Tony John , Port Harcourt
Rivers State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Council has replied the factional governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in state, Tonye Cole, declaring him a man who lacks the requisite public-service experience and exposure to govern a multi-ethnic and complex state like Rivers.
In a press statement, the Director of Information and Communications of the PDP Campaign Council, Emma Okah, said: “Ordinarily, the PDP would not have bothered to campaign in Rivers State, if Arc. Cole is the APC candidate, but the joy of a free and fair contest is the lesson the loser learns. It teaches him that a child cannot be older than his father,” Okah said.
He noted that the APC governorship candidate should have started campaigning since 2011, if he truly meant to battle a political colossus like Governor Nyesom Wike.
The PDP reaction followed a statement earlier in the day by the spokesman for the Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation, Ogbonna Nwuke, saying that Governor Wike had no moral right to ask Rivers people for a second tenure.
Nwuke said in reaction to the governor’s New Year address that the present PDP government had squandered whatever was left of its goodwill.
He stated: “Governor Wike has no moral right to approach the Rivers people for a second tenure in office. What is he really coming back to do?
Rivers people gave him a chance to serve them in 2015 after the abracadabra that took place. Rather than work for them, Wike turned against them and chastised them from day one.
“Rather than keep the people safe, heads of innocent and defenceless persons were gruesomely cut off. Whole families were wasted by hit squads, while property worth millions of Naira were destroyed in several parts of the state.”
Okah in his reaction said those, who love the state could never prefer an unrepentant Lagosian, who did not know the cultural and political terrain of his ethnic nationality, let alone the state to aspire to govern Rivers.
“Suggesting that Arc. Cole should govern Rivers State at this time is to set the state 10 years behind as he would spend so much time learning the ropes, names of the various towns and communities that make up his kingdom, to speak his native language, names of the various LGAs and headquarters, names of key members of his party, names of VIPs in the state etc,” the statement added.
Okah said the people of state had learnt their lessons and would not allow anyone who could not be his own man to preside over the affairs of the state.
“Rivers people do not want selfish and greedy merchants who would buy off valued state assets at cheap prices, but will vote for a man they know and have been seeing: the man who has been council chairman, state campaign coordinator, super minister, a bencher and sitting governor. “Governor Wike made promises to develop the state during the 2015 campaigns and three years down the road, he has fulfilled his promises, wining multiple awards and even doing more for Rivers people,” Okah stated.
Earlier, Cole’s Campaign Director had stated: “Three years down the line, the governor who has squandered the opportunity to write his name in the history books, wants a second chance. Even members of his party who have seen how bad he is are not looking forward to a-Wike second term.
“We challenge the Rivers governor to tell Rivers people what he has done with billions of Naira belonging to them. Before asking for a second tenure, Wike should tell Rivers people where he kept N117 billion that the EFCC says has been stolen from the coffers of the Rivers State.
“Wike should tell Rivers people where he is getting billions of Naira he is using to buy them out of their land and acquire palatial structures all over Port Harcourt.
“What he has is a bag full of colossal failures. Unlike Wike, Pastor Tonye Cole who has a clear plan, will not allow the heads of Rivers people to be severed from their bodies and used gruesomely to decorate roadsides in order to induce fear.
“Unlike Wike, Cole understands the need to create an appropriate environment for investments and understands the place of bureaucrats and technocrats who work in the state civil service.
“Cole knows that the greatest task of any responsible government is to protect lives and property. This is why Rivers people should ignore Wike’s appeal for a second tenure and vote APC,” the governorship spokesman stated.
He promised that a Tonye-Cole government would bring back security, investment, jobs and empowerment and restore the Garden City status of the state.