ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Scores of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The returnees to the party, who are from the four constituencies in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, were received by Governor Douye Diri.
While welcoming them into the PDP family at an event in Government House, Yenagoa, on Thursday, Diri commended the leadership of the party in Southern Ijaw for keying into the ideals of his administration.
He stressed the need for people of the state to shun divisive politics.
Diri stated that Bayelsa was created for it to be developed but regretted that the pull-him-down syndrome crept in shortly after creation to defeat the ideals of the founding fathers of the state.
He assured the returnees that the PDP was a truly democratic party where their views and rights would be respected.
The governor expressed optimism that the PDP would continue to be victorious in the state given its respect for laws and its strong grassroots support compared to the opposition party.
He described the defectors as critical to the success of the party, saying without a strong base at the grassroots, no party could succeed.
He stated: “PDP is a party that respects people. It is where we can discuss and resolve any issue. Let me on behalf of the biggest party in Africa welcome all of you back to PDP.
“This is one of my happiest days and I believe the same goes for my deputy. Most of us might be at the top but you are truly the top at the grassroots level. We are nothing without you.
“It is time to think about who we are and whether we were like this. Didn’t our forefathers love themselves? What happened that we no longer work together?
“God did not give us a state to hate ourselves. Let us all be humble and allow humility be our watchword. Let me appreciate the leadership of Southern Ijaw and the reconciliation committee for these efforts.”
In his remarks, the PDP state chairman, Solomon Agwana, said God made no mistake in choosing leaders as exemplified by the leadership style of Diri at this critical stage of the state’s development.
Agwana assured the returnees that all their rights and privileges would be accorded them.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, Pastor Kime Oyinkuro, thanked the governor for his large heart to receive them.
He assured the government that they were ready to work for the success of the party.