The nomination of Arc. Tonye Cole as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State is threatening the peace in transportation minister, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi’s fold, whose allies were part of the process that led to the choice of Cole.
Cole, a businessman based in Lagos, who hails from riverine Abonnema, the headquarters of Akuku Toru Local Government Areaof thestatewasselected from 10 other aspirants by an 18-member Elder Council on the orders of Amaechi.
TheEldersCouncilpicked Cole among Dr Dakuku Peterside, Dr Dawari George, Prince Tonye Princewill, Dr Sokonte Davies, and five others. It was Cole, who also got the party’s ticket in 2019, but was prevented from contesting after the Supreme Court disqualified the APC from the election, paving way for thePeoplesDemocraticParty (PDP) tosweepalltheelective positions in the state.
Following his latest nomination a few days ago, some of the aspirants, who have consistently demonstrated their loyalty to Amaechi, have been questioning the yardstick with which the Elders Council used in choosing Cole.
Some of the aspirants that are unhappy over the decision of the Council argue that because Cole won the party ticket in 2019 does not automatically qualify him for the position in 2023, stressing that a new candidate deserves the party’s ticket.
A source close to some of the aspirants claim that they feel that the Elders Council acted hastily in a manner that suggests that “there was a written script all along to choose a particular aspirant while making it appear as if the process was genuine.”
The source added that the disapproval of the choice of Cole among some of the candidates runs deep to the point that two aspirants have started shopping for a party where they can pick the governorship ticket. He added that the party should have threaded with caution to prevent disunity in the party, while finding a way to put the camp of Sen. Magnus Abe in check.
He said: “The main argument among some of the aspirants is that Tonye Cole is relatively unknown in Rivers politics, hence cannot compete favourably with a grounded politician from the PDP. “Even some of the aspirants that congratulated him did not do that wholeheartedly.