Princewill’s Resignation and matters Arising
Prince Tonye Princewill came into public glare when he decided and indicated interest to run as the governorship candidate in the April 2007 general elections under the umbrella of Action Congress. He took over the party's machinery from former Minister of transport Chief Abiye Sekibo, a political colossus cum leviathan in the Rivers State politics.
The Prince of Niger Delta politics as is fondly called, participated in the gubernatorial elections and was massively voted for as alleged in some quarters, though the votes of the electorates did not count in his favour largely due to the fact that the process was believed to have been marred by fraud. This occasioned the resonating outcry and claim of stolen mandate in the media by the Prince which he alleged he won in the court of public opinion.
Undaunted in his quest to reclaim his mandate, Princewill headed for the Election Petition Tribunal to contest his alleged stolen mandate. It was in the pursuance of his case that the former Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon.Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi who was also challenging the validity of his substitution with Sir Celestine Omehia was declared the suitable candidate to occupy the state government house on October 25, 2007 by the Supreme Court sitting in Abuja.
Shortly after assumption of office, Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi incorporated the opposition party in his unity government, ably represented by Prince Tonye through FOOPP. The partnership saw the appointment of key members of the opposition especially from AC into the Hon. Amachi's led government which political observers believed was facilitated by Princewill due to the alleged agreement he reached with Amaechi that necessitated the withdrawal of his case against the former.
The rest is history as what matters currently is the political speculations unleashed by political commentators, analysts, media icons and the likes that have trailed the resignation of Prince Tonye Princewill from AC.
Observers are of the view, that given the great role Alh. Atiku Abubakar played in the 2007 Election Petition Tribunal, by releasing his retinue of legal luminaries to assist Princewill reclaim his stolen mandate and the approval of his partnership with the Amaechi led – administration, contrary to the position of some other national leaders of AC, as well as the entrenchment of tremendous and commendable partnership with Governor Amaechi, it is already being felt that Princewill will follow Atiku to PDP.
Others are not quite sure if he is still taking time to consult more ,or whether he is going to PDP with conditions to join the party or what precisely is holding him back from indicating or making his final decision known to the public, particularly his teeming army of supporters and followers who have been kept in suspense.
However, if insider sources who do not want their names mentioned is any thing to go by, then the Prince of Niger Delta politics is more than ever disposed to (resign) say goodbye to active politics, so as to face his business interest squarely which is at a low ebb at present. The sources were of the view that politics have entrusted unimaginable, disturbing, internal and external financial responsibilities capable of making Princewill to become poor overnight. So the best option for him is to quit politics, the sources disclosed. The above has justified an article titled “Odili's Influence, Amaechi's Fear” wherein the author stated “but we know where they are heading to: political oblivion.
Recent investigation however reveals that the followers of Prince Tonye Princewill are determined to go the whole hog in ensuring he does not only remain relevant in politics but also join PDP as well, to forestall the above prediction from coming to pass, as they continue to drum their support for him.
Other school of thought, holds that his resignation might have issued from the fact that Princewill is being propelled by the recent political situation: the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the President and the need to liaise with him to strengthen the Presidency, bearing in mind the great consequences that move may occasion in the event of the failure of Goodluck's Presidency come 2011.
From the above analyses, it becomes clear that the Prince's political arithmetic is dependent on three key forces: Alh. Atiku, Hon. Amaechi and presently the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan. But the picture of Tonye Princewill's subsequent reaction will be clearer, probably in the days or weeks to come.
With these developments, Rivers state AC's future hangs in the balance as the Prince is the sole financier of the party. This may leave AC susceptible to the Dr. Peter Odili's Camp with great political heavy weights like former Minister of transport Chief Abiye Sekibo, Sir Clestine Omehia, Austin etc to use and prosecute the Reformation Movement and ultimately rock the alleged boat of Amaechi and Tonye Princewill's joint ticket.
Until then, one can only continue to observe the way the political pendulum and fortune of this enigma and blue blood will swing.
Nwaorgu Faustinus, Socio-political commentator writes from Igboetche Rivers State.