The Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday suffered a major setback ahead of the December 5th governorship election in the state.
The PDP lost hundreds of its members to the APC in a carnival-like reception ceremony held at the state secretariat of the APC in Yenagoa.
Among those who abandoned the PDP were former political office holders, appointees who served in different capacities in various PDP administrations and past party executive members.
Also former aides, whose appointments were terminated in controversial circumstances by the incumbent Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, were among persons who joined the APC.
They were led to the APC by a two-time member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Warman Ogoriba, who was denied the PDP ticket in the last general elections.
Pioneer Majority Leader of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Ayiba Glover; former Secretary of the PDP and close associate of President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof. Tarila; former PDP Secretary, Sokari Jackson; former Commissioner for Environment in Dickson’s administration, Mr. Sylvanus Abila and former Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Charles Opuala were among the defectors.
Others in the train of former political office holders who dumped the PDP are Gesiye Frank-Oputu, Abel Osuo, Nelson Belief, Samuel Boy, William Ofoni, Benjamin Yebouowei, Ayibakoro Nelson and Livingstone Egba among others.
They were received by a former governor and leader of the APC in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, in the presence of former Ambassador Felix Oboro, former acting governor, Chief Nestor Binabo, APC state chairman, Tiwe Orunimighe and former deputy and acting governor, Chief Werinipre Seibarugu.
Sylva, while handing brooms, the symbol of the party, to the defectors, said the APC had come to end divisions in the state.
Describing the APC as one family, he said he was highly privileged to welcome two persons who became acting governors during his administration to the APC.
He said the APC would use brooms too sweep Dickson and his PDP government out of the state, adding that the PDP was already dead and was waiting for its funeral.
He said all the people who matter in the state and the masses had joined the boat of the party, which he said is sailing to the Creek Haven Government House.
He said with the number of people joining the APC, there is no way the party will not form the next government on February 14, 2016.
“The APC ship has started sailing and everybody is welcome. It is the ship of unity and if you don’t get inside, you will be marooned. The PDP is dead. This Dickson’s government is dead. It is only waiting for its funeral”, he said.
Oruminighe, in his welcome address, said he had predicted at the early stages of the APC that the party would form the next government.
He said the Dickson government was unfriendly and deceitful, questioning the rationale behind the government’s move to reconstitute the Bayelsa volunteers.
“Dickson has been there since, but he did not talk about Bayelsa volunteer. Now that he wants re-election, he started constituting the volunteers. Don’t be deceived,” he said.
Referring to the APC as the only platform available in the state, he said the party would eliminate the existing classification of the people into core and fake Ijaw, and assured the new members of a level-playing field, adding that all the privileges available to old members would also extended to them.
He, however, warned that the supremacy of the party must be upheld at all times.
Advancing reasons for their defection, Ogoriba said the APC is the light while the PDP represents darkness.
He said the government of the PDP in the state was based on falsehoods and too many talks without action.
According to him, the Dickson-led government has ridiculed the people of the stage by building a “monkey bridge and walkway” in the name of a flyover.
He said while the PDP was claiming to be unruffled by the defections of its members, it was busy calling defectors at night for reconciliation.
“The APC is a sweet party and we are happy we have been accepted into it. We will subject ourselves to all the authority of the party. We have not come with any ambition. We have come to strengthen the party. With our presence here, the PDP has murdered sleep.”