GOVERNOR WIKE GIVES RIVERS UNIVERSITY FRESH AIR
By Paulinus Nsirim.
Governor Nyesom Wike has done it again. Infact, his propensity to continue to flummox his detractors and wrong-foot the naysayers, has already achieved legendary narrative in tandem with the extraordinary personality and phenomenal achievements of the man called “Mr. Projects.”
Indeed, while many were eagerly anticipating the commencement of the next round of legacy projects commissioning, which had been foretold and will still come, Governor Wike has sprung another pleasant surprise for Rivers people.
The Education sector received a major boost with the release of the sum of N16. 6 billion for the upgrade of facilities at the Rivers Sate University (RSU).
A breakdown of the funding shows that N9 billion of the sum will serve as take-off grant for the establishment of new campuses of University at Ahoada, Emohua and Etche Local Government Areas.
The sum of N3 billion will be devoted to each of the new campuses for the construction of faculty buildings, hostels, offices, libraries, auditoriums, lecture halls and address other needs required for the campuses to operate maximally.
In addition, the sum of N7. 6 billion has also been released to enable the College of Medical Sciences of RSU establish the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Pathology Building.
The State Government has established a scholarship scheme for Rivers indigenes studying at PAMO University of Medical Sciences, which will ultimately provide Rivers children and other Nigerians access to medical education in the State.
The significance of these deliberate yet strategic interventions in a critical sector of the State, is underscored by the fact that this is a landmark development in the history of the institution, which has maintained one campus since its establishment in October 1980.
With the establishment of the three campuses in Emohua, Ahoada and Etche, these communities will now be opened up for consequential development and economic activities, which in turn, will reduce the rate of unemployment in the state.
As for the release of N7. 6 billion to the RSU College of Medical Sciences, the funds will not only enable the College establish the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Pathology Building, but to also fully commence its programme leading to the award of Bachelor of Medicine, and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).
The move would further strengthen accredited departments and those due accreditation at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
The establishment of a scholarship scheme for Rivers indigenes studying at PAMO University of Medical Sciences, was already a key item in Governor Nyesom Wike’s second term inaguration speech, where he clearly noted that the State Government had made significant progress in its effort to train 500 indigenous medical students on full scholarship at the Pamo University of Medical Sciences with 200 students already enrolled at that time and progressing with their studies in the last two years alone.
This new development will therefore, not only assist to reduce the gaps in the doctor to patient ratio in the state and country, but there is great confidence and optimism that in the next few years, Rivers State will play a major role in producing medical manpower for the whole of Nigeria.
Governor Nyesom Wike had already declared his determination to deliver these landmark interventions in his second term inauguration address when he reflected that: “In the last four years, we have made historic investments in education, healthcare, security, and sports development. We have renovated, rebuilt and equipped several primary and secondary schools; upgraded infrastructure in our tertiary institutions to levels never seen before, as well as fulfilled our promise to establish a Faculty of Medical Sciences in the Rivers State University to increase the production of medical personnel for the State and our nation.
“Within the period, we’ve also funded healthcare delivery at great levels, restored our general hospitals and established the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital to improve the level of healthcare delivery in the State.”
Professor Princewill Chike, Rivers State Commissioner for Health, was excited at the release of the N16. 6 billion for the upgrade of facilities at RSU, on February 10, 2021.
He affirmed that while the College of Medical Sciences can now operate as a full-fledged College with all its required programmes, accreditation of departments and programmes will now be easy to secure because of the enhanced capacity of the College which already has requisite personnel.
Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, the Rivers State Commissioner for Education, however hit the nail on the head when he declared quite appropriately that all those skeptics who thought that Governor Wike was making mere political statement when he promised to establish three new campuses for RSU will see that he is walking the talk.
According to him, with the money released and contractors soon to commence construction of Classrooms, hostels, auditoriums and offices at the three Local Government Areas, there is an assured expansion of RSU to benefit the entire state.
This, he said, will increase access to education significantly because admission spaces will be opened for more intakes and those communities hosting the new campuses will enjoy increased commercial activities, employment and development.
There is definitely no doubt whatsoever, that this robust, historic intervention in the overall upgrade of facilities at RSU is really good news, especially at a time when governance has been grounded in most parts of the country and the world, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, reflecting on the trajectory of extraordinary accomplishments of Governor Wike’s administration since inception, the incontrovertible conclusion is that he has delivered significant milestones in the development agenda he set down and advanced the progress of Rivers State in the right direction, despite the daunting challenges in the last five years.
The release of N16.6illion for the upgrade of RSU is another promise fulfilled by Governor Wike and with still another two and half years to the end of his tenure, the Rivers State Government under the visionary leadership of Governor Wike, has proven to all that he is a responsive Governor who keeps his promises.
Governor Wike is determined to ensure that by the time his mandate as Governor comes to an end, Rivers State would have witnessed the kind of extraordinary transformation, which can only be delivered by an extraordinary and exceptional leader.
•Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications,Rivers State.