* Anger, pain, frustration, take over;
* Abe to speak in the next 24 hours;
* Bigwigs struggle to justify decision;
* “I’m not a cry baby – Ojukaye;
* Cole urges understanding, party unity

“Senator Magnus Abe is firmly in the race”, a supporter of the Ogoni-born politician said in a chat with the Port Harcourt Telegraph on Saturday.

He was reacting to imputations that the APC has chosen an acceptable and undisputed candidate.

The Abe supporter who did not want his name in print said, “Let it be clear, Amaechi heads a faction of the APC. That is what it is. Tonye Cole is merely a factional candidate of a factional leader.

“Even amongst them, there is confusion. This is what happens when one man continues to take people close to him for a ride.

“We are watching Amaechi and his people. They keep making the same mistakes every time; keep digging the same pits for themselves and falling inside.”

Curiously, Abe hasn’t said anything since Cole’s candidature was announced.

But the Port Harcourt Telegraph which is monitoring developments on ground is reporting that Abe is likely to react within the next 24 hours.

This is authoritative.

“You will hear from us tomorrow”, a top level member of the Abe camp noted, “Abe will react, that’s for sure. That man (refering to Amaechi) will not change.”

Within the usually united faction led by the Minister of Transportation, cries of Rotimi Amaechi’s high handedness and imposition of Cole are pervading the air.

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Some have already taken to Facebook and other social media sites to express sadness and gross disappointment.

Ikenda Clinton Elechi who is closely associated with Rotimi Amaechi and Dakuku Peterside did not spare the Rivers APC leader in a post.

Elechi who his followed by more than 2000 people on Facebook said right from the Okilo era until now, Rivers governors have been persons who grew on the street of Port Harcourt.

But he said CRA as he is popularly called has left the State and those who grew on the streets to fetch someone from outside and brazenly imposed him on party members.

Our sources say a lot of damage control is being done inside of the Amaechi team right now to bring everybody together.

“People are angry”, a pro-Dakuku sympathizer who spoke to this newspaper Saturday evening remarked.

“In bringing Cole to the table, the same way he did in 2018, Amaechi simply fetched red-hot coal from a furnace, dropped sparks of burning coal on our skin, and looked the other way.”

“I’m not known to be a cry baby”, an obviously angry but subdued Ojukaye Flag Amachree said on one of the social media platforms.

Someone had written, perhaps about him in Pidgin English, saying “E choke oo”.

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But Chief Andrew Uchendu and Dr Sokonte Davies rose to Amaechi’s defence as despair took over and leaders began to contemplate what to do.

Sokonte explained, “The choice of Tonye Cole doesn’t mean others can’t contest.”
I won’t”, Sokonte said of himself, “I believe I am an honourable man and I fear God.
“My word is my bond. I didn’t sign that communique because it is going to be me or someone I prefer.

“I have always said, apart from God, politically, I follow CRA and God hasn’t told me anything else.”

In his remark, Uchendu explained, “Last night, our Leader CRA set up a committee of Elders of about 19 members to meet immediately and decide on the Governorship candidate of our Party.”

“We all met for about two hours and unianimously chose Tonye Cole”, Uchendu further explained.

“I was a member of that Committee and therefore invite all of you as party faithfuls to accept this decision and communicate same to all our members.

“It is in our overall interest to do so. Let us get down to work for all our candidates”, he added.

Meanwhile, the APC’s flag bearer, Tonye Patrick Cole has urged party members to come together in order to face the task ahead.

In a statement, considered his first after he got the APC ticket, Cole asked for the understanding of his fellow party men.

“I want to use this medium to thank the Committee for an unbiased assessment that ended up putting me forward as the consensus candidate.

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“I am not in any doubt that it took tremendous bravery for them to make this decision in the face of serious pressure, especially as my co-aspirants are all imminently qualified for the job.

“I want to thank all the aspirants for their magnanimous attitude and pledge of support to me and loyalty to the party”, Cole noted.

“I am very mindful that it could just as easily be any one of them speaking to you in my place right now.

“For this reason, I am humbled by the incredible burden laid upon my shoulders to unite the party and reassure everyone, especially the other aspirants and those aggrieved by this decision that I will work assiduously for an all inclusive Party.

“The work ahead of us is immense but the path to victory is much clearer today than it was yesterday.

“We must therefore agree to stand as one body and work together to deliver APC in the forthcoming elections in order to give our dear Rivers State a new lease of life”, the candidate stressed.

He pledged to place the State on the path of growth and progress “through purposeful and progressive governance that will bring about social cohesion and economic prosperity.”