Monday, 28th September 2009, Prince Tonye Princewill, then the Rivers State Action Congress (of Nigeria) leader, said that he would have become a billionaire if not for his love for our democracy. AC party in the state then had a case prepared by five SANs led by Kola Awodi, which jittered the PDP under Sir Celestine Omehia to offer him a N1.2B to drop his case at the election tribunal. But he turned down the request. Princewill stated that with the then Michael Aondoakaa, Maurice Iwu and the calculated plot to quash the Justice Uwais-led electoral reform report, that some politicians perhaps had effected plan to rig both the February 6th 2010 Anambra gubernatorial election and the 2011 general elections. He called on all Nigerians to rise and resist every ploy in this regard to secure the future of our country from quagmire.
Princewill made this disclosure to newsmen at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State, just few days to the Nigeria’s 49th Independence Celebration. He was going to Turkey for a joint venture in seeing how to manage the waste in Rivers State led by Governor Chibuike Amaechi and dispose them appropriately. But the conclusion of that project is yet to place Rivers State in the said enviable position of the cleanest state in the country, perhaps due to the poor environmental agency there is in Rivers State.
Princewill had said that after he closely observed Amaechi for two weeks following Amaechi’s Supreme Court victory, that his decision then to withdraw his case at the tribunal came. He debunked claims that he had received any financial reward in this regard. Princewill made some obvious revelations concerning the intrigues that played out immediately after Amaechi’s Supreme Court victory, stating that shortly after the announcement, Odili and his cohorts approached him with financial incentives and evidence to substantiate the fact of PDP’s rigging of the 2007 polls. This was in the bid to keep Amaechi out of the Brick House and perpetuate Sir Omehia, regarded as an Odili Dynasty.
It is very sad that Nigeria has celebrated her 50th Independence Day, yet there is little to show for our progress. In the Nigeria’s 49th Independence Celebration, Princewill had said: “Nigeria has nothing to celebrate at 49, except its unity. Poor leadership of the past ten years has failed to yield the much needed dividends of democracy while the government was fraught with anti-people policies that have destroyed the livelihood and psyche of majority of the citizens. Corruption has become the bane of our nation. Our roads are pit of hell. Education is porous in Nigeria. The evil of kidnapping should be eschewed from our system.”
Princewill commended the quality leadership offered by the then two AC governors in Lagos and Edo States respectively, manned by Babatunde Fashola and Adams Oshiomhole. Princewill also commended the exceptional quality leadership of Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State and Alhaji Goje of Gombe State. These men, according to Princewill, have been able to provide remarkable dividends of democracy for their people. From his statements, Princewill looks like one who hates to see whoever that wears the garb of corruption or met out inhumane treatment to the people.
Before he joined the PDP, Princewill had said: “PDP undemocratic acts meted out to Amaechi before Oct. 25, 2007, has changed Amaechi remarkably that Amaechi is only wearing PDP as a toga and any day he wears PDP in its true colour, we will not only fight him to the end, but will chase him away from the Government House, through the ballot boxes. But we are happy that today, Amaechi is more popular than PDP in Rivers State and that is the basic fact”.
Princewill’s stance on that was hinged on the acknowledged fact that PDP in Rivers State, from 1999-2007, ruined the state. And the people are yet to recover from the shock they were placed with by the government of that time.
One Soberekon’s case in the court then to oust Amaechi from the Government House, Princewill said that Soberekon’s effort as far as he was concerned was an exercise in futility. The implications of the 28th September 2009 Supreme Court ousting Amaechi’s case before her, Princewill reasoned that Soberekon was been used as a tool, to re-elect and probably prolong the tenure of Governor Amaechi, if he had succeeded. With the much work and the quality of leadership offered by Amaechi, Princewill had said, it would be very difficult to remove him from office.
Odili and Sekibo were alleged to have then concluded plans and plots to hijack the AC in the state to fight Amaechi in the 2011 election; but Princewill was amazed describing the rumour as, short memory span of Nigerian politicians. He wondered why Odili who was in alliance with Obasanjo who frustrated, hunted and humiliated Atiku Abubakar and forced him out of PDP in order for Odili, Obasanjo’s ‘godson’, to pursue his deluded dream of becoming the President of Nigeria, will now want to use the political structure founded by Atiku Abubakar to fight a populist Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State.
Princewill said: “Though, this attempt will be the biggest joke in Nigerian politics. We are waiting, let them come into AC and we will see who will give them the structure and once we identify their accomplices in the party, we will expose them to the world”. Princewill stated that he has never attacked the persona of Odili because he has respect for his elders, but rather, the institution of corruption and bad leadership which are hallmarks of his legacy to the state.
However, Princewill had regarded the postponed 2nd April, 2011 elections for the National Assembly as very sad and unfortunate, having gotten to this embarrassing stage, after resources and manpower have been deployed, and we are told that the elections would not hold due to logistical problems. Nigerians are sad and bitter about this unexpected embarrassment. This was after Prof Attahiru Jega, the INEC’s umpire had assured Nigerians and the world of credible elections.
Notwithstanding, reiterating that the news of this did not come to him as a shock, through his Media Consultant, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, Princewill said that based on the frustrations and loopholes put on the path of INEC by the National Assembly and the Presidency prior to the election as regards the release of funds and enactment of the enabling laws which could foster the INEC to perform its tasks creditably, he wished to ask for patience and understanding among Nigerians over this unfortunate situation.
Princewill did not make this disclosure at the Murtala International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State, but at Buguma in Asari Toru Local Government of Rivers State, his hometown, where he had gone to on that faithful day to participate in the election, but was so devastated by INEC’s failure in living up to its expectation.
~by Odimegwu Onwumere
~Photo description: Jega, INEC head
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org