September 29, 2023

Gov. Wike

Wike takes on governor over derivation payments

Gov. Wike

The dusts raised by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s revelation on the payment of 13 per cent derivation to core oil producing states would take a longer time to settle.

Wike, who stirred the hornets’ nest, took on one of the Niger Delta governors over remarks on the application of what accrued to the states as derivation.

Drawing a battle line, the Rivers’ helmsman did not name any governor.

But his counterpart Governor Douye Diri recently said that the cost of construction in a difficult terrain like Bayelsa State could was three times or more times the cost elsewhere.

Wike said that one of his colleagues while trying to justify how he utilised his state’s share of the money remarked that the cost of constructing a three-kilometre road in his state was enough to deliver 15 flyovers.

He spoke yesterday at the inauguration of a Renal Centre and House Officers Quarters built and equipped by his administration at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).

The governor promised to reply the unnamed governor for saying that the cost of a road project could be three times bigger than that of four flyovers in other states in the region.

Wike said: “One of the governors who I will soon reply because I have the capacity to reply any of them. Simply because I said people should thank President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing 13 per cent arrears to some Niger Delta governors.

“I didn’t abuse any of them. I said thank him because if he did not release these arrears to me and some of our states, it would have been difficult for me to talk about building a renal centre, Cardiovascular Centre, basic and clinical sciences, house officers’ quarters and many of them.

“I don’t think saying ‘thank you’ is an offence. On television I heard one of the governors say in his state to do three-kilometre road will do more than 15 flyovers. Rivers is it not a Niger Delta State? Don’t we have riverine areas in Rivers.

“The Amayanabo of Opobo said since he was born he had never driven on the road to Opobo. The day he drove to Opobo he said ‘God is it possible that in my own time I am not going through the river again, I can now drive to Opobo?

“That is a major riverine area. By the grace of God this December we are going to inaugurate the first phase of Trans-Kalabari road. It is a major riverine area. I don’t know why some people are sick about my flyovers. Don’t be sick again, I won’t do again.

“Instead of you to appreciate and ask someone how are you doing this? I have turned the state capital around using a major construction company. If you know you have the capacity go and hire that company and see whether you can pay salaries.

“People know the contractors I use in this state. Some of them nobody knows their contractors. Who are they? Now you have touched me, anything you see you take”.

Wike identified the intractable insecurity situation as one reason most professionals leave the shores of the country in droves for greener pastures.

He maintained that welfare of doctors and other professionals were not primarily the sole reasons for brain drain in the country.

The governor noted that because of the looming unemployment situation in the country, most people sought job opportunities outside of Nigeria.

He said: “When you talk about brain drain, it is not only associated with the medical profession. So, many people leave this country because of unemployment. So many people have left this country because of insecurity. So many people have left this country because where they work the equipment is not there.

“It is not only just because of welfare; that is why you see brain drain, no. It is not correct. Even professors in the university in the various faculties of law, faculties of engineering most of them leave because the tools to work are not there.

“But you are lucky you (RSUTH staff) have the tools here. So, clap for us first that we have provided the basic things. Today, you’re lucky, you’re working in a teaching hospital where you can find the equipment, at least, to make your job easier for you. So, it is not as bad as where the equipment are not there.”

Wike said he was determined in creating the space for medical education that led to the establishment of medical college at the Rivers State University (RSU), which hitherto was not in existence before he assumed office.

He said: “To tell you it is not just flyovers, look at the health sector alone. As at the time we came , this State had no medical college, only the University of Port Harcourt had, and you see how competitive being a federal university. How many of our people get admission to read medicine and other related courses.”

He said about 100 students of Rivers origin were at the PAMO University of Medical Sciences on state government scholarship, and who upon graduation would gain automatic employment into government establishments.

Wike said while equipment were provided and medical facilities upgraded, the manpower gap was also being filled.

The governor maintained that the current congestion experienced at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) was being addressed.

He explained that in the coming days, the Gynecology department would move to the Mother and Child Hospital with other departments moving to their dedicated facilities like the Maxillofacial and Kersely Harrison Hospital.

Speaking on the projects, Wike urged Nigerians to seek medical assistance from the Renal Centre because it had the best equipment and personnel to offer requisite services.

He said there was already an ongoing arrangement to effectively manage the centre to ensure sustainability.

Wike further advised the house officers to imbibe maintenance culture so that they could always keep the quarters clean and maintain the structure.

In his speech, Chief Medical Director of Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron said the two projects inaugurated were signature of the genuine love of governor Wike for the state.

Aaron recalled that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) was already constructing a Renal Dialysis Unit and Wike noticed that if allowed in its form, its services would be limited.

The CMD said Wike directed an expansion of the unit into a world class centre that would diagnose renal cases, perform dialysis and do transplant of kidney insisting that Rivers people deserved the best.

Health Commissioner, Prof. Princewill Chike said the Renal Centre was one of the best in Nigeria that had been provided by Wike for his love for the health sector.

The centre said is storey building that has a  lift that can take 13 person per time with other facilities such as  doctors and nurses call rooms, water treatment unit, and a six-bed space dialysis area.

Prof. Chike said the first floor comprises   two theatres for kidney donor and recipient with equipment to ensure the marching of the kidney.

He said the second theatre is where the transplanting of the kidney is done and the situation properly monitored adding that there is 100kv standby generating set and 30 kva inverter with six solar plates to ensure regular power supply.

The chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Ebi Robinson commended governor Wike for building the Renal centre and equipping it with latest state of the art medical equipment that will enhance the productivity of doctors in the hospital.

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