Bayelsa State House of Assembly at the weekend wielded the big stick against four of its members, who dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The defecting lawmakers identified as members of the anti-Dickson’s camp were sacked by the assembly led by Speaker Kombowei Benson.
It was gathered that the lawmakers’ seats were declared vacant by Benson, believed to be a loyal member of the Dickson’s camp.
Following the loss of President Goodluck Jonathan on March 28 and ahead of the 2016 governorship election in the state, major stakeholders of the PDP are leaving in droves to APC.
But the defectors attributed their decision to the interna wrangling in the PDP, which led to the emergence of two factions.
The defectors whose seats were declared vacant are: Fini Angaye (Kolokuma/Opokuma constituency 2); Alfred Egba, (Yenagoa constituency 1); Victor Prezi (Ekeremor Constituency 3) and Azibola Omekwe (Ogbia constituency 1), which is Jonathan’s constituency.
Benson reportedly said the decision to declare the seats vacant was based on the provision of Section 109 (1) of the constitution.
Governor Seriake Dickson hailed the decision, saying it was a step in the right direction.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the action of the state legislature was constitutional and would also instill party discipline and sanitise the polity.
He condemned changing of parties at will by politicians, saying it was no longer acceptable and practicable in a thriving democracy.
“The assembly has by this singular act set the pace and shown the direction of the new PDP in the State, where party discipline and loyalty, must be the overriding principles and factors for all members, going forward.
“Indiscipline, disloyalty and greed have been the bane of the PDP at state and national levels in the past. Such acts would no longer be tolerated for whatever reason in the party.”
He went on: “We will continue to do the needful by ensuring that only those who respect the position of the party on issues are allowed to remain while all those with selfish and unacceptable behavioral patterns will be shown the way out for the good of the PDP.”
Also at the memorial of the late Maj. Jasper Adaka Boro yesterday, the governor further descended on the defecting lawmakers, dismissing them as betrayers.
He said it was embarrassing that the senator representing Jonathan’s Bayelsa east, Clever Ikisikpo and the Ogbia federal constituency lawmaker, Nadu Karibo, ditched the PDP for the APC.
Their actions were interpreted by PDP leaders in the state especially Jonathan’s associates as embarrassment to the President and the PDP.
At the Boro’s wreath-laying ceremony which took place at the Heroes’ Park Yenagoa, Dickson who was represented by his Deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah, declared the defectors persona non grata.
Apparently referring to them, Dickson said: “Even in the Bible, Jesus told his disciples ‘you will deny me three times before cock crows’. We are still having about two weeks (to the handover) and the denial has started. Those are not the examples that we should follow.
“As a people, we must stand united no matter the case. We must have a rallying point. Just because election is lost at the national level, our people are running to Jon others for no reason.
“The main beneficiaries of the system are the people abandoning our cause and joining to betray us. It is utmost callousness. By selling us out, l don’t think those people will ever have a say in this land,” he said.
The event marked in low key was attended by few government officials, members of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and Ijaw National Congress (INC).
Most of the shops in Yenagoa were closed and the IYC President, Mr. Udens Eradiri led a procession of Ijaw youths around the city in honour of Boro.