Scores of former chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party in the state.
The APC defectors claimed they dumped the party because of the absence of internal democracy in the state chapter.
Speaking during their formal reception into the PDP in Yenagoa, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Venezuela, Senator Felix Oboro, described the APC in Bayelsa as a ‘one-man party’ where the leader decides everything without recourse to the opinion of other members.’
He said the overbearing attitude of the leader of the party in the state left most of them unhappy and frustrated, leaving them with no choice than to look back to the PDP, which he described as home.
Oboro, an ex-Secretary to the State Government, however, noted that the leadership style of Governor Douye Diri endeared him and his followers to the party, saying they are back to join the governor develop the state.
Also, a former Commissioner for Finance, Mr Solomon Apreala, a former Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, Mr Steven Diver and a former Special Adviser on Security, Chief Richard Kpodoh, all claimed that the performance of Diri within one year in office, despite the numerous challenges he had contended with, attracted them back to the PDP.
The trio remarked that as founding members of the PDP, they were uncomfortable in the APC and assured the governor of their unalloyed support for his administration and the PDP.
In his remarks, leader of the Young Democratic Party (YDP) in the state, Mr Elvis Donkemezuo, who also defected to the PDP, described the governor as a principled leader whose leadership style attracted him and his supporters back to the party.
He expressed the readiness of members of his former party to support the Diri administration to bring prosperity to Bayelsans.
Receiving the defectors, chairman of the party, Mr Solomon Agwanana, assured them that they would not be discriminated against but would be accorded all rights and privileges of members of the party.
In his address, Governor Diri described the defectors as time-tested politicians that would add value to the PDP. He assured them that they have been received with both arms in line with the ideals of his administration, which is anchored on love and reconciliation.
He stressed the need for politicians and the generality of Bayelsans to embrace love and shun all divisive tendencies, stressing that Bayelsa cannot develop in an atmosphere of hate and acrimony.
The governor expressed delight over the return of the defectors and appealed to members of the party to respect one another while working hard to maintain the core values of the PDP.
Responding to an appeal by one of the defectors to complete the five-star tower hotel project, Diri said the government was exploring a public-private partnership option to complete it.
He said: “My deputy and I have agreed that the number one thing to do in Bayelsa is reconciliation, peace and security. So, we started with reconciliation, peace and security and then unity even though we discovered that the atmosphere was filled with acrimony. The whole political atmosphere in Bayelsa was something different from what we used to know.
“We are however happy that you are back to your home. As the chairman said, all your rights and privileges have been restored. Let me use this medium to direct all ward chairmen to unconditionally register the defectors.
“The pace of our government might have been slow but we are gradually moving away from where we started. Now you have come back to carry the torchlight of peace and unity of Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation.”