A governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Tonye Princewill, has boasted that if he defeated a formidable governorship aspirant, Chief Sergeant Awuse, during the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) primaries in 2007, he could still defeat the Minister of State for Education, Barr Nyesom Wike, if he decides to run for the top job in the state.
Princewill, who said this in an interview in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, noted that he is not intimidated by the presence in the governorship race of Minister of State for Education, adding, “Wike is my party leader, and so, if he decides to run as opposed to lead us, we will cross that bridge when we get there”.
The Princewill Political Associates leader noted that, “in 2007, with all the naivety and innocence of a first time politician, I faced a more fearful character in Sergeant Awuse. He had the entire party structure and yet, I defeated him in the primaries…We are all in PDP. Politics is not for cowards. I want to be David not Goliath. If it is my destiny, I will emerge, if it is not, I will go back to life before politics”.
According to him, “for me, it is governor or nothing. I came to politics to make a difference, not to be part of the status quo. I want to make Rivers State a Dubai, but I need to be given the opportunity”.
He said that he wants to occupy the state’s Brick House come 2015 because, “I know my capacity, I know what I stand for, I know where the state needs to go and I know my team and I can take it there.
“I also know my limitations and the fact that I cannot do it on my own. Whoever will win will need the youths, the women, the business community and the non-indigenes of the state. They would need a united PDP, woo APC members and very importantly, they would need the elders.
“I have the energy and I have the passion. Let the elders and the statesmen allow the younger ones build the bridge and create a Rivers State we can all be proud of. Very few people can appeal to the various age groups, the different political actors, the poor, the wealthy, the indigenes and non-indigenes alike. I know I can.
On his chances of becoming Rivers State governor after Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in 2015, Princewill said, “If I play my cards right, I would be the governor after Amaechi…I had no idea how, I still don’t…It must be divine…Since 2007, my chances have been getting better and better every single day…My destiny is clearly not in my hands. I see people like Wike as assets, not liabilities.”
The Buguma-born businessman-turned-politician said that “Amaechi tried in his own way. I believe he started well. He made an impact, but also allowed himself to get distracted. I will pick my fights a lot better than he has. I will take slaps and beatings, abuses and reprimands all on behalf of Rivers State.
“I will open my doors even wider than he has done and create more opportunity for ideas to shine. In the area of substance, I will do a lot more to create job opportunities for our children through a more improved business climate, a better prepared workforce, a more secured environment and a further decentralized Rivers State. I will choose my friends better and remember always that the priority is Rivers State. That is one of the reasons why I will be selling the Rivers State private jet immediately I assume office.”
He admitted that although the governor and the state government is presently controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC), he would not be intimidated, as according to him, “Rivers State is PDP’s to lose and the leaders are way too smart to make that mistake. I don’t think it is an uphill task to defeat APC in Rivers State. It is a task and the PDP team and the people of Rivers State are up to it. APC will not see anything to celebrate in Rivers State come 2015.”
On the frequent clashes between PDP and APC in Rivers State ahead the 2015 elections, Princewill said, “Yes, that worries me. Mr. President has said that nobody’s ambition is worth one person’s drop of blood and we have to re-echo this message down to the grassroots. We have to checkmate this trend fast, before it becomes something else.”
The PDP stalwart stressed that, “Making war is easy; making peace is the one that is hard. I maintain that the type of leader we need, going forward is the one that can bring people together, someone who can work for peace, and has the energy to bring consensus. The winner does not take it all.
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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