Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress APC in Rivers state, Prince Tonye Princewill has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in the state to desist from politicizing issues of development, saying it was time Rivers politicians ended politics of bitterness.
Noting that nobody has a monopoly of violence, the former Governorship Candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria ACN however said the state has witnessed a lot of setbacks due to unnecessary altercations.
He said the next administration of the APC in the state will not discriminate against PDP members, or go after the incumbent governor, Nyesom Wike.
“Not everything is about politics. Let me assure the PDP people that the next government will not discriminate against you. No matter your leaning, 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 have refused to abuse Wike, not because I cannot. All the angels know Wike has plenty of faults. I refuse to abuse him because that is 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.
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“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 can not 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 can not wage war. Nobody loves war more than me, when the cause is just. But will we govern over dead people?”, he queried.
Princewill however tackled the PDP for politicizing issues of environmental pollution in the state, particularly the soot from illegal refineries which has contaminated the atmosphere in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Princewill who is a staunch ally of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was reacting to a statement by the state chapter of the PDP which lampooned him for calling iyn the state governor, Nyesom Wike to address the growing youth unemployment in the area to reduce the attraction to crime.
He said; “Most people who know me, know that I am hands on. I prefer to lead by example. That is 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 is 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 one is the lack of jobs for the youth. People can not 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”, he added.