Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged ailing President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to toe the line of honour following his protracted illness and absence in the country.
The former president who barred his mind at the annual Trust Dialogue organised by the editor of the Daily Trust remarked that since he can no longer deliver quality leadership to the people then there is a path of honour based on moral principles.
Chief Obasanjo, who absolved himself from the choice of President Yar’Adua to succeed him said at the time of the campaign and elections, Yar’Adua health had shown serious improvement and stability.
He admitted that he was aware that the president had an ailment but said medical report presented to him indicated that he had successful kidney transplant.
He said: I was aware that he had a kidney transplant. In short when he was governor he was away for about six months”.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says President Umaru Yar’Adua has been discharged from a Saudi hospital, though it did not say when he will return to Nigeria.
Reports earlier this month said President Yar’Adua had left the King Faisal Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and was staying in VIP quarters attached to the facility.
In a statement, Tuesday the PDP confirmed the president has been discharged from the hospital and said he expressed hope of returning home as soon as possible.
Yar’Adua has made no appearances and has given only one brief radio interview since being flown to Saudi Arabia, November 23, 2009.
Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has assumed effective control of the government in his absence.
Officials have said Yar’Adua is suffering from a heart condition, acute peridcarditis. The president is also known to have a chronic kidney ailment and has travelled abroad several times in the past for medical treatment.
A federal court ruled last week that Jonathan can carry out presidential duties while Yar’Adua is away without a formal transfer of power.
However, federal judges are still considering three lawsuits seeking to have Jonathan sworn in as acting president.
Opposition groups have expressed fears of a power vacuum in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and a major oil producer.
Officials have said repeatedly that the president is improving and talking to aides on the phone.
Also based on the awareness of the growing discontent within the polity, Senators who spoke on the issue on the condition of anonymity, noted that it was the legislature that was on trial.
One of them said, “There is nothing personal about this. We all wish the President well but we have a country to build. And we can no longer watch our country go down the hill.
The senators are seeking to be allowed to openly deliberate on the provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
Section 145 reads: “Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”
However, the three senators from Katsina State namely Ibrahim Ida, Mahmoud Kanti-Bello and Garba Lado were said to be organising a counter-force. None of them was reachable on the telephone as at the time of filing this report.
The three legislators had tried unsuccessfully to dissuade their colleagues from debating the issue when it came up last Tuesday. They, however, succeeded in “watering down the outcome.”
Mark had, as reported in the media on Monday, declared that President Yar’Adua was yet to breach any provision of the constitution even when civil society groups insisted that section 145 of the constitution was not complied with.
He was quoted as telling reporters in Lagos on Monday that “there is none (constitutional crisis) yet on his absence from office.
“The civil service rules are quite different from the constitution and so far, the President has not breached any constitution with his absence.”
Meanwhile, former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida has congratulated the Senate for the matured manner in which it was handling the matters of state.
He said this when the Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba led Senate delegation to paid a condolence visit to him over the death of his wife Mariam, in Minna, Niger State.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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