Eyes on the Ball: Tonye Cole Goes to School

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Tonye Cole

In an age where young people are dropping out of universities and colleges to chase after dreams and fantasies, former Rivers gubernatorial candidate (under the aegis of the All Progressives Congress), Tonye Patrick Cole, has decided to improve himself and further his education. A brave decision for someone well into his fifties, with deep pockets and deeper associations.

Tonye Cole made some impression on folks’ minds in 2018 when he retired from his executive positions on conglomerate boards to pursue a career in politics. Although it did not pan out (he won the primaries, but his party lost their ballot rights), Cole did not fall apart. And now, his march of progress is raising dust everywhere.

One might be tempted to question the motives of the Abonnema native, but that would be futile. Tonye Cole is not the typical middle-aged man who is anxious and in desperate need of a livelihood; this man is the co-founder of West Africa’s most successful energy conglomerates. What inspires such a man to drink from ivory tower waters? That remains a mystery.

According to his tweet on February 19, Cole had begun to prepare his school bags for a session at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Plateau State. This is the well-known centre of learning for older folks looking to enrich their prospects—senior civil servants, military personnel, the likes.

Now, with Tonye Cole, a former Group Executive Director of Sahara Group (a business empire with limbs in over 35 countries around the world), as a collegian, the renown of NIPSS has crossed the horizons. This is no easy feat, considering that NIPSS boasts an alumni list including former Head of State, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, and prominent anti-corruption figure, Nuhu Ribadu.

A bit of research would reveal that Cole is no semi-literate but an honours graduate (of Architecture) from the University of Lagos and the Universidade de Brasília. So Cole’s going back to school is not without consideration.