Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Timi Alaibe, two-time Commissioner for Information, Chief Nathan Egba, and other top members of the All Progressives Party (APC) yesterday formally defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State.
Other notable persons who defected with the politicians were Chief Rufus Abadi, and former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Gideon Ekeowei, who led many APC members from all the local government areas to the PDP in a colourful ceremony in Yenagoa.
A grand rally to receive the defectors by Governor Seriake Dickson, the South South Zonal Chairman of the Party, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, the Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Moses Cleopas and other top political figures in the state took place at the Peace Park, Yenagoa.
In his remarks, Dickson said that Alaibe and the other top APC chieftains were the politicians who gave him a tough fight in the hotly contested gubernatorial election in 2015.
He said that with the defection of the large number of APC chieftains to the ruling PDP in the state, the APC had become a ghost party, incapable of winning elections in Bayelsa.
He said: “From today, you have been automatically restored to your leadership positions, the positions you occupied before you left. I charge you all to return to base to play the leadership role that you all can and will play.
“Let me make it clear that firstly the PDP you are coming back to is unlike the party you left, it is a party of order, conscientious building, law and order and mutual respect.
“We are in opposition and a party in opposition cannot conduct itself in a divisive way. We need all of you to work as supporters and advisers. I take you as members of my advisory team, you are no longer adversaries. Drop the adversarial toga. It belongs to the other party.
I call on you all to mobilize support to deliver our candidates, work hard, nobilize our people for electoral victory.
“You are all decent, experienced, leaders of our people. In this game, we disagree, but we do so with respect for each other. We can now win all battles with ease. I pity the other side. The Chairman has done eighty percent of my charge to wind up the APC. It has become a criminal outfit masquerading as a party.
“The Chairman and the political desk should go and fish out the few people left in the APC, that they are deceiving. Tell them not to be deceived. We shall receive them. The other party that is a criminal outfit.
“These are the people who confronted me, not the other people. If we defeated them, how much more now that these people are here. There shall be no election in Bayelsa.” He said
Speaking also, Alaibe, said that he had been to the APC and had seen the difference between both parties.
He described the PDP as a party of Ijaw people with interest in matters affecting the welfare of the people of the Niger Delta.
He said: “You can see the party in Bayelsa, and the quality of leadership provided by the governor. I am here because the PDP is the place to be.
“The PDP is an Ijaw party. It takes on issues of restructuring. It communicates on the issues that affect the Niger Delta. That is why we are all “Atikulated.”
Speaking also, the National Vice Chairman of the PDP, South South, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, urged party members to equip themselves with their permanent voters as the general elections draw nearer.