Following the recent court judgement, Pastor Tonye Cole is no longer the governorship candidate for the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The court nullified the primary he won and also barred his opponent, Magnus Abe, from parading himself as the APC governorship candidate.
Pastor Tonye Cole on Sunday, in an interview with Eve Afrique in Abuja, which was conducted before the final court judgement on Monday. Here are the points the former APC governorship candidate spoke on.
As a business mogul, his do you plan to increase investment in education, skills training and employment services to help the Rivers people earn supporting wages for themselves?
Create an environment where everybody can be educated. For me, I believe that every child must be educated, you don’t leave them, because without a good education, we are going no where.
Education is in two levels. There are those who can afford to pay for education and there are those who cannot afford to pay for eduction. Make sure there is a clear demarcation for that, but basic education is a must for all child.
We all know you’ve been in Lagos state and you’ve been doing so well, how will you be able to replicate what you’ve done there so that the economy here will grow, the businesses will grow and we will see some more industries in Rivers state?
To answer that question, one of the things that we must always remember is that what we have is internal. You carry if from place to place. The experience that one has garnered over the years running businesses, setting up businesses, is internal, its with me, no one can take that away. I’ve carried that and that same person is not a different person, that same person is now moving into a different event. The challenges will always be the same. Once you understand how to deal with people, once you understand how to create opportunities then you can replicate. So I don’t have the fear about what can be done because people are there. People in rivers State who understand how it can be done that are just looking for the opportunity, they will be there so I have it inherent in me. So I just need to find the people and unleash their potentials. But most importantly is relationship. Relationship across board, people who are looking for different areas to invest, international relationships that are coming, national relationships, local and state relationships I can bring on board in Rivers state and that is the difference.
You’ve been in Lagos for a long time some people might say you are not a son of the soil!
That is mischievous! You can never take away who you are from your blood so you are a child of the soil any day. You go out, you come back, but you remain who you are. Your history is your history. All that is mischievous political discourse.
Stating the obvious; its few weeks to the elections, do you think you are confident that you can beat the PDP and the other political parties to the game? How will you meet up with campaign demands?
During selection, on of the things I heard over and over again was the PDP was the party to beat. They are strong , they are grass root, they had a lot of money and that nobody can uproot them. They are incumbent. That was what I heard and so the question was “are you sure you are able to do this?can you make it? Now I studied things before I go in, I get my hands really dirty going in before I do any kind of business. And one of the things we do in politics is to go ward to ward to find out whether PDP was really at the grass root or it was just a lot of word and I find out there was a lot of dissatisfaction in the state. I find out that there were a lot of people who wee disappointed because they had stood by this government for years since 1999 coming up till now and that they’ve not benefited from it. I found places that have retrogressed, they’ve moved backwards instead of moving forward. So I saw a lot of dissatisfaction and all these told me one thing “that the challenges that they have is much more than the challenges that we have as a party. We found that money was not the key any more. That a lot of electorate are looking for people who are ready to serve and that tells me that the people are becoming educated and that given the chance, that election day, you will see the PVC come to work.
There has been a lot of challenges in R/S concerning your party, how do you intend to keep peace with magnus Abe and rs at large?
Any governor first of all is not a governor of a party but of his state. Within that state, you have people of different political lineage, and you must be able to accommodate all of them so that the state can progress. So as a governor, my mind has always been that yes you participate on a party platform but once you have won, you become governor of the state and the people the greatest disservice that has happened in rs is that anybody who is there has always believed that they are the governor of a party and so everybody else does not matter. They want to crush them, they want to destroy them, they want to cut them off, they have no voice and I think its wrong and as a result of that we are seeing what has happened in rs, that we cannot move forward because we create deep division and bitterness. So my first task will be to ensure that people will realise that the governor is for the people and everybody and that we’ll respect your different political affiliations but, contribute to the state, contribute tp the development of the people of the state and that is important. So that is where I have stood. I stand for peace and I refuse completely to get down into the issue of violence . interparty violence and intra party violence. So my campaign was not about that at all and we have seen the result of it. A week before elections you will find that no reported case of party to party violence in rs. 2015 by now people were killing people, people were running away from rs, changing money into dollars, sending some abroad. But today, everybody is calm because we chose a nonviolent cause.
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