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Tonye Cole accuses PDP of voters’ intimidation, suppression during Rivers election



RIVERS: Cole, others in trouble as A'Court affirms APC cannot contest in 2019

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, has bemoaned the alleged intimidation of voters by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 governorship election.

Cole made this claim on Tuesday while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

He also noted that this resulted in a low turnout of voters in Rivers, with some voters allegedly scourged and threatened to forcefully vote for PDP.

“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,” Cole said.

“[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.”

The APC candidate added that the only other option he and his supporters had to resist what they saw coming would have amounted to an escalation into violence.

Read also:Amaechi brands Wike ‘a drunk,’ canvasses vote for Tonye Cole ahead of Rivers guber election

“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,” Cole explained.

Siminialayi Fubara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner of the Rivers State governorship election.

The PDP candidate polled 302,614 votes to defeat his closet rival Tonye Cole of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who scored 95,274 votes while the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Senator Magnus Abe, and Labour Party (LP)’s, Beatrice Itubo came a distant third and fourth with 46,981 and 22,224 votes respectively.

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