President Goodluck Jonathan says the Federal Government embarked on improving power supply in the country to boost industrialisation and create jobs for the teeming youths of the country.
At his Presidential Campaign rally in Abia State held Thursday at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba, the commercial hub of the state, Jonathan who is the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also promised to tackle the problem of insecurity nation-wide and erosion menace in the South East.
He told the crowd that the biggest power plant of 1,074 mega watts under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) was sited in Aba to boost the people’s entrepreneurial skill in particular and industrialisation in the country in general.
He said Abia State was vital to the realisation of Nigeria’s 20:20:20 vision because Aba as an industrial centre would play a leading roll in realizing that vision, adding that provision of constant power would equally enhance the people’s creativity.
The President expressed hope that when the NIPP comes on stream, Nigeria would witness economic and industrial growth. “Abia has many entrepreneurs who need government to create the enabling environment for them to fly,” Jonathan said, adding “I will be happy to see that the first Nigerian aircraft is manufactured here.” He said his administration was poised to realize Nigeria’s industrial and technological growth if he wins the April polls.
He also promised that the federal government would tackle the issue of insecurity frontally to enable Nigerians to move freely while the erosion menace ravaging the South East would also be addressed.
The President commended Abia political leaders for moving Abia into the mainstream of Nigeria;s politics and assured them that they would reap bountifully from that action.
Vice President Namadi Sambo called on the people of Abia and Nigerians to vote for the President in the April polls, stressing that Jonathan was poised to transform the country. He added that the power project was aimed at maximizing the enterprising spirit and industrial potentials of Abia people and enjoined Abians to vote for them.
Acting National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Bello Mohammed, observed that President Jonathan was already implementing what he was promising Nigerians in the course of his campaigns. He said the President would do more if returned to office.
He challenged Presidential candidates of other parties to also embark on nation-wide campaigns to tell Nigerians what they have to offer. He said they should not fold their arms now only to rush to the courts after PDP would have emerged victorious at the polls in April after working hard for it.
Mohammed said though he was optimistic of PDP victory, their supporters should troop out and cast their votes.
Governor Theodore Orji, expressed gratitude to Jonathan for taking security measures that greatly assisted in flushing kidnappers out of the state and creating a new Army Brigade at Ohafia, amongst other s and assured him of the support of the people.
Chairman of Abia PDP, Senator Emma Nwaka, and other Abia political leaders including Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Former Senate President, Chief Adolph Wabara, Senators Uchechukwumerije, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Nkechi Nwaogu and General Ike Nawachukwu, in their separate speeches, assured Jonathan of the massive support of Abians.
The rally was not without it bad side as a part of the crowd, mostly those who were at the gallery by the right hand side of the entrance to the stadium, heckled the governor when he was delivering his speech as well as any time his name was mentioned.
Group Lauds FG Over Planned Repositioning Of NDDC
A group known as Patriotic Forum of Niger Delta (PAFOND) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his plans to reposition the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to live up to its statutory mandate of developing the Niger Delta region.
The commendation was part of a communiqué issued at the End of Year general meetings of the forum in Port Harcourt, and made available to The Tide.
The communiqué which was signed by the National chairman of the forum, comrade Owo Udoh, and the National Secretary, Comrade Daniel Wilson, stated that the Niger Delta had continued to suffer development neglect despite its huge to the Nigeria economy.
The forum urged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to commence the construction of roads in the Niger Delta and embark on other projects that will create meaningful impact on the lives of the people.
The group also called on other Niger Delta indigenes serving in the Buhari government,, particularly the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, to attract development projects to the Niger Delta.
The forum called on the governors of the Niger Delta states to channel the resources of the states for proper economic development of the region.
The group which expressed regrets over the, “infrastructural decay” in the Niger Delta, said development potentials in the oil rich region can be properly harnessed if the budgetary allocations for the development of the region are not diverted into personal coffers.
Expert Tasks Oil Firms On MoUs Implementation
The brewing conflicts between oil companies and their host communities in the Niger Delta over a breach of agreements signed by the corporate partners have generated concerns among stakeholders.
Worried by the increasing spate of disagreement between oil firms and their host communities, an expert in the oil and gas sector, Dr Eddie Wikina, has called on all multinationals and corporate organisations operating in the Niger Delta to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed with their host communities.
Wikina who spoke with The Tide in an exclusive interview recently, said the flouting of MoUs and the absence of sustainable community development policies among various oil firms and corporate organisations were the root causes of underdevelopment and conflicts in the Niger Delta.
He pointed out that; “modern industry practices require that both the oil firms and the host communities operate in mutual agreement and synergy through a well community engagement model that would be subject to upward reviews to suit evolving developments to avert crisis.”
He noted that oil related conflict has been a predominant feature of the Niger Delta over the years and urged prospecting oil firms and other corporate organisations in the region to learn from the experiences of the past and improve their host community relations by contributing meaningfully to the development of their host communities.
The expert in Petroleum Engineering said host communities were major stakeholders in the oil and gas business, noting that their active participation in the sector was an elixir to smooth business operation According to him, “it’s certain that that business activities can’t strive in an environment where there is mutual disagreement and incessant conflicts; global standards in oil and gas business require that host communities be given their due sense of belonging to promote peace and development.
The business concern must be accommodative of the development interest of the host communities, any company that glosses over the interest of its host communities is bound to face challenges.”
Wikina cautioned against the influx of substandard oil firms in the Niger Delta and called on the Federal Government to enact laws that will compel multinationals to implement all agreements signed with their host communities.
“Not all companies that prospect for oil in the Niger Delta has the capacity for effective business operation, some of them don’t have the industry experience and lack the potency to make the right impact”, he said.
He said the implantation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would address the inherent challenges in the oil and gas sector, especially in the development of oil and gas producing communities.
DisCos Studying Modalities Of NERC’s Directive On Cashless Payment –ANED
The Association of Nigeria Energy Distributors (ANED) says distribution companies are studying the modalities of the directive issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on cashless payment by customers.
Chairman, ANED, Mr Sunday Oduntan stated this on Friday in Lagos.
NERC had on December 31, 2019 directed the 11 DisCos to transit to cashless settlement platforms for the billing/collection of industrial and commercial customers by Jan. 31, 2020.
It also directed the Discos to transit to cashless settlement platforms for the billing/collection of the R3 class of residential customers by March 31.
The NERC said that Discos should leverage available banking channels approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria in complying with the directive.
It said that failure by DisCos to comply with the order would be treated as a breach of the terms and conditions of the distribution licence.
The commission said the move was expected to reduce the collection leakages being experienced in the sector.
Oduntan said that ANED was in support of any idea that would improve services between the layers in the power sector, noting that there was, however, need to examine the modalities concerning its implementation.
“We are studying the modalities of the directive. In principle, we support any idea that will reduce cash transactions; so, to us it is a good idea, especially for security purposes.
“But we also have to look at our customers across the country, especially those in the rural areas. Some of them don’t have bank accounts, don’t do internet banking and some even have cooperatives who collect these cash from them to help them make payments.
“So, we have to look at how we can factor them in and that is why we are yet to come out with our position.”
Oduntan said ANED had channels of communication with NERC and would not hesitate to sit down with the regulatory agency to sort out the grey areas.
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