A serving commissioner in Bayelsa State and one other have left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressive Congress (APC) in an impressive ceremony at the state secretariat in Yenagoa on Wednesday.
Ibarakumo Otobotekere who until his defection was Commissioner for Youth Development in Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s cabinet, resigned his appointment after about four months to join the APC.
The defection came as a shock to many political observers in the state and though it is generally believed that the PDP remains the party to beat in Bayelsa State, the development could become significant as the 2019 general elections draw closer.
Otobotekere served as special adviser on Bayelsa Volunteers to Governor Dickson before he was sworn in on February 8 this year as commissioner for youth development.
The 33-year old who was the youngest member of the state executive council defected alongside Asari Mangite, a former special adviser on grassroots mobilisation and later youth development to Governor Dickson.
A member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Israel Sunny Goli representing Brass Constituency I, received them on behalf of former governor and APC leader in the state, Timipre Sylva.
Goli thanked the duo for summoning the courage to dump the PDP for the APC describing it as “the beginning of victory for the APC in 2019. It was a wise decision. The administration of Governor Dickson is restoring poverty in Bayelsa State.”
Continuing Goli stated: “Sacking workers, killing businesses, disrupting peaceful protests etc. Come 2019, we shall take over. APC will take over so that we can alleviate the suffering of the people with the Federal Government and develop Bayelsa.”
In his speech, Otobotekere said he has the right to choose any political party saying, “I have just resigned my position as commissioner in Dickson’s government. Myself and my loyal and humble supporters have moved over. You all know that when I stand for something, I stand very strong.
“I’m not afraid of anybody. I’m for APC, bye-bye to PDP. I come with the spirit of winning. My name is don’t forget me”, he said.
In his remarks, Mangite, accused Governor Dickson of starving his political appointees’ offices of funds and that it difficult for him to work as the governor’s aide under such circumstances.
State chairman of the party, Jonathan Amos, his remarks, welcomed them saying that their defection was an indication that the party would take over the state and called on Bayelsans to identify with the APC as the only party that can wipe away sorrow and tears inflicted on them by the Dickson administration.