The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Dakuku Peterside, has said the seeming delay by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) is strategic and planned.
He said the senators deliberately delayed their defection to ensure the realisation of the political objectives of the APC.
Peterside, who represents Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Federal Constituency in the House, spoke at Opobo, Rivers State, while attending the Bibite, traditional wrapper tying ceremony, of the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari.
He said January and February of 2014 would see a mass defection of both senators and members of the House from PDP to APC.
“What you call slow response of the members of the Senate is actually a strategic plan. Politics is a game of strategy, it’s something you must sit down, clearly define your objectives and define a roadmap to accomplish objectives.
“That is what strategy is; set of activities to realise a set of objectives. Clearly there’s no slow response in the Senate, it’s a matter of strategy; we will certainly get there. You will notice that from January a lot of things will happen in the Senate and you will come to appreciate that whatever is happening is strategic.
“As at the last count, I am very much aware that 10 more people would have defected the same day we (lawmakers) defected but again we all agreed that we shouldn’t have all those numbers on the same day: some persons should go and do further consultations. But I can tell you authoritatively that in January many more will defect and in February a good number of people will defect from the PDP to APC.
“Right now, I am sure you are aware that the APC is in clear majority in the House of Representatives. That has totally redefined the politics of the National Assembly: that means the way we do things in the National Assembly will definitely change, what people will ordinarily call a game changer," he added.
Giving reasons why federal legislators from Rivers State decided to defect to the APC, Peterside said besides the national issues, the legislators defected because the PDP had failed to be fair to the people the state.
He added: “For those of us from Rivers, politics as you already know is a game of interests and, like I always say, different incentives drive different actions, different incentives can premeditate different outcomes. Now if our incentive for being involved in politics is to better the lot of our people, to protect the interest of our people, to advance the cause of our people then there are minimal standards expected of anybody who truly wishes to represent the people.
“In the case of Rivers State, we were watching as our resources were being taken away; we were watching as PDP could no longer protect the interest of our people. We were watching as we could not boast of a single developmental project despite the fact that we gave PDP the highest number of votes in the past election. We were watching as we got not a single project.”
He described as nonsensical the threat by the PDP that elected officers who defected would lose their seats.
“I have said before that it is nonsensical. It clearly shows that those at the helm of affairs right now in the PDP do not know the provisions of the law and if they know the provisions of the law, they’ve shown us in recent times that the PDP is not a party that respects the law. It’s a party of men who champion impunities, men who champion or support corruption and so we will not be surprised if they pursue what is not realisable, but I can tell you that it is pure waste of time and effort,” he said.
According to him, the defectors are covered by the law and they left PDP as the party was in disarray.
He said: “The constitution is clear: when a party is either factionalised or a party experiences a division and in the case of the PDP, of course you know what happened from the period of the last national convention in August, where some governors, some members of the National Assembly walked out of the convention and after then set up a parallel secretariat of the party, set up parallel executive of the party and of course on the floor of the National Assembly it was acknowledged that there are various factions of the Peoples Democratic Party. A faction of the party aligned with the All Progressives Congress, there are no denials of the fact that there are factions in the party (PDP), the party itself admits that and the law is clear in cases where there is a division in the party, the constitution is clear on that.”