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No evidence US ambassador endorsed APC’s Tonye Cole in Nigeria election

The US Ambassador to Nigeria, William Stuart Symington, reportedly had a closed-door meeting with the supposed candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Tonye Cole, in the Rivers State 2019 governorship election.   

The politician’s campaign released a press statement with a headline: “US Ambassador visits Tonye Cole - encourages his style of politics, prays he is on the ballot”. The release said Symington was paying a “visit to his old friend” - Cole.

The statement was published by a number of online media outlets and on Facebook in ways that suggested that the American ambassador supported Cole.

But on the same day Symington visited Cole, 24 January 2019, the US Embassy & Consulate in Nigeria released a press statement insisting that “the United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections”.

A day earlier, Symington visited the River State candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, governor Nyesom Wike.

Wike has been cleared for the contest by the Independent National Electoral Commission, but Cole has to wait for the determination of cases in court over his candidacy before he is included on the ballot. - Allwell Okpi (28/01/2019)


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