As part of his whirlwind tour of potential hotspots in the 2019 elections, the US Ambassador to NIgeria, William Stuart Symington visited Rivers state where he paid a closed door visit to his old friend, the APC candidate for Rivers state, Pastor Tonye Cole, at his residence.
This was disclosed via a statement signed and delivered to the Atlantic Post on Thursday, January 24, by Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill, Director, Strategic Communications, Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation.
According to the statement, they discussed, amongst other things, the Rivers State elections as an opportunity for good men and women to render true and sincere service to its people, the high expectations of the entire international community in Rivers State to deliver credible elections and the need for peace to prevail not only in actions but also in words.
The statement said that the meeting which lasted just over an hour explored the current situation in the state with the Ambassador expressing his earnest expectation that APC resolve the judicial matters and be on the ballot.
It also added that the Ambassador commended Pastor Tonye Cole for the global interest that his running for office had generated, tagging it as an uncommon feature and adding that this goodwill visit was to encourage him to stay strong and forge ahead.
Pastor Tonye Cole in his reaction after the visit told reporters that he “appreciated the US Ambassador for his kind words of advice and his genuine concern for the welfare of our people to take out time to come to Rivers state. “Even though I’ve known Bill before now, this meeting though warm, was also very sober.”
“We discussed ideas around how to create sustainable jobs in the State, reduce the dependence on government, while also increasing the self sufficiency of our people. We also talked about the possible remediation initiatives for the cleaning up of our oil polluted waterways and lands in ways that benefits Rivers people and the affected communities.”
“I was also very glad to hear that he appreciates the brand of politics that I have brought in and that it has done much to deescalate tensions, calm the polity and reduce political violence. Even outsiders can see each and everyone of us has the capacity to make a difference. Rivers state belongs to us all.”