Prince Tonye Princewill is a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State and former governorship candidate. In this interview with reporters in Port Harcourt, the state capital, he speaks on Rivers politics, particularly the domination of power by politicians from the upland area and agitation for zoning. MIKE ODIEGWU reports
The APC in Rivers appears divided, with many of its chieftains working at cross purposes. What is your relationship with the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi?
I am with Amaechi. There is a message that we preached in 2015 and it continued in 2019 in Rivers, which is change. If we are driven by ambition we will end up in the same position we are or we were, a divided party without candidates. What we need to do now is to develop the party. The APC has been badly damaged by in-fighting. I don’t want to say the PDP is in a much better position. Let us focus on ourselves. The APC a few months ago lacked the capacity to push for any election. So, why will anyone say he is running for governorship on the platform of the APC? I don’t know and I don’t understand. Until the recent Supreme Court judgment, I could not see any ray of light.
Now with this Supreme Court judgement, the APC is in a better position but we still have a lot of work to do. That is why the revalidation process is very important. The revalidation is not just for old members but an avenue for non-politicians who are ready to play a different type of politics to come into the party. I will like to encourage as many people as possible to re-validate and get involved. This idea that we cannot change politics is not true. Governorship ambition is secondary; the most important thing is that we have a viable party that means well. The only way you can mean well is if you have the members of the party involved.
Now when that happens, there is no way I will not be involved. I have had a lot of calls by people asking me to participate in the governorship election. For me, my participation is not a problem; the question is, is the support there? Every politician feels he is popular. They believe they can win elections. But, it is only at the poll that you will realise that your popularity cannot win an election. But, when one’s popularity is strong and the people are truly behind one, then one will be convinced to indicate interest and contest once again.
How will you rate the performance of Governor Nyesom Wike?