The Rivers State Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Tonye Cole, and the Chairman of the Party, Chief Emeka Beke, have been attacked and battered by suspected political thugs in Port Harcourt.
This happened on Monday afternoon as hundreds of supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, blocked all access through the Port Harcourt-Aba expressway to the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Recall that INEC had on Friday asked Cole and his team to come to the office to pick the Certified True Copies of documents used in the conduct and declaration of the just concluded governorship and state house of assembly elections to enable them file petition at the tribunal.
However when Cole and other APC chieftains arrived INEC office in the area, on an alleged invitation of INEC, they were stopped from accessing the commission’s office by the protesters.
Some of the youths attacked the APC chiefs, chasing them away from the INEC facility, amid heavy shooting.
The thugs who were shooting sporadically in the air moved freely from the former of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, opposite INEC and through the Polo Club then into the Government Reserved Area.
No casualty has been recorded, but some cars reportedly owned by the APC chiefs were damaged.
Cole later confirmed to newsmen that “There was an assault on myself, my party chairman, and the woman leader, who were going peacefully to go and collect documents from INEC.
“We were not allowed to get anywhere near the INEC office. This was a deliberate act to prevent us from going to get fundamental materials critical to our petition. And they have told us that they are going to be there Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, by which time we will have no documents from INEC to present to the tribunal.
“All we are interested in is going to the tribunal. You say you have won; allow us to go to the tribunal to prove that you did not win.”
However, the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Sydney Gbara, described the claims by Cole as untrue.