The membership of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa West Senatorial District was further depleted on Friday as more grassroots leaders and supporters of the party defected to the Peoples Democratic Party ahead of the senatorial by-election scheduled for October 31.
The APC defectors from Sagbama Local Government Area, led by Mentor Bob, also declared support for the senatorial candidate of the PDP and former governor of the state, Seriake Dickson, during a protest rally at Toru-Orua community on Friday.
They were received by Dickson; a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Remi Kuku; the party’s senatorial vice chairman, Michael Magbisa; member representing Sagbama Constituency II in the state House of Assembly, Col. Bernard Kenebai (retd); and other officials of the party.
The spokesman for the group of defectors, Mentor, said the APC members were embittered by the brazen violation of the agreement on the rotation of the two National Assembly positions between Sagbama and Ekeremor, the two local government areas making up the district.
According to him, it is a provocation for a member of the APC from Ekeremor to contest the senatorial slot when it was the turn of Sagbama to produce the senator.
Mentor said, “We are angered by the fact that an Ekeremor person was nominated to contest the election, when another Ekeremor man, Fred Agbedi, is already in the House of Representatives.
“The decision of the APC to field a candidate from Ekeremor in violation of the wishes of the people of Sagbama and Ekeremor is disrespectful and indeed unacceptable.”
Dickson, while addressing the crowd, boasted that the APC candidate, Peremobowei Ebebi, would not be able to win a ward in the forthcoming by-election.
The PDP senatorial candidate, who stated that “the election is not about one person but the entire Ijaw nation,” thanked Mentor and his team for returning to their original party and urged them to be courageous to await a total victory from the PDP.
Meanwhile, the people of Fatorugbene and Tamogbene Ward Seven in Ekeremor Local Government Area, on Friday, declared total support for Dickson during a solidarity visit.
The team was led by a former chairman of Ekeremor council, Billy Tobiye; former Special Adviser on Domestic Matters to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Obiriki; Pena Omuko, Julie Samuel and other stakeholders from the ward.
Tobiye assured the former governor of the unflinching support of the people and their votes during the poll.