A former chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Tiwei Orunimiye has led over 98 leaders and 5000 members of the opposition APC to the People’s Democratic Party In Bayelsa state.
Those who defected to the APC on Saturday included a serving lawmaker representing Brass 2 constituency in the House of Assembly, Hon. Alfred Watson, President Buhari’s representative in Ogbia local government area in the 2015 elections, Chief Orifie Ene, the chairman of the Bayelsa Waterways, Mr. Akparasia Africa, and 98 leaders of the party in the state.
A statement by the special adviser to the governor on media relations, Mr. FIdelis Soriwei, stated that the governor received the defected APC chieftains at the Oxbow Lake Pavilion, Yenagoa, on Saturday.
Governor Dickson said that the latest batch of defectors from the APC signified the death of the party in the state.
He stressed that the 98 leaders of the APC led into the PDP by the former chairman of the party represented the soul of the opposition party which gave the PDP a fight for the governorship of the state in 2012.
He said that those who defected to the PDP were the real members of the party different from the supposed leaders of the party whose influence was prominent only on the pages of newspapers.
He said: “We welcome Chief Tiwei Oruminiye, our brother Africa, our member in House of Assembly, Hon. Alfred Watson, Chief Gita and indeed the 98 leaders and over 5000 members of the APC to the PDP.
“With what has happened, we have already brought down the APC in Bayelsa. These are the original owners of the APC and they represented the soul of the APC.
“These were the people who engaged us in the fight for the governorship of the state in 2012. They tried their best but we were too much for them.
“Although I don’t intend to mention names, I know that the person they worked for should be grateful to these people. Everywhere we went during the election, these were the people that we saw.
“When they were doing the fraud in Oporoma, these were the people we saw. The APC does not have a life with the defection of these people to our party.”
Governor Dickson promised to ensure that those coming into the PDP from the APC were treated fairly and given the same treatment as the members they are meeting in the party.
He called on the few remaining members of the party who were opposed to cultism, violence and were interested in the development of Bayelsa to dump the APC which he described as a haven for cultists and violent people.
He urged all those nursing political ambitions to go about them without fear of molestation, stressing that the party under his leadership was ready to provide a level playing ground for all aspirants.
Speaking also at the event, the former chairman of the APC, Chief Tiwei Orunimiye, said that he alongside others brought the APC to Bayelsa but decided to dump it because of its lack of mission and vision.
He described the leader of the party in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, as a businessman rather than a politician.
He criticized Silva’s approach and violent disposition to the resolution of party issues from the state to the national level.
The former APC chief said that Bayelsa would not opt for cultism in place of good and creative leadership provided by Governor Dickson.
He contradicted an alleged claim by Sylva that those who defected to the PDP betrayed him, saying those who left the party were the ones who engaged the PDP during the last election at Southern Ijaw local government area.
He stressed that Sylva could go to court to contest the outcome of the last election because of the efforts of the 98 leaders who led their followers into the PDP on Saturday.
The members who came enmasse to the venue displayed their party cards which they later tore to shreds.
In his address, the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Moses Cleopas described the APC as party that was not only dead in the state but would also die at the national level.
He urged members of the PDP to exploit their leadership qualities to win elections for the PDP in the state.