Nigeria's VP Not Disqualified - Party Chief
Nigeria's Vice President Not Disqualified - Party Chief
Prince Tonye Princewill, the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in Rivers State, on Tuesday, unfolded his plans for the state. In some 30 minutes chat with AKANIMO SAMPSON, our Port Harcourt Bureau Chief, he bared his mind on a number of issues.
QUESTION: You look so young for the office you are running for. How will you like to introduce yourself for those who don't know you?
I am Prince Tonye Princewill, a petroleum engineer and the governorship candidate of the Action Congress for Rivers State . I was born 38 years ago, I am the only son of the Amanayebo of Kalabari Kingdom.I got my first degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Port-Harcourt, before proceeding to the United Kingdom for a Masters Degree in Mineral Resources Engineering from the Imperial College in London. I have qualifications in Information Technology, and Project Management which places me in a privileged position to have and exercise options. Whether there is oil or no oil, I will survive. Whether there is Information Technology or not I will survive, and whether there are projects or no projects, I can create them. I am not coming in to politics to achieve; I have come to politics to perform. Unfortunately many of our politicians do not have these options, many our youths do not have these options and so the tendency to see things as a do or die affair or as a way of feeding your family persists. We are here to give people options. Just like we have.
QUESTION: There are talks around the corners that you are canvassing support for someone. Are you being sponsored by any one?
This is total falsehood. It is a figment of imagination of fickle and feeble minds in the PDP who think that tarnishing my image with such an unsubstantiated and unbelievable rumour will reduce my popularity and the public support I am current enjoying. I represent those who believe it is time to effect a change; a change for the total emancipation of the masses and rebuilding the falling walls of Rivers State . Therefore, linking me with this worthless and baseless rumour milling around is most unfortunate and morally debasing on the side of its originators. But why should I be fronting for any body while from all indications I am the candidate to beat in this race? With the massive support I have enjoyed in all the rallies I have organized so far I am very convinced of winning Rivers State convincingly.
QUESTION: The Presidential flag bearer of your party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has been disqualified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). What is your position on that?
Atiku has not been disqualified by any court of competent jurisdiction in the country. The recent separate rulings of the Appeal Court and the Federal High Court, Abuja did not disqualify him from the Presidential race, and besides, their judgments are not contradictory as they affect the candidature of Vice President Atiku Abubakar.I want to emphasise here that INEC has based its disqualification of Atiku from the election on the basis that he has been indicted by the Ojo Panel/EFCC Report on the activities of PTDF. However, as the case may be, the Federal High Court judgment states that Atiku stands not indicted. This ruling therefore has removed the basis for INEC to exercise the power of disqualifying Atiku. As I am speaking with you guys our Presidential Candiadte is busy with his campaigns does that shows of a person disqualified? But no as he will not only contest this election but will win the presidential election without any qualms.
QUESTION: What if INEC holds the election even if the court rules in his favour?
Look, the entire process has been tailored to actualize a dream, and that is how to bar our Presidential flag bearer from contesting the April poll. The most annoying thing is that the Presidency, FG, PDP, INEC, ICPC, EFCC and other State agencies in the hands of Mr. President have become gross violators of certain Provisions of the Constitution as well as become serial sadists who have no respect and regard for the Rule of Law. In other words, this administration has an intimidating track record of flouting Court orders, and Nigerians should not be surprised if INEC despite court orders to clear Atiku goes ahead with the election. Should this situation arise, the Action Congress will resist it vehemently and decisively and for avoidance doubt such an election without our Presidential candidate shell be null and void as it would have being organized contrary to lay down electoral and constitutional provisions.
QUESTION: Hostage taking is an issue in your state. How ready are you for the militants?
You see, it is very wrong to start proffering measures to combat these hostage takers without taking pains to appreciate why they are aggrieved. Personally, instead of rolling out tanks or unleashing mayhem on these agitators, the provision of electricity, good roads, pipe borne water, basic healthcare facilities, most importantly to provide employment to most of the youths from these areas through skill acquisition schemes etc which will calm down to a reasonable extent the troubling nerves of these people. All that needs to be done in arresting the situation as well as youth restiveness in Rivers State is by developing a socio- economic blue-print through which we should be able to provide infrastructure very quickly as well as provide positive and viable options for our teeming youths. And mind you that my party AC is the only party with serious plans and programme for the emancipation and immediate transformation of this region through establishing Ministry of Niger-Delta and appointment of one of our sons to man this Ministry with an ambitious developmental plan similar to Abuja to make the region one of the best regions in the world.
QUESTION: . How would you create jobs for the teeming youth population?
I have said it several times that my administration will be children-youth friendly. Being the most affected in terms of unemployment, we are going to set up a Skill Acquisition Centre where youths will be trained in Trades of their choice. After the training, the beneficiaries will be provided with facilities as well as grants for easy take off. Equally, a youth empowerment programme will be evolved as part of our human development and capacity building programmes aimed at creating jobs. To this end, two Youth Entrepreneurship Centers will be built in each of the 23 LGAs in the State, as well as other programmes. My administration is going to provide free education from my primary to university level which to me will be the best legacy to any youth wich will liberate them from the abject poverty the present administration and the intention of PDP to perpetuate our people to if such an evil party is reelected to power that is why we are making sure that such evil intended for our people is not allowed to happen in our lifetime.
QUESTION: What do you think the Odili-led government has not done which will seek the attention of your government? Can you give an assessment of the state from the last eight years?
When we say AC coming on board to effect positive change geared towards bettering the lot of the masses, the whole lot of areas need to be touched. We are coming to reposition the State and surmount the enormous challenges that are located in the areas of education, health, agriculture, infrastructure development, administration and provision of social services to the people of Rivers State . Generally, this outgoing administration has not fared well considering the fact that a whooping 1.3 Trillion Naira has passed through its coffers without anything to show for it.
QUESTION: Are you satisfied with the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)?
If the operations and NDDC have been favourable to the people of the Niger-Delta region, I bet you all these youth restiveness, hostage taking, militia activities etc would have been reduced to the barest minimum. What we are saying is that issues like the Land Use Decree, Petroleum Acts and other Laws that encroach on the fundamental rights of the people of the region should be jettisoned by the Federal Government in order for NDDC to function effectively.
QUESTION: What will you do particularly with the power sector where over 60 billion naira IPP project is yet to bring visible results?
The Independent Power Project of the Odili administration is a hoax, with well over 60billion Naira sunk into the project, yet there is no power supply. We are to embark on a truly realizable and efficient Independent power project that will not only rely on gas but solar or dam as an alternative to make Rivers State a model in power generation and provision in the country.
QUESTION: Are you satisfied with the preparedness of INEC for the general elections? What you do you suggest should be done if INEC fails Nigerians?
The INEC that is supposed to be an unbiased umpire has played itself into the hands of the Presidency, and this is responsible for the protracted legal tussle between it and the various political parties as well as candidates who feel that INEC has trampled on their rights to contest election in the country. The preparations of INEC, coupled with its operations suggest total failure on its ability to conduct free and fair election. However, should there be no elections the Senate President would assume the mantle of leadership, and conduct election for Nigerians. If the Presidency thinks INEC’s failure to conduct a widely acceptable election will attract a minute extension, it means they are joking.
QUESTION: Sara Igbe with PDP elders of the Kalabari Kingdom vows to destroy the broom. What is your plan to first secure the vote of your people?
It is very simple. Everybody in Rivers State knows that the PDP has failed, and with the clamour for a change, I am highly convinced, confident and optimistic that the Kalabari people will vote massively for AC. For avoidance of doubt Sara Igbe is no longer relevant within the scheme of things in the Kalabari Kingdom and we are to make sure that his plots to perpetuate a corruptive system through sustaining a party like PDP in the State are frustrated by winning this election convincingly. I am not only going to win most of the votes in this kingdom but the entire state as surprisingly the People Deceiving Party( PD) is going into this election without any official candidate if the current crisis within the fading party is anything to go by and with the massive support and mammoth crowds that welcome us in all the rallies organized not only in this kingdom but the entire State is anything to go by.
QUESTION: What will you do if you are rigged out in the elections?
Rig me out? Well, wait and see. That era has gone and we are battle ready to march the PDP strength for strength. The AC and other political parties have vowed to resist any form of rigging by the PDP in this forthcoming general poll if they are still contesting the gubernatorial election in the State.
QUESTION: All in all, what do you think will be unique in an AC-led government of Rivers state?
Change! Change! and Change for the total emancipation of Rivers people from misrule by previous administrations. We are coming on board to effect a change that will bring positive infrastructure and human development to the door steps of the entire people of Rivers State .
QUESTION: The other day your Media Consultant, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze told the press of your intention to probe the Odili’s administration if elected- how feasible can this be?
My Media Consultant has my approval for whatever policy statements he utters as regards our intention and plans to salvage this state from the miss-rule it has suffered these past eight years. I will like to assure all and sundry that His Excellency Governor Peter Odili must be made to account the source of money we were made to understand he wasted during his ill-fated Presidential campaigns and other numerous personal projects that are being attributed to him. Should in our investigations he or any of his agents or functionaries are find culpable in any act of corruption they will surely be made to cough out any public fund misappropriated as we need funds for the rapid transformation of our State and implementation of our infrastructural development, provision of free qualitative education and health services in the State and many developmental programmes mapped out for implementation by my administration.