President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the 2011 elections were not about his candidature alone, but also the future of the country.
Jonathan said this last Friday night, while speaking during his campaign fund raising dinner in Abuja.
He counseled Nigerians to move beyond the limitations of sectional and parochial interests in order to engender a solid foundation for the progress and development of the country.
Jonathan said the vision for his campaign was rooted in the common desire to deliver a government that would partner with the private sector.
He said that such would complement government’s investments in critical sectors of the economy and fast-track the delivery of quality living conditions for all Nigerians.
The President promised that his administration would not let down the confidence Nigerians reposed in it, as it remained committed to consolidating on its achievements and the on-going programmes of action aimed at transforming the country.
“We are delivering on our promise towards electoral reforms, adequate power supply, and peace in the Niger Delta. On these and other reforms, we will not relent,” he said.
Jonathan complied fully with the provision of the Electoral Act on fund raising by insisting that no individual donor contributed more than N1 million to his presidential campaign.
He also paid glowing tributes to his predecessor, late President Umaru Yar’Adua, while recalling the time he attended such an occasion with him in early 2007, as his running mate.
Jonathan called for a minute’s silence in honour of the late President.
Alhaji Dalhatu Tafida, the Director-General of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation, expressed confidence in the viability of the Jonathan/Sambo ticket, saying that the organisation believed in continuity and stability of the country.
“This is a project that is accepted by all and sundry. The Jonathan/Sambo project is one that will unite us all, and bring development to this country,” he said.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Obafoluke Otudeko, in his remarks, said that the mission to support Jonathan was based on his conviction that the President was committed to the rule of law.
He said that any investment towards the Jonathan/Sambo project was “a worthy cause that will guarantee the future and progress of the country”.
Otudeko explained that Nigeria being a major global player with a robust market, abundant resources, and thriving economy, required the collective participation of all Nigerians for change.
He, therefore, called on all Nigerians to join hands in choosing the best leader for the country.
The fund raising dinner was organised by the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation to raise funds for the execution of the president’s campaign for the 2011 presidential elections.
It was attended by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, visiting Kenyan Vice President Kulonzo Musyoka, Senate President David Mark and Speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole.
Members of the Federal Executive Council, the National Assembly, party chieftains, captains of industry, business moguls, members of the diplomatic community, and a host of eminent Nigerians from all walks of life, also graced the occasion.
The chief launcher, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, state governors, business moguls Mike Adenuga, Femi Otedola, Jimoh Ibrahim among other donors, complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act by not exceeding N1 million in their personal donations.
The occasion, which was held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, also featured the formal launch of an on-line and SMS donation.
The initiative, The Tide gathered, was to enable Nigerians contribute to the campaign using the mobile GSM and Internet platforms.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the Federal Government was committed and deploying the relevant machinery and resources to address the security challenges in the country.
Jonathan, who made this known at the weekend in Maiduguri, on the occasion of the 21st Convocation ceremony of the University of Maiduguri, said the security situation in the country was giving government great concern.
“The current attacks on members of security agencies, especially the police, the cases of kidnapping and similar violations of the security of individuals and property cannot continue.
The president, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, charged members of security agencies to intensify efforts and confront the security challenges facing the country.
According to him, community leaders, political office holders and civil society organisations must realise that security is a collective responsibility.
Jonathan said that Nigerians must learn to cooperate and provide useful information towards resolving the security issues in the country.
“We must be interested in our individual and collective security. When we take active interest in security matters and support the security agencies, we will be working in the interest of our individual and collective security,” he added.
Jonathan appealed to all Nigerians to be their brother’s and sister’s keeper, saying that “we must learn to embrace one another on the basis of our common humanity and treat each other with respect.
“The shedding of blood in the name of ethno-religious and communal conflicts can no longer be tolerated.
“We must learn to treat one another on the basis of justice and respect for our nation to prosper, grow and be counted among the top 20 economies by the year 2020,” he said.
The President also urged institutions of higher learning across the country to reposition themselves by capitalising on their comparative advantage in both teaching and research.
He maintained that they must raise their global rating and visibility among similar institutions of learning in Africa and globally.
“The University of Maiduguri and other sister universities, must continue to break new frontiers of knowledge in which they have comparative advantage, thereby competing with their peers not only within Africa, but also globally.
“As we aspire to be among the 20 most developed economies by the year 2020, our institutions must play a pivotal role in the drive towards finding solutions to the numerous challenges facing our nation,” Jonathan said.
He said it was encouraging to learn that the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital recently demonstrated that, by performing the first kidney transplant in Nigeria.
Jonathan gave assurance that government would continue to play the role of the facilitator, giving support and encouragement to the universities, teaching hospitals and research institutions to enable them address country’s development challenges.
He reiterated the determination of the government to provide unlimited opportunities for youths to contribute their quota to the development of the country.
The President, therefore, urged the youths to shun vices capable of tarnishing the image of the country.
He stressed the need for them to be reliable partners in the drive to transform Nigeria and make it the pride of not only the African continent but also the black race as a whole.
Jonathan commended the authorities of the University for honoring Vice President Namadi Sambo with an award of a Doctor of Science of the University.
“I join him to dedicate it to the Almighty Allah and to all Nigerians and I assure all that the best is yet to come as far as this administration is concerned,’’ he added.
Earlier, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University, Dr Bolanle Babalakin, had expressed appreciation to two members of the National Assembly, for donating their constituency allowances of N300 million for the improvement of water supply and ICT projects in the university.
They are Sen. Kaka Malam Yale and Alhaji Ali Ndume, a member of the House of Representatives.
Babalakin frowned at the persistent warning strikes being embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), saying that such actions were inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the various agreements signed by the parties.
“It is disheartening that this strike is being embarked upon to call attention to certain problems in state universities and not issues concerning federal universities,’’ Bablakin lamented.
Our correspondent reports that Sambo and retired Justice Mustapha Akanbi were conferred with honorary degrees at the convocation.
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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