The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it will conduct a primary election in which at least 300,000 of its members will determine its presidential candidate for the 2015 election.
The party said it would not adopt the delegate system in the primary election, but the modified direct system, which would involve such number of people that would be difficult for aspirants to buy over.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary made this known at the end of the party’s first National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
He said the party’s primaries for all positions would commence in October.
The party also condemned the various political rallies already being held for President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid.
He said unlike the PDP which would automatically adopt President Jonathan as its candidate, the APC would hold a credible primary election for all positions.
It said the Peoples Democratic Party and President Jonathan are by the rallies violating electoral guidelines with impunity.
It also said for the forthcoming October 11 governorship bye-election in Adamawa State to be free and fair, the Federal Government must lift the curfew imposed on the state during the period of the election.
Mohammed explained that the party’s call for the lifting of the curfew in the state did not imply calling for the termination of emergency rule in the state.
While it maintained that the party would win the forthcoming October 11 governorship bye-election in Adamawa State, it said the recent defection of the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to the PDP would not have any adverse effect on its fortune in the state.
Ribadu had contested the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, which was one of the opposition party that merged to become the APC.
Already, former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and others are said to be making underground moves to emerge if possible as the party’s consensus candidate.
Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, though still a member of the PDP, have been tipped as possible candidates of the APC in the 2015 presidential election.
Buhari, Atiku, Kwankwaso, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, and Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State were among those who attended the NEC meeting.
Other South-West governors of Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu were absent.
Away from its tradition of adopting consensus candidates for various elections, Mohammed said on Thursday, that the party would conduct primaries to ensure that candidates who would emerge on its platform.
Mohammed said, “It is going to be direct. We would want to see the greatest participation of our members.
“We obviously, definitely, will not adopt a delegate convention because delegate election has probably about 6,000 delegates. What we are thinking about will involve almost 300,000 people.
“For presidential election what we are thinking about, we will make sure that elected officials from the ward level, local government level, state level, national EXCO, the caucus, members of Board of Trustees of the party, all elected officials on the platform of the party, council chairmen, councillors, House of Assembly members, National Assembly members are all eligible to participate in the choice of who is going to be the flag bearer of the party at whatever level.
“Of course when it comes to the presidential election, we will be talking about over 300,000 people because there are about 8,000 wards all over Nigeria today, and in each ward we have about 25 officers. If you multiply 25 by 8,000 you already have about 200,000 people.
“If you now move to Local government level, you have about 774 local governments in the country and in each again, we have about 20 officers; 20 multiply by 774, we have about 20,000. This way, we believe we are going to make sure whoever emerges as the candidate of the party has support of the party at the most grassroots level which is the ward level.
“You are including executives in 8,000 wards all over Nigeria. That alone will give you about 200,000 as opposed to 6,000 or 7,000 delegates that would have participated.
“I think it will be more difficult to buy over 200,000 people than 7,000 people.”
It said the party would be adopting a modified version of the direct primary, which he said was one of the options prescribed by the Independent National Electoral Commission for parties to choose their candidates for various elections.
He said, “The party discussed guidelines of primaries, and principally, the party has decided that the primaries will start as early as October.
“We would want to ensure the participation of a large section of our people. We have opted on what we called a modified direct primary for the party.
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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