• Monday, May 20, 2024
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Political realignment in Rivers as Peter Odili endorses Fubara as new leader

Political realignment in Rivers as Peter Odili endorses Fubara as new leader

…Governor declares fresh support for Tinubu

Things seem to take shape in Rivers State after the crisis that engulfed the oil state. Now, one of the most respected voices in the state and acclaimed father of the new era, former governor Peter Odili has openly endorsed the embattled Governor Siminalayi Fubara as the new political leader of the state.

This may not go down well in certain quarters in the vicious strife over the position of number one citizen or leader.

Many political leaders including the 27 defected lawmakers still look up to the ex-Gov Nyesom Wike, now minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as the leader of the state, and in fact, take instructions from him.

They also expect him to be the one to clear any appointment to be made in the state, and endorse list of next set of local council chairmen just as he is said to be the one that handpicked many of the present commissioners and aides.

Speaking at a health project in Ndoni area of the state on Thursday, April 11, 2024, Odili said that Governor Fubara was the political leader of the state, insisting that Rivers people would stand by him.

He urged the governor to continue in his trajectory of people-oriented projects execution, touching the lives of the people directly with his governance. The statement seems short but it is the first time Odili has publicly identified with any of his successors or announced him as the political leader.

Fubara has however, given all to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and has restated his administration’s firm support to the President. This is seen as an effort to demonstrate total loyalty to the President in the hour of betrayals and fears over loyalties.

Fubara said that he did so because of Tinubu’s people-oriented policies aimed at improving the well-being of the people and providing critical social services to Nigerians.

He also emphasised that his administration was determined to build an egalitarian society where people can freely voice their opinions, be bold to criticise his administration constructively to further advance good governance.

The governor insisted that nothing close to the use of plain cloth security officers to intimidate or harass the citizenry will be associated with his administration.

Fubara made the remarks at the commissioning of the Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Centre in Ndoni Town, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State on Thursday.

“But I thank God that whatever it is they think or imagined we are doing, we are happy we are touching lives. Everyone can attest to it. But one critical project, one specific aspect of it is the well-being of our people.

“We made a promise to Mr. President to support him, and we will continue to support him. How do we support him?

“It is to ensure that the welfare of our people is provided for. It is to ensure that our people, those in critical need, we make them happy in this harsh economic situation.

“If we cannot solve all the problems, at least, we will go as much as we can to mitigate those basic challenges. That is the only way to support Mr. President,” he said.

According to a Government House press statement, the Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Centre was built and donated to the State Government by the PAMO Educational Foundation, with the former governor of Rivers State, Odili, as its founder.

Employment of 1000 medical personnel:

Drawing attention to what his administration is doing in the healthcare delivery, Governor Fubara said he increased the quota of employment of personnel into the health sector to 1,000 persons.

The action, he noted, was because the 200 personnel he met on assumption of duty was grossly inadequate compared to the prevailing needs in the sector.

He also made reference to the deplorable condition of over 340 primary healthcare centres across the state when he assumed office, and explained that commendable rehabilitation work was ongoing to ensure the facilities function optimally.

To achieve the needed transformation and provision of quality healthcare services, Fubara said the contractors that handled the reconstruction of the zonal hospitals have been invited and directed to return to site to complete the projects.

He stressed that the initiative was meant to bridge the yawning gap between the primary and tertiary healthcare services in the state.

“But I’m happy with what the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Board has said here today.

“On assumption of office, it was different from what we have recorded. We are giving hope to the people. We are not going to stop improving that sector every day, by the special grace of God.

“We’ve gone further to improve our healthcare services by promising our people not just promising, but ensuring that we’ll see it through, that all the zonal hospitals must be put back to function.

“We have invited all the contractors that were awarded those jobs. We have asked them to return back to site so that those facilities will function to provide quality services to our people.

“The Secretary mentioned about employment. When we came on board, the number I saw allocated to you was 200. But I’ve given you 1,000 medical doctors. That will tell you that we place importance on efficient healthcare services for our state,” he said.

Fubara acknowledged as ingenious the conviction of the PAMO Educational Foundation to undertake the construction of such health facility as a private citizen deploying personal resources to give back to society.

The governor described the gesture as the best thing that has happened to the people, which is worthy of emulation, and urged members of the community to own the project by protecting it.

To this, Odili said he was motivated to undertake the project because two years ago, when flood ravaged Ndoni Town, the health centre in the community was destroyed, leaving people within 50-kilometer radius without immediate healthcare services.

Swipe at one man

The governor took a swipe at those describing his administration as clueless because it is not constructing roads to personal property or serving the interest of few individuals.

He insisted that he was elected to serve the general interest of Rivers people, improve their social status and make life comfortable for them.

Warning shot at LGA bosses

He also told the local government chairmen pretending to be serving the people while worshipping the interest of one man, that they were digging a pit to bury their political career.

He particularly expressed surprise that Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government chairman was present at the event, and chastised him and some others for avoiding State Government functions.

Speaking on the project, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Adaeze Oreh explained that the health facility that seats on the island of Ndoni in the political Ward 14, has 20-bed spaces, and would meet 80 percent healthcare needs of the people.

Oreh said the health facility will offer such services like antenatal and postnatal services, deliveries, immunization, cervical screening, hypertension and issues of tuberculosis and other levels of health education services.

In his welcome address, Chairman of Rivers State Electoral Commission (RISEC), Adolphus Enebeli (retired high court judge), said the day would be remembered and treasured in history that a man, Odili, a genius, with humanity impulse, had used his personal resources to build a state-of-the-art health facility with support from his wife, Mary.

Enebeli said that the event demonstrated effective Public-Private Partnership to build and donate the facility by PAMO Educational Foundation, adding that the health centre will serve people in all the 18 villages in Ndoni Town.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board, Kinikanwo Green, said the event aligned with the policy thrust of the Fubara administration that has committed so much resources and motivation to making the facilities in the health sector function optimally.

After commissioning the facility, Governor Fubara was said to have taken an inspection of the wards, laboratories, and equipment, and also performed the official launch of the State Health Insurance Scheme at the centre.

The governor, while on his way to Ndoni Town, stopped over briefly in Elele Town at sighting a crowd of youths, women, men and traditional rulers, who had waited to receive him enroute Ndoni.

He waved at them, walked up to the canopy sheltering the traditional rulers, paid his homage and received the kolanuts they offered him.

Political leaders like the Chairman of Ocabic Group, Eze Okey Okah, and former commissioner for information and communications, Emmanuel Okah, were among indigenes of Elele Town in Ikwerre Local Government Area who joined the jubilant crowd to receive the governor.