Tiwei Orunimighe, a former chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa, has defected from the ruling party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alongside no fewer than 5,000 supporters in the south-south state.
Thisday reports that Orunimighe defected to the opposition party alongside a serving lawmaker in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Watson Belemote and ex-militant-turned politician, Africanus Ukparasia.
Orunimighe was received alongside other defectors by the state governor, Seriake Dickson on Saturday, September 8 at a political rally held at the Oxbow Lake Pavilion.
Governor Dickson said the defection of the APC leaders marked the end of the party in the state.
He said: “The person (Timipre Sylva) whatever is his name, should be grateful to these people (defectors). Everywhere we went in the last election, it was their handwork we saw.
“When I went to Oporoma (Southern Ijaw) where they were doing mago mago , these were the people there. Our politics is that of appreciating people’s. But when federal appointments started coming, instead of recognising the backbone of his party, people who stuck out their neck to form the APC, he started dishing out the positions to his brothers and sisters.
“You (defectors) are the authentic leaders of the APC. The others are only party leaders on social media and newspaper pages,” he said.
Governor Dickson promised fair treatment to all party members, including the defectors. He also urged calm on the part of those who protest when not getting the positions they are vying for.
He said the PDP “will receive you from the wards to the local councils. You have every equal right with every other person in the party. But you need to give them regard for keeping the house together when you went on your journey.”
Earlier report stated that Bayelsa chapter of APC declared the impending defection of its former state chairman, Tiwei Orunimighe as being of no effect since he was no longer a member of the party.
The party stressed that he was expelled last year.
The APC in a statement by its state spokesperson Doifie Buokoribo, said Orunimighe ceased to be a member of APC following his expulsion in August last year.
According to Buokoribo, Orunimighe has the right to join any party of his choice, but should not use APC as leverage in negotiations with his new party.