The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Pastor Tonye Cole, and his team on ward-to-ward consultation narrowly escaped assassination at Bakana-Kalabari in the state.
Cole, a businessman and co-founder of Sahara Group, however, said yesterday in Port Harcourt, that he remained undeterred in his determination to ensure good governance in Rivers.
The Director-General of Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation, Dr. Chidi Lloyd, also stated that the standard bearer of APC in Rivers would pull the state out of backwardness, poverty and the abyss of bad governance.
He disclosed that it took the security detachment attached to the APC’s governorship candidate to repel the attackers from advancing to kill Cole, a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
The campaign organisation’s chief said: “Bloodbath was averted at Old Bakana, as gunmen alleged to be sponsored by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) serving commissioner in Nyesom Wike’s government from the area, opened heavy gunfire on Pastor Cole and his team, as they were carrying out ward-to-ward consultation in the community.
“On arrival at the community and as is usual with the team, Pastor Cole and other leaders of the APC on the delegation had gone to pay a courtesy visit on the traditional head of the community, prior to commencement of the exercise, when heavy gunfire erupted from all directions of the community.
“Cole immediately showed courage and leadership by ordering his team members to remain calm indoors, while the security detachment attached to the team was allowed to repel the advancing armed attackers.
“It took a while before the marauding gunmen were repelled by the security men and the area secured. Subsequently, Cole directed that the exercise must go on at the designated arena, after which the team departed for Bakana to continue with the exercise.
“Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation and APC vehemently condemn the dastardly act, reminiscent of what was carried out in 2015 against the APC and its governorship candidate (Dr. Dakuku Peterside) in Okrika and other similar incidents carried out by PDP and their gunmen across Rivers State.”
Lloyd also reiterated that just on Thursday, instead of the PDP members to tackle its internal crisis that had snowballed into open confrontation between them in Ikwerre Local Government, they found it convenient to blame APC members for the violence and killing of two persons at Ipo in the LGA.
He noted that Rivers APC leaders also alerted the world that the PDP leaders were merely pointing at the APC to cover up their internal turmoil, while emphasising the fact that it was a ploy to prepare the grounds for them to commence another round of bloody attacks on APC members in the state, declaring that in just about 24 hours, their fears had manifested.
The Director-General of Tonye Cole campaign organisation said: “The governorship candidate of our party, Pastor Cole, is a God-fearing gentleman, whose only driving force to lead Rivers State is hinged on his conviction that every aspect of Rivers society is broken and needs urgent mending. He believes that if our youths are given jobs, they will not make themselves available for criminal enterprise.
“Let us serve notice that forces of darkness behind the violence and their allies will never be able to deter, intimidate or stop Pastor Cole and his supporters from the task of providing the enabling environment to mend and pull our society out of backwardness, poverty and from the abyss of bad governance.
“We call on the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Director of the Department of State Service and other security agencies to thoroughly and diligently investigate the incident and all such incidents, with a view to bringing to justice those directly and indirectly behind them.”
Lloyd assured that APC’s governorship candidate would be Rivers governor from May 29 next year, through the massive support of the state’s electorate, who he said were yearning for positive and impactful change.