Dickson Receives 6,000 Bayelsa APC Defectors, Insists On PDP Unity
…Prof. Tebepah, others commend Dickson, pledge loyalty to PDP
Bayelsa State Governor, Honourable Seriake Dickson has re-echoed his call on members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP) to close ranks, make the party stronger and work together to brighten the prospects of the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Francis Ottah Agbo, said Dickson made the call in Government House, Yenagoa during an interactive meeting with leaders of the over six thousand people who had defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to PDP.
The meeting, which lasted for about an hour, was well attended. Chief among those who attended were former Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Prof. Tarila Tebepah, Ayiba Duba, Gesiye Isowo and Chief Jackson Suokiri and others.
Other defectors at the meeting are, Chief Ben Eyeororokumo, Hon. Stephen Erebor, former Commissioner, Bayelsa West Senatorial district, Chief Augustine Lugbenwei, onetime Chairman, Brass Local Government Council, Mr Nathaniel Ngo-Sylva, Hon. Franklin Otele, Hon. Charles Emmanuel, among others.
Underscoring the importance of unity, Governor Dickson maintained that the PDP could not afford any distractions, especially now that it is in opposition but intensify efforts at clinching power at the centre.
Assuring the returnees of their full integration into the party, the Governor said he had forgiven all of the returnees whom he described as friends and brothers. He stressed the need for politicians to focus on development after elections, in the overall interest of the people.
He urged them to join hands with the restoration government and the PDP family in the state towards consolidating the achievements already recorded.
His words:”The PDP you left behind is not the same now. At that time we were in control of the Federal Government. But now, as you are all aware, we are in opposition. And, if we needed one another at that time, now that we are in opposition, hounded from all corners, this is the time we need ourselves more for the sake of our people, the Niger Delta and the Ijaw nation. We can’t afford any distractions.
“I don’t extend political fights beyond elections. All of you know, if when we want to fight, we know how to fight politically. The reasons why I don’t fight political battles after elections, especially in our kind of our environment is because we don’t have people compared to other nationalities and secondly because of the challenges of development with scarce resources are humongous. Instead of dissipating my energy on fights, once elections are over, I concentrate on development.
“I don’t like people using political power to affect people negatively. If you can’t affect somebody positively, leave the person alone, because we are all brothers and friends. Each one of you is very important to our people. We have built the PDP to the level that only it can win election in the state.
“I tell people all the time, that power as we know only comes from God.
We are going to have a PDP’s stakeholders meeting. You are all welcome to the party; you are not joiners. I hereby direct all your caucus chairmen to instruct all your chapter chairmen and all your party officials to make you relevant for I want to see you involved in party activities from the ward to the state level.
“I have no hard feelings, all bygones should be bygones. Let all of us come back to the way we were. I have two more years to go but it is still in my power to do a few things to promote further integration.
“We have made significant progress but we are still not where we want to be, so I call for more unity and support. We inherited a very negative and volatile political culture but we have managed to maintain some level of peace and stability. It is a conscious choice of avoiding needless fights and it is paying off.
“Our prayer is that God should give us the next team to lead the state. It is my duty to support and pray for that team.”
In their separate remarks, the state Chairman of PDP, Mr. Cleopas Moses and Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, Hon. Fyneman Wilson described the return of the APC members back to the PDP, as homecoming, expressing the optimism that, their reintegration would add more colour and value to the party.
Responding, leader of the APC defectors, Prof. Tarila Tebepah, commended Governor Dickson for his leadership style, which he noted has transformed the state.
Prof. Tebepah, who described the Governor as a leader with a big heart, assured him and the party of their loyalty and support towards making the PDP stronger.
“If I were blind- folded, and brought into this Governor’s office complex,, I would have taught that I was in Europe. I taught I was exaggerating, but I asked our brother defectors next to me, and they said the same thing. In fact, they used far more superlative words than I could imagine.
“This is a structure we are all proud of. When I was approaching the building, I felt that, some of the things that are being said on television are understatements.
“As a big family, usually, there would be misunderstanding, and this sort of thing was what happened because we were misled. But whether or not that family will come back together depends on the leader. If the leader has a big heart, like Governor Dickson has and really wants that reunion and working together, it happens. We want to say a big thank you, you are indeed a leader.”
In an interview with newsmen, the Pioneer Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Ayiba Duba, also expressed gratitude to Governor Dickson for providing a solid foundation for the PDP, which necessitated their return.
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