No fewer than 1,000 youths of the All Progressives Congress from the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party.
They were received into the party by Governor Seriake Dickson at the Government House on Sunday.
Dickson told the youths that the future of the state and the Ijaw nation was in their hands even as he challenged them to stand firm and defend their votes in the forthcoming governorship election.
He said that anyone who loved the Ijaw nation would not have anything to do with the APC and congratulated them for dumping the party for the PDP.
The governor renamed the defected APC youths as Patriotic Bayelsa Youth Forum while describing the leader of the youths, Okilo Matthew, as a true Ijaw man.
Dickson said he would help them to increase their membership and become relevant in the state.
The Bayelsa governor assured the youths that there would be adequate security during the election and asked them not to be intimidated by any threats from the opposition.
He said, “This election is about how many have collected their Permanent Voter Cards. Sensitise your members, friends and colleagues about the adequate security measures at all the polling units before, during and after the elections. The era of ballot snatching is over. Don’t be intimidated by the threats of the APC.”
Dickson assured the youths that his administration was poised to making a difference in the lives of the people.
“The era of ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’ is gone for good. That is why we will be meeting with you after our victory to say a proper thank you,” the governor said.
The Bayelsa governor also offered appointments to two of the group leaders, Okilo Mathew and Momotimi Macaulay.
He said two ladies in the group, Caroline Samson and Queen Soromo, who are into bead making and salon services respectively, would also receive financial support from the state-owned Izon-Ebe Microfinance Bank, to boost their businesses.
Earlier in his remarks, Matthew said their decision to dump the APC for the PDP was because they wanted infrastructural development, security and youth empowerment in the state.
The group’s spokesperson, Momotimi Macaulay, said that after a careful analysis of the situation in the state, they decided to work with the PDP.
He said, “Our decision to leave the APC was informed by several factors. One of the reasons is the prevailing peace in the state, which was revived by the present government.
“We are aware of the daily killing and maiming of our youths by the previous regime. But since the inauguration of the Dickson government, we now know peace