The senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Andrew Uchendu, has described the emergence of the Rivers-born billionaire entrepreneur, co-founder and former executive director of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, as a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers State chapter, as ‘a breath of fresh air’.
Uchendu, Acting Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement, stated this during an interview with journalists in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said: “Even though APC has so many Rivers people who are eminently qualified and competent to contest the governorship election in 2019, the choice of Architect Tonye Cole is a breath of fresh air into the politics of the state.
“We need this breath of fresh air in all sectors in Rivers State, ranging from the economy, security, education, tourism, to agriculture, etc., so that our dear state will be brought back to what our political forebears wished for us to have as a state.
“It is for this reason that they agitated, got humiliated and finally created a state for us in 1967, hence we are duty-bound to reward and honour their selfless sacrifices with a choice that will get us back on track.
“It is therefore, a clear signal that APC is ready to rescue and rebuild Rivers State through this our illustrious son. We have chosen one of the most credible persons for the governorship seat of Rivers State come 2019. He is a well-trained and well-informed Rivers son, with broad-based education, who has a full knowledge of what it takes to govern people and a state,” Uchendu opined.
The representative of Rivers East Senatorial District said the statement attributed to him concerning Cole’s popularity was laughable.
“I have known Tonye Cole for the past 12 years now, and I have watched his general candour and respectable mien. This is why he is a son in whom majority of Rivers people are well pleased.
“And this was why I found it laughable when mischievous characters in Governor Nyesom Wike’s government said I do not have Tonye Cole’s phone number. That is nothing but arrant nonsense and complete falsehood.
“The senatorial district that I represent is the core of Rivers State, and I am privileged to have interacted with about 90 percent of the captains of industry in the state, including Architect Tonye Cole, who is a successful international entrepreneur,” Uchendu said.
He disclosed that the leader of the party in the state, Chibuike Amaechi did not impose any governorship aspirant on the leadership of the APC, stating that necessary consultations were made months before the decision to ‘support’ Cole was reached.
“We agreed in all our meetings some months ago that after the necessary consultations, our leader, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, should not choose any candidate on his own, rather he should consult widely, including leaders of the party and owners of the state, and that after all his findings, we will sit down together, discuss with him and make a choice. And that is exactly what happened. Amaechi did not impose anybody on us.
“I wish that Rivers people will accept with open hands this illustrious son of ours, a successful business man who will not tamper with our kobo because God has blessed him, and he has made a career in life.
Let him come and join hands with other well-meaning Rivers people to deliver the state from Wike’s purposeless, greed-ridden and kindergarten administration,” Uchendu stressed.