Commercial and governmental activities were, Tuesday, brought to a stand still as Bayelsans besieged the Samson Siasia Stadium to witness the formal declaration of Governor Seriake Dickson to run for a second term in the forthcoming governorship election on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The occasion attracted prominent Bayelsa elders and top PDP members led by chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Chief Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Deputy Governors of Delta State, Kingsley Otuaro; Abia, Chris Akomas; Ebonyi, Kelechi Igwe and Kogi, Yomi Awoniyi, among others.
The former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was accompanied by his wife, Dame Patience , who received a thunderous applause when her name was mentioned.
Dr. Jonathan said though his decision to endorse the second bid of Governor Dickson had attracted reactions through bulk SMS in circulation, his decision was based on the four points conviction that the incumbent had performed in the areas of prompt workers’ salary payment, proper management of state resources without recourse to borrowing, improved infrastructural development and road constructions.
He said, “I have stayed in government for 16years. I stayed with Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha for six years and stayed in the Presidency for another six years. And in all those years, I think I know much about what some state governors have done.
“I may not know all that the state governors have done and I also may not know all they have not done, but I know what pains the people. When Dickson told me that he wants to declare for second term, I said he should do it. As I said he should do it, some people were asking me questions through bulk SMS.
“But I want to tell him that I will also be here when he is presented with the flag of the party. One of the things worrying the Federal Government is the issue of workers’ salaries owed by the states. Dickson has done well in that aspect. Another issue is that of the borrowing. Dickson has done well. On infrastructure and development, Dickson has tried.”
In his goodwill message, the Ondo State governor and the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Chief Mimiko, said that the decision to call for Dickson re-election was based on noticeable development in the state, more so when you have a governor that has lifted his people, there was need for him to return.
“Some people are Abuja based giants and newspapers giants in terms of politics. Dickson is a man of accomplishment,” he said.
He added that the meeting of the PDP Governors Forum, held on Monday night, also dwelled on the rising and dangerous incursions made by the
All Progressive Congress, APC, led administration into the PDP controlled states of the South-South.
“The South-South people cannot allow the APC to trample on the states. More than 50 per cent of the governors in APC are products of the PDP. For us in the PDP, we have not shaking. We know that the truth will come out one day,” he said.
Also speaking, former governor of the state, Chief Alamieyeseigha described the gathering of PDP stalwarts at the event as an indication of the victory for the party come December 5.
The event, according to him, was nothing but a pre-electoral victory celebration for the party.
In his declaration, Governor Dickson said that the decision to run for second term was a call for his team of administrators to re-dedicate themselves to the stability and development of the state.
According to him, “Some people came here sometime ago to say that the PDP is finished in Bayelsa, the gathering here today (yesterday) shows that the PDP is in charge of the state. Of all the political offices in the state, the opposition party has only one at the state Assembly.
“Out of all the 105 councillors, they have none. From 1999 till date, we have four governors serving and three are still in PDP. Only one went astray. It shows that this is an unshakeable party. Bayelsa has no room for any other party. The other party has no message for us.
“It is not because they have a federal might behind them, but because we have you, the people of the state. The good news is that they are not on ground in the state and they are not our match. The good news is that unknown to them, they are another arm of the PDP. After their primaries, we will appoint for them interim party executive committee and we will shut them down gradually,” he added.
The investments were made during the regimes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo; his successor, late President Umaru Yar’Adua, and President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, and the Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, Mr. James Olotu, disclosed this before a Senate Ad-hoc Committee probing the power sector from 1999 till date.
Furthermore, Olotu revealed that contrary to popular belief, the National Integrated Power Projects, NIPPs, which gulped about $8.23 billion or N1.64 trillion were actually being funded from the Excess Crude Account, rather than from ministerial provisions.
Funds appropriationIgali further disclosed that despite the sector’s need, budgetary votes were seldom released fully, noting that the country cannot realise the full benefit of any investment in power unless the value chain elements – generation, transmission and distribution were also revamped.
He gave a breakdown of the appropriation and money released from 1999 to 2015 as follows:
*1999 – N11.206 billion appropriated, N6.698billion released;
*2000 – N59.064billion appropriated, N49,785 billion released;
*2001 – N103. 397 billion appropriated, N70.927 billion released;
*2002 – N54.647billion appropriated, N41.196 billion released;
*2003 – N55.583billion appropriated, N5.207billion released;
*2004 – N54.647billion appropriated, N54. 647billion released;
*2005 – N90.283 billion appropriated, N71.889 billion released;
*2006 – N74.308 billion appropriated, N74. 3 billion released;
*2007 – N100 billion appropriated, N99.8 billion released;
*2008 – N156 billion appropriated, N112 billion released;
*2009 – N89. 5 billion appropriated, N87billion released;
*2010 – N172 billion appropriated, N70 billion released;
*2011 – N125 billion appropriated, N61 billion released;
*2012 – N197. 9 billion appropriated, N53. 5billion released;
*2013- N146 billion appropriated, N49 billion released;
l2014 – N69.8 billion appropriated, N48 billion released; and,
*2015 – N5. 240billion appropriated, no money released yet.
However, he said that it was only in 2009 that the power sector witnessed a full appropriation, adding that the annual net funding shortfall ranged from 22 per cent to 67 per cent.
According to Igali, about N155 billion intervention fund was released to the Ministry for the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO, to cushion the effects of the shortfalls in expenditure for the power sector between 2009 and 2013.
The funds were given for a period of five years. A breakdown of the interventions funds are as follows:
*2009 – N30.8 billion;
*2010 -N43.2 billion;
*2011 – N37.0 billion;
*2012 – N11.5 billion; and,
*2013 – N32.6 billion.
Outstanding labour issues
Speaking on the defunct National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, the Permanent Secretary, who noted that every aspect of power has been sold, except for the transmission units, said that about 2,000 workers were yet to be paid off.
He noted that many who claimed to be staff of NEPA do not have valid documents, adding that parts of the proceeds from the privatisation exercise were used to settle labour claims of over 46,000 workers by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE.
He said the payments were made through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the National Pensions Commission.
Speaking on the high cost of operations in the power sector, Igali who noted that a healthy infrastructure expansion programme required continual investment, said that about “60% – 70% is the typical utility debt to equity profile. Infrastructure projects should be fully funded over a three-year budget cycle.
“Typical Capital Cost (based on a 200:1 Naira/USD exchange rate), Gas processing plant N30 – N40 billion; each Gas pipeline N12 million per inch per km; Generation N200 million per MW; Double circuit 330 kV transmission line: N85million per km; Double circuit 132 kV transmission line N80million per km; Transmission transformer N16 million per MVA; Single circuit 33 kV distribution line N6.5million per km; Single circuit 11 kV distribution line: N6million per km; and Distribution transformer N2.5million – N6 million each.”
In separate statements in Abuja, the APC and the PDP accused one another of economic mismanagement and of filtering away public finds.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC said the party has uncovered a list of new cases of the insane looting of the treasury by some officials of the Jonathan’s administration, saying the corruption mess that characterised the administration was so pervasive that until it is cleaned, Nigeria will not be able to actualise its potential.
The party said those who would rather give comfort to the looters by dismissing the media exposure of looting cases as mere hell-raising should realise that no sane person can be silent in the face of what was unfolding as the worst cases of brazen stealing of public funds in Nigeria’s history.
It recalled that on August 16, 2015, the party listed some instances of the breath-taking looting of the treasury by some officials of the immediate past administration.
The party said it was today bringing to light three more heart-rending cases to the attention of Nigerians. It listed the new cases as a mind-shattering $2.2bn (about N440bn) arms scandal; a $6.9m fraud by the Chief Security Officer to President Jonathan, committed under the guise of buying three mobile stages for the President; and a N2.5bn scam involving the rent of house boats.
The statement partly read, ‘’While those charged with handling these cases are finalising the details of bringing the suspects to justice, our immediate concern is the attempt by the PDP, under whose umbrella the looting took place, to blame the Buhari administration for the mess and then infer that things have been worse in Nigeria in the past three months under the APC-led Federal Government than in the 16 years under the PDP. This is totally provocative, shameless and uncharitable.
“They say we are yet to fulfil our campaign promises to Nigeria, but they have forgotten that if only the PDP/Jonathan administration had not stolen Nigeria blind, there would have been more than enough money to give school children in Nigeria, not just one but three meals a day and even pay N5, 000 to N50m to most vulnerable Nigerians, not just the N25m we promised in our manifesto.
“It is clear to all Nigerians that the debilitating impact of 16 years of the PDP’s misrule cannot be reversed in just three months.”
In response, the PDP insisted that the stealing of public funds has been going on under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.
It said that rather than hide their heads in shame for its abysmal performance in the last 90 days, leaders of the APC and the Presidency have continued to grope and look for excuses.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh,who said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said discerning minds were appalled that instead of providing answers to issues of economic retrogression, the Presidency and the APC have resorted to wild allegations and insults in an attempt to cover their ineptitude and divert attention from their list of bogus promises which they have no intention to fulfil.
He said, “The PDP has severally expressed its support for a holistic fight against corruption and we have challenged the Federal Government to investigate and prosecute all corrupt persons irrespective of ethnic and political affiliations.
“We are therefore appalled that instead of getting serious with the challenges of governance, the APC is bent on inventing excuse for its crass incompetence to create and manage wealth, to the detriment of the nation.
“We challenge the APC and the Presidency to be honest enough to respond to issues instead of resorting to propaganda.
“Is the so-called mess clearing an answer for the adamant stance of the APC and President Buhari in running a government without a cabinet and a precise fiscal policy direction, a strange totalitarian approach that has taken serious toll on the economy and the polity in general?”
According to the Presidency, the former Ministers should allow the President the peace he required to handle the reconstruction of the economy and the nation in a manner that most serve Nigeria’s best interests, adding that President Buhari does not need these types of distraction presented by the so-called association of former ministers.
In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency asked the country’s latest trade union formation, the Association of Ex-Jonathan Ministers to do a bit of self-reflection on the sort of government they handed to President Muhammadu Buhari back in May to determine for themselves if it would have been right for any incoming government, not just this one to ignore the issue of the brazen theft of public assets, perhaps the first of its kind we have ever seen in this country,
” In this regard that there is no witch hunt or malice against anyone in the pursuit of the county’s stolen assets still stand . This war against corruption knows no friend nor foe.
“There is no intention to deny anyone of their good name where they are entitled to it and that President Buhari reserves the highest regards for the country’s former leaders including Dr Jonathan Goodluck who he continues to praise to the high heavens for the way and manner in which he accepted defeat in the last election.
“That singular action remains a feat that has earned the former president and Nigeria as country befitting commendations all over the world, the latest coming from Mr Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations who visited a week ago.
“For the purpose of emphasis, the issue of fighting corruption by President Buhari is non negotiable. It is sine qua non to the overall reconstruction of the economy and social systems which suffered destruction and severe denigration under the last administration. President Buhari will not be deterred or blackmailed into retreat and surrender.
“No one in the PDP can accuse President Buhari of undermining the economy when all they handed over to him is at best,was a tottering economy hobbled by corruption and the absence of due process.
“Things have become worsened by the continuing fall of oil prices, which is expected to fall even further with the imminent full return of Iran to the market. All he has been doing while around is to put things together, organizing to defeat Boko Haram, paying outstanding salaries, cleaning up the mess left behind, improving security and restoring our relationships with neighbors and the world.
“So what are former ministers afraid of in these things? Have they become a new trade union?
“Let this collection of ex-VIPs allow the President the peace he needs to handle the reconstruction of the economy and the nation in a manner that most serves Nigeria’s best interests. President Buhari does not need these types of distraction presented by the so-called association of former ministers.”
The investigative committee’s mandate is to identify irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the Armed Forces.
The committee, which was constituted by the the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd), on the directive of the President, is headed by AVM J.O.N. Ode (retd.) while Brig-Gen. Y. I. Shalangwa is secretary.
Other members are Rear Admiral J. A. Aikhomu (retd.), Rear Admiral E. Ogbor (retd.), Brig-Gen. L. Adekagun (retd.), Brig-Gen. M. Aminu-Kano (retd.), Brig-Gen N. Rimtip (retd.), Commodore T. D. Ikoli, Air Commodore U. Mohammed (retd), Air Commodore I. Shafi’i, Col A. A. Ariyibi, GP Capt C.A. Oriaku (retd) and Mr. I. Magu (EFCC).
A statement from presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said “the establishment of the investigative committee is in keeping with President Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in Nigeria’s public service.
“It comes against the background of the myriad of challenges that the Nigerian Armed Forces have faced in the course of ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the northeast, including the apparent deficit in military platforms with its attendant negative effects on troops’ morale.
“The committee will specifically investigate allegations of non-adherence to correct equipment procurement procedures and the exclusion of relevant logistics branches from arms procurement under past administrations, which, very often resulted in the acquisition of sub-standard and unserviceable equipment.”
He said for all the years he worked as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the former president, he only saw him drink wine during government functions. Abati cleared the air during a recent interview with Rockcity 101.9 FM, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“President Jonathan does not drink. You see, that’s one of the myths about that administration and you must understand how this thing is, it’s all about perception, communication, it’s all about what goes out and it’s about stereotyping. People just stereotype people from a particular part of the country as drunkards, and they look for justification for one type of behaviour or the other.
But I can tell you that in my 4 years of working for President Jonathan, I never found him in a bibulous situation. If he ever tasted any drink, maybe a glass of wine during special occasions. All those stories about him drinking, about President Jonathan always being berated, about bibulous situations inside the Villa, those things did not exist.
The people must find justifications to say this is why we think this situation is this way it is. I tell you and Nigerians will remember that he is a very humble man; he is a very committed person to the Nigerian project. If you look at the results of the elections, you’ll see that he lost the elections with about 2.5 million votes or thereabout, which means that a large number of Nigerians still believed in him and also believed in his ability and his capability of his administration to move Nigeria forward.
We were dealing with a democracy; the people have a right to make a choice, when the people make a choice, we respect that choice. And our commitment as Nigerians, whoever we may be, whatever we maybe our station, is to remain committed to Nigeria, and to support whoever has emerged and to respect the choice and the decision of Nigerians. This is not about witch-hunt, it’s not about criticising people, the Nigerian people have spoken and we stand by the decision of the Nigerian people. And we all support whoever is there to move Nigeria forward. So this backward looking, can we just look forward? Can we all just work together to move Nigeria forward? For me, that is where the emphasis should be, because we are all Nigerians and at the end of the day the country is more important than all of us”he said.
As a matter of fact, the Governor who is a member of the National Economic Council, NEC, made further disclosures revealing that under the watch of Okonjo-Iweala, the Federal Government spent the sum of N140billion on consultancy for the Second Niger bridge. He said the money was sourced from the Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF, illegally, asserting that the Igbos must hold the former President responsible since such amount was expended with no bridge on ground.
He insists that the nation cannot succeed in the war against corruption unless people are prosecuted, stressing that “If Nigerians know what these people did, they will stone them to death, jungle justice. 700 million dollars gone on second Niger bridge without any bridge to show”.
Oshiomhole, visibly angry, said he may not be able to reveal as much as he would have liked but maintained that if Nigerians knew what actually went down during Jonathan’s reign, they would stone him and his cabinet members on the street.
He also spoke on the Edo World Bank loan, the race for the Edo guber race in 2016 and other national issues.
Anya made the statement at Sam Ohuabunwa’s Outreach, in Lagos, to mark the 65th birthday of Ohuabunwa, former chairman of Neimeth Pharmaceuticals.
The event was also to launch Ohuabunwa’s books, Sam Ohuabunwa’s Paradigm: Thoughts on Contemporary National Issues and The Port Harcourt Volunteer.
The professor, who chaired the occasion, said it was sad that Nigerians are not learning from history, averring that the much-criticized immediate past administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan was better than that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo
We don’t have a nation
The professor said “The problem now is that we are now trying to build a nation. We don’t have a nation but whether we like it or not, a nation is going to emerge out of Nigeria. And it is going to be from the contributions of Sam and all of us putting our individual experiences on the table and drawing lessons and teaching the lessons to others.
Below is a breakdown of the alleged stolen funds.
*3.8 trillion Naira out of the 8.1 trillion Naira earned from crude oil (2012-2015) withheld by NNPC
*2.1 billion US dollars (N413.7 billion) from Excess Crude Account unaccounted for
*Department of Petroleum Resources’ unremitted 109.7 billion Naira royalty from oil firms
*6 billion US dollars (N1.182 trillion) allegedly looted by some ministers of the last administration
*160 billion barrels of crude worth 13.9 billion US dollars (N2.7383) lost between 2009 and 2012
*15 million US dollars (N2.955 trillion) from botched arms deal yet to be returned to Nigeria
*13 billion US dollars (N2.561 trillion) in NLNG dividends mostly unaccounted for
*30 billion Naira rice waiver
*183 billion naira unaccounted for at the NDDC
President Muhammadu Buhari has concluded plans to recover all government property still in possession of government officials who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Federal Government’s assets including vehicles, buildings, generator sets and others were said to still be in the possession of the former government officials weeks after they had left office.
Irked by the development, Buhari was said to have set up a committee made up of civil servants and security agencies to identify and recover the unreturned public assets from the former political appointees.
The development is in continuation of ongoing efforts of the President to reclaim Nigeria’s stolen resources.
He said, “That is precisely the case. Even here at the Presidential Villa, there are cars and other property belonging to the government,which are yet to be returned.
“The property belong to the Nigerian people. We are not trying to humiliate anyone by asking them to return their cars or houses.”
The presidential spokesman however did not disclose the identities of former government officials said to be still in possession of government property.
But he expressed the conviction that the committee set up by the President would recover all the government assets.
When asked whether the state and local governments were facing similar challenges with retrieving government property from their predecessors, Shehu said that he was not in a position to confirm or deny this.
He added, however, that he would not be surprised if that was the case, as this attitude of holding on to government property even after leaving office must be a natural outcome of the culture of impunity that prevailed in Nigeria over the past years of the Peoples Democratic Party’s regime.
“But change has come. That is why we have to do things differently now. Imagine how much Nigeria will save by retrieving and re-using these government property instead of purchasing new ones for new government officials,” he said.