…says I asked Gov. Wike to address the root causes of illegal refining and to desist from playing politics with it
A frontline Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress APC, in Rivers State, Prince Tonye Princewill has expressed surprise over an innocent and harmless advice he extended to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on the burning issue of illegal refineries otherwise known as “Kpofire” and other matters, which the Peoples Democratic Party has capitalized on to cast aspersion on his person.
The PDP in a statement signed by Tambari Sydney Gbara, State Publicity Secretary PDP Rivers State with the title “PDP Condemns Attempts By Tonye Princewill To Mislead The Public On Wike’s War Against illegal Refinery” noted that, “Illegal refining of petroleum products is hazardous to our health and environment,it takes away the lively hood of our people, therefore anyone including the likes of Tonye Princewill who instead of applauding His Excellency’s who has decided to take the bull by the hone to confront this menance in order to rescue our environment and secure the health of the people, but is rather making irrational and baseless statements to miss inform the people and frustrate Government efforts, has in the process exposed himself as a collaborator and a beneficialry of this heinous crime against humanity going on in the State.He should therefore be declared an enemy of the State, treated as such and made to face the full wrought of the law.
“Tonye Princewill is an attention seeker obviously playing to the gallery to attract the attention and blessing of his principal for a Governorship ticket in his drowning party. He should be sincere enough to furnish the public with answers to these pertinent questions, why is he crying wolves that Governor Wike is stopping illegal refineries (Kpofire) if the action of the Governor is not affect his line of business? Since he is in touch with those in the business, why has he not submitted their names to the security outfits in the State as directived by the Governor? finally, can he also make public the name of those he claimed were wooed by the present administration to join PDP and remain in business or otherwise and face prosecution.
“One would have thought that as the son of a revered Monarch, he should have been guided by morality and good sence of judgement, by standing on the side of truth due to his well known background, doing away with avarice, petty jealousy, blackmail, making flippant and unguarded utterances that is not befitting of him and capable of misleading the people just to score cheap political points. whipping political sentiments in a matter of great health concern that has terminated a lot of live, is a gross act of irresponsibility on his part, because at a time like this, the Peoples will look up to State’s men like him to join force with the Governor to come to their rescue. Tonye Princewill should bury his head in shame for failing on his responsibility as a State’s man, learn to grow up, because we have had enough of this political brigandish and senseless shinanighan.”
In his reaction titled “PDP Press Release – My Reply (Part 1) Mr. Princewill said, “Most people, who know me, know that I am hands on. I prefer to lead by example. That’s why I want to show Rivers people and interested parties how to respond to smear tactics. The first thing is to set the tone. It’s like trying to speak English to Philistines, but you have to try. The state is far bigger than all of us, so we must put ego aside and argue beyond artificial boundaries like party, tribe, religion and social standing. So what is the tone to set, I hear you ask? The tone is PEACE. That is what I intend to set here as a tone. Peace.
“In my very brief statement on the 5th of February, that my detractors took over a week to scramble to respond to, I commended the Governor for his stance against illegal refining but did two other things in addition. I asked one, that he also addresses the root causes of illegal refining. And two, that he desists from playing politics with it. Not sure which of the salient points I raised, irked my detractors, but the fact that they called me, both a nobody and a statesman in the same paragraph, suggests enough to their frame of mind. Whenever you cannot recognize advice, you need leadership glasses.
“We all woke up to the black soot this morning, including the Governor and there is still no end in sight. A lot of motion, no movement. Let me repeat my advice, at the risk of yet another press release. “Be tough on illegal refining, but also be tough on the causes of the illegal refining, of which number 1 is the lack of jobs for the youth. People cannot stand in water and soap will be entering their eyes. How many new industries have we brought in, how many businesses? Is it better to be loyal to jeeps and give them flyovers or be loyal to our many youths and women and give them a means of livelihood? These are the questions. I suggest we do all of the above and more, but give priority to the women and youths and spread development.
“Not everything is about politics. Let me assure the PDP people listening that the next government will not discriminate against you. No matter your leanings, you will be safe. What I expect of you is to love your state far more than you love your party. Think about your children and the children they will have to face. I’ve refused to abuse Wike, not because I cannot. All the angels know Wike has plenty of faults. I refuse to abuse him because that’s all we hear in the news. APC abuses PDP, etc. Princewill tackles Wike and vice versa. Meanwhile our children are dying. This is the wrong message to send. After Wike has gone, nobody should touch him. I won’t support it. We have to move on. This season of bitterness has to end.
“People who want to bring in their money to invest in Rivers, need to feel welcome. They need to know that we are jolly good fellows. They need to know that we are all brothers and sisters here. Not political zealots, always on the attack, looking for who to smear. I know we cannot change overnight, but I can play my part. It was Tonye Cole who taught me that it is not only physical violence that we should be avoiding; we should be avoiding the verbal violence as well. If we want to keep on getting what we have been getting, we should keep on doing what we have been doing. But if we here want a more prosperous Rivers state, we really really really need peace. A word is enough for the wise. Not that we cannot wage war. Nobody loves war more than me, when the cause is just. But will we govern over dead people? Egberi fa.
“Thank you for your time. Where there is a will, there is a way. And my name is Princewill.”