Princewill’s Abandoned Upland & Riverine Political Mentality

By Odimegwu Onwumere

It is still fresh in the memory that in 2007, when Prince Tonye Princewill came out to contest for the gubernatorial election in Rivers State, speculations were profusely if the upland Rivers State people would allow him to win since he was from the riverine area of Rivers State. This was when the PDP had something with Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, and Amaechi was in the court.

“What do you guys think of Tonye Princewill in Rivers State?”

“Do you think he will win? I hope he does win.”

“It would be nice for the governorship to get to a Kalabari person for once.”

“Upland people go gree?”

“Those upland guys have ruled for long, let a waterside man climb that seat come May 29, 2007. Abi them make the seat for only those okoro men?”

“Abeg, make upland people try gree now. Afterall, Kalabaris and the Ijaws are the main Rivers people.”

“I'm just casting my vote from a distance, if I had been following the thing for a while, I would have been able to decide whether or not he was a better candidate. I will leave that to the other guys on the team.”

“…I tire o; why won't a Kalabari or Ijaw man be governor?”

“Let me ask, which party is he in, what is his relationship with Odili/PDP? I think you people will understand?”

“I wish him well.”

Princewill heard all that and has gone beyond ethnic bias, but focuses more on the credibility of Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, to be re-elected the second time.

Princewill is not after the likelihood of any contestant in the 2011 elections in the state, but any that could beat the incumbent in the area of human resources and environmental development gaits, which is quite slim.

Princewill could have re-strategized for this election and could have won; perhaps he left that agenda for Amaechi to complete his projects. Like someone said: “Princewill is a good man and should make a good governor in 2015, 'Ndigbo' in rivers (meaning the Igbo speaking Rivers State people) should work for equity in Rivers State and stop using their invented ethnic nationalities to deny their riverine brothers justice.”

The issue with Princewill is not where a leader comes from, but let such leader lead the people right. And to him, Amaechi will rule Rivers till 2015.

However, whether a view people do not take Tonye Princewill seriously, because of his unbiased political stance, they should understand that he didn't come into politics to make himself look relevant as a member of the 'politicians' in Rivers State.

There is no how Princewill could have contested against Ameachi; this is a man who told his supporters to vote for PDP in the governorship election and then vote for AC in the local government election. This statement was in the past.

Princewill has shown an unprecedented political maneuver in the Nigerian politics. For example, his support for the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (a northerner) for the 2011 Presidential election when majority of the people were supporting his fellow Ijaw man, President Goodluck Jonathan, is one such unbiased mind of Princewill.

Princewill's unbiasness into the murky waters of politics in Rivers State is a rare act of adherence to the core principles of democracy. His insistence that people should give their unflinching support to Atiku Abubakar so far will continue to be a casestudy of consultation with Nigerians and political scientists all over the world on how to play politics without bitterness in the unfolding Nigeria.

Rivers State people should see Princewill as the necessary support required to turn around the fortunes of the state, which at the end will hopefully put the state on the right path to greatness and a make her a worthy example to other democracies.

Though, it might take a lot to convince some biased minded people to take this step for the interest of the state and the unfolding democratic development. This writer sincerely appeals to all peoples to assist and encourage him to turn around the fortunes of Rivers State for the greatness of our country and the generations coming behind us.

Princewill has been regarded in the South-South as the face of an organized politician in Nigeria; at least, he once cheered the opposition parties in the state in his capacity as then the leader of the Rivers State AC and the Forum of Organized Opposition Political Parties (FOOPP), which comprised 46 political parties.

Princewill has in a short period proved his political dexterity and commitment to the state's building. Under Princewill as the AC leader in Rivers State, it could be recalled that Chief Dr. Bisi Akande, the National Chairman of AC, during a NEC meeting of AC held in Benin, Edo State, described the Princewill-led Rivers State AC, as the most outstanding Chapter in the country. This accolade followed, having met all party obligations. Akande then urged other Chapters to emulate the Chapter.

Princewill is beyond the politics of ethnicities, and he has shown that. With this new twist in the political landscape in Rivers State, the Rivers State masses should not find themselves at crossroads. Princewill, though one man, is a majority keenly watching and helping the developments in the state, and should be followed, wherever his compass beams light. The next few weeks will surely be tasking, on not only Princewil, but on all who love Rivers State.

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, Media/Writing Consultant and Motivator, is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Oyigbo, Rivers State, Nigeria. For Invitation or Donation to his project, contact the mobile phone: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]