The reason the National Vice Chairman (Southwest) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja, joined the race for the position of National Deputy Chairman (South) of the party ahead of the national convention became clear last night.
A credible source within the party told The Nation that Arapaja was raised to replace a former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is facing opposition from within the party for his defection ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The medium reported that opposition against Oyinlola’s candidacy was growing daily from leaders and members who are insisting that returnees should not be trusted with sensitive national positions.
Oyinlola joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 and African Democratic Congress (ADC) in 2018, though he once served as PDP’s National Secretary before his defection.
Besides, the former Lagos State military administrator is facing opposition for his closeness with former military leader, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
A lot of party leaders are said to be raising concern that Oyinlola may surrender the party to either of them, if elected, and by chance if he becomes the substantive chairman.
The Deputy National Chairman (South) will take over as the substantive National Chairman in the event that a candidate of northern origin wins the presidential primary.
This will imply that the proposed national chairmanship candidate, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, will resign to allow the Deputy National Chairman (South) take over as substantive chairman.
Oyinlola and Arapaja are believed to be backed by the faction led by Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde.
The calculation within the Makinde faction is that since Arapaja was already the National Vice Chairman (South West), opposition against him would be weak. The group is said to believe that it was better to push another candidate than leave Oyinlola.