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Friday, 27 September 2013

POLITICS (INTERVIEW)


Princewill breaks silence on Amaechi & Jonathan’s
political entanglement

Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill is a member of the PDP and a key player
in the politics of Rivers State. After a long period of silence, the young man who quite easily has one of the most respected voices in notonly Rivers state but the Niger Delta Spoke on his relationship with president Jonathan and Amaechi, his view on the battle between them,
the 2015 governorship race and a plethora of other issues that affect our region. Excerpts


You’ve been silent for a while. Why?

Sometimes in life we need to listen more than we talk. As you rightly
observed, I have been doing a lot more listening lately. My political
career is just beginning and so I have a lot to learn. I have seen a
lot of mistakes that I Tonye Princewill cannot afford to make. And it
is only by watching the people dancing in the town square that I have
been able to see their backs. I have resisted the temptation to join
them because neither side are short of sycophants. There are no
vacancies in that department. And since I am not a sycophant, I want
to continue look either of them in the eye and tell them the truth.
And what is this truth? None of them are saints. All of us are
sinners. So we all need peace. I am an advocate for peace, but in the
meantime I am taking a lesson in how not to play politics.

What is your position on the Amaechi /Jonathan saga? Whose side are you on?

I am not taking sides. If all of us take sides, who will work for
peace? There is still plenty of time to make peace between now and
2015 so allow me to preach my peace and avoid trying to make me a
warrior. When the time to fight comes, if it does, we will see who the
true warriors are. 2007 is still fresh in our memories. I laugh at
those people who are looking for Amaechi or Mr President to make them
Governor or Minister or LGA chairmen and whatever. Their hope is that
their side will win and that since in PDP politics it is the winner
who takes all, they will decide who gets what, where and when. This
time they will be in for a big shock. Neither of them alone will
produce the next Governor. God will do that and he will use people who
do not have big names, so blind loyalty which hides the truth is a
recipe for disaster. Count me out of that. They must work together.

They have both made mistakes and are still making them. My
responsibility as a son of the soil is to tell them the truth and find
a way out of the mess. Since I am fortunate enough to have their ear,
I tell them what they don’t want to hear. I blame my friend and
brother Amaechi for this mess but where Amaechi erred, the President
should have called him aside and told him so and as an older brother
he should have forgiven him. Do you know what Amaechi has done for
this President when nobody gave him any notice? And on the other side,
do we know what Wike has done for this Governor? They have all at one
time or the other conspired against me and many others. Now they want
me to fight their war? I won’t. They should go and settle or else, God
will settle them.

In 2008, Amaechi and Wike conspired against me for the Local
government elections, the LGA structure we see today was “engineered”
into place by these same people fighting each other today. In 2011,
Amaechi refused to work with Atiku but went to work for Goodluck
against my friendly advice. When he won and Jonathan won, did they
look in my direction? Please let me have peace. Amaechi won the
Governor's forum election, intimidating him is unnecessary and counter
productive even if he is not totally innocent. The sacking of the Obio
Akpor council was wrong as was the refusal to recognise the Felix
Obuah led PDP in the state. What goes around comes around. I have told
Amaechi this. What happened when a parallel PDP was formed in Rivers
state?

To be fair, both Amaechi and Atiku have listened to me when I have
given advice. They were both ready to work with Jonathan even when it
appeared that he was not willing to work with them. At first when I
sat with the President, he acknowledged the need to build bridges with
them. I can only think that there are people around him who saw advice
like mine through a jaundiced lense and proceeded to act counter to
it. Go to the streets of Port Harcourt and ask people. They will say
Amaechi and Tonye are twins. How? Why? Go today and ask people they
will say Atiku is my father. I will follow him to the grave. How? Why?
My loyalty is to the people. The poorer they are, the more loyal I am.
What will benefit them is what I will advocate for.

In 2011, I advocated Atiku. For now, we watch but I refuse to fight
Jonathan so Sule Lamido can be my President. Is Lamido a better option
for my people? Currently peace between these children of God (Amaechi
and Mr President) is what will benefit my people. I will work for
peace. Not take sides and call one side a saint and the other side a
sinner. People don’t like to look well before they talk. I do. Man no
be God is what I will say. 2015 is not by power, it is by faith. The
child that does not want his mother to sleep will not sleep either. We
abused Obasanjo, God gave us Yaradua, we cried and lamented, he died
on us and along came Jonathan. Some of us including those who voted
for him only two years ago are abusing him too. Ask yourselves, who
next? Sule Lamido? No way.

Our leaders should quickly move away from the current politics towards
the politics of persuasion before they make enemies out of potential
friends. Re 2015, Amaechi is not Mr President's problem or vice versa.
Fighting each other will not work. Nobody should underestimate
anybody. Even Atiku. If you can't even attempt to win my vote by
simple persuasion, how can you lead me?

Are you going to run in 2015?

Yes. It appears I will. Things have to be done right but it appears
that all I need, to do what has to be done, is either in place or will
be. Initially I was concerned about the moral and financial support
but that is no longer a concern for me. The next step is to consult
more widely, identify real leaders old and new and engage our youth
even more. Unless they are central to what I am doing, I will not
succeed. People who know me know that I have a passion for youths and
women, especially rural women. Orphans and disabled people will also
enjoy my government too but my focus will be JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. That
affects every household.

If Ikwerre and Ogonis have the population, how will you win?

That is the same question my Governor asked me on January 6th, 2012.
"By the hand of God" is my answer. It will take a miracle for me to
win and that is why I have to contest. Rivers state needs a miracle. I
expect Ogonis and Ikwerres will not look at me just as a Kalabari man
but more as a people’s man just the same way I look at all of us as
Rivers people. We need people who can bring us together not pull us
apart. Just the other day, I heard someone say that I will make
history as the first Kalabari Governor. I said to the person while
that may be true, I prefer to make history because of where I will
take Rivers state and not because of where I come from within it.

To win we must reach out to all, majorities and minorities. In the end
we must bring out our best. Many people will agree that they have had
sons and daughters representing them before now and yet crises and
poverty have not gone away, it has even increased. So Rivers people
know who cares about them even when there is no election and who opens
their door when there is nothing to gain. They will not forget. They
know who has the ideas and who represents change you can trust because
they know the Prince will and that the Prince means well. I don’t have
the political baggage of the others, I have no cult affiliations and
have never had I have done all I have done from my own pocket without
even a political office. They know what I will do if I do attain more.

My message to my Kalabari brothers and sisters is that they should
talk to their neighbours and make them see what they see. Politics
should be about persuasion not power. Numbers are irrelevant in the
eyes of God, otherwise Odili would never have been Governor. Our
upland brothers know fairness when they see it but if you try to
dictate fairness its name changes to intimidation and nobody will be
intimidated in 2015. The state belongs to all of us.

You have been outside PH quite a lot, is that how you will rule Rivers state?

No. Like I said it is deliberate. Since you have asked so bluntly let
me open up to you. 95% of my income does not come from Rivers state.
Amaechi my friend knows that I do not disturb him for money and that I
go about my business irrespective of what is going on. Schools and
hospitals were given to political friends and enemies to execute all
over the state, he didn’t  give me any, refused to give my political
allies and in the end all I had to boast of was the single contract I
did in 2007 finished in 2008 and didn’t get paid for till 2011. This
contract was given to all governorship candidates in 2007 that decided
to work with Amaechi at the time even though I probably spent more on
the 2007 election than all of them put together. I am a net looser so
far in this government and I doubt anyone in my position has brought
more into this state and taken less out. That comes with its
consequences. But I am not bitter. My time will come. To keep afloat I
have to keep my businesses afloat and since many of them are outside
the state, I have to be outside the state.

Also and more importantly, I wanted to improve my relationship with
God and so I took time out to fellowship with him and get to know him
one on one. This has involved a rigorous fasting and prayer routine
which sometimes made me think I was going to die but now I am stronger
than I have ever been and physically much more fit. So my reason for
my absence is not as a habit but for a purpose. It has also shown me
who can survive without me and yet still stay focused. So all in all
it has been a revelation.

What of the political structure needed to win elections?

Only a greedy man wants to rely on himself alone for victory maybe
because he wants to chop alone. I cannot do this alone. Government is
big. I can only occupy one position so we need a team. My job is to
find that team. The structure that will win the election will respect
local interests, community interests and state dynamics. Let us not
sit down in one place and write a new story for each community where
one already exists.  My job is not to build a structure from scratch
but to bring together other structures into one big one. Political
structures, religious bodies, youth groups, women groups, the
disabled, market women, unemployed graduates, community organisations,
etc. I will lead but I cannot do it alone. A leader needs generals and
that is what I am busy looking for now. Politics is too important to
be left to politicians alone. Our structure will make politicians of
non politicians. It is never too late to learn something new. I
entered politics in 2006 and ran for Governor in 2007. What structure
did I use to defeat Sgt Awuse and shake PDP? What structure did
Fashola use to win Lagos and what structure did Goodluck Jonathan use
to win the Presidency? God gives structures.

Has Jonathan done well?

Yes. In certain areas he has, but in certain areas he needs a lot more
work. I think as far as recent Presidents go, he is better than both
Yar Adua and Obasanjo and IBB and Abacha but for this time, this is
not good enough. He can do better. Especially in the politics. Where
we are today could have been avoided. I wouldn’t want to say more than
that for now. The President knows my views on this. Judgement will
come at the end of the tenure so he still has his destiny in his
hands.

Has Amaechi done well?

Same difference. He is the best since Diete Spiff without a doubt in
my mind but he has not done well in some areas. Especially in the
politics. Before the political space became heated I felt he was
drifting a little but now it is clear to me that governance has been
sacrificed at the altar of politics. This is typical politics and so I
predicted it. It could have been avoided but the Governor was the
Chairman of the forum and that tied his hands. If he hadn’t been,
maybe we wouldn’t be here today. But he is so here we are. Let us see
what happens before full time. This is only the beginning of the
second half and just like the President, Amaechi is a child of God so
anything can happen.

What do you think of Wike?

I think he is the best politician amongst them. He is less interested
in what you think about him and more interested in getting results. He
is an asset to any team and right now the President is using it to his
advantage just as Amaechi has used it to his benefit in the past. He
has served others in the past and may harbour ambitions for others to
serve him in the future. You can’t deny him that. My job is to make
sure that when the dust settles, we are not fighting each other. Wike
is somebody I will not fight unless I have to. I begged the Governor
to settle with him when this first started but I do not believe that
he exhausted the options for peace. Maybe he felt that there was no
point. I disagree.

Tell us about PDM

PDM is the mother of PDP and to cut a long story short because I know
where you are going, it decided recently at a meeting of its national
executive management committee to move away from remaining a movement
to becoming a party. For two main reasons. 1. PDP was drifting and
needed to be reminded that people had options and 2. We heard that
some unscrupulous elements were planning to do likewise and register
the party so we the custodians decided to beat them to it.

Even though we have given PDM life, some of us have remained inside
the PDP because becoming a political party in Nigeria is not going to
be business as usual just because you have a certificate. it needs to
have a clearly defined position on major issues, tell Nigerians how it
will be different and show the youths how much better it is than PDP
or APC. Also I believe that it should concentrate on grassroots
politics for now and remove its eyes from a Presidential election till
2019. It can fight for elections at state and local levels but support
any of the other two at Presidential level if they set a people’s
agenda PDM can subscribe to. These are the tasks and considerations
before the new leadership of the PDM.

We await their final position but I remain inclined to a PDM/PDP
alliance than a PDM/APC one. But you never know. Registration has
commenced online at www.pdm.ng . The first political party in Nigeria
to do so exactly one month after INEC registered it. Amazing. Manual
registration commences shortly. No more hoarding of party cards as is
currently the case. PDP and others need to take note.

If you become Governor, what will you do different?

I will never underestimate anybody, I will find peace wherever it
hides for the sake of my people’s development and I will learn from
others who came before me. Odili, Omehia and Amaechi have a lot to
teach me about what not to do and I will be willing to lean a lot from
their examples

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Odd jobs stacked against EU immigrants

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TV2's false report about Nigerians in Hungary

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Libya: The return of colonialist bondage.

Editor's Mail

Love the article on Gaddafi
We must rise above tribalism & divide & rule of the colonialist who stole & looted our treasure & planted their puppets to lord it over us..they alone can decide on whosoever is performing & the one that is corrupt..but the most corrupt nations are the western countries that plunder the resources of other nations & make them poorer & aid the rulers to steal & keep such ill gotten wealth in their country..yemen,syria etc have killed more than gadhafi but its not A̷̷̴ good investment for the west(this is laughable)because oil is not in these countries..when obasanjo annihilated the odi people in rivers state, they looked away because its in their favour & interest..one day! Samosa Iyoha

Hello from
Johannesburg
I was amazed to find a website for Africans in Hungary.
Looks like you have quite a community there. Here in SA we have some three million Zimbabweans living in exile and not much sign of going home ... but in Hungary??? Hope to meet you on one of my trips to Europe; was in Steirmark Austria near the Hungarian border earlier this month. Every good wish for 2011. Geoff in Jo'burg

I'm impressed by
ANH work but...
Interesting interview...
I think from what have been said, the Nigerian embassy here seem to be more concern about its nationals than we are for ourselves. Our complete disregard for the laws of Hungary isn't going to help Nigeria's image or going to promote what the Embassy is trying to showcase. So if the journalists could zoom-in more focus on Nigerians living, working and studying here in Hungary than scrutinizing the embassy and its every move, i think it would be of tremendous help to the embassy serving its nationals better and create more awareness about where we live . Taking the issues of illicit drugs and forged documents as typical examples.. there are so many cases of Nigerians been involved. But i am yet to read of it in e.news. So i think if only you and your journalists could write more about it and follow up on the stories i think it will make our nationals more aware of what to expect. I wouldn't say i am not impressed with your work but you need to be more of a two way street rather than a one way street . Keep up the good work... Sylvia

My comment to the interview with his excellency Mr. Adedotun Adenrele Adepoju CDA a.i--

He is an intelligent man. He spoke well on the issues! Thanks to Mr Hakeem Babalola for the interview it contains some expedient information.. B.Ayo Adams click to read editor's mail
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