The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Tonye Princewill, clashed on Wednesday over illegal refineries in the state.
The PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Tambari Sydney Gbara, had in a statement accused criticised Princewill for making unfounded allegations against Governor Nyesom Wike on the proliferation of illegal refineries in the state.
The statement read: “Tonye Princewill is an attention seeker obviously playing to the gallery to attract the attention and blessing of his principal for a governorship ticket in his drowning party.
“Why is he crying wolf that Governor Wike is stopping illegal refineries (Kpofire) if the action of the governor is not affecting his line of business?
“Finally, can he also make public the name of those he claimed were wooed by the present administration to join PDP and remain in business or otherwise and face prosecution?
“Tonye Princewill should bury his head in shame for failing on his responsibility as a statesman, learn to grow up because we have had enough of this political brigandish and senseless shenanigan.
“As a matter of fact, he should tender an unreserved apology to Rivers people for his utterances knowing fully well that the fight against illegal oil refineries and bunkering is well intended, in good faith for the good interest of the people. No act of sabotage or seeming attempts.
“We all know false alarm to be the hallmark of detractors like Tonye Princewill who has nothing to offer.”
Princewill, who responded to the PDP spokesman’s remarks in a statement he personally signed, lamented that the state government had repeatedly refused counsel on the operators of illegal refineries but resorted to malicious attacks on his personality.
He said: “People cannot 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. 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’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.
“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 cannot 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 avoid, we should be avoiding verbal violence as well.”