The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State has faulted the claim that the former chairman of the party, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe and 98 others, alongside 5,000 others, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over APC's alleged dealings with cultists, use of violence and lack of political experience.
According to APC, Orunimighe did not leave APC to join PDP, but the party expelled him and his group more than one year ago for anti-party activities.
In a statement issued yesterday via email, Doifie Buokoribo, the State Publicity Secretary, said: “Orunimighe did not leave APC to join PDP. The party expelled him and his group of renegades over a year ago for anti-party activities.
“The ‘98 leaders and 5,000’ so-called persons said to have joined the PDP with him are not our members. Maybe they are PDP members joining PDP.
"Finally, Mr. Tiwei Orunimeghe, ex-Chairman of our party who was expelled over a year ago for anti-party activities has made public his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the weekend. Rather than do it quietly, he did it loudly and even lied against his former party and its leadership.
"What sort of civility and decency do we expect of a man who claims to have brought APC to Bayelsa State but turns around to say he left the party for ‘lack of mission and vision’? What manner of a man describes a party that he was once a chairman as having a ‘violent disposition’? What is the ethical orientation of a man that disagrees with his former principal, benefactor and political leader and then turns around to abuse him in public?"
The party also denied any involvement with cult groups and violence as alleged by its expelled members, noting that "The Bayelsa State APC is neither a party of cultists nor of people with a violent disposition. We are a party of responsible, patriotic and peace-loving people. We are fully convinced that Bayelsa State can be better than the level of mass poverty, pain and hopelessness that Governor Henry Dickson had reduced it to.
On the alleged inexperience of the party leader and former Governor Timipre Sylva, Buokoribo stated that "Mr Orunimighe was a political nobody until the leader of our party, Chief Timipre Sylva, picked him and made him Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Council during his tour of duty as governor of Bayelsa.
"It was Sylva that also made him chairman of our party and Orunimighe today is claiming that Sylva is not a politician.
"Like we said in our press statement of 29 July, 2018, alerting the public to the event that eventually happened at the weekend in Yenagoa, APC in Bayelsa State remains ‘intact, united, strong, and focused.’
"We wish Mr. Orunimighe and his group good luck, and thank them for coming out in the open, at long last, to identify with the party they have always done business with, including compromising our party during the last governorship election in the state."