The call by Pastor Tonye Cole, the Rivers All Progressives Congress, APC, Gubernatorial Candidate for the 2023 election, that Governorship candidates of other Political parties in the state, should support him as sole candidate, has been described as merely playing to the gallery and should not be taken seriously.
This scathing observation was contained in a press statement by Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo, Director, Media and Communication, Dumo Lulu-Briggs Governorship Campaign Council, which further noted that while not begrudging the APC governorship candidate for seeking votes in whatever way he deems fit, the call made by Pastor Cole, was however disrespectful, amateurish and portrayed him as unserious.
The statement by Ijuye-Dagogo reads:
TONYE COLE WAS MERELY PLAYING TO THE GALLERY
“Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the Rivers State governorship candidate of the APC, Pastor Tonye Cole in which he called on Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, among other governorship candidates of Kalabari extraction, to join forces with him and stand by him.
“While we do not begrudge the APC governorship candidate for seeking votes in whatever way he deems fit, we find that call made by him on the podium of a campaign rally as disrespectful, amateurish and playing to the gallery.
“The world over, political collaborations and alliances are not initiated on campaign grounds. They are serious matters that require a lot of behind-the-scene interactions, thoughts and negotiations. This is the reason we see Tonye Cole as unserious and merely playing to the gallery in this case.
“This is not to say that the Dumo Lulu-Briggs Governorship Campaign Council is not open to collaborations. We are open to work with other political parties, not only the APC to oust the PDP from power in the overall interest and progress of Rivers State.
“It is however incontestable, that as a patriotic Rivers son of Kalabari extraction, Dumo Lulu-Briggs has been around and understands the sensibilities of Kalabari and Rivers people far more than Pastor Tonye Cole. Dumo Lulu-Briggs would not have addressed the crowd in English language in Buguma, as Tonye Cole did”.
Director, Media and Communication
Dumo Lulu-Briggs Governorship Campaign Council
It would be recalled that the Rivers APC Gubernatorial candidate, Pastor Tonye Cole had, during the APC Asari Toru L.G.A Campaign Flag off rally, which held in Buguma; the traditional headquarters of the Kalabari kingdom, called on all Kalabari candidates from other political parties, including Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Dawari George and Soboma Jackrich, amongst others, to support and join him save Rivers State.
A press release by Wabiye Idoniboyeobu, Director, Media and Strategic Communications, Tonye Cole/Barikor Gubernatorial Campaign Council, disclosed that this call was prompted by the desire to fulfill a 24 years old prophecy, following his encounter with the 1999 Rivers All Peoples Party, APP, guber candidate, Chief Ebenezer Isokariari.
The Press release is published below:
TONYE COLE CALLS ON DUMO LULU BRIGGS, DAWARI GEORGE, SOBOMA JACKRICH AND ALL KALABARIS TO SUPORT HIS QUEST TO SAVE RIVERS STATE
The Gubernatorial candidate of the APC Pastor Tonye Cole has called on all Kalabari candidates from other political parties, to join him save Rivers State. He made this call during the APC Asari Toru L.G.A Campaign Flag off rally, which held in Buguma; the traditional headquarters of the Kalabari kingdom.
The APC Flagbearer highlighted the importance of unity in any cause and encouraged the kalabaris to rally around him as he seeks to change the fortunes of Rivers State people through massive human capital development and purposeful leadership. Arch. Tonye Cole narrated his encounter with the 1999 guber candidate, Chief Ebenezer Isokariari.
“Many years ago, Ebenezer Isokariari on Kalabari ground, at Abalama, said something out of anger. Out of frustration from the disunity that led to his defeat, Chief Isokariari proclaimed that for 24 years the Kalabari’s will not be Governor. He spoke as a Kalabari man on Kalabari soil, in reaction to the betrayal of Kalabari people. This happened 24 years ago.”
“I went to see Chief Ebenezer Isokariari in Lagos, and when I went, he said to me, ‘you are the first person to come and see me regarding this proclamation. I regret making it, when I made it, I did not know it will happen like this’. This is 24 years; We have suffered as a people, 24 years we have punished ourselves, 24 years we have killed ourselves for other people, 24 years we have fought, 24 years we’ve spilt blood, 24 years we have gone backwards. This year it has ended. They said Kalabari can never come together. That is false. Kalabari is united.”
Tonye Cole urged O.J Flag Amachree, Dawari George, Sobomabo Jackrich, Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs and all Kalabari politicians and stakeholders to join him in his quest to redeem the lost glory of the Kalabaris; and assured the people that a Tonye Cole government will be one where the common man, even those in the rural communities, will feel a sense of belonging and see opportunities to have a dignified life.
Director – Media and Strategic Communications
Tonye Cole/Barikor Gubernatorial Campaign Council