Rivers Is A ‘Hijacked PDP State’ – Tonye Cole
Rivers State has been described as a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hijacked state.
This is as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Tonye Cole, condemned what he described as the high level of voter intimidation by the PDP in the March 18 gubernatorial election.
According to him, the extent of voter suppression allegedly piloted by the PDP affected the turnout of voters in Rivers, noting that election was not equitable, free and fair in the state.
Naija News learnt that Cole, who made this assertion when he was featured on a Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, claimed that voters were threatened to forcefully vote for PDP.
Cole advanced that it is only a free and fair election without any form of voter suppression and violence that would prove that Rivers is not a PDP state.
He stated that “There was a build-up of intimidation, voters were intimidated. They were told not to come out, whips were bought, people were whipped. Town criers went into communities, saying that nobody should come out.
“[They said] if they came out, they will be dealt with. Voter intimidation was very heavy, so that brought down the number of people coming out to vote because they were scared.
“In some cases, before the counting of the votes occurred, police came and – this was shocking – local government chairmen and councillors were coming with their vans with the police.
“They came and carried the entire polling unit away (sic) and took them to an unknown destination and the next thing we saw is that these results were uploaded.
“We knew that it was going to happen because we had heard it in a small political environment and so we knew that there were plans to kidnap [people]. We saw people come into the polling unit who were strange.
“There was not enough security to counter that in any case, it was a national election, and security was widespread. We had choices and one of the choices that we had was to arm and equip our own side equally, but this was going to escalate into bloodshed, and death and we chose not to.
“I would have loved this to be tested without intimidation, without violence and just allow a free and fair election to hold. The violence and the ability to rig has kept Rivers State a PDP state since 1999.
“People wanted to vote differently and it was the fear of allowing free and fair elections that would have shown that Rivers State was not a PDP state.”