POLITICAL leaders in Rivers State, one of the key oil and gas states in Southern Nigeria, who are not in the same boat with Governor Chibuike Amaechi, are currently scampering for official and private security cover.
They are allegedly being threatened by public functionaries said to be loyal to the governor. A former ally of the governor and scion of the Kalabari monarch, Prince Tonye Princewill, made this worrisome development known in a statement to AkanimoReports and other news platforms in Nigeria.
”We feel prompted to do so because people who are prepared to go to such a length to smear your character don’t mean well for you. An angry man is a threat. An angry government is an ability to carry out that threat”, he said.
According to him, the crisis in the state ”has brought out the worst in our government leaders. Tolerance has been thrown out the window and criticism is no longer heard even if it is constructive. Just like our friend Tony Uranta, i must now live in fear of my life”.
Trouble started following a recent interview he granted Viewpoint, Princewill articulated his view on the crisis and tried to share with the citizenry the reason why the current attempts to paint President Goodluck Jonathan, black were not only disingenuous but not in the interest of Rivers people.
He went further to highlight that his disagreement with Governor Amaechi, was not personal but based on the principle of calling a spade a spade, and just as he had often commended him for the good works he had done, he would also chastise him whenever he did not. That applies to his recent position.
”This has been my consistent theme in Rivers state. When the governor said that all our militants were criminals, i disagreed; when he celebrated the building of schools and hospitals, i suggested we wait first wait for full functionality; when the governor decided to buy a new plane, i protested. When the governor decided to be the spokesperson for the opposition while in PDP, i advised against it, and when he decided to sack the Obio Akpor Local Government council, again i said it was wrong. In all cases i told him privately before saying it publicly – for the record”, Princewill said .
Princewill, a former governorship candidate on the platform of ACN, one of the parties that formed the All Peoples Congress (APC) says he is against moving to the opposition party, and fighting the president.
”My stand should not warrant the kind of response i am getting from a whole government spokesperson, who really should be busy doing several other things”, he said, pointing out that a prominent Niger Delta activist called the him recently to tell him that he had been threatened by someone very high up in Rivers State Government for something he was supposed to have said and that i have been mentioned within the threat as well.
”Before now, we would have laughed it off as ridiculous but after today’s interview, we are not so sure. Such a vicious attack today (Monday) on radio from a lady who we had previously viewed with high regard only suggests that this crisis has brought out the worst in our government leaders. Tolerance has been thrown out the window and criticism is no longer heard even if it is constructive. Just like our friend, Tony Uranta, I must now live in fear of MY life”, Princewill said.
Continuing, he said, ”we have since tabled documents before Rhythm 93.7, and reacted for the records to demonstrate the truth in my comments and the holes in her’s. While we await her evidence to back her claims, the issue no doubt will be the subject of legal proceedings so that Rivers people can see for themselves who is really telling the truth.
” In addition to legal advice we have also taken other advice and written to the Inspector General of Police and the Director, SSS. We feel prompted to do so because people who are prepared to go to this length to smear your character don’t mean well for you. An angry man is a threat. An angry government is an ability to carry out that threat”.
The information commissioner is claiming that Princewill is angry because the governor took contracts away from him. But the Kalabari prince says she is trivialising the situation and that it is akin to clutching at straws.
”What a coincidence she comes out now on the same programme barely a week after my public opposition to government’s anti Johnathan stance. Rather than the waste management contract or any other contract taken from me; it is clear from our documents that it is the information commissioner that has sought to misinform”, he said.