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TONYE COLE AS MINISTER IN JONATHAN'S CABINET

By NBF News
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Very few young Nigerians can actually match the achievements or strides recorded by Mr. Tonye Patrick Cole. Born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the young Tonye attended Corona School , Victoria Island and later King's College, Lagos before proceeding to King's School, Ely, Cambridgeshire , United Kingdom and later the University of Lagos and Universidade de Brasilia , Brazil where he bagged degrees that prepared him for a career in architecture.

But the attraction for this young son of the Niger Delta who is in his early 40s Tonye Patrick Cole co-founded Sahara Energy Resource Limited in 1996 with his friends Tope Shonubi and Ade Odunsi. Sahara Energy came on track as an oil and gas company whose nucleus of business at the time was the trading of excess fuel oil from the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries. With a  combination of hard-work, resilience, integrity and dogged determination not to be a low ranger in the transactions, Sahara Energy established itself as a convincing trading quarters within its first three years of operation with a respectable trading line from a first class international bank, BNP Paribas.

, was not in architecture, but in the oil and gas industry where he co-founded Sahara Energy Resource Limited in 1996 with his friends Tope Shonubi and Ade Odunsi. Sahara Energy came on track as an oil and gas company whose nucleus of business at the time was the trading of excess fuel oil from the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries. With a  combination of hard-work, resilience, integrity and dogged determination not to be a low ranger in the transactions, Sahara Energy established itself as a convincing trading quarters within its first three years of operation with a respectable trading line from a first class international bank, BNP Paribas.

For Tonye, the drive was not just to prove that an indigenous firm can make an inroad into an industry largely dominated by foreign firms, but it was also a medium of creating hundreds of jobs for Nigerians and assisting immensely in halting Nigeria's unemployment crisis.

Because of self-discipline, he has been careful, restraining himself from the moth (corruption) that is eating deep into lives of many chief executives in the country.  Although Tonye is not an angel, his actions, thinking and emotions are usually discerned. He knows that in order to become leaders for others, he must become a leader for himself first.

Recently, when Tonye name was listed among prospective ministerial candidates in President Goodluck Jonathan's cabinet, my joy knew no bounds.

His choice was timely; a fresh blood, with a vision to change his society and a heart for the poor was certainly not a bad choice for Jonathan cabinet and Nigeria in the next four years.

I recall Tonye various philanthropic gestures over the past years which I have been privy to: cleft surgeries for 15 people in Lagos and Ekiti; cataracts surgeries for 50 people in Lagos; minor eye treatment for 30 people in Lagos; education for eye care, eye tests, eye glasses for 500 people in Lagos; e.t.c.

In my thinking, creativity, courage, commitment, learning, industry at work have remained the hallmark of this young Nigerian over the last couple of years, it's therefore high time the society recognized him and saddle him with greater responsibility in public service.