Prince Tonye Princewill, a former governorship candidate Rivers State, has revealed that the major concern about the Niger Delta region and Nigeria in general is that of lack of internal democracy.
Princewill also described the country as a high-risk and high-reward environment, adding that it is not for the faint-hearted.
Responding to the question on how best the issue of Niger-Delta can be resolved for the betterment of the people at the grassroots in the region, the former Labour Party chieftain noted the issue of the region is not totally different from most of the issues of the country, “Be it restructuring, security, or tribalism.”
Princewill told ND REPORTERS that lack of internal democracy is a cardinal issue, saying, “If three people are seated and agreed on one person to represent all in a discussion, politicians would say ‘no, he’s not the one to talk.
“‘Don’t worry we would send somebody to you to do the talking even if he is not a professional.’ You don’t put square pegs in round holes.”
The former Action Congress, AC, governorship candidate said that the country lacks leaders that care about the people, explaining that if there were such leaders they would not do the things that they are saying and the people would insist on who represents them.
He noted that the absence of internal democracy denies the people their preferred representatives, adding “And people in Abuja cannot decide from Abuja who should represent the people.”
“Interference and imposition are constant things in the Niger-Delta and many places. Go and look at the leadership in the Niger-Delta and ask yourself where did they come from? How were they chosen?
“Did Wike emerge from the people? Did Akpabio emerge from the people? Look at the various leaders and ask yourself how did they come about? In some cases, they would be popular but not in all cases. But in fact, in many cases, they are not.
He said for this reason, such leaders who do not emerge from the people are not expected to serve the people because they will not, adding that they will not see the people as their constituency.
Speaking further, the business mogul pointed out that one has to be committed and purpose driven in order to succeed in Nigeria.
He, however, noted that the risks and rewards of living in Nigeria are reducing majorly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.
Princewill, who is also a movie producer, lauded efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari government on improving the business environment.
He said he went into movie production to improve the image of Nigeria and also added that politics has a negative image in the country, adding, “When you are introduced as a politician, people look and say; ah, politician nawa o! The image of a politician is negative,” Princewill said while responding to a question on why he became a movie producer.
“They don’t look at your background or individual nature. I noticed that we have placed a badge on politicians and I thought to myself that I want to see an improvement.
“I have seen how it can be; I have seen how it is and I want to now influence how it can be. I’m going to get involved in politics. So I got involved in politics.
“The same thing for the movie industry, I saw our films, I saw our movies, I saw our stories and I said Nigeria and Nollywood are synonymous.
“So what they see of Nollywood is what they see of Nigeria and I felt that our Nollywood was doing a very good job of projecting Nigeria.
“That was another opportunity to show the positive side of Nigeria. So if as a politician you can improve Nigeria and as a movie producer you can improve the image of Nigeria, it is all about those that travel the world that are introduced as Nigerians.
“it is our way of giving something back so that the image of Nigeria is portrayed and put forward in a positive light. Now I’m sitting here yesterday, Netflix is negotiating with me on a movie we did almost over 4 years ago.
“They want the movie badly because they believe that the movie sells a very positive image of Nigeria. So I’m proud that is why I went into movie production for a positive image of Nigeria.”