Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and a former Ekiti governor, Ayo Fayose, have agreed to accept whoever emerges as the South-west PDP Chairperson.

They both stated this in their opening speeches as the PDP South-west Congress went underway on Monday in Osogbo.

A former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja, and the immediate past chair of the party in the zone, Eddy Olafeso, are the chairmanship candidates.

While Mr Makinde is supporting Mr Arapaja for the position, Mr Fayose is backing Mr Olafeso.

This had caused sharp disagreement between Messrs Makinde and Fayose, the situation which made the party to shift the venue and date of the congress from Ibadan to Osogbo.

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.

“This election is a family affair and also an attempt to reposition the PDP in the Southwest and the outcome will have implication for our party at the national level.

“We don’t want to defeat ourselves but rather we want to defeat the opposition.

“At the end of the election, there will be no victor nor vanquished.

“As the only PDP governor in the southwest, I will work with anyone who emerges as the chairman in the zone and I will work with the team to reposition our party,’’ Mr Makinde said.

On his part, Mr Fayose said the issue of the congress was circumstantial, adding that “Makinde is our leader.’’

He also said he would accept the outcome of the election, but appealed to his supporters and those of Mr Makinde to sheath their swords.

“The issue of this congress is circumstantial. Makinde is our leader in the Southwest.

“Our supporters should stop putting division between us. Seyi and I are one. Nobody has offended me and if I have offended anyone, please forgive me.

“If Arapaja wins, I will be the first to greet him in Ibadan because nothing lasts forever,’’ Mr Fayose said

Earlier, Benson Abounu, who represented Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue as Chair of the Electoral Panel, said the congress was a family affair.

He said the electoral committee had deliberated on how to conduct a peaceful and smooth congress.

Mr Abounu said the panel would be transparent, just, fair and would allow the right things to be done.

“The congress is a PDP issue. No-one is an enemy of another. Anyone who is our enemy must be from another party.

“We intend to take over all the geopolitical zones and also to take over power in 2023. We can only achieve this when we are united.

“Let everyone sheath his or her sword and regard the other as family,’’ MrnAbounu added.

He thereafter dissolved all the acting zonal executives and the voting began at exactly 4:46p.m.

(NAN)

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