Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has urged the political class in the state to shun politics of hate in the interest of development of the state.
Speaking in Government House, Yenagoa, when he received defectors from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Young Democratic Party (YDP) on Tuesday evening, Governor Diri said the only way they can benefit from creation of the state is to unite for the purpose of development.
The defectors include former Nigerian Ambassador to Venezuela, Senator Felix Oboro as well as former members of the House of Representatives namely Hon. Bolous Indiamaowei, Hon. Mike Epengule and Hon. Graham Ipigansi, who are all returning to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from APC.
A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying the time had come for people of the state to spread love rather than acrimony in the interest of progress of the state.
He expressed delight over the decision of members of the opposition parties to join forces with his government to move the state forward, saying posterity will be kind to them for putting the interest of the state ahead of personal considerations.
The state’s helmsman noted that rejoining the PDP was a journey back home for the opposition party members and urged the state chapter of the PDP to restore their rights and privileges after their formal defection.
His words: “There is no reason to hate ourselves when we should love. This is the time to bring back brotherly love. We all craved for the creation of Bayelsa State while we were in Rivers State. I do not think we wanted to create a Bayelsa where we hate ourselves and underdevelop the state.
“Now we have a state and we have become so divided and factional all in the name of political party. You and I were brothers and sisters before APC and PDP. Let us join hands to develop Bayelsa.”
In his welcome remarks, the state PDP chairman, Mr. Solomon Agwanana, said members of the opposition parties were in Government House to interact with the governor preparatory to their formal defection on February 14.
Speaking on their behalf, Senator Felix Oboro said they were impressed with the performance of the Diri administration hence their decision to join forces with it.
He lauded the governor for matching words with action, saying they were ready to mobilise their supporters to formally defect to the ruling PDP.
Also, a member of the Young Democratic Party (YDP), Elvis Donkemezuo, said his party was impressed with Governor Diri’s leadership style, which has put the state on the fast lane of development.
Donkemezuo recalled how the YDP, which did not field a candidate in the November 2019 governorship election, supported the PDP, saying they have now decided to support from within by joining the ruling party.
Those who were part of the visit included a former Commissioner in the state, Barr. Zuwa Konugah, a former Special Adviser on Security, Chief Richard Kpodoh, Chief Imomo Leigha and Captain Solomon Anthony.
Others were Prince Bodi Arerebo, Dr. A. C. Baralatei, Paris Digifa, Charity Raphael, Ebinepre Nelson and Tebepah Nelson.
Earlier, Governor Diri also played host to the new executive of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) in the state and solicited their collaboration with his administration.
He urged members of political parties in the state to see themselves as one Bayelsa family.
“Political parties should be avenues for us to distill our political opinions and not for enmity or expression of bitterness.
“I discovered that the political landscape of our state is dotted with bitterness and acrimony. We cannot develop as a state that way,” he said.
While congratulating the new IPAC leadership for conducting a peaceful and successful election, Diri noted that for the first time their election was devoid of rancour.
He said members of the 52 political parties de-recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had already defected to the PDP and would be formally received by the party.
The new IPAC chairman, Mr. Brisibe Kpodoh, in his remarks, expressed support for the government.