Princewill's re-defining moment for Amaechi
The date was 27th October, 2007, when eight political parties (AC, RPN, ADC, CPP, UNDP, ARP, UNPP and ANPP) decided to withdraw their political attacks on the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State for the support of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi-led administration, as Governor of Rivers State. On 26th of June 2009, Prince Tonye Princewill formally made public the decision that has gradually evolved into what is regarded in Rivers State today as political innovation. And Nigerians are aghast who Princewill is within the nation's polity. His radical campaign for Governor Amaechi re-election in April 2011 is a dire challenges for the Rivers State masses.
When the parties mentioned above supported Amaechi, Princewill who was then in the Action Congress (of Nigeria) received sanctions from his party's national leaders and stakeholders. But he persevered which resulted to the stability and progress recorded by Amaechi's administration today. "Today, we have stood the test of time and it appears our tomorrow will be even better than our today," Princewill would say.
Most of his supporters are today overwhelmed, like an observer said, whereas some of them are sidelined in the area of empowerment. However, it is pertinent to note that Princewill's support for Amaechi till date, as the initial eight political parties took that bold step back in 2007, by 2009, there were 43 political parties accepting to come together under one umbrella to support Princewill's course and vision for Amaechi and for the betterment of Rivers State. Princewill has chosed not to look down on any political party as insignificant or irrelevant. Like the same observer said, some of his promoters and supporters are asking that he sees them in the same manner.
Ever vibrant, Princewill has ever decided to reach the grassroots because he has a belief in expansion rather than contraption. He had a belief when he was in the AC: He agreed that opposition was not about AC vs PDP, but about right versus wrong, differing opinions and a voice for the voiceless.
Now that the 'voiceless' has gotten a voice in Princewill, there is need that hunger and poverty are eradicated from those that are associated to him and in the entire state. Princewill we knew, can do this!
Poverty is one defining moment that is heralding some of the people that love and praise Princewill. If Princewill can on the 8th of April 2009, bring Chairmen of 18 political parties under the auspices of Forum of Opposition Political Parties in Rivers State (FOOPP) together, what else can he not do for his allies?
The Chairmen of the 18 political parties convened a press conference in Port Harcourt, announcing through the Forum Leader, Chief Harry Alaye, its decision to adopt Princewill as its Consensus Leader. The decision to merge with the initial seven political parties under purview was a well thought out idea, which he believed, would form a formidable alliance capable of moving the state forward. But, are the people moving forward? On the 23rd of April 2009, the Organised Opposition Political Parties (OOPP) in Rivers State also addressed a Press Conference toeing the line of FOOPP in adopting Princewill as its Leader.
When Princewill was informed of the unanimous decision appointing him to lead the group, he said: "I knew at once the enormity of the attendant responsibilities of such a great task and found myself in a state of reflection wondering if indeed 'I was ready to lead the transformation of this new political marriage?' The answer to this question is what I hope to demonstrate as I forge ahead one step at a time with this formidable team made up of tried and tested political strategists..."
Princewill has marked extensive, far reaching and wide consultations for democracy to be permanent in Rivers State. His political dexterity has bred practicality, the implications of what some politicians are doing in Nigeria today. And its benefits to the state have been placed under a number of legal, political and strategic microscopes culminating in a resounding thrust to go forward.
Mr. Garshon Benson can attest to the above when in those years in quote the initial formation of a 10-man harmonisation Committee led by the DPP Chairman and a 6 man constitution drafting committee led by Barr Iyke Echie from Emohua under the supervision of Hon Barr Osima Ginah, at the a count led to over 62 formal meetings, only 9 of which involved Princewill.
Anyone who knows Princewill's antecedents in the political playing field in Rivers State will greatly encourage Princewill by what is happening in the state today. By the very nature of today's events, hope is being restored to many weary hearts throughout the state, that live in perpetual despair at the seemingly endless cycle of political violence, litigation - a legacy of past leaders, but poverty and hunger are not included. Today, Princewill has mapped out a new sense of purpose in a direction which will hopefully lead Rivers State to the point where personal agenda and political differences can be put on the back-burner in the interest of the state in making sure that Amaechi is re-elected.
Princewill has helped in unburdening the Rivers State masses of the legacy of the sordid political past, launching into the future with renewed hope to secure a better future for the state and for the generation of Nigerians.
While he preaches against money politics, there is no painstaking that the people need financial empowerment, especially, those who have toiled with him in getting to the present stage in the affairs of Rivers politics. In reiteration, this assertion is about also His Excellency, Governor of Rivers State. Many people had and have collective consensus that Amaechi must begin to do things differently for the good of Rivers State, (not only in environmental development strides) that will change the course of his followers destinies. Many people have only lived on the axiom: “If you want to keep getting what you are getting, keep doing what you are doing," but their lives have not changed for better. When would the people see different results?
Princewill should know that there is Unity in Strength. For the avoidance of doubt, he has supported and strengthened the Unity Government in Rivers State, but what about the unity among his people? Let him take this opportunity of the re-electioneering campaign for Governor Amaechi to commend and congratulate his followers who have demonstrated indeed a rare gift to Rivers State, irrespective of their state of origin. The fact remains that without a team work, Amaechi in Rivers State would not have been possible. Princewill is a father of many and should not be biased. He should have rare tolerance to create the conducive and enabling environment for those close to him to thrive, by engaging them meaningfully, so that they could grow as the Rivers State of his heart grows.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Phone: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]