Makinde and Fayose by the National Working Committee, NWC of the PDP, Senator Bukola Saraki-led reconciliation committee and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state proved abortive.

Meanwhile the camp loyal to Fayose has petitioned the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus over “alleged release of over 150 ballot papers for the election of National Vice Chairman and Zonal Secretary to the group led by the Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde”.

The petition dated April 10 was signed by the Chairman of Ogun State, Dr Sikirulai Ogundele, on behalf of the PDP chairmen in Ekiti, Lagos and Osun States.

The chairmen, who demanded that all ballot papers to be used for the congress should be signed by Secondus, said they will resist any attempt to rig or hijack the process.

“In closing, the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr Samuel Ortom, who was agreed to be the Congress Committee Chairman is said to be sending his Deputy. We hope that the Deputy Governor of Benue State will ensure that the uprightness and integrity that Governor Ortom is noted for will manifest in his handling of the congress,” the statement added.

Mr. Lere Olayinka, the spokesman of Fayose said the camp loyal to the former governor will participate in the election.

Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Makinde said that his principal is dedicated to stabilising the PDP in the South West

“Anyone who loves the PDP will know that the time is ripe to redeem the party especially in the South West zone. The party has suffered enough haemorrhage to enable stakeholders know it is time to move forward. I believe that all well-meaning party stakeholders will have no reservation in joining the push by Governor Seyi Makinde to stabilize the party this time,” he said.

The NWC said that it is doing everything transparently possible to ensure that the zone does not witness what happened at the north west zonal congress which ended in chaos after supporters of major contenders clashed in Kaduna.

The spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said the NWC will continue to reach out to the major gladiators in the zone, including Gov. Makinde and Fayose on how to create a conducive environment for a smooth electoral process during the congress.

A former National Publicity Secretary of the Action Democratic Party, Prince Adelaja Adeoye, who recently re-joined the PDP said the congress will hold as those he alleged are being sponsored by external forces cannot procure any order from any court to stop the congress.