Why I’ve refused to insult Wike – Tonye Princewill
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and a former governorship candidate in Rivers State, Prince Tonye Princewill, has explained why resists the temptation to openly abuse his state Governor Nyesom Wike.
According to the philanthropist, it was now becoming a norm among the political class to exchange verbal insults at the slightest provocation and ignore the things that matter most.
He said though Wike, like other politicians, has many faults, he said the season of bitterness in the State is over, insisting that what Rivers people need are jobs and a clean environment.
Princewill was reacting to a statement issued by the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over his recent advice on illegal refineries in the State.
Princewill said: “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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”