ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Mr. Tonye Cole, has described democracy in the State as a disgrace.
Cole said this in Port Harcourt after thugs alleged to be supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), attacked him, the Chairman of the APC, Chief Emeka Beke, and other leaders of the party in the State.
The APC leaders and its guber candidate were enroute Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office, on Port Harcourt-Aba expressway to obtain Certified True Copies of documents used by the Electoral body in the conduct and declaration of the just concluded governorship and State House of Assembly election results in the State.
But on arrival at the GRA Junction of the expressway, hundreds of PDP supporters, who were on a protest demanding that INEC’s CTC documents should also be given to the PDP, stopped the APC leaders.
The rioting supporters attacked Cole, Beke and others chasing them into the Government Reserved Area under gunfire.
Speaking at the APC state secretariat, Cole said they were stopped by the thugs and beaten up. He alleged that police provided security for the thugs to operate.
Describing democracy in the state under Governor Nyesom Wike as a sham, Cole said the move by PDP members was a calculated attempt to stop APC from approaching the court to seek redress against injustice done during the 18 March elections.
Narrating his exeprience after attack, he said: “INEC has number of days to release documents to us and we have 21 days for us to file our petitions. Fourteen days after the election, today is the 16th day after the declaration but INEC has not released any single document to us.
“On Friday, we went to INEC office and we met only junior officers there. When we got there, we asked them, they said we should come back today (yesterday) that we will receive our documents.
“This morning (yesterday), while we were going, we met a large number of boys and girls outside the INEC office, who said they were PDP members and that nobody will come here except them. They said I should go back else they will embarrass me.
“I refused and they began to slap me, they grabbed my shirt and started throwing pure water at us. Before I knew it, they started throwing blocks, bottles.
“My security men determined that I must come out, physically carried me out. I got a serious injury on my shoulder, three of our vehicles were destroyed. Democracy in this state is a disgrace.
“We left INEC office and came back to our party secretariat, so that we can restrategise. We saw lots of PDP thugs led by Ikwerre Local Government Chairman and the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, coming here with armed boys escorted by policemen.
“They came and started shooting outside our party office, our policemen came and pushed them back. I came out that if they are going to kill me, that they should do it.
“We had credible information that they are going to be mobilising like this everyday till Friday and by Friday, we will be out of time.
“They are trying to prevent us from filing our documents. These are people that said they won by popularity, why are they stopping us.
“We have credible information that they hijacked this election and do not want us to go to the tribunal.”