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Ahead of 2011 Elections: National Democratic Movement (NDM) Adopts Action Congress – Rivers State AC

By Nwaorgu Faustinus Chilee

Following series of meetings held by the National Democratic Movement (NDM) lately in Abuja, where the Rivers State AC leader, Prince Tonye Princewill holds an appointment as a member of the steering committee from the South-south zone, the movement has decided to adopt Action Congress as the platform come 2011 general election given the short period of time at its disposal and failures in the past to form an alliance.

To achieve this, the Prince, who came into the state recently, as part of the mandate given to the steering committee members has started to mobilize sundry groups and stakeholders in order to sensitize, regroup and organize them in conformity with the NDM's vision to form a Mega Movement to save Nigeria from what the party alleged to be the “throes of hardship and the threat occasioned by inept PDP leadership”.

He said the various meetings were a direct response to the mandate given to members of the Steering Committee to sensitize, mobilize, and enlighten their state constituency on the vision and guiding principles of the NDM. Our mission is also to feel the pulse of the different groups by gauging their responses and cataloguing same, which will be presented for deliberations at the NDM steering committee meeting slated for the 16th of March in Abuja the Nation's Capital.

Giving insight on how AC will be made the consensus platform come the 2011 general elections, Prince Tonye Princewill stated the party, Action Congress would be completely “restructured” to give room for other new members from across political divides as well as the dissolution of AC's entire structures at the ward, local, state and national levels to give every new entrant a sense of belonging.

While on the awareness mission, the Prince met with the following: Barrister Osima Ginah, Hon. Commissioner for Urban Development, his counterpart in the Special Duties Ministry, Dr. Ibiamu Ikanya, (the two opposition Commissioners in the Unity Government of Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi), also with Chief Williams Igweh , Deputy Leader of Rivers State AC and Special Adviser to Gov. Amaechi on Inter-Party Matters and his state party Chairman Mr. Alexander Suage Badey.

In addition to the personalities above, he enlightened the following groups at the second week of March, 2010: The Rivers State AC Executive, Women's Wing led by Dr. Mrs. Edith, Youth Wing led by Mr. Norisa Pepple, members of the Forum of the Organized Opposition Political Parties (FOOPP) comprising of 46 political parties led by Dr. Ikanya its Chairman; the

Rivers State Hausa Community led by Alh. Musa Saidu, Chairman of the Rivers State AREWA Consultative Forum, Leadership of the various Markets omen and Motor Parks in Port Harcourt, PMAN, AC Chapter Chairmen in the 23 Local Government Areas, Clergy led by Bishop (Dr) Boma Lawson of West African Mission and Rev. (Dr) Ugoh Amadi, Technocrats, Professionals,

Artisans, Stakeholders led by Chief Lavender Longjohn, Elders etc. He concluded his sensitization drive with the leadership of the South-South Forum comprising various political leaders from Bayelsa led by Mr. Miriki Ebikibina, Akwa Ibom led by Comrade David Ekanem, AK CNPP Chairman and Cross River State led Comrade Cletus Obunu CRS CNPP Chairman.

According to press statement from the party's publicity secretary, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, said the various groups have given their blessing to the new initiative of the NDM and agreed to throw their weight behind the Prince of Niger/Delta Politics. The groups resolved as follows:

1. All the Groups including the Organized opposition parties passed a motion supporting and embracing the whole concept and spirit of the NDM.

II. They also mandated the Prince to represent and defend the interest of all the Groups in the whole NDM arrangement.

III. They called on the NDM to emulate the ideals and the initiative of the Prince in forming FOOPP comprising of 46 political parties in Rivers State by reaching out to more political parties and stakeholders with a view to assemble a formidable force to confront the PDP.

IV. They called on the leader Prince Tonye Princewill and the leadership of NDM as presently constituted to prevail on the Rivers state Action Congress to allow for a level playing field for intending members of the NDM.

V. They pleaded to be carried along and more involved in the NDM not just as individuals or as states but as a region.

Comrade Cletus Obunu who spoke on behalf of the four South-South States in attendance, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River State and Akwa Ibom assured Prince Tonye Princewill of their continued support and promised to effectively mobilize back in their various states.

In his discussions with the different groups, Prince Tonye Princewill opined that the period of downgrading affairs relating to the region to the background in the Nation's polity is a thing of the past. The AC leader averred, “there is a need to take our destiny into our hands, since no

other region can fight our cause better than we can”.

He reiterated the importance to join forces as a means to flush out what the party described as “disaster” which PDP represents and informed that anybody that is interested in any political office within the Movement would be subjected to the will of members and Nigerians at large.

Prince Tonye Princewill thanked all groups for the confidence reposed in him and guaranteed them that he will continue to do his best to make sure all interests are represented by ensuring that their views and feelings are captured in the plan of actions of NDM.

The rest of the release has it that, “a minute's silence was observed before and after each meeting as a mark of respect for the victims (mainly defenseless women and children) of the recent Jos, Plateau State massacre. Rivers state AC wonders how so many innocents can simply disappear like the wind without a care in the world. Is security of lives and property no longer the preserve of government? Can we not assure the future of our country rested in our children and in our mothers of being able to go to sleep and wake up in basic security? Our leader was bred in Jos and lived in its outskirts in his early years. By implication this means that he could have been one of those children or one of those children could be him. What kind of Nigeria are we building?”.

Nwaorgu Faustinus Chilee, socio-political commentator writes from Igboetche, Port Harcourt, Rivers State