“I have achieved the first and am now focused on the second. Since I am not in the driving seat I am under less pressure. That makes me more ready. They should beware. I have very little time for people who cannot think beyond the obvious. Continue to underestimate me.” – Princewill.
The comment from the gossip mill after and before the April 2011 elections ascribing Prince Tonye Princewill the title of ‘stooge’ of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, is a debasement of the persona. One wonders why certain people have made it their work in seeing that Princewill has always been in the political storm in Rivers State since 2007 that he was the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress (AC). His love for Rivers State in supporting Amaechi should not be misconstrued. This had pitched him and the state’s chapter of AC against the National chapter. He didn’t waver because of his love for the state, and not personally for Amaechi. It is his love for the state that made him have a stoical decision to support Amaechi who belongs to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Princewill’s decision and love for the state riled the leadership of AC at the national level by his insistence that his decision was hinged on the need to bring change in the state. Since he came in, wresting back power through the back door and plunging the state back to the days of darkness and political turbulence as was once the case has not been significant.
People should not mistake his LOVE for the state for weakling. Since Princewill ventured into politics, the quality of politics played in the state today was not seen in the quantity of years spent between 1999 to 2007.
Princewill has always believed that the state come first and not political positions, as many people are wondering why he didn’t contest in the 2011 elections. His love for party affiliations didn’t end there. He knows that it is important politicians remembered that there is life after positions. This is what perhaps he is trying in laying the foundation.
When he was fighting for the stability of peace and good governance in the state and AC quarreled with him everybody in the PDP kept quiet. He didn’t bother, but those PDP members that kept quiet turned-out to be the staunch beneficiaries of his affiliation with the PDP and their cronies are the people calling him names today.
“Rivers State is one big happy family today. We still have more work to do to change the old order, but this is a good start,” Princewill would say. “My first constituency is the people.”
Let people begin to see that Princewill has suffered for this state. If people could see that Amaechi has done good things so far in the process, Princewill contributed for them. Amaechi would have been in distraction if Princewill had been in the court with him, for the 2007 outcome of the elections. At least, Princewill has made sure he achieved his objective that this administration would not be business as usual. This is a popular decision all must praise him for.
“I am an optimist who says it will not rain but I have my umbrella in case it does,” Princewill would say. “We are already popular but we will work even harder. And we will get results.”
Let politics be attractive in this state. A young man like Princewill took on a whole system with little or no support and with a great risk to his life and property. He handled all the facets of AC movement, run a campaign in the streets, creeks and pages of newspapers and tried to keep the same structures which afforded him the opportunity to protest afloat. He did all these successfully. But those who woke up then and said that he was suspended in AC because he withdrew his petition against the PDP are at work again.
“I withdrew my petition on principle. I know it’s hard for some people to understand that I didn’t do this for money. I withdrew my petition after consulting widely at state but also at the national level,” Princewill would say. “Accusing me of doing it for money and abusing my integrity is all well and good because when you roll with pigs you are bound to get dirty. But you are either a pig or you are not and in the tested theory of time the truth about who is and who is not will be revealed.”
Princewill has never been a unilateral decision-maker. He has spoken on the above issue severally but he seems, for now, not paying attention to rumours. His objective was to rid Rivers State of the heinous factor and show people what it would be like to run a model state. Are people still asking why he did not stick to his principles and see the matter in the Tribunal to the end?
“Circumstances are different and the case of Rivers State remains peculiar. Only ignorant and myopic leaders say never without reservation. I enjoy fighting for a cause and if you are going to war for good reasons I am the kind of man to carry along. Fortunately or unfortunately, in Rivers State, fighting Amaechi after the Supreme Court judgment no longer had the same purpose to it,” Princewill would say.
This, Princewill had said, made Amaechi a perfect candidate for his support, especially when these people Amaechi won in the court approached him to continue his case in the tribunal not only for a fee but also with the help of incriminating information to assist him prove there was no election in Rivers State .
“Enemies suddenly became friends with a view to unseating Amaechi,” Princewill would say.
When people talk of political prostitution in respect of his withdrawing his case he says he laughs at their ignorance, reiterating that Amaechi met no money in the treasury, had no money of his own. He had said that the real political prostitution would have been to keep the case in the tribunal and do a deal with the devil. He spent a few days after the judgment with Amaechi, watching him closely to see if the demons of yesteryears still existed and then followed his (Princewill) conscience.
“Although I am now more financially challenged than I ever was, those that matter and know respect me now more than ever before. I didn’t come to politics to achieve, I came to take a stand and make my point. So far so good.”