Tonye Cole Beg Ogonis fpr Opportunity to Lead a Transformation
…Says they deserve Nigeria’s apology over ill-treatment
Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for March governorship election in Rivers state, Tonye Cole, has knelt before the people of Ogoni, asking their forgiveness for the ill treatment the Nigerian state has meted to Ogoniland.
Cole who made the appeal yesterday on bended kneels on the podium in Bori, during his campaign rally for Khana Local Government Area, said Ogoni people deserve apology from Nigeria for unfortunate execution of the Ogoni and vexed development neglect of Ogoniland in the face of widespread oil devastation of the land and livelihoods.
He told the teeming supporters, “This land deserves much more than what it is getting, Ogoni deserves more than what it is getting. I am standing here today to tell you, that you will get everything that you deserve.
“I’m the person who will tell you I know it all. I’m not the person who will lie to you that I have all the answers to our problems. But one thing I know, Ogonis deserve apology from Nigeria for the ill-treatment meted to you. That I know so well.
“God has given me opportunity to lead this land, opportunity to be governor of Rivers state. In that capacity I believe you need to be treated better. And I ask that Ogoniland will forgive Nigeria for the way Nigeria has treated you. I beg that you forgive leaders of this state for the way they have treated you.
“If you forgive this nation, you will see a transformation that around you and I will be the first to stand and defend that transformation. Nigeria has not deserved that forgiveness. Our leaders have not been fair to you. But please forgive.
“Rivers State has a lot to thank you for. The courage of the Ogoni man, the courage of the Ogoni woman. If not for your fight, if not for Ken Saro-Wiwa’s fight, there won’t have been any voice in Ogoniland today, there wouldn’t have been any future for your children, I would not have been able to stand here to talk to you”.
“Ogoni courage is one of the strongest things we have seen. You fought when no one believed in you, Ken Saro-Wiwa talked when nobody believed he will. The spirit of Ogoni stood tall when no one believed there was a place called Ogoni. That’s why today we are here, that’s why today people can remember you”.
On the development neglect in Ogoniland, Cole decried, “I went to kaa, I went to the market, saw a lady by name Queen. I asked if she would vote. Her answer was no. She said because the government has not done anything for her, she won’t vote”.
“I saw Government Secondary School, Kaa. What I saw, words cannot explain. No school there, the secondary school has been abandoned. There is another one in Babbe, Government Secondary School Luawii, abandoned. Why am I saying this, students, youths are very important to us”.
Cole assured that with the support of the people and their commitment to vote for the APC’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, himself and all APC candidates; their situation will change for the better.