Some prominent leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in Bayelsa State have denied plans to defect to the All Progressives Congress, saying the claim is baseless as they neither showed willingness nor were they consulted to cross-carpet to another party.
In a recent media report, a chieftain of the PDP, Alex Ekiotene, 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 the former deputy governor, Mr. Ebebi, and former Minister of Transport, Festus Porbeni, and a host of others denied their involvement in the proposed defection in separate statements on Tuesday.
Mr. Alaibe is yet to issue a statement on the matter.
While demanding apologies from the “ring leaders” of the defection plan, the PDP leaders however unanimously condemned the listing of their names on the list of defectors.
Mr. Porbeni however said in a statement that “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 or disposed to leaving the PDP.
He said the APC should not drag his name into its political marketing in whatever guise.
“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, Mr. Ebebi stated that he remained a committed member of the PDP and would 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, saying that the move to list names of political bigwigs as defectors without getting their firm confirmations or commitment smacks of “deceit and blackmail”.
Reacting to the development, a Port Harcourt-based lawyer, 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 the action of the APC in Bayelsa State amounts to deceit, noting that the issue of name dropping wouldn’t have arisen if the party is confident it can win elections in the state.
“What it clearly shows is that the party is not on 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.