By Angela Atabo, Abuja.
Former Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi has called on the residents of Rivers State to go all out to vote and support Tonye Cole, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18 election.
A statement from Amaechi’s Media Office said that he made the call when he visited the Northern community in Rivers.
The statement said that Amaechi also campaigned with Tonye Cole at the Computer Village and other parts of the Garrison neighbourhood, as well as the Oroworoko Community, ahead of the election.
Amaechi also urged the residents of the state to protect their votes on the election day.
He said: “All we need from you is to go out and vote, and protect your votes; everybody should be his own policeman.
“When you vote, sit down there until they upload it, even when they upload it, escort them to the Ward centre, let them upload it there.
“Another set of people should escort them to the Local Government centre; that’s how you become your own policeman.”
Amaechi told the people that he never supported any form of discrimination among the residents, based on ethnic and religious lines, when he was a governor.
He recalled that he ensured that 1,200 Christians went on Christian pilgrimage, while 500 Muslims also went on Muslim pilgrimage every year for eight years.
He added that he appointed a Muslim Pilgrims Board, the same way he appointed a Christian Welfare Pilgrims Board.
The Chief Imam of Rivers State, Alhaji Haliru Imam, said that the Northern community in Rivers had thrown its weight behind Cole, the governorship candidate of APC.
According to him, Tonye Cole, being a Pastor, will perform creditably in office, just like Amaechi .
“I remember when you were in power, people were shouting about Northerners, but you told us, ‘feel free, this is your home’.
“During your tenure, the Christian and Muslim boards existed but today, there is nothing like pilgrims board, even for Christians, because of one man,” he said.
Imam expressed hope that Tonye Cole would do better when elected as governor and establish an abattoir for them.
The Northern Youth Leader in Rivers, Alhaji Shehu Ahmed, expressed delight over Amaechi’s visit, stating that Rivers people and party faithful would be better off with APC in power.
Ahmed assured that APC would reclaim the state.
“Sir, your coming has emboldened us. We beg you to leave Abuja for now and stay with us in Rivers State,” he said.
Speaking, Cole assured the Northern community of change, urging them to come out en masse and vote for him.
“We are with you. Your suffering is our suffering. Rivers people are tired and are looking for change, and we will bring you that change.
“I want to assure you that we will do more. I have a business background and I have taken note of your complaints about taskforce and pilgrimage.
“Everybody is crying about it — the Muslims and the Christians.
“It is our business as government to help you succeed. That’s what government should be,” he said
Cole assured the people that his administration would provide them with the enabling environment to help them to succeed.
He also said that the pilgrims’ boards would be resuscitated.
“Please come out in your numbers to vote. What they are counting on is that you will not come out.
“After voting, stay there until they count the votes and follow the results, from the unit to the ward to the collation centre,” he said.