Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, says the decision of the South-South governors to support the presidential ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan come 2011 was not based on regional representation but on the ability of Jonathan to pilot the affairs of the country.
Governor Amaechi made this known when the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organisation led by its Director-General, Ambassadar Dalhatu Tafida paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The state chief executive who had assured the Goodluck/Sambo campaign organisation that all the delegates from the state would vote massively for Dr Goodluck Jonathan during the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PP) billed for next year, however, expressed concern that the confusion in PDP is that nobody knows who are the delegates to the primaries, following the law just passed by the House of Representatives, which gave members automatic tickets to return.
According to him, the law does not only undermine the interest of other Nigerians but was capable of making PDP lose National Assembly seats to other parties.
The governor, therefore, appealed to the leadership of the party to always take decisions that would bring everybody together in the task of providing credible leadership in 2011, and to make the party remain the majority party in Nigeria.
Governor Amaechi, who remarked that there would be no imposition of candidates in Rivers State, stressed the need for the PDP to present credible candidates because votes would count in 2011 general elections.
Earlier, the Director-General, Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation, Ambassador Dalhatu Tafida had told the governor that their visit to Rivers State was in continuation of their tour of all the states in the federation to canvass support for President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Ambassador Tafida, who noted that their visit to Rivers State, was to fulfill all righteousness because they were sure of the support of the state, emphasised that Nigeria was fortunate to have Jonathan as President because his emergence had many lessons which Nigerians could learn from as nobody questions a divine arrangement.
But prior to the visit of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation to Government House, Tafida had unveiled the new campaign office in Port Harcourt where he said nothing would stop the realisation of the Goodluck Nigeria Project as it was ordained by God.
In his words, “Goodluck Jonathan presidency is a seed watered by God and any human being that wants to stop its germination would attract the wrath of God.”
He continued, “He did not plant himself there, God planted him there,” adding that the president was not only a candidate of the Niger Delta but of the whole country.
Senator Tafida who dispelled rumours making the rounds that Goodluck/Sambo presidential campaign platform did not exist in the state, submitted that what he had seen on ground made such claims baseless.
The Goodluck/Sambo presidential campaign leader declared, “I believe the Governor that he is part and parcel of the project and I commend the Rivers people for their enormous support.”
He commended the state government for providing the new campaign office, noting that the property would form the basis of which other activities would be rooted upon.
Earlier in his remarks, Representative of the South-South Zonal Coordinator, Hon. Chibudom Nwuche stated that from all indications that the state was totally in support of the Goodluck/Sambo ticket.
He maintained that President Jonathan has all it takes to lead the country out of the woods, noting that, “it would also be the healing of wounds for the people who have suffered in the past.”
Hon. Nwuche urged the North to display high sense of maturity and solidarity to the South-South which according to him has always been in support of them in the past, pointing out that politics is a game of give and take.
Meanwhile, the Vice President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Arc Namadi Sambo is expected to arrive Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital today to begain a two-day official visit to the state.
While in the state, Vice President Sambo would inspect some on-going projects embarked upon by the state government in parts of the state.
The Vice President would on Saturday attend the civic reception in honour of the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the reception is organised by the Ogbakor Ikwerre Social Cultural Organisation Worldwide.
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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