From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
A group of Rivers State indigenes under the aegis of Rivers Diaspora Network (RDN) has endorsed the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC Pastor Tonye Cole for the March 11, 2023 Governorship Election in the State.
The endorsement followed Cole’s engagement with members of Rivers Diaspora Network, RDN in Washington DC, a month ago during his recent visit to the United States of America where he was invited to attend the USA-Africa Leadership Summit hosted by President Joe Biden.
Members of the group which consists of professionals from Rivers State and people from other social and cultural groups in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America, feel Tonye Cole is the best candidate to hold the top political position in Rivers State on May 29, 2023.
Following a recent virtual gathering of the group’s larger stakeholders in Maryland, United States of America, the decision to support Tonye Cole was made.
Cole has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to the development of Rivers State, according to a 10-paragraph communiqué published at the conclusion of the meeting and signed by Chief Abani Iloni, who attended from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Sobere Opusunju, the United Kingdom coordinator of RDN.
The group added that, Cole has demonstrated zeal, passion, enthusiasm and the will to serve Rivers People, saying if given the opportunity to be Governor, he is going to entrench a new governance order that will positively transform the State for the benefit of the people.
“We have unanimously endorsed Pastor Tonye Cole as the next Governor of our dear State, Rivers. Tonye Cole is an illustrious son of Rivers with a resounding track record of excellence and distinction in both private and public practice. We have no doubt in our minds that he will bring his wealth of experience to bear in the politics and governance of the State if elected in the forthcoming governorship election. Tonye Cole is a fine gentleman, intelligent, hardworking, resourceful, young and energetic. He is the person Rivers State needs at this time to engineer the process of restoring the lost glory of the State. We urge all Rivers sons and daughters both home and abroad to look the way of Pastor Cole and give him the overwhelming support he deserves to win the election”, the members said
RDN said their endorsement of Pastor Cole is without sentiment, noting that a State such as Rivers, that has been seriously polarised by the incumbent governor, needs a man like Cole to unite the people and lay a solid foundation for rapid development.
“Rivers State needs a leader whose personality inspires peace, away from the overweening and combative style of leadership we have witnessed in the last seven-and-the-half years. It is time to put one of our best forward”, the communique added.
According to a statement released in Maryland, USA after the USA-Africa Leadership Summit hosted by President Joe Biden, the TCCO diaspora group chairman, Tex Wariboko, said Cole’s invitation and attendance of the Summit was a major boost and moment of pride for sons and daughters of Rivers State which is widely known to parade resourceful and innovative people with creative and entrepreneurial abilities.
“Tonye Cole is a very brilliant fellow who has made presentations at various intellectual fora across the globe. So, we were not surprised that he was invited to the United States to participate in USA/Africa leadership summit organised by President Joe Biden. A man with such intellectual depth and exposure fits the bill to become the next governor of Rivers State. He has both the international exposure and a strong grassroot connection. Imagine what Rivers State stands to benefit with this man in the saddle”, Wariboko said.
Meanwhile, the Rivers Diaspora Network has condemned last Thursday’s reported explosion at the venue of a rally by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, describing the incident as most unfortunate.
The group in a statement wondered why some persons are still involved in the politics of violence which undermines democracy and governance, calling on security agencies to fish out perpetrators of the dastardly act and prosecute them to serve as deterrent.
RDN called on Rivers people, particularly youths across party lines in the State to play by the rules of the game and resist attempts by anyone of group of persons bent on using them to cause trouble during this period of electioneering.
They called on Cole not to be distracted by the ugly incident, urging him to continue with his campaign activities in order to secure maximum support and votes in the March 11 Governorship Election in Rivers State