No fewer than 1,200 leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) on Wednesday joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State.
The defectors were announced by the Special Adviser to the Bayelsa State Governor on Political Matters, Chief Collins Cocodia, during the inauguration of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council at the Peace Park in Yenagoa.
Prominent among the defectors are former Director-General of the APC Governorship Campaign Council in 2019, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, Dr. Steven Ogola, Mr. Lucky Amadi, Chief Ebikiri Akpolo and Mr. Edwin Oweibi.
Others are Adolphus Agwuo, Steven Adaka, Abaka Tamaraebi, Kankada Ebipabowei, Chief Ebikitin Diongoli, Adagbayan Hammoh, Kingsley Mirin and thousands of their followers.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, Prof. Brisibe and Dr. Ogola said men of good conscience cannot remain in the APC as the party lacked leadership and integrity.
They said their time in the APC was like being in the wilderness for several years but had no choice than to return to the PDP for redemption.
They also stated that their decision was borne out of the sterling qualities of Governor Douye Diri and the good governance and infrastructural transformation being witnessed in the three senatorial districts of the state under his administration.
While receiving the defectors on behalf of the party, Governor Diri said the returnees and new members would enjoy all the rights and privileges that PDP members were entitled to.
Also inaugurating the Presidential Campaign Council in the state, Governor Diri described Bayelsa as home of the PDP where the party’s victory is always guaranteed.
He advised members of the council to keep the campaigns issue-based and not engage in propaganda and blackmail.
He said: “On behalf of the leadership of the PDP, I welcome you back to the ruling party in the state.
“Let me also say that all the rights the PDP members enjoy are also entitled to you henceforth. Bayelsa State is the home and family of PDP where winning of elections is guaranteed. I want the campaigns to be issue-based and not about propaganda and blackmails.”
In his goodwill message, the Senator representing Bayelsa West, Chief Seriake Dickson, promised to make the job of winning the presidential election easy for the governor based on the performance of the PDP in the state and as the only party to beat.
Also speaking, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, assured the governor and the PDP of total support and for its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
The Presidential Campaign Council has Governor Diri as chairman while the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, is vice chairman of the 300-member council while the Advisory Council is led by Senator Dickson.