The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Maurice Iwu, yesterday, announced a provisional timetable for the 2011 polls with a likelihood of election starting on January 8, 2011 or April 9, 2011.
Iwu announced the timetable at a National Conference for Stakeholders in the Electoral Process in Abuja.
The chairman said the timetable was provisional, awaiting the final approval of the electoral reforms from the National Assembly.
According to Iwu, the National Assembly elections will hold on January 8, 2011, governorship and state Assembly polls January 15, while the presidential election will hold on January 22, 2011.
Iwu said the second option was to retain the old order of having National Assembly elections on April 9, governorship and state assembly polls April 16 while presidential election would hold on April 23, 2011.
He argued that both options were in line with both the recommendations of the Justice Uwais-Electoral Reform Report and the existing electoral laws.
INEC boss said that the provisional timetable would start with the review of register of voters between April 26 and July 30, 2010 while the parties were expected to conduct their respective primaries between May 2 and July 31, 2010.
The Chairman said that issuance of notice of election would be made public on August 2, 2010 while collection of forms from the commission by political parties would start from August 23, 2010 to September 14, 2010.
He said the last day for submission of nomination forms to the commission for National Assembly poll would be Sept 20, 2010, governorship and state assembly elections; September 27, 2010 while presidential poll would be on October 4, 2010.
According to Iwu, the last day for publication of particulars of candidates for the National Assembly elections will be September 27.
He added that the governorship/state assembly elections would be October 4, and presidential elections on October 11.
Iwu said the display of voters register for purposes of claims and objections would be between October 18 and October 30, 2010, while public campaign by political parties would start on October 9, 2010.
Other highlights of the timetable include last day for change/substitution of candidates by political parties between November 4 and November 18, 2010 in line with section 34 and 36(2) of the Electoral Act.
The timetable also include last day for publication of personal particulars of substituted candidates for National Assembly, governorship, state assembly and presidential elections between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2, 2010.
Iwu said that collection of nomination forms for all positions would commence on November 2, 2010 and end on November 16, 2010 while the submission of candidates’ particulars would hold between November 22 and November 29, 2010.
He said the commission would from December 23, 2010 publish the notice of poll for all elections while submission of names of party agents to the resident electoral commissioners (RECs) would be between December 31, 2010 and January 14, 2011.
INEC chairman said the last day for campaigns for National Assembly elections would be on January 7, 2011, governorship/state assembly January 14, and presidential elections on January 21, 2011.
Iwu assured Nigerians that the commission would keep faith with the timetable and urged all stakeholders to play the games according to the rules.
Meanwhile, the Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated the resolve of the present administration to conduct a free and fair elections in 2011.
Declaring open the three-day National stakeholders conference on electoral reforms organised by INEC, Dr Jonathan said the electoral integrity of the country would be based on projecting the right attitude and by providing the enabling environment for the elections to hold.
Similarly, the Senate has reacted to the time table released by INEC ahead the 2011 elections saying it would not affect the ongoing electoral reform bill at the floor of the National Assembly.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Senator Ayogu Eze, stated that by the time the new electoral act is passed, INEC would have no option but to amend the time table.
Senator Eze argued that contrary to criticism in some quarters over the review of the 1999 Constitution, including the electoral reform exercise was still on course.
He added that the Senate would soon commence debate on the report presented by the committee on Electoral Reform by next week. The Senator therefore appealed to Nigerians to be patient as the National Assembly is poised in giving an electoral act that would stand the test of time.
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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