A lot of dust has been raised by the decision of our indomitable and highly respected leader, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to throw his weight behind Arch. Tonye Dele Cole, to run for office as governor of Rivers State. It has been a mixed bag of emotions. Disappointment on the part of those who hoped that the said endorsement would come their way or the way of their candidates, Disbelief, for those who never believed that TDC stood a chance or were arrogant enough to believe that they “were the best”, Relief, for those who have yearned for a shift in the calibre and quality of people who have ruled our dear state and those who waited with bated breath, for the leader’s choice. Joy, for those who pushed his candidacy in spite of the hitherto insurmountable challenges. At the end of the day, Tonye Cole is the one CRA believes will take Rivers State to the desired heights.
A lot of reactions have trailed this decision. The vast majority of the members of the Rivers State APC are committed to ensuring that he is elected. The question still remains why Tonye Cole?
We have heard all sorts of stories, from those saying he is not on ground, to those saying he is not a Kalabari man but Sierra Leonean and Igbo, to those who claim he is Amaechi’s business partner. I was one of those who believed, that while he remains the best candidate we have, selling that candidacy would be difficult on account of the kind of politics we play in rivers state. I ignored the millions of Rivers People yearning for a real change.
At this point in time, we have been left behind by other states in issues of real governance and sustainable development. Even in terms of mediocrity, we are not at the top of the table. We need a governor who understands and is ready to practilize the difference between governance and politics. One who is well respected at home and abroad, and by the international business community. One who can parlay that respect and recognition into opportunities for our dear state. One who would not have to run after investors, but who would have investors running after him.
Rivers State at the moment, is full of vast and untapped potentials in literally every economic sector, wasting away under a leadership that at best can be described as mediocre and insensitive, with no clue whatsoever as to how to take us to the next level. Rather we have witnessed a drastic reduction in the levels of governance.
A Tonye Cole candidacy presents us with a choice: Between real and sustainable prosperity and political racketeerism and gangsterism. It represents us putting our best foot forward as states like Lagos and Edo have been doing. It is an opportunity for us to make a clean break, from the dirty and hate-filled politics we play, which in my opinion is the greatest hindrance to our collective progress. It is an opportunity for us to halt that dangerous trend, which sees the best and the brightest of us, leave our state at the slightest opportunity when we come from a state that can comfortably take care of its own.
This is an opportunity to build on the legacies of the CRA administration. An opportunity to attract the needed investments and infrastructural development. An opportunity to build institutions that will stand the test of time.
The ruling PDP has started the narrative, aided by some fifth columnists in our midst, that Amaechi wants to sell the state to his business partner. While there still remains no evidence to back the claims of there being a business relationship between the two of them, it is to our credit that a business titan of his calibre, has thrown his hat into the race.
By virtue of his strides in the business world, from Oil and Gas (Sahara Energy) to Power (Sahara is the owner of Egbin and Afam power plants) to Real Estate (Corporate Centrum), Tonye Cole has exhibited among other noteworthy traits, an uncanny understanding of the Nigerian Business Environment and the requirements to succeed therein. His intelligence, hard work and ambition, coupled with a burning drive and loyalty to family, true friends and a high sense of morality have seen him recognized on a worldwide level, from the streets of Geneva to the boardrooms of Manhattan. His work with the youths and less privileged, through the Sahara Foundation, (which focuses on poverty alleviation, by creating a platform, that finds, creates and connects young entrepreneurs across diverse fields. Helping them grow and sustain small and medium scale enterprises.) has earned him recognition by the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. Serving in the WEF’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, and the Private Sector Advisory Group of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals Fund.
His pedigree as Rivers man is not in doubt. Asides the well-known fact that he was born in Port Harcourt, He is the first son of a well-known Kalabari High Chief. The well respected and revered former Managing Director of Daily Times, Former Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil and a presidential aspirant in the ’93 general elections, Chief. Patrick Dele-Cole.
Tonye Cole as a businessman understands the importance of security in an economy. As one who is not only a Riverine son but regularly spends time doing his business in areas with our type of terrain, He will be in the best position to tackle the issue of security and the plight of our riverine areas. I say the best position because in my opinion, among all the aspirants today, he is the one with the least connections to the remote causes of the insecurity that pervades our land. The riverine areas of Rivers State, while producing the bulk of the state’s wealth as we speak, have the potential to even contribute more, in Tourism, Agriculture, and Marine, if only sustainable development is brought there.
READ: KALABARI AND 2019
We need a businessman of his caliber, who knows what to do and how to get it done. One who will not be distracted by the petty politics we play., but who is committed to bringing development across the 23 local governments of the state. One who will provide the right environment for our creatives and young entrepreneurs to thrive and succeed. One who will stem the unnecessary brain drain that has been the bane of our development. One who will face the issue of security squarely and secure our state, while bringing back the Port-Harcourt we all know and love.
I am not unmindful of what needs to be done to ensure victory. it will be tough, but I believe that we will be victorious at the end of the day. Perhaps the instruction by CRA, that party leaders and members focus on building the party, rather than on ambitions makes sense now. It is time to find out, how many people who eagerly mouthed the slogan “Amaechi Leads, I follow” truly understood the import of what they professed.
It is imperative to note that the leader has not imposed a choice on the party, he has only expressed his preference for a candidate. Sen. Magnus Abe has already purchased his form, others should too. Even if nothing, it will serve to deepen the political process. I believe the party will also do the needful, to reconcile genuine aggrieved interests.
We have asked for a Rivers Ijaw candidate, Amaechi has given us Tonye Cole, as he gave us Dakuku in 2015. I do not think any objective River son will deny the fact that a Dakuku Governorship would have been countless times better than whatever it is we seem to have now. By the grace of the Almighty, Tonye Cole it will be, come Febuhari 2019.
Written by Piriye Amachree; a legal practitioner, entrepreneur and a political enthusiast from Rivers State. He is very passionate about politics and good governance. He is a member of the All Progressives Congress. He can be reached via Piriye.firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The article above and the contents of it are the views of the author and not those of Eureka Posts.