Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) Mr. Timi Alaibe, two-time commissioner for Information and top ally of former governor, Timipre Sylva, Chief Nathan Egba, and other top political figures of the All Progressives Congress (APC) formally led their supporters into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Alaibe, Nathan Egba, a political force in the densely populated Southern Ijaw Local Government, Chief Rufus Abadi, and former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Gideon Ekeowei, led thousands of APC members from all the local government areas across the state to the PDP in a colorful ceremony in Yenagoa, on Monday.
The defected top APC leaders were received by Governor Seriake Dickson, the South South Zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, PDP Chairman, Chief Moses Cleopas, and other top political figures in the state.
In his remarks, Dickson said Alaibe and the other top APC chieftains were the politicians who gave him a tough fight in the hotly contested gubernatorial election in 2015.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as saying the defection has left the APC with no capacity to call a successful rally in the build up to the general election in Bayelsa.
He said 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.
Dickson said with the exodus of highly placed politicians from the APC to the PDP, there would be no election in Bayelsa. The governor charged the chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Moses Cleopas, to perfect the process of mopping all good Bayelsans from the APC, which he described as a party of criminals.
He urged the remaining APC members to move into the PDP, to play the expected leadership role in the development of Bayelsa and, indeed, the Ijaw nation.
He said: “We have enough room for everybody, for all those who want to join our party. This is the fifth rally the party has put together in the state. I’m especially happy to be here in the spirit of reconciliation, a new Bayelsa and service to our people, rather than self-aggrandisement.
“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.”