Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Several hundreds of All Progressives Congress (APC) members yesterday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the oil-rich Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, an area regarded as the opposition party’s stronghold.
The APC Local Coordinator in the council, Mr. Jeff Jonathan, led the defectors in Twon-Brass while those who moved from the party in Egwe-Ama were led by an APC former Ward Coordinator, Nengi Warepagha.
The event took place even as a suspect identified as Clement Atonyefa, popularly known on the Island as Black Arrow, was reportedly held after he tried unsuccessfully to shoot at some of those who defected to the PDP.
Receiving the defectors, the PDP leader in the area, Victor Isaiah, said with the latest switching of camps, the APC was finally dead in Brass.
“The APC can never meet the expectations of the people in Brass because you cannot give what you don’t have.
“The APC you served and previously belonged to is responsible for the youth restiveness. The APC is the reason cultism still thrives in Brass. The APC is the cause of your unemployment.
“Be steadfast and resolute and don’t bow to intimidation from your former allies. I tell you today with authority that Timipre Sylva, Israel Sunny-Goli and every chieftain of the APC are who they are today because of the PDP.
“So, l make bold to tell you that only the PDP can guarantee your progress. I myself even before becoming your chairman had empowered many youths and built houses for some. I also recommended others for life employment,” he said.
In his remarks, Jonathan said the leadership qualities of Isaiah on the Brass Island and the overall administrative style of Governor Seriake Dickson attracted them to the PDP.
Jonathan complained that the APC in the state and in Brass was being run like a secret group, adding that the party had not impacted positively on the lives of the people.
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Butswat Asinim, has confirmed the arrest of an alleged APC youth leader who attempted to shoot the defectors.
It was gathered that the suspect accosted some of the defectors on their way home after a brief ceremony organised by the Brass Caretaker Chairman, Isaiah, to receive them.
But his loaded pistol was said to have malfunctioned when he attempted to pull the trigger, and in the process, he was overpowered by the defecting youths with assistance from the Brass volunteers.
However, Butswat said the police were treating the case as that of illegal possession of firearm, noting that youths from the community brought Atonyefa to the police station in Brass with a pistol, which they said they recovered from him.
“The suspect was brought to the state headquarters, and the police have commenced investigations into the matter. Those who handed him over to the police said they found him with the pistol.
“But the suspect said the gun was planted on him. We have commenced investigations to determine the truth. It is only investigations that will determine whether the suspect is culpable or not,” he said.