Chief Diekivie Ikiogha, a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Chief of Staff in the Bayelsa State Government, has dumped the party in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ikiogha, an ally of former President Goodluck Jonathan, is known to be a trusted and dependable ally of Governor Seriake Dickson, was one of the brains behind the emergence of Dickson as governor in 2012.
Indications of the frosty relationship between Dickson and Ikiogha emerged when the governor removed him in controversial circumstances as his Chief of Staff, and redeployed him to the Abuja Liaison Office.
Ikiogha’s loyalists claimed the redeployment had heavy political undertones and that it was aimed at easing him out of the mainstream politics of Bayelsa State.
The former Chief of Staff, who spoke at a news conference in Yenagoa on Thursday, said he was leaving the PDP along 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.
He said his constituents, for whom he has lived and to whom he dedicates all of his political victories, had agreed that he 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,” he said.
“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.”
He regretted that the PDP has sadly drifted from a well-organised family to a congregation of betrayers and the deceitful.
“It is clear that the party is gradually marching for destruction,” Ikigogha said, adding that unfolding events have proved him right and that he is happy he chose to leave.
He stressed he has since found out that he is on the right path, urging those in the PDP government not to haunt those of them who have chosen to leave the party or carry out hate campaigns against them.
He also called on those still within the PDP to leave.
“As I make this move, I am just convinced that we are on the right path,” Ikiogha stated. “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 said he would on Saturday formally lead thousands of his fans, associates and supporters to join the APC.
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 he was denied the ticket.