Tonye Dele Cole

Tonye Dele Cole, the Governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress, has threatened to sue the Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike and others over claim claims the he, alongside Prof Charles Dokubo-Quakers, Prince Tonye Princewill and other chieftains of the party were behind the killing of some persons in Abonnema in Akuku-Toru local government area of the state during the last National Assembly and presidential elections.

He also revealed how APC stopped Governor Wike from ‘rigging’ the election to deliver ‘huge figures’ for the PDP in Rivers.

Governor Wike had in broadcast accused the chieftains of the APC of colluding with soldiers of the 6 Division of Nigerian Army to mastermind the killings in Abonnema in Kalabari kingdom.

APC Governorship candidate, flanked by top party members at a press conference in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, declared said his lawyers are studying the allegations which he described as ‘malicious and unfounded’ with a view to advising him on possible libel suits to take against those who have peddled the ‘wicked falsehoods.’

Cole said the killings and other violence that characterized the presidential and National Assembly elections in Rivers were the handwork of militant kingpins rewarded for their role in the 2015 elections with positions in the State House of Assembly, Local Government Councils and State Government’s appointments by Governor Wike.

He alleged that In Akuku Toru in particular, intelligence available to APC indicated that a strict directive was issued to the Chairman of the Local Government to stop APC from winning in the area.

He added that there was also an instruction that the APC gubernatorial candidate in particular must not be allowed to win his polling unit and Ward which are in the local government.

He warned that,” Gone are the days when political thugs would hijack electoral materials and allocate hundreds of thousands of imaginary votes to PDP. The results from the various units, wards and Local Government Areas confirm these and further highlights the depth of rigging and manipulation of the 2015 elections that APC as a party had complained about.”

Cole while congratulating Presdent Muhammadu Buhari for his re-election expressed profound and sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones last weekend.

In particular, he condoled the family of Miss Ibisaki Amachree who was shot while on duty, stating one death is one too many and no one has the right to kill in the name of power and politics.

He assured that the families of those who died this weekend the Federal Government will seek justice for them, no matter how long it takes.

He pointed out that what is required of anyone desirous of the truth is to compare the 2015 electoral figures where total votes cast was 1,584,768 with APC getting 69,238 while PDP got 1,487,075; to that of 2019 where total votes cast was 666,585 with APC getting 150,710 (even after 72,000 votes in Emohua was unconstitutionally removed) and PDP getting 473,971 and the story would clearly unfold.

On the crisis in APC various court cases against it, Cole said the party has withstood a judicial lynching that has long since baffled legal luminaries on how Justices Nworgu, Yahaya and Omotosho’s judgments came about.

“That PDP would interfere with another party’s internal process in a court of law and secure a judgment that prevents their major competitor from campaigning in any form or manner, barring any of their candidates from being on the ballot is mind-boggling.

“Our party also had to contend with numerous court battles, a brutal internal conflict with Senator Magnus Abe that disenfranchised members of the party, many of whom have now openly decamped to the PDP, multiple attacks on the party at campaign rallies of the opposition and severe attempts to break the spirit of the party faithful. It was indeed a resounding success to see the turnout of APC voters across the state.

“This was in spite of an INEC body that was swift to obeying the PDP sponsored judgement but resolute in its decision not to obey an order of Stay of Execution.

“Our concerns were further affirmed by Rivers State’s INEC’s refusal to include the over 72,000 votes in favour of the APC from Emohua LGA after being duly collated and announced by the LGA collation officer whose duty it is to so do in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

“It therefore means that the Rivers State office of INEC cannot be said to be truly independent as it had no hesitation in allowing the result of Khana, Andoni and other Local Government Areas in favour of the PDP.

“In the wake of INEC not affirming the relisting of our candidates, we had promised the people of Rivers State that APC will closely follow every ballot box, every vote cast and every result declared to its final conclusion. We affirmed not to allow the votes of the citizens to be stolen and to ensure the results will be as close to reality as is humanly possible. That was the mandate we gave to our people and that is the mandate we delivered.

“That in the midst of such heavy intimidation and array of forces squarely aimed at destroying the Rivers APC, in an election where we had no candidates, APC faithful still turned out with well over 200,000 votes, while the PDP unencumbered by money, full array of candidates, robust campaigns and incumbency power was strictly restricted to the unpleasant reality of recording just over 450,000 votes, the lowest tally of votes they have ever recorded.”

On the next set of elections, Cole urged party members, supporters and Rivers people to remain calm and peaceful and confident that INEC would now do the right and proper thing by restoring all our candidates, including those for the National Assembly, back on the ballot.

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