By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
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Wednesday 23rd of September 2009, afforded Prince Tonye Princewill the Rivers State AC and FOOPP Leader another opportunity to shed more light on his personality and some of the challenges he has faced thus far in his ascent as a leader. He spoke at the weekly roundtable Personality interview forum of the Editorial Board of Nigerian Tide in Port Harcourt.

In putting to rest all the perceived contradictions about him, he stated that all aspects of his personality played salient roles in his ability to venture into the murky political scene that was evidently in operation at the time. According to him the primary reason for his foray into politics, was an incessant desire to see a change in the system after being involved first hand in the Buguma crisis. He averred that the lust for power was never an underlying motive, since as the son of a first class ruling monarch of the Kalabari Kingdom; adulation was never in short supply. Being a successful business magnate, money was not a motive for politics, rather he stood the risk of losing so much in his crusade for a better quality of life for the Rivers man. This notwithstanding, he chose to contest the 2007 gubernatorial elections because the desire to serve his people outweighed other personal considerations.

This desire to change the system according to Princewill, informed the thrust of his campaign message with one of its major taglines being “What has Odili achieved with the N1.3 Trillion that accrued to the State in the past 8 years?” my mission was to fight to uproot an unfriendly anti-people system; one where the people of the state had been held captive by a government set on enriching its cohorts at the expense of its people.

Another facet of his personality he credits with empowering him in his of challenge Odili's political machinery, is his tenacity in the face of outright intimidation. He refused to be cowed by Odili's political thuggery antecedents and in ignoring such threats he passed on the message of his commitment to bringing an end to the reign of terror.

On his perceived chummy relationship with the Governor, Princewill acknowledged their close relationship, but reiterated that he would always hold Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi culpable for his failure to curb Odili's excesses while he held sway as speaker of the House of Assembly. Having said this, he stated that Amaechi had following the shabby treatment at the hand of the PDP, gone through some sort of “purification” the result being what the State is now reaping through massive implementation of people oriented projects and programs.

On the chances of AC in the 2011 general election in Rivers State, the AC Leader said it's still early days yet. And given Amaechi's giant strides so far, any possibility of an AC victory at the polls cannot be guaranteed if he decides to run for second term. He however called for the Federal Government's immediate implementation the reforms of the Justice Uwais Electoral Panel report, to mitigate any plans by the ruling party to propagate itself in power.

On the issue of his resignation from the FG Vision 2020 Sub-Committee on Niger Delta, the Prince Stated, he had no regrets for his action and if faced with the same scenario and similar circumstances involving “killing my people and destruction of any Niger Delta Community, I will take the same step....for me the welfare of the people matter most before any other consideration”.

On the Amnesty declaration by the Federal government, Princewill said that his position on the matter has not changed, stating that much as he appreciates the gesture, it is still half-baked in its intent. With the amnesty deadline fast approaching, the Prince stated that he foresees either of two scenarios playing out; The FG exhibiting its Military might in flushing out hitherto reluctant militants or an extension of the deadline to make room for further consultations. He took the opportunity of the meeting to call for the immediate implementation of the white paper on the Niger Delta Technical Committee Report as a well thought out panacea for bringing the issue of resolution of the crisis in the region to an end.

At the end of the interactive session with the Editors, the GM, Mr Celestine Ogolo Editors and Management Team of Tide took the Prince on a tour of the facility. Princewill was visibly moved and as a matter of fact wept at the sight of the obsolete equipments the Government owned publication uses for its operations. At the end of the tour he commended the management for the quality of paper they were able to churn out given the limited capacity at their disposal. He however expressed profound shock, that at a time when most media organisations were IT driven, Tide had no internet facility on its premises. He promised an immediate provision and delivery of three internet enabled computer workstations for the establishment. The staff of Tide expressed their profound gratitude to Princewill for his largesse.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
Publicity Secretary, Rivers State AC