Princewill Didn't Lose Sight

by Odimegwu Onwumere

I decided to review an article by one Kemi Lawal, titled, “Princewill loses sight”, Punch, Sunday, 27 Mar 2011, as not to cause unnecessary distraction in the Rivers State 2011 elections, especially the gubernatorial election, where the big wigs in the state’s politics came out, with their supporters en masse, to iron it out with the incumbent Governor Chibuike Amaechi.

Lawal was so furious in that terse news article, though I regard it as an indirect advise by Lawal to Prince Tonye Princewill, that he was not rising to the occasion, as was expected of him in the gubernatorial election, by his astronomical supporters, to clinch the number one seat in the political echelon of Rivers State; but I think Lawal cried more than the bereaved.

He cried more than the bereaved because anyone who has been following the political events as they happened in Rivers State would attest to this fact that Princewill has never in time gone “oblivion” since he ventured into the state’s politics over five years ago as Lawal wanted us to believe. “Just when many were expecting him to take the bull by the horn, Princewill went silent on his admirers and all hopes of him occupying the number one seat in the state went into oblivion,” Lawal wrote.

All people cannot be at the same place at the same time. I have said it before and must repeat it that Princewill was it who brought the peace that is in the Rivers State politics today (skirmishes in the different parties apart), when one 27th October, 2007, he brought eight political parties (AC, RPN, ADC, CPP, UNDP, ARP, UNPP and ANPP) together, with a decision to withdraw their political attacks on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State for the support of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi-led administration, as Governor of Rivers State.

Princewill did not lose sight by doing that. On 26th of June 2009, he formally made public the decision that has gradually evolved into what is regarded in Rivers State today as political innovation. And Nigerians are aghast who Princewill is within the nation’s polity, even though that he has not become the governor that Lawal was preaching of him with a rather bias intention for Princewill’s supporters to begin to loathe him.

Princewill campaigned for Governor Amaechi’s re-election in the April 2011 elections so that someday somebody would campaign for him to become the governor of Rivers State that Lawal was crying bitterly about him, maybe to be appointed Princewill’s media chief, if Princewill wants. Where I had expected Lawal to say that Princewill is losing sight is on the area of his chief campaigners and supporters in the 2007 he is losing grip of, because they alleged that he left them to their fate, in the area of empowerment, and not because he did not contest to be governor in the April polls. Princewill seemed not to be disturbed or doing something about this mass exodus with which he loses grip of these people. Or, are they the people losing grip of Princewill?

Notwithstanding, Princewill’s support for Amaechi till date, as the initial eight political parties took that bold step back in 2007, by 2009, there were 43 political parties accepting to come together under one umbrella to support Princewill’s course and vision for Amaechi and for the betterment of Rivers State.

Even though that he has not become the Lawal’s governor, Princewill is known to be a lover of the grassroots because he has a belief in expansion rather than contraption. He had a belief when he was in the AC: He agreed that opposition was not about AC vs PDP, but about right versus wrong, differing opinions and a voice for the voiceless. Lawal should aswell understand that Princewill is not about supporters vs. governorship, but about his supporters to support the progress of Rivers State, irrespective of who is governor and who has not become governor.

Princewill can never be in “oblivion” as I had once said: he has marked extensive, far reaching and wide consultations for democracy to be permanent in Rivers State. His political dexterity has bred practicality, the implications of what some politicians are doing in Nigeria today; its benefits to the state have been placed under a number of legal, political and strategic microscopes culminating in a resounding thrust to go forward.

I think Lawal does not know Princewill’s antecedents in the political playing field in Rivers State before saying that he has lost political sight. If Lawal knew, he would greatly encourage Princewill by what is happening in the state today. If Lawal did, he would be congratulating Princewill, for restoring hope to many weary hearts throughout the state, that once lived in perpetual despair at the seemingly endless cycle of political violence.

Prince Tonye Princewill was never in “oblivion” because he, on 11th March 2011, reaffirmed what Elaine Agather had said: “The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it”, when he led an enlarged members of the Princewill’s Political Associates (PPA) to the official opening of the group’s secretariat and the unveiling of the conspicuous bill board showcasing the faces of Governor Chibuike Amaechi in support of the latter’s re-election.

However, for space, I will advise persons like Lawal to stop seeing insincerity as a method by which they can multiply their personalities. “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink,” George Orwell, (English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950).

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