Prince Tonye Princewill's Exploratory Committee Speech

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Before I introduce what I have to say, let me start by thanking each and every one of you for taking the time to allow me share my special plans with you. As some of you may know, my name is Tonye Princewill and I come from the great state of Rivers, here in Nigeria. I am the son of a University Professor who went on to become a King, and I know that if given a chance, there is no limit to what Nigerians can achieve. Here's what I believe. I believe that the largest employer of labour should be small to medium scale enterprise – not government. I also believe transport and housing, just like education and health, should make up the four key pillars on which social service must stand. But the priority of any government here in Rivers state has to be – job creation.

In advance of 2015, my team and I have been doing a lot more listening and a lot less talking. Listening to average Nigerians, especially the youth. Finding out firsthand what they are asking for and hearing that their wants and needs are not only similar, but achievable. We hear the absence of employment, the need for empowerment, the absence of capital to set up small businesses and their wish, just to be taken more seriously. We have talked to the women who work hard every day to put food on the table, yet struggle to find a voice in this male dominated political space; and only wish to be given a chance to make a life for themselves and their families. I have spent time with widows, orphans and the disabled, who find themselves in this position through no fault of their own, but are still hopeful of a society that sees them too. In my conversations over the years, I know that all you want is for your leaders to listen. My team and I can hear you. During this quiet period I have had the opportunity to think long and hard about what it means to be Governor in Rivers state and about what it will take, not only to get there but to make a difference to those who need it most. I strongly believe that politics is too important to be left to politicians and that if our success is truly measured by our collective efforts, then we must start once again to look out for one another.  Today's politics seems to have taken us away from these core values. I'd like to see them brought back.

Politics today is riddled with too many jokers who claim they want to lead. It's time to get serious. That is why I want you to be the first to know that after extensive consultation, I have commissioned a group of 12 wise men and women to explore the viability of my candidacy of running for Governor of Rivers state. Over the next few weeks, we will travel the length and breadth of the land and creeks to seek your views and opinions on what role a gubernatorial campaign MIGHT play in moving Rivers state forward. At the conclusion of this exercise, I will return to share my intentions with you. Politics in Nigeria is the surest route to change. Given my background, I never thought I would be doing this. But caring enough about the welfare of your people can put you in this place. Once again I thank you for your time, your commitment and your prayers.

God bless Rivers state,
God bless Nigeria,
and God bless you.
Prince Tonye Princewill.