In one area, some men have all the luck in the world. In another area, they have none at all. Just ask Tonye Cole. The face behind oil and gas giant Sahara Energy has tried to dip his feet in the waters of politics only to get scalded each time. And as someone who has long harboured grand ambitions of leadership, Tonye Cole isn’t finding the situation funny at all. He is like the brilliant science student who flunked literature because he is simply no good at that subject. Whether due to inexperience or conspiracies or ill luck, Tonye has found the terrain of politics a hard nut to crack.
His political travails began during the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan. For a time, it seemed that Tonye had secured an easy route into the elite political circle as his name kept cropping up in talk of ministerial appointments. That turned out to be a false alarm as he was pitilessly passed over in favour of another candidate deemed more pliant by the kingmakers at the centre.
Fast forward to 2018 and Tonye had shifted his attention to unseating governor of Rivers Nyesom Wike. To achieve this grand dream, he brought his wealth into play and successfully secured the APC’s governorship ticket. But just as he was beginning to allow himself to dream of sweet success, Tonye received a visit from the ill wind that certainly blew him no good. Due to infighting among members of the Rivers APC, the party’s name was struck from the governorship list, leaving Tonye stranded at the cusp of glory, a king without a kingdom.
Despite these setbacks that would make a lesser man throw in the towel, Tonye remains hopeful of a turnaround. There are talks he will be compensated for his loss at the polls with a ministerial appointment. In the meantime, Tonye has returned to his business as chair of Sahara Group, an energy conglomerate with operations spanning the entire energy chain in Nigeria and beyond.