From Amos Odeh, Yenagoa
As over 150,000 former PDP bigwigs and their followers defected to the APC in Bayelsa state our Bayelsa state correspondent, Amos Odeh, reports that the APC has advanced avalanche of reasons why things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold for the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa
As the gale of defectors hit the PDP in Bayelsa state reasons have emerged as to why the ruling party has continued to lose some of its chieftains and members since the party was defeated at the March 28 , 2015 presidential elections, which swept away former President Goodluck Jonathan as its major casualty.
At a mega defectors rally held at the Samson Siasia Stadium, over 150,000 former PDP members, including former senators, erstwhile House of Assembly and House of Representatives members, former governors and former Secretary to Bayelsa state, called it quits with the PDP.
The defectors included former Governor Timipre Slyva, former Acting Governor Seibarugu Werinipreye. Nestor Binabor, erstwhile Secretary to the state government, Alabor Gideon Ekeuwei, former Senator JK Brambaifa, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, erstwhile House of Assembly member, Vivian Imanannaghan , ex-House Representatives members Nado Karibo and Stella Dorgu, former commissioner Topedo Amananagha, erstwhile local government chairmen Pere Peretus now BOT member, many erstwhile special Advisers and Assistants.
The defection was strategically arranged to ensure that notable grassroots politicians and mobilizers were involved for effective decapitation of the PDP from all 150 wards of the eight local government areas of the state.
In his address, the former state chairman of the PDP in Bayelsa, Col. Sam Inokoba, who has been running from pillar to post over an alleged misappropriation of N70 million released to the party during the PDP presidential election by the former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, which consequently led to his suspension, posited that having examined critically what the PDP has turned into under Governor Seriake Dickson, “every right thinking person in Bayelsa state cannot continue to remain in that party.” He accused Governor Dickson of being dictatorial, tyrannical, introducing government of retrogression , intimidation and impunity.
Inokoba also accused Dickson of a loss of vision, spate of abandoned elephant projects, saying the governor has caused inter and intra party crisis, lack of internal democracy, disrespectful, wickedness and other injustices cum undemocratic tendencies in Bayelsa.
Chairman, APC Bayelsa State, Chief Timipa Tiwei Orunimighen, labelled the PDP government under Dickson as “a failure which has not been able to attract investors to the state. Each time he wants go for pleasure, he will hide under guise of going to woo investors and despite huge money used to host international investors’ conferences no investor has come to establish even toilet paper or biro factory in Bayelsa. And today, a state created since 1996 still depends on other states for the supply of pure water, eggs, bread and other foodstuff in spite of favourable land and climate for agriculture.”
According to Orunimighen, Governor Dickson has become dictatorial and tyrannical. He has divided the state, he is bereft of ideas, lacks respect for party elders, refused to listen to advises, rules with impunity, he is corrupt and not accountable, deceitful and cannot be trusted any longer.”
Receiving the defectors, National Chairman, APC Chief John Oyegun, who led other National Working Committee members, averred that since the APC has been accepting defectors it has not received the quantity and quality of defectors like in Bayelsa
Oyegun described the mass defection from the PDP to the APC in Bayelsa state as historic, unprecedented and qualitative which the party has not recorded throughout the country.
The APC national chairman said that when he was told by Chief Alex Ekiotene, one of the Bayelsa state PDP elders who had earlier defected to the APC that there was going to be massive defection, he did not believe it.
Oyegun said he was convinced beyond doubts that Bayelsans were tired of maladministration, reckless and deceitful governance and what the people want was the APC government that would bring about change in the state economy.
He told the gathering that the APC was are aware of the infrastructural decay, insensitivity , unemployment, youth restiveness and crimes, insecurity and bad governance which the Dickson-led government has unleashed on Bayelsa state, which APC was desirous of sweeping from the oil- rich state.
Oyegun assured that the East-West road, International Airport, Brass LNG and other dividends of democracy which their own son, former President Goodluck Jonathan was unable to provide for six years on the saddle will be provided by the central government of APC under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Asserting that the APC was poised to capture more states from the South-South geo – political zone, Oyegun assured them that they would all be integrated, not discriminated against and be carried along in their new found love, stressing that the defection tsunami that had hit Bayelsa state had signalled the death of PDP in the state.
He urged the party members to remain united, stressing that come December 5, 2015 APC will bury the PDP.
Oyegun also urged PDP members still sitting on the fence to hesitate no longer and join the APC, which has finally decapitated PDP in Bayelsa State.
Leader of the APC in Bayelsa, Chief Timipre Sylva, also posited that the days of the PDP-led government in the state were over. Sylva alleged that under the watch of Governor Dickson “there has been spate of politically motivated cases of kidnapping, insecurity in our waterways and yet to be investigated were the killings of the Administrative Secretary of Bayelsa State Electoral Commission and the Deputy Clerk of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.
He urged Bayelsans to drop their affinity with PDP and embrace the change in governance which the APC epitomized as Bayelsa state stands to gain more dividends of democracy than to be in opposition.
Also , a former senator from Bayelsa West Senatorial District where Governor Dickson hails from, Senator John Kodjo Brambaifa, said the Governor Dickson-led administration has embarked on “selective infrastructural development while he had turned his community Toru-Orua to a small London with internal roads , street lights, electricity, healthcare, police station, housing estate while other communities like Agbere, Odoni, Osekenike, Trofani , Elemebiri, Anibeze, Adagbabiri have continued to remain unattended to in terms of dividends of democracy, just as Sagbama, the local government headquarters lacks development, not forgetting Ekeremor Local Government Area that has been forgotten and left to suffer deprivation, inaccessibility by road , poverty and penury, flooding and erosion on yearly basis.”
Senator Brambaifa also urged Bayelsans “not to hesitate to collect whatever money Governor Seriake Dickson will offer them to elicit their votes.” According to him he had it on “good authority that the governor said he had already earmarked both local and foreign currencies which he intends to use to influence the electorate during the election. Please feel free to collect anything he gives you because it is your commonwealth which he had denied the impoverished masses since he became governor of Bayelsa State. All these litany of endorsements will definitely fail him as Bayelsans can never be deceived this time around.”
Senator Brambaifa alleged that while Governor Dickson continued to deceive Bayelsans on dwindling Federation Allocations he continued “to empower only members of his immediate family and his in-laws with juicy contracts and political patronages while his political appointees live without the usual glamour and niceties which they are supposed to enjoy which has incapacitated them from showing hospitality to aides and family members as well as visitors.”
Other defectors like Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, former Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, High Chief Lionel Omo-Jonathan and erstwhile Managing Director of NDDC, Chief Timi Alaibe all agreed that the only thing that can change Bayelsa is the APC government .
According to them, APC has come to sweep away poverty and bring prosperity, deceitful, government of intimidation and impunity. They said that as an oil-rich state the people can no longer live in penury and abject poverty in the midst of prosperity and abundance.
They claimed that the Bayelsa education sector was in shambles as schools operate without infrastructural facilities while beneficiaries of scholarship abroad were studying under threat of eviction from their schools’ authorities.
Even musicians were not left out as they released songs berating the PDP government, Governor Dickson and former President Jonathan for failing to address the infrastructural decay in the Niger Delta region.
They asserted that the only way Bayelsa can be liberated from the shackles of oppression, marginalization, environmental degradation caused by oil and gas exploitation was the APC government at the federal and state levels, citing the approval given by President Buhari for the environmental clean-up of Ogoniland as a tip of the iceberg of what the APC would do in Bayelsa and the Niger Delta region.