• Friday, September 22, 2023
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Rivers Elections: PDP’s threats to non-indigenes resulted in voter apathy — Tonye Cole


Tonye Cole, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has accused Governor Nyesom Wike’s led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of employing the anti-democratic weapon of threats to non-indigenes, which was handsomely used in Lagos during the March 18 elections by the ruling party to suppress voters from voting. A situation that resulted in all forms of voter apathy for fear of life. 

In a press conference issued on Tuesday at Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, Cole, accompanied by Sobomabo Jackrich and Tonte Ibraye, governorship candidates of the National Rescue Movement and African Democratic Congress, accused the PDP of subverting the will of the people—a situation he referred to as a rape of democracy.

“Instead of this election to be a test of the candidate’s popularity, it turned out to be a rape of democracy,” he said. “Law-abiding citizens were subject to flogging, verbal abuse, and threats to lives for choosing to vote APC.”

Read also: Labour Party rejects outcome of Saturday elections in Rivers

He said that in most polling units’ people were told not to vote for any political party except the PDP.

“People were told to vote for PDP and nothing else; this is not democracy and cannot be allowed to stand. The PDP aggressively intimidated non-indigenes in the state leading to apathy and low voter turnout,” he added. 

Cole’s claims also corroborated reports by some election observers, both local and foreign, who reported the deaths of voters who, as the APC governorship candidate claimed were killed because they resisted “the hijack of election materials.”

“The sad tale of the brutal murder of our Ahoada West Local Government Area coordinator, Chisom Lennard, and two others in his community will continue to hurt me for life. 

“To think that up to 11 people have lost their lives in this charade, including a youth corper serving on national duty as an Ad Hoc staff in Ahoada, is extremely depressing and heartbreaking,” he explained.

Before the March 18 elections, information that made the rounds on social media revealed that the governor had promised to crush all opposition parties in the state. “The Rivers State PDP led by the governor kept to his promise of crushing the opposition during the elections,” he said. “Honourable Charles Anyawu and Emeka Ede, both House of Assembly candidates, were arrested on the day of the election and detained in police custody.” 

Due to the enormity of all the claims, the APC candidate called for the complete cancellation of the result that declared Fubara Simi as the winner of the March 18 governorship election and returned governor-elect.

He promised to reclaim his stolen mandate at the court of law. 

They asked the international community to sanction Governor Wike, his family, and his allies and prevent them from leaving the country.