Rivers APC Guber Candidate, Tonye Cole skipped NYSC

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 gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole

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.

SOURCE: Next edition

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INEC workers, NYSC member, 3-yr-old die in accident

Four staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), an NYSC member and a three-year-old girl died in an accident on Ajaokuta–Lokoja Road on Saturday, an official has confirmed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt in Lokoja on Sunday that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member was performing his primary assignment with INEC office in Lokoja and that the child belonged to one of the INEC staff members.

The victims were returning from Ayingba, Kogi, where they attended the wedding ceremony of another INEC worker, NAN learnt.

Ahmed Biambo, the Director of Voter Education and Publicity at Kogi Office of INEC, confirmed the incident in a telephone interview with NAN.

Mr Biambo said that the victims were from the Information and Communication Technology and Account departments of INEC.

He said the corpses had been deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.

Meanwhile the Kogi Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Olusegun Martins, could not comment on the incident as he did not respond to calls made to his telephone number.

( NAN)

NYSC to post corps members to farms across the country

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) says it will include farming and crop production as part of the one-year primary assignment for corps members from the next service year.

National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) 2017 Batch ‘A’ members taking oath during their swearing-in ceremony in Abuja on Thursday (25/5/17). 02806/25/5/2017/Anthony Alabi/BJO/NAN

National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) 2017 Batch ‘A’ members taking oath during their swearing-in ceremony in Abuja on Thursday (25/5/17). 02806/25/5/2017/Anthony Alabi/BJO/NAN


Bello Ballama, the NYSC FCT Coordinator, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.

He said that the move was to help address corps rejection by some employers through the engagement of more corps members in all aspects of farming and crop production.

The coordinator said that the move was also aimed at boosting the NYSC Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme.

Mr Ballama said the scheme was therefore putting all its farms in good condition in readiness for corps members to commence its use.

“Corps members will be involved in all aspects of farming and crop production.

“This will not only support skills acquisition of NYSC but also governments plan of boosting agricultural production to improve self-reliance and achieve national growth and development.

“From this 2018 Batch ‘A’ Stream I set of corps members who are commencing orientation on April 19, we are going to look into all the farm formations and centres to be able to post corps members there.

“We have farms in the FCT and many other states of the country; the present leadership of the scheme is poised to ensuring the revival of all NYSC facilities including the farms.

“The NYSC is faced with the challenge of engaging the increasing number of corps members mobilised every year.”

He said that the scheme was still faced with the challenge of corps members being rejected by organisations they were posted to carry out their one-year primary assignment.

The coordinator said that in spite of discussion the scheme had with corps employers not to reject corps members, the NYSC was still faced with the problem every year.

He said that some corps employers do not provide accommodation and transportation to corps members who are left to suffer harsh living conditions.

“We have held a workshop with corps employers and have interacted with them and we look forward to a better relationship and working environment for corps members in the next year,” he said.