Without a doubt, Mr Tonye Patrick Cole is one accomplished entrepreneur who has among others years of experience, a business concern, and an impressive net worth to show for it. Cole is a successful businessman who has excelled in the boardroom and hopes to bring his corporate experience to public service. In 2018 when the business mogul and philanthropist resigned from all board and executive roles in Sahara Group and other corporate bodies to contest for the gubernatorial seat in Rivers State, his presence in the political space has given not a few hopes that indeed the Nigeria of their dream is in sight. They believe he would bring the same experience with which he ran Sahara Group, one of Nigeria’s largest energy conglomerates, as co-founder and CEO to transform the state if he gets the chance and win the 2019 gubernatorial election in the state. Although he won the primaries on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party was later removed from the ballot and prevented from contesting in the elections by the courts due to some internal party squabbles. Though millions of his admirers and supporters were disappointed, Cole didn’t allow the temporary setback to bother him. To him, his main objective is the service to the people, particularly the youth, who he has been working to inspire through charities such as his NGO, Nehemiah Youth Empowerment Initiative and more recently, Behavioural Health Institute (BHI) that he set up for the study and management of behavioural health issues especially amongst the youths in Nigeria. And indeed, the passion with which he has been empowering those Nigerians —regardless of their ethnicity— is just so encouraging.
However, as the race towards the next political dispensation inches closer, Cole has also been equipping himself with various advanced leadership skills started at the National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS in Kuru, Jos where he got the pin and has now stepped it up with a one-year Transformational Leadership Fellowship at the Blavatniks School of Government, University of Oxford. The business mogul is attending the bespoke programme crafted for a very select number of leaders at the pinnacle of their careers who seek space to reflect on how they might use their strengths towards a broader public mission and develop a working proposal for the next stage of their impact on the world.