Prince Tonye Princewill on 11th March 2011 reaffirmed what a 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.”
This was expressed at the official opening of the Princewill’s Political Associates’ (PPA) secretariat and the unveiling of the conspicuous bill board showcasing the faces of the persona and Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, at Aba road, Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.
The event that was billed for 1.30pm started by 3.25pm, with an unprecedented mammoth crowd.
Princewill in his opening remark said that PPA is an action group that is bent on protecting Amaechi and the democracy in Rivers State. He reiterated that the group is meant to protect vote and make sure that the April 2011 election is not rigged.
The secretariat which is a well furnished storey building is the former campaign office of the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, which the PPA donated to him in making sure that he actualized his misshaped presidential ambition.
Princewill told the enthusiastically crowd that the members of the PPA are not only those in the PDP, but also, the members of the society.
“We have been able to attract large number of people to this association, which will last its usage. The Hausas and Yorubas are paramount, while South-South people in the association are a story for another day,” said the contagious Princewill.
Accompanied by Dr. Davies Ikanya Ibiamu, the chairman of the PPA, Princewill had with him Rev. Uko Amaechi, Bishop Emma Lawson (whom he described as American trained), and Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, who has not hidden his love, not only for Princewill, but also to Governor Amaechi.
While commissioning the secretariat, Chief Eze loudly told the crowd that Governor Amaechi is man who knows his onus as per governance, before handing the mic over to Dr. Ikanya.
Song cropped up among the audience. “Tonye show them the way…” was sang many times. Dr. Ibiamu danced his strength out, saying that, “Today is a very great day” and handed the mic over to Princewill.
In opening the veiled entrance of the office, Princewill said, “I hereby declare our support for Amaech.” At this juncture, Barrister Osima Ginah, the Rivers State Commissioner of Urban Development, sneaked into the arena, at about 3.40pm.
After the commissioning of the secretariat, the crowd followed Princewill to unveil the bill. Princewill found it very hard to unloose the rope tied to the veil till he was shown the way by his chief of staff, Mr. Austin Etua. The inscription on the board reads: “Amaechi is not perfect, but let us make it perfectly clear, he has done very well. Vote PDP – Princewill’s Political Associates.”
In a long convoy, after Princewill had shown the audience the rooms in the secretariat, the people left the premises at about 3.54pm and arrived at the Government House Port Harcourt, to pay their allegiance to Governor Amaechi.
They arrived at the Government House Port Harcourt at about 4.20pm. The security agents at the entrance of Amaechi’s premises verbally embarrassed people to park their vehicles outside the gate for routine checks. As the security routine checks were being observed, people were noticed still trooping en masse.
People were asked to queue behind their banners,as they gained freedom into the Government House. All the 23 LGAs in Rivers State were duly represented. The Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba communities were as well significantly represented.
Governor Amaechi, at about 6.09pm, was seen escorted by men of the SSS and Princewill to the field where the people were patiently waiting. Amaechi was claded in a tiny black Jean trousers and a fainted red long sleeve.
Dr. Ibaimu cheered the crowd, with such reverberation like a maddening cleric on the pulpit. He told the governor why they were there, saying that the politics of PPA is the politics of inclusiveness. All the leaders of the group not from Rivers State stated their support for Amaechi.
The leader of the Hausa community in Rivers State said: “We are here to tell Amaechi that since he came to power as Governor of Rivers State, no Hausa has died of stray bullet, which was fad in the governments before Amaechi.”
The leader of the Yoruba community said: “We are not here to make noise, but our votes for Amaechi will make our noise. Amaechi is not a governor of deceit but of perfection. Princewill has done it before and Amaechi will always do more, if given our votes.
The leader of Igbo community said: “Amaechi is the ship and we are the sailors. So we have to direct him to succeed.”
The Forum of Organized Opposition Political Parties (FOOPP) in Rivers State said: “We want to make it clear that Amaechi has our support. We moved to PDP with our leader, Princewill, because we saw the light in Amaechi. In solidarity we stand.”
Chief Gani, a staunch Princewill’s supporter said, “PPA works from wards, and not from the state. We are registered voters. Amaechi doesn’t have any contestant in this election. We will not allow those who want us to sleep with our two eyes open to come back.”
A pastor said, “The April election is Amaechi vs. Amaechi. For Princewill to be Amaechi’s friend means that Amaechi is not doing badly. Amaechi is a precedent to governors to come after him.”
While it was the turn of Princewill, there was ovation rending the air. It took the intervention of Princewill himself to calm the thunderous noise.
“This is a memorable day. The people here are a fraction of PPA members. The governor was not supposed to be here by this hour because of his no-gap assignments, but he was here because he is a governor with a difference,” Princewill said, and asked the people to show their voter cards. The whole crowd seemed, had the voter cards.
“We support Amaechi,” said Pastor John Soberekon.
“Amaechi is the most intelligent governors the world had ever produced. Women are praying for you and promise that we support you. If we don’t have anything, we have our prayers to offer,” said Dr. Edith Wele, the woman leader of PPA. In another development, Princewill said that the women have been praying for Amaechi since 2006.
Governor Amaechi was called up at about 6. 35pm to welcome his August visitors amidst songs, praises, shouting of ecstasy and noise from the crowd. It took the hard intervention of the SSS on faded black suits to calm the crowd.
“Let the voters judge the contestants according to performance. When I was the Speak of the Rivers State House of Assembly, there was calm in my LGA. There was no shooting in my LGA, but there were shootings and killings in the LGAs of some of the contestants today,” Governor Amaechi said.
He reiterated that he has known poverty; “That is why I said, no more school fees. I have provided money for school bags. The health care is also there. I know that I owe you a lot; some I have redeemed, some I have not redeemed. Allow me finish with the election, and I will keep any unfulfilled promises I have made. From my Campaign Organization, not from the government, I will give you N5m.” He handed the mic over to a PPA waiting member, and the SSS guarded him as he walked out, perhaps not to allow another stampede in Rivers State.