Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the party would win the forthcoming gubernatorial election with or without those defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP State Chairman, Chief Moses Cleopas, in a statement yesterday, said the Bayelsa people and followers were not with the defectors who according to him, lack the requisite character, principle and integrity.
Cleopas alleged that the defected politicians were motivated by greed and the inordinate quest for political positions being dangled to them by the APC, saying PDP won the election convincingly in 2015 in spite of the spate of defections and would repeat the feat in the next election without such unstable characters.
The PDP chairman was reacting to the claim by a former deputy governor, Chief Peremobowei Ebebi, who defected from the party because of high handedness and alleged fraudulent primaries conducted by the leadership of PDP.
He said the difference between the party leadership and the defected politicians was the lack of capacity to resist the temptation of suspicious political offers and even threats.
He recalled that the government regularised Ebebi’s position as a former deputy governor and approved a monthly pension of N2.5 million for him which he has been collecting since 2012 till date in addition to other forms of material and financial support.
He added that it was rather shocking that Ebebi whose nominee is still a serving commissioner could come out to launch a scathing attack on the government and the party in the search for non-existent reasons to justify his defection to the APC because of alleged greed and inordinate quest for political offices.
According to him, Ebebi was among the first leaders of the party to make a strong case for Senator Douye Diri, who he later discovered to be his cousin, as the best of PDP aspirants to support in the primaries, noting that it was even more shocking that Ebebi who had received and endorsed Diri and his team when they visited him in his Yenagoa residence opted to accept the position of the Director General of the Chief Timi Alaibe campaign organisation two days after.
He explained that same Ebebi attended the flag-off campaign rally of the PDP at the Oxbow Lake on October 7, where he spoke in support of the PDP and its candidate.
Cleopas said information at his disposal showed that Ebebi submitted several names for appointment and employment after the rally, which were carried out as agreed.
The PDP chairman allegedly described Ebebi’s defection to APC as the peak of absurdity, using the PDP primaries as his reasons when the makeshift primaries conducted by the APC and the anger triggered by the alleged electoral fraud in the party has resulted in several court cases challenging the emergence of the party’s candidate, Chief David Lyon.
Cleopas challenged Ebebi to tell Bayelsans and indeed Nigerians whether his impeachment from office by Chief Timipre Sylva was high handed or considerate and whether the alleged foisting of Lyon on the APC in a most bizarre and brazen manner by Sylva was high handed or not.
He said to the best of his knowledge, the only request from Ebebi, which the state government has not fully acceded to, was the request to pay a grossly inflated debt of about N400 million purportedly owed his hotel by the state under Sylva who he served as deputy governor.
Cleopas, who also commented on another defected member, Hon. Stephen Diver, described his defection as shameless display of ingratitude to a government and party that have sustained him over the years.
He recalled that Diver who was the first Special Adviser to abandon
the government of Sylva in 2011, but was accommodated by the government of Governor Seriake Dickson, allegedly belonged to a class of Bayelsa politicians who are lacking in character and values.
According to him, it’s a fact that the Bayelsa State Government which accommodated Diver from 2012 to date has spent almost N50 million to send him abroad for medical treatment on three occasions since he purportedly suffered a stroke and has been largely incapacitated in the past one year.
He said it was absurd and a indeed tragic comedy for this class of person to embrace the filth of blackmail against a government and party of which he has been a part for over seven years.
He added that Diver met with the governor about two days ago to pledge his loyalty and to debunk the rumours that he was holding secret meetings with the opposition in reaction to the burden of a conscience that was pricking him.
He said Bayelsans and Nigerians could now see the kind of people parading themselves as leaders in the state with the action of Ebebi and Diver, adding that it was indeed curious that Diver who was one of earliest to back Diri during the primaries, and later declared that he mobilised his supporters to vote for the candidate, could come out to say that he shared no political ideology with the candidate and his running mate.
He said the defectors which have led to a gale of counter-defections by the members of the APC who are opposed to them, have further strengthened PDP members from their areas who are angered by their ungrateful antics.