Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Campaign Organisation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, has apologised to the people of Bille Kingdom over an alleged comment credited to the party’s flagbearer.
Cole has come under fire for allegedly describing Bille Kingdom in Degema Local Government Area as the heart of oil bunkering and gunrunning.
Speaking on Monday, on behalf of the Amayanabo-in-Council, the Vice Chairman of Bille Kingdom Chiefs Council, Alabo (Dr.) Ibitamino Minapakama, called on Cole to tender apology for accusing the people wrongly.
Minapakama stated that it was wrong for Cole to go on air and pass biased judgement against the Kingdom, adding that Bille remains the most peace community in Ijaw nation.
However, responding to the community’s reaction, yesterday, spokesman of Cole’s Campaign Organisation, Ogbonna Nwuke, said the ‘inner intent’ of the APC governorship candidate was misconstrued.
Nwuke stated: “It has been brought to the knowledge of the Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation that certain comments made by our candidate, Pastor Tonye Cole, during a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, has not been well received by the good people of Bille Kingdom.
“As responsible citizens of this great state, who are committed to the welfare and wellbeing of our people, it has become pertinent to address the concerns of our brothers and sisters in Bille, especially where matters that concern them may be interpreted to mean portraying them in bad light.
“We want to state for the avoidance of doubt, that what is trending at the moment does not in any way reflect the inner intent of Pastor Tonye Cole. What is rather trending is the direct opposite of Cole’s actual intent.
“Our standard bearer has respect for the people of Rivers State and the Bille community in particular. He equally feels the pain of the people over a system that has supervised their exclusion from the receipt of basic amenities.
“This is why he took it upon himself to embark on a ward to ward tour in order to have a working understanding of the situation on ground.
“Pastor Tonye Cole has, and will continue to preach peace and unity. In the same vein, Cole will work for the equitable development of all parts of the Rivers State in order to ensure the betterment of the people.
“On behalf of the entire campaign organization, we apologise, if the comments complained of have brought embarrassment to people of the Bille Kingdom”, the campaign organisation apologised.