The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has said that neither the National Convention Committee nor the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was aware of any court order stopping the party’s convention in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Saturday.
The state governor, who said this while speaking on a Channels Television programme, Sunrise, yesterday, emphasised that “As chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, no one has served me any court order stopping the convention. I am also aware that no one has served the party chairman.”
Wike, who spoke in his capacity as Rivers State governor and the National Convention Planning Committee chairman, “The action brought against the party in a Lagos High Court was done by impostors, and investigations are still on to ascertain their membership of the party,” adding that “the PDP will get stronger in spite of efforts to break it up.
“The re-engineering process of the PDP will accommodate all interest groups in the party. With what is going on across the state chapters, interest groups have a remarkable opportunity to key in and build the party into a formidable opposition party that will reclaim power in 2019,” Wike asserted.
He explained that Nigerians across all the states in the country and in the Diaspora, “still love the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and would continue to support the party in all its programmes and policies” despite losing power at the centre in the 2015 general elections.
The governor urged Nigerians to continue to support the party, adding that what was happening in the party was normal.
“There is nothing wrong with having competing interests in the party. We are in a democracy,” he stated.
He debunked insinuations that the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff was imposed on members of the party, insisting that: “His emergence was not a rubber stamp. It was not a military decision. The party endorsed his emergence at various levels.”
Wike, however, added that “it is not unusual to have people disagree with the decision.
“The National Executive Committee of the party accepted the recommendations of the zoning committee headed by Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, although some interested persons disagreed with it, and it is not unusual,” arguing that “The complaints generated by the re-engineering process of the PDP across the states are being attended to.”
According to him, “The essence of holding party meetings in different states is to identify with, unite and mobilise our members across the country.”
On the upcoming elections in Edo and Ondo states later this year, Wike assured that “the PDP will work to win Edo State”.
On the recent spate of inconclusive, suspended, cancelled or nullified elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Wike said that “The present INEC is inconsistent and lacks the confidence of Nigerians.”
According to him, “INEC, which nullified some elections in Rivers State, has now set up a committee to review its decision and keeps setting up avoidable crises”.
On the recent upsurge in attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta by militants, Wike insisted that “I will not support any attempt to blow up pipelines and sabotage Nigeria’s economy”.
The governor further added that “No South-South governor can sponsor economic sabotage by blowing up pipelines and drive away investors.”
He also said that “I am not a godfather to anybody, and no one is my godfather”.
On the state of the opposition in Rivers State, Wike said that “The APC in Rivers State has been severely decimated, and they can say nothing more than casting the PDP governor of Rivers State in bad light”.
On some of his policies in the state, Wike said that “The current economic realities cannot sustain the continuance of foreign scholarships. With a bill of over N4billion, it is unsustainable”.
Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees (BOT) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed support for the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to continue with the May 21 national convention in spite of all reservations.
The newly elected Secretary of PDP BOT, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, made the position known in Abuja while briefing newsmen on the resolutions of the committee’s meeting.
Maduekwe said that the decision was made at the BOT’s meeting in Abuja on Monday with a view to make PDP stronger.
“In spite of the well-articulated reservations by well-respected and articulate elders and members that the convention should not go ahead, the BOT has decided to support the NWC that our national convention should hold on May 21.
“Secondly, that all the grievances that have been well articulated by well-meaning elders and interest groups would be clearly look into in the process of party reconciliation to see how we can carry everybody along.”
Maduekwe said that the grievances to be looked into would be those that were aimed to make the party stronger and not to pull it down.
He added that the party would look into states that encountered problems in their congresses and make amendment.
Maduekwe said that the committee also resolved to urge the National Executive Committee to make a resolution at the convention that the party’s 2019 presidential candidate should come from the North.
“Part of our resolution is also that the review of the party constitution should be suspended,” he added.
Maduekwe said that the party’s mid-term convention had also been scheduled for 2018.
“When that happens the position of chairmanship will automatically shift to the south in accordance with PDP constitution.”
Sen. Walid Jubrin was elected as the substantive chairman of the BOT at the meeting.
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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