- Senator Magnus Abe has warned minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, against imposing candidate on Rivers APC
- It was reported that Amaechi had endorsed Tonye Cole as the party's anointed candidate for 2019 governorship election in the state
- Abe said that Cole lacks requisite criteria to be APC's gubernatorial candidate for the next election
A governorship aspirants in Rivers state under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Magnus Abe, has kicked against purported endorsement of the chief executive officer of Sahara Groups, Tonye Cole, by the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, as the party's candidate.
NAIJ.com regional reporter in Port Harcourt, Tony Ihunwo, reports that Senator Abe said that Cole lacks requisites to be APC's gubernatorial candidate for 2019 election in the state.
Senator Abe, who represents the Rivers southeast made the declaration in Eleme, in Eleme local government area while opening a branch of his campaign office.
READ ALSO: Panic as gunshots, explosions rock Maiduguri
The senator who has fallen out of favour with the leader of party in the state, Rotimi Amaechi said while addressing his supporters that: ”If someone's leaders gathered together in Lagos to choose a person who will govern Lagos, with that there is no problem, but if they met in Lagos to choose a person who will govern Rivers state, that we will not agree.”
He further said that, "If some APC leaders chose candidate in Lagos; that one is for Lagos, other leaders will choose theirs for Rivers."
Meanwhile, Abe's parallel secretariat in Port-Harcourt may have been rejected by the national leadership of the party as the latest official correspondence from the national secretariat of the party refused to recognize it.
It was gathered the letter of invitation made available to NAIJ,com regional reporter in Port Harcourt for the just concluded APC NEC meeting from the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomole and signed by the party's national secretary, Mai Mala Buni, was specifically addressed to the state chairman to Chief Ojukaye Flag Amachree and not Prince Peter Odike, the factional chairman of Abe's camp.
Abe insisted that though Cole might be favoured by some leaders, he does not meet the needed criteriat to govern the state
He said: "Qualification is the one you hold that says you can be aspire to be governor but when you want choose among people that have qualification, you must take the person has desired criteria. Part of criteria is those who suffered for the party and several contributions to the building of the APC in Rivers."
Meanwhile, Tonye Cole has resigned from Sahara Group, to go into active politics. He resigned from the management of the indigenous oil firm, to contest the Rivers state governorship election in 2019.
In a two-page statement, the company restated its apolitical stand, stressing that in line with the group’s corporate governance policy, it neither “sponsors nor backs any political party or actor in all of the markets it operates including Nigeria.
The statement came on the heels of media reports that Cole had already been endorsed as the preferred candidate of the ruling All Progressives Party, (APC) in Rivers State in the 2019 governorship election.
The statement said: “The Sahara Group wishes to state for the record that as a non-political and non-partisan group, it is not affiliated to any political party in any country we operate in and does not engage in Nigerian politics. Cole’s decision to participate in active politics is his individual preference and choice to which he is entitled.
“In accordance to Sahara Group’s Corporate Governance Charter and International best practice which prohibits any of our key Management or Board members from partaking in active politics, promoting or supporting any particular political organization or ideology, Cole has resigned all his board appointments and day to day responsibilities for the Sahara Group companies and its affiliates with immediate effect."
PAY ATTENTION: Read the news on Nigeria’s #1 news app
It was gathered that stakeholders of the party who said they were part of Cole's endorsement and not Amaechi alone are swelling by the day.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that ahead of the 2019 governorship elections, the minister of the transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, reportedly endorsed the founder of the Sahara energy resources limited, oil and gas, Tonye Dele Cole, as his preferred candidate to fly the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state.
Nigeria Election 2019: Kenneth Okonkwo Interview - Buhari will win | - on NAIJ.com TV