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Rivers APC Guber candidate, Tonye Cole reportedly skipped NYSC, omits degrees in nomination forms

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The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, is in trouble for skipping the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, the NEXT EDITION has found out.

Sources close to the stylish businessman-turned-politician said he is struggling to get the NYSC to help him out with the problem.

The Lagos-based billionaire emerged APC’s gubernatorial candidate for 2019 during the party’s primary in Port Harcourt on October 1.

Lawal Isa, Chairman, Rivers State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee, had said Mr. Cole got 3,329 votes to beat other aspirants.

According to him, Dawari George, a former aide to Rotimi Amaechi, scored 491 votes to come a distant second.

Dumo Lulu-Briggs, another business mogul who stood the election, secured 38 votes while a serving Senator, Magnus Abe, got a single vote.

Mr. Abe was the only person who voted for himself in the primary that was attended by no fewer than 4000 delegates.

But weeks after the primary was conducted and won, Mr. Cole is yet to name his running mate, situation observers blamed on the fear he might be disqualified after all.

This newspaper found out Mr. Cole deliberately omitted his tertiary education qualifications in the nomination forms he submitted to his party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Under academic records, Mr. Cole indicated he attended Corona School, Victoria Island, Lagos from 1973-1978 and King’s College, Lagos, between 1978 -1983.

This shows in spite of his rich educational background, he only filed his primary school leaving certificate and the ordinary level West African Examination Council General Certificate of Education he obtained in June 1983 from the King’s College.

Apart from the WASCE, Mr. Cole also attached a testimonial from King’s College which showed he was born on January 11, 1967, and had attended the institution from Form One to Five.

With registration number 4107, he was a member of Mckee Wright House as well as the Literary and Debating Club.

The principal of the school at the time, Olapeju Oladele, indicated he held no leadership position but indicated he had a promising career.

“He has very strong personality traits and was well-behaved,” under behavioural traits.

However, under general remarks, Mr. Oladele wrote, “Patrick was a very promising student who has high potential to succeed in his chosen career.”

Based on his WASC attached to his nomination forms, Mr. Cole had credit (4) in English Language, good (3) in Geography, credit (4) in Economic and credit (6) in Mathematics.

Others include Physics – pass (7), Biology – credit (5), Art –credit (5) and Technical Drawing –pass (7).

With only WASC and a testimonial from King’s College attached to his forms, it seemed Mr. Cole, for some undisclosed reasons, deliberately omitted his degrees as contained in his public profiles.

While he failed to indicate his tertiary education qualifications, the APC candidate sumptuously showcased the training he has attended across the globe and the many papers he has presented and positions he has occupied.

But findings by this newspaper showed Mr. Cole went straight to King’s School, Ely, Cambridgeshire, the United Kingdom after he left King’s College, Lagos at age 16.

He is also said to be an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil, where he was graduated with merit honours in Architecture.

Curiously, information regarding his tertiary education and the record of his compulsory NYSC participation are all absent in the document he filed with his party and INEC.

 

Given his family background and the age he completed his primary and secondary education, it is very clear Mr. Cole got his first degree before he was 23.

The one-year service, organised by NYSC is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age.

Apart from being a prerequisite for obtaining government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the NYSC Act prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates.

For instance, eligible persons, who skipped the scheme, are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2, 000 fine, based on Section 13 of the NYSC law.

In Section 13 (3) of the Act, a three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine is prescribed for anyone who contravenes the provisions of the law.

Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate.

It provides for up to a three-year jail term for such offenders.

NEXT EDITION made several attempts within the last two weeks to speak with Mr. Cole on the issue but failed.

The APC chieftain would not pick calls or respond to text messages from this newspaper.

However, when contacted, on one of his allies, Tonye Princewill, said Mr. Cole could not speak on the issue because the party was yet to set up a campaign structure for the 2019 polls.

All of Mr. Cole’s public profiles show he had tertiary education in Nigeria and in Brazil but none indicates the dates of his graduation.

NEXT EDITION could not also extract any record of where he served in any of such profiles, some of which have been edited recently.

Attempts to speak with the NYSC spokesperson, Adenike Adeyemi, failed as her line was unreachable and text message to her phone was not replied.

But a senior staff of the scheme, who could not be named because he is not authorised to speak on the matter said the NYSC has no record Mr. Cole served or was offered an exemption.

 

*Culled from THE NEXT EDITION

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Kogi East 2019: Sen Attai Aidoko hires 9 ‘wise men’ in desperate moves to retain his seat

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Following the discouraging body languages of majority of the divisional party chairmen whom he appreciated for enhancing the impunity that offered him the contentious senatorial candidacy of the PDP, Aidoko has resorted to constituting a group of nine wise men purportedly to checkmate what he refers to as “distrust and anti-party activities” of some party members.

At a meeting which held in Lokoja and had Timothy Omora, Ndah Paddy, Hon Igagwu, Hon Abdulkarim, Hon Ohiemi, Elder Okwuoche and Hon MM Oseni representing Ankpa, Dekina, Ofu, Bassa, Olamaboro, Ibaji and Igalamela respectively, Aidoko apologized for his dismal performance in the past 16 years. He, however, promised to do better this time around if elected. He professed the benefits of returning as a “ranking senator” with a possibility of becoming the next senate president and the huge benefits accruable to the Igala people therefrom. One of those who attended the meeting and who spoke conditionally laughed the senator off as a “mega joke” whom they only see during election periods adding that “the next election is not about any party but about the entire Igala nation and like Saul in the Bible, God has left him.”

The group of nine wise men was charged with the task of cascadinhg down to the wards and units to drum support for Aidoko with messages along two lines. One, a vote for Atiku and Aidoko and two, push APC out at all cost but through the PDP platform.

Before the Lokoja meeting, Aidoko had held several meetings in Abuja with group after group and person and after person all in a bid to obtain their sympathy and support. Unfortunately, what is said after such meetings implies that his interventions are not making any impact.

Even more, the message Senator Aidoko and his cohorts do not seem to get is that the Igala/Bassa people are saying “our mumu don do” and that political parties are merely a vehicle. Whether or not Aidoko would have his way on this occasion is left to be seen and February 16, 2019 is the date.

Before then, the politically orphaned senator is willing and available to be adopted by just anyone who is willing to listen to his stories.

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Sterling Bank leverages Nigeria’s chaotic advantage

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Riding out the rapid and unpredictable change associated with the Nigerian market was the focus of senior business leaders led by Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, during the second edition of the Sterling Leadership Series (SLS) held in Lagos, last weekend.

A coming together of captains of industry, the thought leadership session had Yaw Nsarkoh, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever Nigeria as guest speaker. Aptly themed “Nigeria: The Chaotic Advantage”, the session was moderated by Yemi Odubiyi, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking, Sterling Plc.

In his welcome address, Suleiman said there is an urgent need for Nigeria to develop institutional role models for younger professionals to emulate in view of the dynamic environment in which they operate.

“When we embarked on this journey as a bank, there were hardly any institutional role models who managers could call upon when they needed to make business decisions. Consequently, we had to set uncommon goals for ourselves to successfully navigate the uncharted waters of the Nigerian economy.”

According to him, the management of Sterling Bank resolved early in the life of the bank to articulate the direction they wanted the bank to follow and took steps to ensure that people could understand and take the vision to the next level.

Speaking on the theme, Nsarkoh listed strategies that business leaders should adopt to deal with the challenges and opportunities of operating in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment.

Nsarkoh said the first thing business leaders should do in a VUCA environment is to face the reality of the environment and map out ways to deal with it. According to him, by facing the reality, they will be able to build resilient models that can cope with shocks and thrive in highly volatile circumstances.

He said companies should build organisations that are equipped to interpret the risks surrounding them. They should also design backup plans and possible changes in the short term such as having multiple vendors for a particular service. So, when shocks surface, they can easily move from one supplier to the other or spread their needs among several suppliers.

Nsarkoh said the economic cycle and evaluation criteria of what is right in a volatile business environment must be viewed through a long-term lens and planning cycles should be shorter because things could change every month or every quarter.

He said companies should review, change and review but evaluation of economic benefits must be done with a longer-term horizon in mind.

He explained that in any environment, volatile or not, there is always a cultural conversation within which brands must express themselves. He added that “in times of adversity, people develop a certain sense of humour about things such as poor infrastructure and their implication on services. So, brands seeking to serve people purposefully must immerse themselves in that environment and speak their language.”

Nsarkoh said business leaders must embrace and understand the context of the unpredictable times in which they live, the news culture of the people and the roles that their brands could play in day-to-day conversations within communities.

The CEO said business leaders must be curious and go out of their ways to seek best practices wherever they could find it, remarking that through this quest they will be able to demolish the pervading tendency of people to think they cannot aspire to world-class services and products in their environment.

He also enjoined business leaders to look out for people doing things better than them and benchmark or adopt a talent base that is vital to the survival and growth of the business, empower the frontline sales team and create a multi-stakeholder approach, among others.

Wrapping up the session, Yemi Odubiyi explained that the rate of change is outpacing the ability of economies, businesses, industries and people to adapt. He urged leaders both in the private and public space to adopt newer mental models based on agility, critical thinking, adaptable learning, responsiveness to change and people orientation as against dependence on intuition, belief and values for decision making.

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Oil subsidy scam: Femi Otedola exposes Goodluck Jonathan

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True words are not defined by the volume of a man’s voice, but by the consequence of his choices. Ask Femi Otedola. The billionaire magnate would never use gilded words to masque deceit neither does he brandish fickle principles and statistics to conclude with a false truth. Unlike many a rabble-rouser, who flashes documents to lock down evidence but never real facts to back their proof, Otedola has revealed the depth of decadence and negligence that aided and abetted corruption in the oil sector during ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan’s regime.

But he to achieve his aim, he did not spin tales out of thin air, neither did he attempt to cut through decency like a butcher’s knife; amid the clamour for better management of the nation’s oil sector, Otedola recently testified before an Abuja High Court Judge, laying the facts bare, about the massive corruption that afflicted the oil sector in the immediate past administration.

He revealed, among other things, how he painstakingly rebuffed overtures by the elements that be to bully and extort him. The Forte Oil boss alleged that he was the one that alerted former president Goodluck Jonathan to the fuel subsidy scam in 2010, even though he was later blackmailed by the house of reps committee that probed the fraud, he was saying the gospel truth, according to esteemed sources privy to the incident.

Otedola, while testifying at the Abuja High Court on Wednesday, as a prosecution witness in the criminal case against Farouk Lawan, who chaired the house probe committee, by the federal government stated that: “In 2010, being the chairman of African Petroleum Ltd and also the CEO of Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd, I realised that companies in Nigeria were claiming money for subsidy on petroleum products they never imported. When I saw how much was being stolen, I went to the then President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan. I told him my observations. He told me later that he had consulted with the Minister of Petroleum and that there was nothing of such.

“I then reached out to Senator Bukola Saraki who raised the issue on the floor of the senate and thereafter, the house of reps set up the panel to investigate the allegation. The defendant reached out to me and I gave him the background information as to how the monies were being stolen. I gave relevant information to the ad hoc committee. I have two companies which are in the oil and gas industry which are AP and Zenon oil.”

Otedola, who owns Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd and Forte Oil (formerly called AP), told the court that when he informed Jonathan that many companies were collecting subsidy payments without importing any product, the president did not believe him.

The billionaire magnate alleged that the two companies had something to do with the defendant’s panel. “AP submitted to the committee documents regarding all the importations of the company. Mr Otaru, general manager AP, had direct contact with the defendant’s committee…On 18th of April, 2012, the defendant came to see me at my house in Abuja after the report of the committee had been laid before the house of reps in plenary.

“He told me that pursuant to what we discussed on phone while I was in the UK, he told me that he was going to indict Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd. He demanded for the sum of $3m USD to exonerate Zenon Oil. I said to him that why will he indict a company that does not import petrol but diesel. He said most of the companies indicted have paid bribe. I told him this is extortion.

“I was in Nigeria when the report was laid before the house of reps. I saw it on the television, NTA on the 18th of April 2012 and I saw that my company was listed as one of the companies involved in subsidy scam. I wrote a petition to the DG DSS to complain. When the report was laid, I was shocked and I had several calls from my international partners and my bankers.”

Otedola disclosed, that, it was after his petition to the DSS that a sting operation was set up against Lawan.

“After my petition to the DG DSS, I received a call from the DSS official, one Mr Caleb ,who told me that they were going to carry out a sting operation. He told me that I would be provided with serialised USD to give to the defendant and they were going to install video recording gadgets in my living and dining rooms. About six operatives of the DSS did the installation.

“I was given 620,000 USD serialised dollars. After the report was laid on the floor of the House of Reps, the defendant called me that if I made $3million USD available, he would exonerate my company. I said to him that this is unfair to a country that has lost about the sum of N1trn to subsidy scam. I took the instruction of the DSS and I agreed to play along,” he said.

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