By Nkemjika Chileetam
The question above may have some people ask if the person mentioned is dead, because of the widely held view that it is only those who are dead are immortalized for the positive and impact-oriented contributions they have made to humanity while they were still alive and kicking. Though the person on whom this piece revolves on is still living, hale and hearty, it has become imperative, expedient and vital to ask such a question given the charitable contributions he has been making to his region.
It is important to observe that to immortalize a person, cause or work of art is to give eternal fame to the person, cause or work of art specifically for its far reaching positive impact on humanity or value to the society. It also means to make someone or something legendary for a very long time by painting them, naming of streets with the name of the person being celebrated, and engraving of the head of the person in legal tender among others. These do serve as recognition to mark or eternalize the roles the person or persons played to bring hope, succour, aid, recognition etc. to his people, region or country.
Our society today is known for waiting too long to immortalize her citizens who have played great roles in bringing aid, fame, glory, international recognition and so on to her. Most times when this (immortalization) is done, the person would have joined his or her ancestors. One now ask of what importance or purpose does it serve if the person cannot witness his or her immortalization while he or she is still alive. For me, this is the height of ingratitude not minding divergent views on this issue. It is a great honour done to the living when such a person is immortalized while still alive. This has the impetus to propel the person so honoured to do more.
The “Who Will Immortalize You, Tonye Princewill” question has become necessary because of the contributions this only scion of His Royal Majesty King (Prof.) TJT Princewill, has been championing in Rivers State, the Niger/Delta region and Nigeria. It is therefore vital at this juncture to flashback, reminisce or rather periscope some of these laudable cause the Prince of Philanthropy as he is being currently addressed by his associates, fans and admirers has been advocating.
Reminiscently, one Nwaorgu Faustinus while commenting on the contribution of this rare gem called Prince Tonye Princewill wrote: “In an unemployment ravaging society and being an employment agent, Princewill has been able to employ women, youths and graduates through his investment initiatives and connections which cut across oil and gas, telecommunication, information technology, environmental sanitation etc. These women, who sweep major streets and roads and the youths in particular would have been unemployed, indolent or at worse dregs of the society. Princewill is the brain behind his father’s Pet Project and Scholarship Scheme where commendable numbers of Rivers State natives are given scholarship to study one course or the other in the higher institution.
In addition, he has not relented in giving arms to the less privileged individuals, groups or organizations either morally, financially or otherwise. He had in the past donated a bus to the National Association of Ijaw Female Students NAIFS (an umbrella body of Ijaw female students both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora), set of computers and undisclosed cash to the Rivers State Chapter of NUJ, three laptops to the tide newspapers, sponsored twenty youths of Niger Delta stock, plus a few journalists to watch and cover the match between Portsmouth and Man U in Abuja in 2009 where cosy accommodation, feeding and daily allowance were generously provided for two days, sponsored the likes of Mr Valentine Ohu in Broadcast Journalism, Miss Crystabel Goddy in Acting, Mr Telema Senibo in 3D Graphics, Miss Mercy Akudo also in Acting and Mr Stanley Kotey in 3D Graphics to the Del-York Film Academy. The above persons are currently owners of million Naira worth of standard studio that will aid them practice all they were taught at the Del-York Film Academy.
According to the Prince, it is one thing offering scholarships to people and another thing providing them what to do after acquiring the training; that is why I have to go a step further by providing a Studio to make these youth’s employers of Labour and not liabilities to the society. “I wish the Nigerian government, major multinationals, other businesses and blessed individuals will take a cue from this by providing jobs for most of the students enjoying support to acquire knowledge which cannot be channelled.
As one of the prominent facilitators and sponsors of the first movie (NNENDA) to be premiered in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in October, 2009, Prince Tonye Princewill ensured that the orphans in Port Harcourt were part of the great event. It was indeed a remarkable treat for different orphanage homes in Port Harcourt at the time, when the movie captioned “Nnenda” which highlighted the plight of orphans in Nigeria was unveiled. More than one hundred orphans who had resigned themselves to fate were given red-carpet reception and assured that the future is still bright for them. The orphans were drawn from Lifetime Caring Orphanage Home, Seventh Day Adventists Homes and Port Harcourt Children’s Home and given a treat comparable to the one given to the elites’ children by Prince Tonye Princewill.
In his additional attempt to reveal to the world the plight of the less privilege, the Melody Shelters Nigeria, a Prince Tonye Princewill backed brainchild with a mandate to raise awareness for the plight of the less privileged in the society especially orphans, set up its first TV Reality Talent competition for orphanages in the country, tagged the Melody Shelters Singing Talent Show. Melody Shelters Singing Talent Show, was a live-in reality programme, where participants were sheltered in a house for a period of one month, which featured singing groups drawn from eight orphanages in the country: Lifetime Caring Orphanage, Rivers State; Rachel Orphanage, Abuja; Susanna Homes, Abia State; Gidan Bede Orphanage, Benue State; Godswill Orphanage, Kogi State; Compassion Home, Abia State; Adonai Orphanage, Kaduna and Our Saviour’s Orphanage, Delta State. The performance was judged by professional musicians and viewers at home. The final event saw Godswill Orphanage of Kogi State clinching the coveted trophy and the Championship Prize of N10M while the Runners-up, the Lifetime Orphanage of Rivers State got the Prize of N5M. Rachael Homes, Abuja came in third carting home the N3Mprize.Five Hundred Thousand each was given to the other remaining five Homes as co-champions and what the Prince called “combined winners”.
Not too long ago, Timi Julius, a 22 year old young man from Bayelsa State became the winner of the star prize of N5million record deal at the maiden edition of the Rivers Music and Arts Project (RIVMAP) held at the Silverbird Cinemas in Port Harcourt. RIVMAP which is the brainchild of Prince Tonye Princewill, serves as a platform for the emancipation of Niger/Delta youths from poverty and hopelessness by discovering, nurturing and grooming talent in the arts to stardom.
Recently too, he has extended aid materials to various camps housing the victims of flood disaster in Rivers State. Given these charitable works emanating from Prince Tonye Princewill, an author, writer columnist and activist who identifies himself as Odimegwu Onwumere in his letter entitled “Open letter to Tonye Princewill” wrote, “Beloved Prince Tonye Princewill, it might not be your greatest of needs, but it is a social and spiritual observable fact that appreciation is one of the emotional needs of mankind. Prince, to illustrate a large amount how you are appreciated in Rivers State, and by extension Nigeria, take round of applause for helping to save individuals and the residents of the state in the time of their need. Do you know that too much of good things can be breathtaking? You help humanity to enjoy the beauty of life. This is tremendous, loveliness, and sense-of-wonder. Rivers residents are experiencing the value of living, because you help them share in their pains. Bravo!
The recent flooding in the state, which was conspicuous in some towns and villages, where you made the victims fulsome in generosity, yet not mentioning the total millions of naira that you have so far expended on them, is helpful and has given rabble-rousers a new perspective on available opportunities on how to better humanity, devoid of being self-importance. The time that you have spent reviewing the natural disaster and recommending strategies for achieving remedy in case of future occurrence, is very helpful. Not only is it helpful, but a good offer to connect the future with today.
While you are greatly appreciated for the assistance you have always provided Rivers State, even that you are not a government appointee, it is a suggestion that people should be thankful for having a person like you, who has always concentrated on the plight of the people. Though, you are always mute in singing your own praise, which some other persons in the political circle like you, would have done, your benevolence approaches are speaking for you. This may sound very maddening to you, but those who know you knew that you do not like publicity in the direction of pomposity, especially when it concerns help you have rendered for humanity-building. The fact remains the umpteenth time that you are a fantastic man”.
The immortalization being emphasized is not in the giving of award that has monetary inclination attached to it, especially on the part of the person giving it out which the recipient is most likely to pay for, or the conferment of National Honours on some personalities who do not merit them, but the conferment of award, any honour or naming a particular public place, be it airport, seaport, university, school, street etc. after the name of a personality that has contributed in one way or the other in bringing honour, glory and fame to one’s country, region or state without attaching any monetary value to the award or national honour. This is the type of immortalization many will like to be identified with.
Today, some who have done absolutely nothing to improve humanity lobby and crave for Honorary Degrees from the management of Universities to leverage their political, social and educational status or profile. This should be jettisoned by the people at the helm of affairs in our citadels of learning.
With these praise-worthy humanitarian services being rendered by this humble, amiable, considerate, sensitive etc. personality who is currently addressed as the Prince of Philanthropy, the question on the lips of many is: who will immortalize Prince Tonye Princewill?
Nkemjika Chileetam wrote in from Port Harcourt via email: firstname.lastname@example.org