Tonye Cole Speaks On Electoral Violence
The business mogul accused chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of having orchestrated killings in some parts of the State during last Saturday’s election.
Recall that till ten days before the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had not decided on whether or not it will allow the APC field candidates for the elections. However, the elections eventually held amidst reported violence and killings by suspected political thugs, Naija News reports.
In a statement signed by Tonye personally signed by him, Cole said, “Over the past few days, Rivers State has once again been in the headlines globally for all the wrong reasons. In a nationwide election that sought to elect a President for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and members of the National Assembly, our dear state was characterized with armed conflict which unfortunately led to the death of innocent Nigerians that had simply sought to exercise their civic duty of participating in an electoral process.
“At this juncture allow me to express my most profound and sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones last weekend.
“In particular, we reach out to the family of Miss Ibisaki Amachree who was shot while on duty. One death is one too many and no one has the right to kill in the name of power and politics. May the souls of all those who died this weekend Rest in Peace and the families be rest assured that the Federal Government will seek justice for them, no matter how long it takes.
“It has been my personal plea and mantra as well as that of the APC that the violence meted out on our members and citizens of the State in 2015 and immediately thereafter has no place in any modern society, especially one that desperately needs to grow economically and develop for the betterment of her people.
“We have called for peace and peaceful elections at every stage, but it is unfortunate that there are people hellbent to cling on to power at any cost, even to the taking of human lives.
“I have been shocked and saddened by statements and comments attributed to the Rivers State Governor that Prof. Charles Dokubo-Quakers, Prince Tonye Princewill and I are responsible for the carnage and deaths in Abonnema last weekend.
“These malicious and unfounded allegations are being investigated and our lawyers will advise on possible libel suits to take against those who have peddled these wicked falsehoods.
“For anyone willing to expose the truth, the task is relatively easy and the motive particularly clear. Nigerians in their vast numbers were shocked to learn of militant kingpins that were rewarded for their role in the 2015 elections with positions in the State House of Assembly, Local Government Councils and State Government appointments by the Rivers State Government. This is common knowledge and the names of these individuals are known to many.
“In Akuku Toru in particular, Hon. Rowland Sekibo, currently at large, is the Chairman of the LGA and under his watch, Abonnema was brazenly under the control of several deadly cult groups. Like in several LGA’s across the state and operating under the cover of the Local Government Authority, militarized cult groups have held Akuku Toru hostage over the past few years and in the run-up to this election, intelligence reaching us was that strict directives had been issued to the Chairman not to permit APC from delivering the Local Government of its gubernatorial candidate and in particular, his polling unit and Ward 12.
“We witnessed this playing out in the postponed presidential election on February 16 and again on the 23rd. The amateur videos of what the town looked like on Election Day has gone viral and it is clear that no one who loves life would venture onto the streets under such intense firepower. Of greater importance, I wish to congratulate HE President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR for his re-election as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to address the impressive achievements by Rivers APC at the polls in spite of the many forces that have conspired to hamstring the party from the days of wanton killings and beheadings of APC supporters to the internal battles and court cases of recent times.
“The result of the just concluded Presidential elections is an indication of a new beginning and trajectory with respect to elections in Rivers State. Gone are the days when political thugs would hijack electoral materials and allocate hundreds of thousands of imaginary votes to their party. The results from the various units, wards and Local Government Areas confirms this and further highlights the depth of rigging and manipulation of the 2015 elections that APC as a party had complained about.
“All that 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.”