The national leadership of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) has dissociated itself from some online media claims that the Apex Ijaw socio-cultural organization had unanimously endorsed the gubernatorial candidacy of Pastor Arc. Tonye Patrick Cole of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.
The President of INC, Prof Benjamin Ogele Okaba, through a media statement, clarified that what transpired in Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru LGA on Saturday, September 10, 2022 was a family interaction between the APC standard bearer and the leadership of INC, following a visit on him (Cole) after the burial of late Alabo Tonye O. Graham-Douglas, a prominent Ijaw leader and former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for whom the entire Ijaw nation had gone to pay their last respect.
Prof. Okaba said,” We were in Abonnema for the very important function of honoring one of the respected Ijaw sons, wherefrom another son of Ijaw nation, Pst Tonye Cole, invited the leadership of INC to a little entertainment in his abode and that was how and why we went there”.
He maintained that “there was nothing about endorsement of any candidate for political office on the day, rather what was mentioned was that the Ijaw Nation would have to try and straighten the political climate among its sons and daughters in Rivers State”.
The claims of endorsement, the INC President noted, are designed by enemies of the Ijaw Nation in Rivers State to create bad blood among brethren.
Their sinister plans, he added, have failed on arrival, pointing out that “any other Ijaw son or daughter could have chosen to give us a cup of water to drink on the day”.