A prominent Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Timi Alaibe, on Friday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with over 6,200 supporters.
Other APC chieftains who decamped alongside the former NDDC boss are former Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, Hon Gideon Ekeowei, onetime Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Chief Keme Prefa, ex-Chairman of Sagbama Local Government Council, Hon Barnabas Edure, former Executive Secretary, SUBEB, Barr. Rhodesia Whyte and former state lawmakers including Hon Nelson Belief.
Receiving Chief Alaibe in Government House Yenagoa, Bayelsa State Governor, Honourable Seriake Dickson noted that the defection of the former NDDC MD and his teeming followers did not only give credence to the supremacy of PDP but also signified the end of the APC in the state.
He further said the defection had justified his earlier claim that the APC lacked the capacity to win an election in the state as its leadership had brazenly demonstrated lack of interest in the welfare and development of the state.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, quoted him as saying that Bayelsa remained the only PDP state that re-elected its governor by defeating federal might.
While reiterating the need for people of the state and the Ijaw nation to embrace the PDP, Governor Dickson stressed that no well-meaning and decent person would identify with the other party because of the high level of criminality and falsehood associated with it.
He said, “The APC in Bayelsa is a party of criminals, cultists and terrorists. PDP has the majority of the good, decent and patriotic people. I used to say there are few APC members in Bayelsa that are good and patriotic. Now, you can imagine the few good ones have now left. So, the APC in Bayelsa is completely a party of criminals, cultists and terrorists.
“When we come to campaign, we will wait for them to tell us the roads and bridges that they have brought to this state from Abuja, to show us the major appointments, benefits and patronage with which they deceived these good and decent people to go to their dry party that doesn’t mean well for our people. The APC is clearly folding up in Bayelsa with all of you leaving.”
Dickson who congratulated Chief Alaibe and other defectors for their decision to dump the APC assured them of their full integration to the PDP.
He said that a rally would soon be organized to formally receive them into the PDP.
“We are here to formally receive and welcome you back home to your party and I have told the chairman and the political desk working with your team that we will organise a formal reception to receive you because you are a big fish. You cannot come into the PDP and people will not know you have come. So what is happening today is a prelude to your formal reception.
“We were pained when you left at a time we needed you most but all of that is history. What is important is what is ahead of us and I want to assure you that you are all valued leaders of the party once again.” He added
In his remarks, the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Timi Alaibe, described PDP as the party of the Ijaw people.
Alaibe said that all the political positions he held were facilitated by the PDP which informed his decision leave the “wilderness” to return to the PDP to support Governor Dickson in the interest of the state.
He saluted the efforts of Governor Dickson for his administration’s dogged commitment not only to the cause of the Ijaw nation but also to the development of the state and maintaining a disciplined PDP.
“PDP for me as an individual is home. My political life was defined by the PDP. My political public service, work and all the political positions that I have held were facilitated by the PDP and for a lot of us here, it was the PDP. So for us, PDP is home. It is a good-come-back home.”
“I want to thank you for some of the fantastic projects and programmes you have implemented in Bayelsa including this state of the art office for the people of Bayelsa State. I want to thank you for the continuous commitment to the Ijaw Nation. The commitment that has inspired some of us to continue to remain as a people in the space called Nigeria.
“We want to assure you that at some point in the course of our political life, just like a child will not know the richness of his mother’s soup until he tastes his neighbour’s soup, we have gone out there and we have tasted our neighbour’s soup, and we have made comparison and our own soup, the soup you pilot is sweeter. And that’s why we are here.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the State PDP, Mr Moses Cleopas, described Chief Alaibe’s return as a show of patriotism and love for Bayelsa state.
He assured Alaibe and others who defected that they would be given a sense of belonging to enable them to contribute effectively to the success of the PDP.
“We are receiving you with our spirit, soul and body. It is our belief that you are coming to add value to this party and not with any fear that you shall by any way make the party less of what it is today.
“You are coming into a reformed PDP where everyone is on the same side.”