… Challenged Rivers PDP guber candidate to a debate.

It was an unusual atmosphere, as the APC governorship candidate in Rivers State, Pastor Tonye Cole, abruptly relocated his Oyigbo LGA rally to a makeshift venue, staging his carnival-like campaign rally right in the middle of the road in Oyigbo Local Government Area.

Moments before the commencement of the rally, security agencies arrived and asked everyone to vacate the venue for reasons yet to be ascertained.

This prompted the people present to angrily lift the canopies and chairs to the adjoining road, where they set up a befitting venue to receive the the APC candidate and his entourage.

Not withstanding the provocation, the Rivers APC Governorship candidate encouraged the crowd and assured them that APC is in the hearts of the people, noting that despite the intimidation, APC will win the next election in the state.

Pastor Tonye Cole praised the indomitable spirit of the Oyigbo people, and highlighted that from the beginning of the election season, the PDP government in the state has been deploying every apparatus at their disposal to intimidate APC and frustrate their campaign.

“No matter what; no matter who; no matter how; APC will win this election. What I have seen today in Oyigbo has convinced me beyond any doubt, that no matter what, how and where, APC will win Rivers State. You can threaten; you can try to stop; you can prevent; you can ban; but you cannot stop the spirit of the people from winning.”

“We were meant to use a facility, but we are on the street today to show that nothing will stop us. If they say we cannot use the premises, we will come onto the streets. If they say we cannot use the streets, we will enter the market; if they say we cannot use the market, we will enter the homes; if they say we cannot use our own homes, we will enter the hearts of the people. Nothing will stop us”.

The 2023 Rivers State APC governorship candidate regretted the long sufferings and injustice inflicted on the people of Oyigbo, assuring them that their years of government induced punishment, underdevelopment and disrespect to their traditional institutions are over:

“Oyigbo has been punished; they have stepped on you; they have tried to silence you; they have punished you; why, because you believed in justice; because you wanted what every human being wants, respect. All you are asking for is respect, but instead of respect, they ban you; instead of respect, they close your roads; instead of respect, they close your market; instead of respect, they take your light; instead of respect, they refused building hospital; instead of respect, they kill you. That must end today; it must end”.

Pastor Tonye Cole advised the opposition PDP to stop acts capable of instigating political violence in the state. He also challenged the Rivers PDP Gubernatorial Candidate, Siminalaye Fubara to come out for a debate, so that he can tell Rivers people what he has in stock for them.

“Everywhere we go, we talk to the people; we touch the people; we hold the people; we feel with the people. We are not afraid of anybody. Our opposition is afraid of us, because they have seen a movement, they are seeing people come out to touch us, to hear us; they are seeing people come out to believe us; they are seeing people come out to say that I am voting for you because I believe in you.”

“So, I want to speak today to our opposition: stop trying to stop us. It will not work. Instead, come out, talk with us, come and debate with us. I have not seen my candidates position; I have never seen him. Sim Fubara and I, I’ve never seen him. If he comes out, I will not recognise him. If he comes out to stand here, I won’t recognize him”.

Mr. Tonye Cole who narrated that he has never met the Rivers PDP Gubernatorial Candidate in his life, nor could he recognize him, said he however respects his person, even as he urged him or whoever seeks to govern Rivers State not to be unfamiliar with the people.

“I have not seen him before, but I respect him, because he is the candidate of a major political party. So, I respect him, but the people want to see him; they want to hear from him; they want know what he has and what I have. I know the other candidates, but I have never seen Sim Fubara, I don’t know him.”

He called on the people to vote massively for him and all APC candidates, adding that he will form a government that will be for the people, and not a government that the people will be afraid of.

“My government is for you; ny government and that of Innocent Barikor is for you. We will win; we are for you; you don’t have to be afraid of us. Please vote for us. Our government will not mock you, we will not threaten our traditional institutions.”

“Please come out and vote for all APC candidates; please vote for me in this Governorship election. I am a human being who cares for you, and my government will make a difference for you”.

Tonye Cole, before converging at the rally, had earlier visited traders at the popular Oyigbo timber market and paid courtesy calls on the traditional institutions in the area.

Wabiye Idoniboyeobu,
Director, Media and strategic communications Directorate,
Tonye/Barikor campaign council.

30th January, 2023.

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