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Bayelsa: PDP Leaders Deny Defection To APC, Demand Apology

In a twist of drama, a number of prominent leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said to be defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State have come out to deny the move, saying it is a fraud because they were never consulted nor willing to change party but would rather stay put in the ruling PDP in the state and work towards the re-election of the incumbent governor.

In a recent media reports, Chief Alex Ekiotene of the PDP, had claimed that many of the party’s stalwarts, including the former Managing Director of the NNDC, Timi Alaibe, former Deputy Governor, Peremobowei  Ebebi, among others,  were on the list of those decamping to the opposition party on Saturday.

But both former deputy governor, Ebebi and  former Transport Minister, Admiral Festus Porbeni  and a host of others, yesterday in separate statements denied their involvement in the proposed defection. They unanimously condemned the listing of their names on the list of defectors just as they sought apologies from the “ring leaders” of the defection plan.

Several others were also seen gathered at the PDP state secretariat on Alamieseigha Road in Yenagoa, yesterday  perfecting plans to deny the claimed moves as well as to pledge their loyalty to the ruling party in the state.

In a bitter denial of defection to APC as his statement indicated, Porbeni, said “it is an insult for anyone to associate him with the APC”, adding that he was “never consulted and as a matter of principle not ready nor disposed to leaving the PDP. My good name should not be used for their political marketing in whatever guise”.

He said: “It was a rude shock to hear and actually see my name as one of those slated for defection  to the APC on Saturday but the truth is that it is a false claim. I was neither consulted nor am I convinced to change party ahead of the election. The reason so far adduced is not convincing beyond the personal interest”, he stated.

On his part, former deputy governor, Ebebi, had earlier issued a statement dissociating himself from the event, stating that he remained a committed member of the PDP and will work to ensure the party’s victory in the December 5 election. According to him, any decision to change party should be predicated on ” some substantive and noble values and in convincing consultation’, noting that “the opposition party was not and could never be a better alternative in the state for now”.

Meanwhile, following the spate of denials, some political watchers and analysts in the state have also taken a swipe at the APC in the state, noting that the move to list names of political bigwigs as defectors without getting their firm confirmations or commitment smacks of “deceit and blackmail”.

In his comments on the development yesterday, a renowned Port Harcourt-based political analyst. Barrister Sunny Etomi, described the denials as “most embarrassing” to both the personalities involved and the APC, adding that “APC in Bayelsa State is already telling the world that it cannot be trusted”.

He said that the action of the APC in Bayelsa State amounted to deceit and doubted the claim of its leaders as having a strong footing in the state otherwise the question of dropping names would not have arisen.

“What it clearly shows is that the party is not on the ground in the state. In fact, going by the true picture of the unfolding denials, it would appear that the APC in Bayelsa is more of a congregation of desperate governorship aspirants without the support of the grassroots. Dropping names is not a way of attracting any goodwill”, he said.

The Chairman of Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) Central Zone, Comrade Bobolaiyefa Owopelei, also said that the development was ” not only the height of mischief” but that many of those listed as defecting were those “disgruntled members” who had earlier announced their exit from the party, including Warman Ogoribia, Dikivie Ikeogha, Clever Ikisikpo and others.

“Naming the same people as fresh defectors is a fraud to hoodwink the Vice President and the APC leaders but it is an effort in futility”, he noted in a statement last night.




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