President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday, admitted the criticisms by the Rivers State Governor and Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organisation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the execution of projects in Rivers State.
The President, however, said that he took Amaechi’s criticism as a challenge to do ‘something’ for his people in Rivers and Bayelsa states, if elected for a second term.
President Jonathan, who was speaking at his party’s presidential campaign rally held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Igwuruta-Ali in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, said he had not allocated more developments to his people so as not to be portrayed as an ethnic leader.
He also said that his resolve to ensure equal distribution of projects across the country was an indication that he is an honest and selfless leader who meant well for the country.
It will recalled that Governor Amaechi had at his 7th year Anniversary celebration and the APC Presidential campaign rally held at the same venue, criticised President Jonathan for not doing anything for Rivers people since he became president even though the president recorded the highest votes in the state in the 2011 presidential election.
According to him, Amaechi’s criticism is a good news, that shows the rest of the country that he is honest and transparent, adding that if he had concentrated development in the South-South states, Amaechi himself would have exposed him to the world, as a selfish leader.
“I have been a part and parcel of Rivers State, so if the DG said I concentrated development in other states and left the South-South, it is good news. It shows that I am an honest and transparent man.
“And if I have concentrated on developing the South South states, opponents would have been the ones to expose me to the rest of the world. But that shows clearly that we meant well for this country”, President Jonathan explained.
President Jonathan, who arrived the stadium from Ondo State at about 4.00pm, commended the PDP supporters for turning out in large number to support him and the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the state, Barr. Nyesom Wike, saying the large turn-out showed that his re-election and that of Wike is already settled in the state.
He challenged Rivers people to reclaim the state from the APC by voting for PDP, promising that the state will have indelible print of developments as soon as PDP takes over power.
“What I will assure you is that PDP will surely win in Rivers and all the South-South states, you should work for us, vote for me and Sambo, and on February 28, vote for Wike and Ipalibo, definitely we must leave indelible print in Rivers State”, he said.
Presenting the party’s flag to the state gubernatorial candidate, Barr. Nyesom Wike, the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, urged all party faithful, including the aggrieved ones to work with Wike to deliver the party in the next month’s elections.
He promised all those who work for the PDP a place, if the party wins.
However, some supporters of the party, believed to be loyalists of the 16 aggrieved governorship aspirants of the party, walked out of the rally venue, when the party’s National Chairman, Mua’zu was presenting the flag to Barr. Wike as the governorship candidate of the party.
One of the PDP supporters, who gave his name as Adline Briggs from Buguma said, Buguma people would only vote for President Jonathan to come back, and any other governorship candidate from Riverine.
Also speaking with newsmen, one of the party aggrieved governorship aspirants, Dumo Lulu-Briggs urged Rivers people to vote for President Jonathan while he reserved comments on governorship race in the state.
Meanwhile the Presidential re-election campaign rally in Rivers State by President Goodluck Jonathan has been described as a waste of time and an embarrassment to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Reacting to the rally held at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Igwuruta-Ali, Ikwerre Local Government Area, Rivers State, the All Progressives Congress (APC), said in a statement yesterday that the poor attendance only serves to confirm the unpopularity of President Goodluck Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, while the Federal Government merely ended up confirming APC’s claim that the President has done nothing to deserve the votes of Rivers people in the February 14 presidential election.
“To say that President Jonathan and his PDP wasted their time in coming to Rivers State to campaign is to state the obvious. The half-empty stadium despite the renting of supporters from Bayelsa, Delta, Abia and Akwa Ibom states, speaks volumes about Jonathan’s unpopularity among our people,” Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said.
Ikanya said the party was happy that Jonathan, during the failed rally, personally confirmed that he has done nothing for Rivers State and her people as evidenced by his monumental neglect of the state.
Rivers APC told the President to stop dreaming of re-election as it will never happen.
The party said: “We want to assure you, Mr. President, that you will never be re-elected because you have failed woefully, and do not deserve any re-election. After all that Rivers State and her people did for you, you could be so mean not to site one single project in Rivers State. We have no reason whatsoever to recommend you to any section of this country for re-election.
“It is a pity that out of all the states President Jonathan has visited, it is only in Rivers that he could not name a single development project he initiated, not to talk of executing. We can now better understand Governor Chibuike Amaechi, who has, at various fora, challenged President Jonathan to mention one single development project he has brought to Rivers State.”
Rivers APC vowed to intensify campaigns to ensure that both President Jonathan and the state PDP gubernatorial candidate, Chief Nyesom Wike, do not get up to 10 per cent of votes to be cast in Rivers during the February polls.
He congratulated Rivers people for staying at home and allowing Mr. President to address a half-empty stadium, thereby telling him and the PDP in unmistakable terms that Rivers State is fully and squarely an APC state.
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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