The Chairman Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Bro Felix Obuah, has said that plans are being finalised to receive some prominent leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), across the 23 local government areas of the state, who have accepted to join the PDP following hands of fellowship extended to them by Governor Nyesom Wike.
The PDP chairman, who stated this yesterday, maintained that Wike never minced words when he called on the APC to join him in rebuilding the state, adding that the Supreme Court’s victory was not just victory for the PDP, but for all Rivers people, irrespective of party affiliations.
Obuah, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, reaffirmed that the party’s umbrella is very large enough to accommodate everyone, including those who left the PDP at the eleventh hour for fear that the judgment of the Supreme Court would not favour Wike.
He gave assurance that like the father of the Prodigal Son, the PDP would still receive all returnees with affection, saying that what is uppermost in the mind of the governor was to continue with his developmental agenda and take the state to the next level.
Obuah called on members of the APC still worried over their loss at the Supreme Court to see Wike’s invitation as the best option, adding that the development of Rivers State, and not party affiliation, should be paramount in their hearts.
Describing the mass defection of APC members into the PDP in less than five days after the Supreme Court judgment as unprecedented, he assured them that the PDP would not only give them a befitting reception, but would also carry them along in the scheme of things.
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the April 11, 2015 elections, Dr Dakuku Peterside, has expressed his readiness to offer support to the Chief Nyesom Wike-led government in Rivers State.
Peterside made the pledge in his reaction to the Supreme Court’s verdict that upheld the election of Wike.
The APC candidate, in the statement he personally signed, however, said he and his party will not fail to criticize Wike whenever government initiates policies perceived to be against the interest of the people of the state.
On the Supreme Court’s judgment, Peterside, while accepting the verdict as the final statement on the election,
He stated inter-alia: “the learned Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, upheld the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike won the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Rivers State. The decision was a departure from the earlier findings of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which had both agreed with us that the conduct of the April 11, 2015, elections failed to comply substantially with the requirements of the Electoral Act.
“This decision marks the culmination of a legal battle we instituted not merely because we want power for its sake; but against the virus of electoral violence that often thwarts the will of the people.
“My associates and I are grateful to God for directing us to pursue justice in the courts rather than resort to self-help. We magnify our God for giving us the will and the support of Rivers people to maintain the legal battle.
“As a people, who believe in the law, we fought a good fight; we won some of the legal battles along the way. For this we thank our legal team for the diligence with which they conducted the case.
“Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has differed from our position. Still, we thank God for giving us the stoicism to accept the verdict. Indeed, our God deserves praise for reminding us that as His children, we should respect and honour even our earthly authorities. It is a further reminder that His will is best in all things for His glory and the greater good of humanity.
“We thank Nigerians, especially Rivers people who have stood by us during this legal odyssey spanning approximately 10 months. We urge all our supporters to take a cue from us in accepting this verdict, without more. We invoke in you the spirit of stoicism and compassion. Even if you are taunted by people who do not understand the ways of God, keep calm and be motivated by the greater good in all your actions.
“Our decision to serve Rivers State was borne out of a passion to uplift our people; to clothe them with dignity on the twin planks of social and economic prosperity. We anchored this promise on the platform of unity. Consequently, we never ceased to remind ourselves that we are Greater Together. A Supreme Court verdict that goes against our prayer is a veritable opportunity to demonstrate how dearly we hold the greater together creed.
“Consequently, we shall do our best to work for the peace and development of Rivers State and all who reside in it. We shall creatively offer our help to Governor Nyesom Wike. We will provide a virile opposition, serving as a mirror for the conscience of government, in the interest of Rivers people. When encouragement is needed towards a just and proper course of dealings, we will offer our commendation to the government.
“Conversely, we will constructively express objection to policies and actions we consider inimical to the overall interest of Rivers people. It is our hope that Governor Wike and his team will appreciate the suggestions and proposals that would be made in the interest of Rivers people. If we sometimes sound strident, he should pay heed to the message of passionate and zealous Rivers people rather than dismiss the messenger.
“Although we have accepted the Supreme Court verdict, it would be remiss of me not to point out that this is also an opportunity for our people to engage in deep introspection on the electoral process.
“Beyond party affiliation, must we continue to allow the electoral process to be subject to the whims and caprices of anti-democratic elements, especially those who deploy personal militia to molest and even kill voters; those who hold the electoral umpire captive or compromised; and thus generally prevent electoral outcomes reflective of the will of the voters, as envisaged by law? It is understandable that an attitude of cynical expediency in some politicians may inevitably conclude that “the end justifies the means”.
“However, those who are governed by such a cynical mentality need to be reminded that a huge moral burden would perpetually sour such temporary “victories”. Like the myth of Sisyphus, it is surely a backward slide in our political evolution. Let us think deeply please.
“Finally, I thank everyone who has supported us during this long and arduous journey in the political evolution of Rivers State. May God satisfy you with blessings from the depth of His unfathomable love, so that you will eternally remain true to all that is noble and just. Remember, we are ultimately greater together!”
Similary,after months of bickering over who heads the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following its loss of power in last year’s elections, the party now appears set to pick its new chairman.
Barring any disruption, the North-East zone of the PDP is due to recommend its preferred choice for the position at a meeting in Gombe, tomorrow.
There are three leading candidates to pick from: National Vice Chairman (North-East) of the party, Girigiri Lawal; Second Republic governor of the old Gongola State, Wilberforce Juta, and ex-minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed.
The Gombe meeting may be followed by an emergency meeting of the PDP National Executive Committee to ratify the North-East nomination.
Former Special Adviser on Political Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak is effectively out of contention after losing the goodwill of PDP governors, members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Working Committee (NWC).
But the nomination of a new chairman from the North-East may lead to the postponement of the National Convention of the party by six months.
A well placed party source said the governors, the Board of Trustees and other stakeholders of the party have reached a consensus to concede the chairmanship slot to the North-East in line with the judgment of a High Court.
The source said: “We are getting closer to the resolution of the crisis rocking this party.
“We all met on Wednesday and resolved to retain the chairmanship slot in the North-East to complete the tenure of the former chairman, Ahmed Muazu.
“We have mandated the states in the North-East to meet on Tuesday or Wednesday to recommend a candidate to fill the vacant slot. The NEC will thereafter proceed to ratify the nominee on Thursday.
“At our last meeting, the three leading candidates were the National Vice Chairman (North-East) of the party, Girigiri Lawal , ex-governor of the defunct Gongola State, Wilberforce Juta, and ex-minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed.
“But we are hopeful that more candidates may show interest on or before the zonal meeting. If we do not give the slot to the North-East, the PDP will technically die in the face of the law.
“Although Gulak is laying claim to the seat, all the governors, BOT members and other stalwarts have foreclosed his choice because of the manner in which he invaded the National Secretariat of PDP and declared himself as the new national chairman.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “The Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus will revert to his position as the deputy national chairman.
“With this mutual understanding, the National Convention of PDP is no longer realistic in March. We may postpone the election of new national officers by six months. The timeline will enable us to reorganize the party.”
Apart from losing the support of PDP governors and other top national leaders of the party, Gulak has also lost the confidence of the majority of party members in his home state of Adamawa.
Party leaders in the state are throwing their support behind Juta.
The State Working Committee of the PDP, in a statement on Friday, rejected Gulak’s candidature for PDP chairmanship.
The state Chairman, Chief Joel Madaki, said: “The State Working Committee of PDP Adamawa State chapter, after due consultation with party stakeholders in the state and beyond, and having thoroughly deliberated on the issues of the position of national chairman of the party has resolved as follows:
“That, it is in the best interest of the party in the state that the position of the national chairman of the party returns to Adamawa State.
“That, it is hereby resolved to support the candidature of Ambassador Wilberforce B. Juta, a former governor of the defunct Gongola state, one of the founding members of PDP, a member of G34, first national vice chairman (North East) of the party and currently a member of its Board Trustees for the exalted post of the national chairman of the PDP.
“That, the party is calling up on all other interested members to patriotically lay down their personal ambition for the heighten interests of the party in Adamawa 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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