Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant in the just concluded governorship primary election in Bayelsa State, Kenebi Okoko, has frown on the gale of defections that hit the party shortly after the emergence of Douye Diri as the party’s standard bearer.
Okoko, in a statement, kicked against politicians who defected from their parties after losing elections, insisting that the practice was bad for the country’s nascent democracy.
He said Nigerian politicians as well as their followers must begin to play value-based politics, maintaining that destroying a political platform because an aspirant lost an election was not in the best interest of the state.
Okoko, who cautioned party loyalists and other major stakeholders threatening to leave the PDP because the primary did not favour a particular aspirant, said they should have a rethink in the interest of the people of the state.
He said he visited Diri to congratulate him because he was convinced it was in the best interest of the people of Bayelsa to do so.
“It is the love for Bayelsa State that made me to visit Diri. The same urge to move my state forward, has made me to listen to Governor Seriake Dickson and support the party because I believe, collectively, we can make a change. Not one governor can change a state. We need collective effort and if your governor is doing something that you don’t like, you don’t run away from the party, you confront him.
“Today, if I am with Governor Dickson, I can tell him, Sir, this thing you are doing is wrong. We should try and unify the party and not divide it. We need the kind of people who will tell them the truth, rather than lying to him because of personal ambition. We need to say the truth,” he said.
Meanwhile, the wave of defections that has hit the PDP, especially that of Gabriel Jonah, brother to the incumbent deputy governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Johan, has given the party discomfort in Nembe.
The deputy governor’s brother, who is the leader of a grassroots mobilisation group, Otita Force, was believed to have left PDP for All Progressives Congress because of what he perceived to be an ill-treatment meted out to the deputy governor who contested the governorship primary.
Jonah, who was instrumental to PDP victory in the 2015 governorship election in Nembe Ogbolomabiri and in the National Assembly and House of Assemblys, has vowed to work for the success of his new party in the November 16 governorship election.
Regardless, former ward chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 105 wards in the state, under the aegis of Patriots, have condemned attack on Lawrence Ewrudjakpo over his nomination as the running mate to Diri in the November 16 governorship election.
Crisis had erupted in the PDP with stakeholders polarised over the decision to nominate Ewrudjakpo from Ofoni in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The decision forced Governor Seriake Dickson to call for a meeting of critical stakeholders to review the nomination before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deadline for substitution of candidate closes on September 23.
But, the Patriots, which said the attack on Ewrudjakpo was unwarranted and disappointing, noted that persons descending on the senator with campaigns of calumny were deliberately misinforming the public and spreading false tribal sentiments to discredit him.
The stakeholders, in a statement, by their Co-convener, Ogorika Kakandar, said Bayelsa people seemed to have forgotten the efficient and service-oriented attributes of the senator when he was commissioner for Works and Infrastructure.