The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, has endorsed Mr Tonye Cole as the party’s standard-bearer in the 2023 governorship elections.
Cole in 2019 had also received the nod of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, to fly the party’s flag.
But the move was aborted by a court which halted the State APC from fielding any candidate for the elections due to multiple litigations that resulted from parallel primaries held by Amaechcamp and Magnus Abe factions.
The Choice of Cole for 2023 followed a meeting on Friday night. An insider in the meeting and one of the governorship aspirants, Prince Tonye Princewill said, “the decision has just been made for Tonye Cole to fly the flag. It was not made by the Minister. It was made by the leaders of the party.
“The 10 aspirants plus two new names that had also indicated interest were asked to excuse themselves while all of the leaders minus the Minister then sat and deliberated. We were just called back along with the Minister to be given their decision.”
In a swift reaction, the Magnus Abe faction of APC in Rivers State described the endorsement of Cole as the party’s flagbearer as “selfishness in the highest order by the Minister of Transportation.”
APC Chieftain loyal to Abe, Mr Golden Chioma told The Guardian that “Cole does not have our approval. We cannot be with him, the man is not a party man. He is a business associate of the Minister of Transportation.”
“This entails that selfishness has been taken to the highest order that a man who has no business of playing politics, who has no iota of idea of playing politics is shoved down the throat of his supporters.
Chioma said Amaechi is backing Cole because of their business dealings, noting that there are “more credible and experienced candidates in the Minister’s faction, he did not endorse them.”
Cole is not an active politician but a rich businessman with an impressive resume. He is perceived to be Amaechi’s strong business partner and has the financial requirements to wrest political power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP ) in Rivers State.