February 28, 2019

Rivers lean votes confirm 2015 results were cooked — Cole

, Tonye Cole

Tonye Cole

By Egufe Yafugborhi

Delisted ALL Progressives Congress, APC, flag-bearer for the 2019 governorship in Rivers state, Tonye Cole, yesterday, said the lean votes from Rivers State on Saturday’s Presidential elections was a confirmation that the figures declared in 2015 were “cooked up.”

Tonye Cole

But reacting, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Rivers State Agent of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the collation of the results, Austin Okpara described Cole’s conclusion as “fat lie and misinformation.”

Cole in Port Harcourt yesterday, during an appraisal of Rivers APC performance in presidential election, also denied indictment by Governor Nyesom Wike, accusing him (Cole) and others of masterminding violence which claimed lives during the election.

He said, “The results from the various units, wards and LGAs confirms further highlights the depth of rigging and manipulation of the 2015 elections that APC as a party had complained about.”

He said despite the challenges, including lingering internal conflict which results the courts and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s removal of the Rivers APC from the ballot till moment, “It was indeed a resounding success to see the turnout of APC voters across the state.”

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Lean figures induced by soldiers intimidation—Okpara

However, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Rivers PDP agent at the collation, Austin Okpara, faulted Cole, blaming the low turnout of voters on “Deliberate excessive militarisation of the voting space to scare people away and deplete Rivers vote in an election PDP could have captured more than a million vote.

“Imagine a locality with over half a million registered voted having less than 15,000 turning out. We know what those who have no business in the elections did. The electoral officers have been giving confessional statements. But it is a shame for us all as South South.”

“That the North which is under siege of insurgency did not records electoral violence. Rather those desperate to impress the president, knowing PDP would roundly beat them, brought in soldiers to scare voters away to reduce the margin of victory. If anything, PDP would have polled more that the 1.4 million votes it had in 2015.”

On allegations of masterminding violence during the election, Cole said, “I have been shocked and saddened by statements attributed to the Rivers State governor we are responsible for the carnage and deaths in Abonnema last weekend. These malicious allegations are being investigated and our lawyers will advise on possible libel suits to take against those who have peddled these wicked falsehoods.”