NEDU MARK, Yenagoa
As the political atmosphere in Bayelsa state becomes more tense ahead of the 2016 governorship elections, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s former Chief of Staff, Government House, Chief Diekivie Ikiogha, has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
Ikiogha, who was an aide to Dickson and also a trusted and dependable ally, was one of the brains behind the emergence of Dickson as governor in 2012.
He was also a strong member of the PDP and ranks among the founders of the party in the state.
Indications of a frosty relationship between Dickson and Ikiogha emerged when Dickson removed him in controversial circumstances as Chief of Staff, Government House, Yenagoa and redeployed him to the Abuja liaison office.
Political watchers in the state and Ikiogha loyalists had claimed that the redeployment had heavy political undertones and that it was aimed at easing Ikiogha out of the mainstream politics of Bayelsa State.
He made his defection public in Yenagoa on Thursday at a news conference where he said he had left the PDP with thousands of his supporters.
He said he had already found a home in the APC since the day he decided to join the fold of the Progressives.
“My constituents, the masses for whom I have lived and to whom I dedicate all my political victories, have agreed that I should leave the PDP.
“I recall in one of the meetings that led to the final decision to quit, how my supporters reminded me that the PDP I helped to form and nurture was no more the same.
“They said some hawks had hijacked the party, making it very glaring that it was a house in tatters, a divided house made of men who were only driven by their selfish ambition.
“Sadly, the PDP has badly drifted from a well organised family to a congregation of betrayers and deceits. It is clear that the party is gradually marching for destruction. Unfolding events have proved me right and I am happy I have left,” he said.
Ikiogha pointed out that he had since found out that he was on the right path, just as he urged those in the PDP government not to haunt those of them who had chosen to leave the party or carry out hate campaigns against them.
Hear him, “As I make this move, I am just convinced that we are on the right path. That is why I am urging all my compatriots who are still in the PDP to take that step and join us. I have seen life. I have seen hope. I have seen freedom. I have seen warmth. I have seen friendliness. APC is a family to be and behold.
“Unhappy as some people may be, troubled as my former allies in the PDP government in the state may be because of the light they have yet to see, I am urging them to play politics with love and not to haunt and chastise those of us who have decided to quit.
“Campaigns of hate will not help us, even as I am no longer in the PDP, former President Goodluck Jonathan is still my friend and big brother.”
He said he would on Saturday lead thousands of his fans, associates and supporters to formally join the APC.
It will be recalled that Ikiogha resigned his appointment in October 2014 to contest the House of Representatives seat for Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma on the platform of the PDP but was denied the ticket.