By Henry Umahi
Wike assumed office at a time the state was in financial quagmire. Civil servants, pensioners and contractors were being owed large sums of money. Indeed, the treasury of the state was empty even as the statutory compulsory savings account was completely depleted. Worst still, the business environment was stifled.
However, the governor came prepared to grow the economy, create jobs, empower the people and reduce poverty to the barest minimum. To achieve these laudable objectives, the Wike administration focused on the implementation of policies that would improve government’s income, curtail wastes and create an enabling environment for private investments to thrive.
Governor Nyesom Wike assumed office at a time when the state was in a financial quagmire. Civil servants, pensioners and contractors were then owed large sums of money. Indeed, the treasury of the state was empty even as the statutory compulsory savings account was completely depleted. Worst still, the business environment was stifled.
However, the governor came prepared to grow the economy, create jobs, empower the people and reduce poverty to the barest minimum. To achieve these laudable objectives, the Wike administration focused on the implementation of policies that would improve government’s income, curtail waste and create an enabling environment for private investments to thrive.
Within a short period, Wike’s government stabilized the economy and placed it on the path of sustainable growth, to the extent that the economy of Rivers State is now reckoned as one of the best in the country in terms of performance.
Within months, the Wike administration mobilized resources from all possible sources, with less emphasis on borrowing, to fund development projects and recurrent expenditure; prioritized the payment of salaries of civil servants and pensioners; invested over 70 per cent in the provision of infrastructure and blocked leakages in the management of public finances.
These measures achieved telling results including: Full payment of piles of debts to civil servants; regular payment of salaries to civil servants; infrastructural revolution; job creation; improved business environment; prompt issuance of land title documents; empowerment of small businesses; direct empowerment; construction of Rumuokoro Market and Bus Park, construction of Rumuwoji Mile 1 market Phase 1, construction of Rumuokworo Market and Bus Park and Mile 1 (Rumuwoji) Market Phase 2.
Housing for all
Recognising that a large percentage of the population was in need of decent and affordable housing below the market price, Wike, in his blueprint, formulated a four-point plan for the development of the housing sector of in the state:
Investment in the provision of social housing in partnership with private sector investors; expansion of opportunities for housing development by providing serviced plots in urban areas to civil servants and low-income earners; support for the establishment of new housing districts/estates, and fast-tracking and simplifying the process of issuing certificate of occupancy to developers.
Over the years, the Wike administration had invested resources to actualize this vision for the development of the housing sector. The governor’s accomplishments in this area include encouraging private sector investments in housing delivery, development of 50 one-bedroom houses for the Department of State Services, construction of 24 units of two-bedroom flats for the Nigerian Air Force, construction of 20 five-bedroom duplexes as Judges’ Quarters, construction of three-bedroom luxury flats for senior civil servants, and construction of 50 local houses in Ogu/Bolo LGA.
See rivers hospitals and live
On assumption of office, Wike met a sick public healthcare system. The general hospitals were in ruins so access to qualitative healthcare services in the state was beyond the reach of average families.
Against the backdrop of the comatose public healthcare system, Wike had promised during the campaigns to:
“Progressively increase budgetary allocation to healthcare delivery; revitalize and fortify the primary healthcare system; restore and rehabilitate the long-abandoned general hospitals; establish a medical school in the state’s university to enhance the training of health personnel for the state; restore and upgrade the School of Health Science and Technology as well as that of Midwifery; and partner with the private sector to develop and ensure efficient healthcare delivery in the state.”
Six years down the line, the narrative has remarkably changed. Wike’s achievements in the health sector include:
Strengthening the Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board to deliver on its mandate to Rivers people as evidenced in (i) Payment of arrears of salaries to health workers; (ii) Increased funding for Primary Health Care; (iii) Transfer of salary pay points to PHCB; (iv) Continuous capacity-building for health workers; (v) Strengthening of the cold chain system with the procurement of additional freezers to ensure the sustainable availability of quality vaccines for immunization exercises; (vi) Introduction of community-based health insurance scheme; (vii)Provision of Primary Healthcare infrastructure; (viii) Renovation of primary healthcare centres; (ix) Building of new primary healthcare centres; and (x) A new permanent office accommodation for PHCMB at Waterlines, Port Harcourt, to provide comfort and convenience for staff and enhance productivity.
Wike has renovated and upgraded primary health centres in virtually all parts of the state, including Ozuoba, Rumuodomaya, Pott’s Johnson, Eneka, Orugbom, Okuru-Ama, Elekahia, Nkpolu, Mgbudukwu, Rumuigbo, Omoku, Elelenwo, Rumuepirikom, Rumuolumini, Churchill, Akpajo and Sick Bay, Port Harcourt LG.
In order to ensure access to PHCs all over the state, Wike continues to build new centres for under-served communities across the state.
Wike’s achievements in secondary healthcare delivery include increased budgetary allocation to the health sector, employment of medical staff, introduction of the private hospitals support fund, payment of outstanding arrears of salaries to house officers and reconstruction of general hospitals.
The scope of work in each of the general hospitals involves the complete reconstruction of wards, administration buildings, staff and service quarters, kitchens and laundry units, the pharmacy and laboratory buildings, theatres, pathology, x-ray and casualty units, antenatal and out-patient units, generator and security house and external works, including walkways, landscaping and drainage.
The Wike administration has also completed the Mother and Child Hospital, Rumuomasi, which was abandoned by the previous administration.
Wike has also completed the abandoned zonal hospitals, which serve as referral centres for a cluster of LGAs. The hospitals are located at Ahoada, Bori, Degema and Okehi.
In the area of tertiary heathcare, the Wike administration upgraded and converted the former Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH) to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH). Facilities in the hospital were, accordingly, upgraded to meet the standards and requirements set by the National Universities Commission.
A College of Medical Sciences has also been established at the Rivers State University, where young medical doctors and medical scientists are trained.
The icing on the cake is the ultra-modern Government House Clinic and Administrative Building, which was launched by former Senate