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Uneasy truce as Rivers APC faction clarifies alleged selection of Tonye Cole as ‘consensus’ guber candidate

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

Just days after the Rivers State Chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APc) announced Tonye Cole as a consensus governorship aspirant, as contained in a statement issued by the state’s APC spokesman, Chief Chris Finebone, the party’s Publicity Secretary, a faction within the party has clarified the process which culminated in the final outcome.

This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the a group in the Rivers APC tagged Progressives Aspirants Forum via its Coordinator, George Tolofari, in Port-Harcourt.

In the press statement titled, “Tonye Cole’s Emergence: After The Storm Comes The Calm,” Tolofari stressed the PAF’s commitment to the unity and success of the APC in Rivers State.

According to him, “Tonye Cole is not yet the party’s candidate until after or when he emerges at the primaries in a free and fair contest with other aspirants either from the Riverine or Upland area. He was only adopted as the Riverine Consensus aspirant”.

He also said the events which threw up Cole as the consensus candidate was based on his origin as a Riverine aspirant from the Ijaw extraction and this was based on the accord that “all Riverine Ijaw extraction came together and surrendered their rights to the party to chose for them since they could not reach a consensus amongst themselves. Hence, the decision taken by the committee was in the best interest of the aspirants, the party and all of us after a thorough scrutiny of all concerned.”

The PAF also noted that this consensual decision, which took place on Friday 22nd April 2022, had elicited a lot of resentment amongst stakeholders after the fact.

Read also: Rivers APC unveils Tonye Cole as candidate ahead of governorship polls

Nonetheless, the group appealed for calm while exonerating Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation of any untoward act regarding the emergence of Cole as the Riverine APC candidate.

“Some of you as a result have reached out to me and other party leaders privately and openly to vent your spleen.

“Some of you have erroneously accused and casted aspersions and insults at our leader for imposing Tonye Cole on the party, but unknown to you, our leader, the Hon. Minister of Transportation recused himself from the process and asked us to freely exercise our rights in the best interest of the party which we did.

“I appeal to us all to stop the unwarranted attacks on our leader because he has done nothing wrong, rather he set the stage for free deliberations and consultations. If he had wanted to impose a candidate on us, he would not need to set up a committee.

“He would have just announced his preferred candidate and asked us to support him, but this he didn’t do. It may even surprise some of you that our leader’s preference may not have emerged but he allowed the majority decision of the party elders to fly.

“I was part of that process and all decisions taken by the larger majority of the committee members are binding on me. I will say that again for emphasis. As painful as it is, we must exercise restraint. We must not destroy APC because we didn’t get the endorsement of the leadership this time around.

“Tonye Cole is not yet the party’s candidate until after or when he emerges at the primaries in a free and fair contest with other aspirants either from the Riverine or Upland area. He was only adopted as the Riverine Consensus aspirant.

“The party has also made it clear that any aspirant that is not satisfied with the decision of its committee can still go ahead, pick up the form and contest against Tonye Cole at the primaries,” the statement reads.

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