The boisterous music has stopped. So has the vociferous singsong of hailers and praise singers who had coined different gubernatorial nomenclatures like ‘Excellency’, ‘Awaiting Governor’, and ‘Incoming’ among others, for Tonye Cole, the factional governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State.
After months of building castles in the air and fantasising about his presumptive position, the Supreme Court, last week, ruled that the APC will not field any candidate in Rivers State in the general elections, except for the presidential polls. This, effectively, nullifies the ambition of APC and Tonye.
The first sign of trouble was when the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, dismissed an appeal instituted by the party, challenging the ruling of the Justice Chiwendu Nworgu of the Rivers State High Court, which nullified the party’s wards, local governments, and state congresses for filing in names of its candidates after the stipulated time in the constitution.
Prior to that, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on January 7, had annulled the primaries conducted by the two factions of the party and also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from presenting Tonye or his major traducer, Senator Magnus Abe, and other candidates of the APC in the 2019 governorship election. A very successful businessman by every standard, Tonye resigned from Sahara Energy which he co-founded with his friends (Tope Shonubi and Ade Odunsi), to dabble into politics. With the apex court ruling, Tonye’s friends and hangers-on who had hoped it would be their time in the sun had he win the governorship election have now thinned out, looking for where to eventually pitch their tent in the years ahead. Tonye is currently a dejected man having left his position as ED in Sahara while his foray into politics as not only cost him money, it almost cost him his life.