Six In Race To Replace Arapaja As PDP Vice Chairman
No fewer than six Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains are eyeing the position of National Vice Chairman (Southwest).
The position will be vacant next month after the current occupant, Taofeek Arapaja, is inaugurated as Deputy Chairman (South).
Arapaja, former deputy governor and ambassador, hails from Oyo State. He defeated his rival from Ondo State, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, who was sponsored by former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose during the zonal congress in Osogbo, Osun State.
Party sources said Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, a Southwest PDP leader and Arapaja’s benefactor, is expected to play a dominant role in the selection of a new vice chairman.
Although the position is expected to be zoned to Osun, chieftains from other states are said to be eyeing the slot.
There is also the understanding in the PDP that the position of Deputy Chairman (South) may become vacant too in the second quarter of next year when Dr. Iyorchia Ayu steps down, after zoning the presidential ticket to the North.
The implication is that Arapaja may step into his shoe as acting National Chairman, thereby making the position of Deputy National Chairman (South) to become vacant again.
Sources said National Vice Chairman (Southwest) aspirants include former Deputy National Publicity Secretary Diran Odeyemi, Olafeso, Deji Doherty from Lagos, Ganiyu Olaoluwa, Hon. Adagunodo and Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi.
The sources said while eyes are on these likely contenders, more aspirants may still throw their hats into the ring.
A party source said: “It is not possible for the vice chairman to be retained in Oyo because Arapaja is from Oyo. This will amount to monopolisation of party power and privileges.”
He added: “There are three zones in the Southwest-Lagos/Ogun, Oyo/Osun and Ondo/Ekiti. Party offices are shared according to the three zones.
“But, Lagos now has Deputy National Secretary. Ogun has Deputy National Legal Adviser. Ondo has Publicity Secretary. Before this time, Ondo/Ekiti had the bulk of positions.
I think the consensus will be that Osun should produce the next National Vice Chairman (Southwest).”