From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has identified the intractable insecurity situation in Nigeria as one reason most professionals leave the shores of the country in droves for greener pastures.
Governor Wike spoke on the cause of brain drain at the inauguration of the Renal Centre and House Officers Quarters at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital in Port Harcourt. He maintained that welfare of doctors and other professionals were not primarily the sole reasons for brain drain in the country.
He noted that because of the looming unemployment situation in the country, most people now opt going outside of Nigeria for the dream job they required.
Wike insisted that even when some of professionals were employed within Nigeria,they were not provided with the requisite equipment to use in their various organisations and industries.
“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.”
Governor Wike reiterated that it was out of grateful heart that he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the release of 13 per cent derivative fund arrears, from 1999 to date, that was never paid by previous administration to States in Niger Delta.
He wondered why saying thank you is an offence.
“On television, I heard one of the governors said in his state to do three kilometre road will do more than 15 flyovers. Rivers State is it not Niger Delta State? Don’t we have riverine areas in Rivers State? Amayanabo of Opobo said since he was born, he has never driven by road to Opobo.
“The day he drove by road to Opobo, he said, God is it possible that in my own time I will not go through the river again, I am now driving by road to Opobo. That is a major riverine area. By the grace of God, this December, we are going to commission the first phase of Trans-Kalabari Road. That is a major riverine area.
“I didn’t know that people are sick about the flyovers I do. Okay, sorry. I don’t want you to be sick again. I won’t do again. Instead of you to appreciate and ask somebody how are you doing this, and justify what you’re doing…”
Governor Wike pointed to how determined he was 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.
“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 a 100 students of Rivers origin at the PAMO University of Medical Sciences were also placed on state government scholarship, and who upon graduation, would gain automatic employment into government establishment.
Governor Wike said while equipment are provided, and medical facilities ungraded, the manpower gap is also being filled.
The governor maintained that the current congestion that is experienced at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) is being addressed.
He explained that in the coming days, the Gynecology Department will move to the Mother and Child Hospital and other departments moving to their dedicated facilities like the Maxillofacial and Kersely Harrison Hospital.
Governor Wike urged Nigerians to seek medical assistance from the Renal Centre because it has the best equipment and personnel to offer requisite services. Wike hinted that there was already an ongoing arrangement towards an effective management of the centre to ensure sustainability.