By Nwaorgu Faustinus

For some time now, the grapevine has been awash with reactions,
comments, views and skepticism of what the former AC governorship
candidate in 2007, Prince Tonye Princewill wants in Rivers State
politics, given his past and present actions which some school of
thought feel to be a political Launchpad to market himself prior to
the 2015 Governorship election . Some analysts argue that his various
billboards with different inscriptions which adorn strategic spots in
the state capital as well as his philanthropic works are signs that
point to his intention to contest for the 2015 gubernatorial seat. But
what does Prince Tonye Princewill, the only scion of the kalabari king
make of this?

The above and many other issues agitating their minds regarding the
current administration’s policies, actions and perceived inaction,
programmes in Rivers State to wit; unabating flooding in the state,
transaction that led to the selling of Obiwale Cultural Centre to
Silverbird, wisdom behind the building of monorail and its
sustainability, etc were what some socio-political commentators or
analysts and the fourth estate drawn from Port Harcourt based
newspaper sought to know in a media chat at Hotel Riveria recently
from Prince Tonye Princewill.

To clarify these issues, the Prince thought it prudent to call for
media chat where he can feel their (the Press) pulse through
discussion, because they are closer to the grassroots than most
politicians and in a better position to gauge the feelings of the
common man as regards government policies that affect them either
positively or otherwise and spread same to the government of the day
through the various media they represent.

Setting the ball rolling, the Prince of Niger Delta Politics as he is
fondly called by his associates said he was not disposed always to
hear about the good things the present dispensation is doing but
attaches importance to hear (the bad and ugly- my words) what
Amaechi’s administration is not doing right, for he is a constructive
critic of the State government.

Answering question on his link with the transaction that ushered
Silver Bird into the former cultural centre (Obiwale Cultural Center),
Princewil said it was the first investment he attracted to Rivers
State and this can be verified from Silver Bird not minding contrary
opinions adding that 80 per cent of the capital was sourced by
Silverbird and 20 per cent is from the state government. According to
him what is on ground at the moment is the first phase of the
investment as hotel, shopping mail among others will be incorporated,
apart from recent efforts to attract Game and ShopRite – two world
class investor outfits to come and invest. Though he admitted the
slow pace of work at the Silverbird Cinema with unhappiness,
Princewill expressed optimism that in no mean time things will fall
into place.

On his assessment of Amaechi’s administration, Princewill scored him
6/10 in his first term as well as 6/10 on his running term based on
what he described as “anticipated gains”, adding that in recent weeks
his hope has rose but noted that the team on board of the executive
does not march the vision of the Rivers State government. “I am not
enthusiastic about his team. They have nice schools but buildings do
not teach”, said Princewill while expressing his worry about the
absence of teachers in some schools. Acknowledging that something has
been done in the area of infrastructural development across the state
he holds that a lot still needs to be done.

Reacting on the Mono Rail being constructed by Gov. Amaechi’s
administration, Princewill opined that there are school of thoughts
who believed that the project was a white elephant project doomed to
fail but he does not belong to such school of thought. While the
government sees the project as viable and beneficial to the government
and people of Rivers State, Prince Tonye is of the view that the
project is worthwhile, achievable and sustainable in the long run if
marched with the needed political will to achieve it.

Responding on what he has about 2015 and what he wants in Rivers
State, his answered that 2015 is too far away, to start thinking about
it, as according to him it is something he can start while asleep
noting that when time comes he would make his intension known because
he is not the type of politician who puts hand on the plough and start
to look back. “2015 will take care of itself. I am not ruling anything
in or out”, said Princewill, while appealing to all to focus on what
Rivers State government wants to achieve. On the question on what he
wants, this was his response: I want to see good roads, hospitals,
schools, security etc. I want to see Rivers State move forward and the
money for the state to work for the state”.

He explained that the goal, aim or what Princewill’s Political
Associates intends to achieve is to arose political consciousness in
the apolitical, make members know politics should be people-oriented
as well as build army of people who will question, criticize
constructively the policies and programmes of the government of the

On empowerment he said he was more interested in giving postgraduate
scholarship to Rivers State natives but the state government favoured
graduate scholarship, explaining that the Rivers state has the largest
number of natives who are on scholarships around the globe when
compared with other states in Nigeria.
On national issues such as the realistic revenue sharing formula,
sovereign national conference and the recent petroleum scarcity in
Port Harcourt he said there is need to look for appropriate revenue
sharing formula that will assuage the needs of other brother states
especially in the north and supported sovereign national conference to
be held, as no one knows what the future holds. According to him, the
sooner they had discussion the better, because in the absence of
dialogue there can only be distrust. Describing the present fuel
scarcity as embarrassing, he pointedly blamed the federal government
for it.

Finally on his take on the Greater Port Harcourt City. For him it is
a project that can be developed in addition to other parts of the
state as it can be driven by the private sector.


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