Tiwe Orunimighe, immediate former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has led a serving member of the House of Assembly, Belemote Alfred-Watson; former militant leader, 'General' Africanus Ukparisia, and 4,000 supporters to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The event took place at Ox-Bow Lake Pavilion, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, where the defectors, all carrying brooms (the symbol of the APC), bade farewell to their former party.
The defectors, who came en masse to the venue, displayed their party cards, which they later tore to shreds.
On hand to receive the defectors were Governor Seriake Dickson; his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd); Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson; State Chairman of the PDP, Moses Cleopas and other PDP chieftains.
Dickson boasted that the APC would not be able to win any election in the state, noting that the PDP is united more than ever before.
He said: "Let me appreciate properly our brothers and friends, who were on the other side, because you see, I know those who mattered on the other side because I was leading the battle for you.
"With what has happened today, we are winding down APC. Today, we have wound down APC. These are the original founders of APC who made it tick; they tried but we were too much for them.
"Our politics is the politics of appreciating people, recognising people and thanking them; ensuring peace, stability and development of our state.
"Today you are all welcome; feel at home. For those of you who will be caucus members, you will receive the invitation very soon as members of the caucus of the party from your ward, to federal constituency, to state, to senatorial.
"You have equal rights with everybody in the party, but give them regard for keeping the house intact while you were away. In our party, there is brotherly love, support and cooperation, so imbibe that, and if there are issues, bring them to my attention as leader of the party. The appointments that you can get, you will get them; the contracts and empowerment, you will get them; we are the same people."
Dickson called for calm and decorum among aspirants, noting that all ambitions are legitimate and that nobody should be intimidated.
He promised that he and other leaders of the party would ensure that there is level-playing field for all members.
He advised other APC members, who had yet to change their minds to do so, stating that the "grassroots of the APC are back home to the PDP and APC members should note that they can never win any election in this state”.
Also speaking at the event, former Chairman of the APC, Chief Tiwei Orunimiye, said he and others brought the APC to Bayelsa, but decided to dump it because it "lacked mission and vision".
He described the leader of the party in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, as a “political-jobber”, rather than a politician.
He also criticised Sylva's approach and disposition to the resolution of party issues.