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Special Report

A President And His Health Problems

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President Umaru Yar’Adua, who is currently in a Saudi hospital, may have decided to stay on in power, at least till 2011. Indeed, it was gathered that the president’s condition in the hospital is improving as there are indications that he was still fit to run the country. Cable News Network (CNN) on Friday quoted an unamed presidency official as saying that the president is not thinking of resigning despite his state of health.

The president was reported to be suffering from medical condition called acute pericarditis which is an ailment of the heart. But CNN quoted the official in its website on Friday that President Yar’Adua is not contemplating quoting for now. According to what CNN called a ‘spokesman’ in the president’s office, “President Umaru Yar’Adua and Vice President (Goodluck Jonathan) will continue in their respective roles and the latter will not assume presidential duties,” — the official said.

It is, however, unclear how soon Yar’Adua will return from his medical trip. There has been a lot of comments on what the constitution says on what happened when the president is not around. Below is a summary of what sections 144, 145 And 146 Of The Constitution Says About What Happens When The President Is Absent From Office.

If The President Sends A Written Declaration To The Heads Of The Senate And House Of Representatives That He Is Going On Leave Or Otherwise Unable To Carry Out His Official Functions, Those Duties Are Carried Out By The Vice President As Acting President Until He Sends A Written Declaration To The Contrary.

The President Ceases To Hold Office If A Two-thirds Majority Of The Executive Council Of The Federation Passes A Resolution Declaring He Is Incapable Of Discharging His Functions And That Declaration Is Verified By A Medical Panel Of Five Doctors Including His Personal Physician.

The Medical Panel Must Certify In A Report To The Heads Of The Senate And House Of Representatives That, In Its Opinion, The President Is “Suffering From Such Infirmity Of Body Or Mind As Renders Him Permanently Incapable Of Discharging The Functions Of His Office”.

Discharge Of Function Of President

The vice-president holds the office of president if the position becomes vacant for reasons including death, resignation or permanent incapacity. If the office of vice-president is also vacant at the time, the president of the Senate holds the office of president for not more than three months, during which there is an election of a new president who completes the unexpired presidential term.

Source: articles 144, 145 and 146 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Vice President Goodluck Jonathan said on Friday that President Umaru Yar’Adua is healthy and urged Nigerians to disregard any rumour on the contrary.

Receiving muslims who came to the Presidential Villa to pay him Sallah homage, the vice president said he was in constant touch with Yar’Adua and that the president wished Nigerians well.

There were very strong rumours on Wednesday that the President had died from his sickness.

Said the vice president, “we spoke yesterday and even this morning. After this time I will even speak with him. He asked me to convey his personal greetings to all Nigerians.

“There are some rumours about some stories, but let me assure Nigerians that the president is okay. We spoke before he left this country and we have been speaking.

“So, discountenance any form of false rumours being spread by mischievous characters in this country. I assure you that Mr. President is healthy.

“I express Mr. President’s appreciation and my own appreciation to the Muslim Community for their consistent prayers. May Almighty Allah continue to bless this country to see that we succeed as a nation and Government in all our endeavours.

“Even as individuals from childhood to adulthood you will require sacrifices. We call on all Nigerians, especially those of us in government, we have to reflect on this and to shun temptations just like Abraham and his men did. This special ceremony reflects what happened in those days, the vice president stated.

Nigerians were not really jolted on Monday night when information filtered out of the Presidential Villa in Abuja that President Umaru Yar’Adua will be jetting out of the country once again to attend this year’s Hajj and see his doctors as well.

The current visit to Saudi Arabia would be his third visit to the country on medical ground. The previous ones were shrouded in secrecy. The President is known to suffer from kidney- related situation, for which he had earlier received medical attention in Germany when he served as governor of Katsina State.

It was also not the first time the president’s health became an issue. In fact, in the last two and a half years, Nigerians have spent longer periods pondering over the state of health of their president than they had ever done for any of his predecessors.

The period of mounting anxiety started before Yar’Adua took office in May 2007. Shortly after his emergence as the presidential hopeful in the 2007 election, news came into the open that the man did not enjoy sound health, which many believe could be a source of hindrance for him as president.

But the then President Olusegun Obasanjo stood stoutly behind his anointed candidate. He was doing much of the talking, as Yar’Adua chose to play the role of a diplomat who should seen but not heard.

When the former governor of Katsina State collapsed midway into the presidential campaign and had to be flown abroad, Obasanjo continued the programme and at the podium in Ado Ekiti, the former President had to put a call through to Yar’Adua on his sick bed to enable him speak to Nigerians and affirm that he was still alive.

At that point, Nigerians were no longer in the dark as to the health condition of the then president-to-be. Apart from the opposition Action Congress (AC), which asked the government to “come clean” on President Umaru Yar’Adua’s health, many Nigerians have kept mute on the matter. The AC, in a statement on Tuesday asked Nigerians to “pray fervently for the president’s good health so he can face the tough task of governance.”

Maxi Okwu of CNPP was quoted in the media as saying: “The president of Nigeria is a public figure and all that concerns him should be in the public domain. But since Umaru Yar’Adua became president they shrouded his obvious health problems in mystery.”They should seriously advise him against going for second term in the interest of himself and in the best interest of Nigeria,” Okwu stated.

One of the first casualties of the president’s state of health is the yearly budgets which have never been well implemented since 2007. Budget implementation has always hovered around 35 and 40 per cent, with undue bickering made to chop into the 2008 and 2009 financial years.

While the National Assembly passed the 2008 budget early in February of that year, the President returned the budget and insisted that some projects that were not contemplated by the executive had been injected into the document by the legislature.

His officials, including the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa, insisted that the matter should be taken to court to decide whether the legislature has the power to initiate projects and include the same in the national budget.

Before reason could prevail, the year was almost half way. Though the president signed the budget on April 15, he gave the condition that some contentious areas would have to be amended before implementation was assured.

The said amendments did not get to the National Assembly till late July, when the lawmakers were already going on their annual recess. It meant that the final copy of budget 2008 was not ready until October of that year.

Everyone had thought that the experience of 2008 will not be repeated in 2009 and the lawmakers themselves attempted to extract commitments from the president that it was serious about the budget.

To convince the lawmakers, the presidency sacked two of the ministers who were believed to have orchestrated the 2008 budget crisis.

However, there was no respite for the nation as the 2009 budget went into the history books as the least implemented. In the average, the budget implementation stood at 35 percent. In some areas, the nation recorded 15 percent implementation. Even most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) projects that were designated as constituency projects remained unimplemented, prompting one lawmaker to declare recently that Nigeria cannot meet the MDGs target of 2015.

In the National Assembly for instance, lawmakers have now raised a supposedly non-issue of seniority or supremacy between the two chambers of the Assembly to a national question.

Before then, the Presidency had looked the other way when members of the House of Representatives stalled the retreat of the Joint Committee on Constitution Review (JCCR) when they demanded parity with the senators and insisted that the Deputy Speaker be named a co-chairman of the JCCR.

Because his party controls two thirds majority of the two chambers, a quick move by the president would have resolved the logjam that is now threatening the nation’s lawmaking process.

The invisible nature of the president has also affected Nigeria’s image within the international community. Only recently, Nigeria lost the bid to secure a top post at the African Union Commission as a result of what is considered ‘failure of diplomacy.’

A diplomat who recently spoke of the dilemma of his colleagues said Nigeria’s position is no longer clear on Zimbabwe, the Congo and Darfur.

Efforts of the foreign Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, to define diplomacy his own way are also said to be landing Nigeria on the wrong side of international politics. Sources said that the president yielded too much ground to the man who does not even have basic backgroung in diplomacy.

IF there is any reason for Nigerians to be worried about the health condition of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Umaru Yar’Adua, which many observers have described as deteriorating, it is not only because of the frequency of his trips out of the country for medical reasons, but more importantly because of the exalted position he occupies as the president of the country which places him on a national and international spotlight.

It cannot be said exactly when the president’s health began to draw concerns from the Nigerian populace, but what is obvious is that the first indication that his health was degenerating was at a point in the build-up to the 2007 presidential campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was rumoured to have slumped during a PDP campaign rally, prompting his being flown out of the country for medical check-up in Germany from where rumours began to emanate that he was dead.

The incessant medical trips embarked on by the president to Saudi Arabia subsequently have continued to unnerve many concerned citizens of the country.

 

 

 

His Medical Trips In Office

The President has made no fewer than four trips outside the country since assuming office.

April 14, 2008

It took nearly a year after the March 6, 2007 episode before the president would embark on another medical trip to Germany for a check-up. The president was flown to a German hospital in Weisbaden after hurriedly signing the 2008 Appropriation Bill. Spokesman for the president, Mr Segun Adeniyi, in a statement, said President Yar’Adua would consult his doctors after developing “an indisposition believed to be allergic reaction.”

August 28, 2008

The tension generated by the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment was more intense than before. He spent two weeks during which activities in the Aso Rock ground to a halt. The president, who seemingly had adopted new strategies for leaving the country for medical treatment, changed the destination of his trip from Germany to the oil rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and had the purpose of his journey shrouded in the lesser hajj exercise. When questions were asked by agitated Nigerians over the absence of the nation’s foremost citizen, his aides quickly provided an answer claiming that he had gone to Saudi Arabia for the lesser hajj (umrah). A delegation of PDP officers led by the National Chairman of the party, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, went to Saudi Arabia to ascertain the true state of his health.

August 14, 2009

On this occasion, the president travelled to Saudi Arabia for a scheduled medical check-up. Adeniyi, who announced the development in a statement on August 10 2009 explained that the president would also perform the lesser hajj. This trip drew little or no anxiety from Nigerians who were beginning to get a feeling of déjà vu as a result of the president’s regular trips and partly due to how details of his trip was handled this time around. Adeniyi who announced the development in a statement before the trip explained that the President would also perform the lesser hajj.

November 23, 2009

Yar’Adua’s current medical trip to Saudi Arabia took a frightening dimension the following day when news filtered into the country that he had been admitted to a hospital in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah, as disclosed to the German Press Agency, dpa, by a doctor there. His trip had earlier on Monday night been announced in a statement made by Adeniyi. The statement read: “President Umaru Yar’Adua will leave Abuja today (Monday) for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. While there, the President will call on his personal physician in Jeddah for follow-up medical checks”.

However, the presidential spokesmen neither mentioned the hospital where Yar’Adua would be attended to nor stated the duration of his stay in the kingdom. The latest trip came just five days after the Senate and the House of Representatives had flexed muscles over which chamber would host the presentation of the budget before a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday.

The National Assembly also is not batting an eyelid on the matter. The Senate spokesperson, Senator Ayogu Eze, when broached with the matter by Senate reporters in Abuja, explained that there was nothing unusual about the President’s frequent overseas trips for medical checks. He said in part: “The health of the President is a constitutional issue and it is only a health board of enquiry that can determine the fitness or otherwise of the president; the composition of that board is very clear,”he said.

As apprehension gets rife over the health of the nation’s number one citizen, the questions on the lips of many are- for how long will the president continue to travel out of the country to seek medical care?

Sallah Tragedy: Bus Driver Kills Mother, Child

By Tayo Ogunleye and Laolu Afolabi – 28.11.2009

A woman and her child were killed on Friday in Ibadan, Oyo State, after they were knocked down alongside four other pedestrians by a commercial bus at Agbaje area of Orita-Challenge.

Eyewitnesses told Saturday Tribune that the bus, a 14-seater Mitsubishi model with registration number: LAGOS EX 529 KTU, had swerved off the road and knocked the people into a ditch.

Mrs. Ruth Ayodele and her son, Oluwadamilare, who was said to be less than two years old, reportedly died instantly, while the others who were injured were taken to different hospitals in the area for treatment.

An eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, told Saturday Tribune that the driver ran away immediately after the incident occurred, leaving his passengers behind.

The passengers were said to have hurriedly alighted from the bus and also run away for fear of being attacked by sympathisers who were gathering at the scene of the accident.

Men from the police station in the area later attempted to remove the vehicle from the scene of the accident, but were prevented from doing so by sympathisers.

However, the policemen, who were angry at the development, came back reinforced and began shooting sporadically to scare off the adamant sympathisers, who insisted that the police would not remove the vehicle.

As a result of the development, many people were injured.

Eyewitnesses told Saturday Tribune that those who were injured were also receiving treatment at different undisclosed hospitals.

An unconfirmed report indicated that the vehicle in question was known to be used by the police for patrol, a reason the policemen wanted to save it from being damaged.

Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ms. Bisi Okuwobi, confirmed the incident.

However, efforts to get the divisional police officer in Challenge proved abortive as calls made to his phone did not go.

Budget Impasse: How Presidency Instigated Crisis Between Senate, Reps

Donald Ojogo, South South Bureau Chief – 28.11.2009

Fresh facts emerged on Friday as regards why President Umaru Yar’dua was unable to present the 2010 Appropriation Bill at a joint session of the National Assembly last week.

Saturday Tribune can reveal authoritatively that the impasse leading to the last-minute cancellation of the joint session was actually precipitated by the presidency.

The motive, according to an impeccable source in the National Assembly, was to save the president from the rigour of standing to address the joint session. This is contrary to the widely held belief that the disagreement between the Senate and the House of Representatives on the choice of venue for the presentation had anything to do with crisis of precedence between the two chambers of the parliament.

Perceived disagreement between the two chambers was said to have stalled the joint session from holding and this culminated in the forwarding of the budget speech and the Appropriation Bill to them through separate letters through the Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Abba Aji.

This was the first time a Nigerian president would resort to this. But the latest revelation, coming from a senator from a South-South state, illustrated how strategists in the presidency incited some influential members in the lower chamber against the Senate.

The senator, who pleaded not to be named, had been called by Saturday Tribune on Friday for clarifications on the state of health of the president, which had generated anxiety in the country.

He said: “Mr. President is human, as he has always said on his state of health. All these rumours concerning him are unfortunate, or do Nigerians wish that such rumours come to pass? I believe only God knows when a man would die; no human being, not even a physician can correctly say that.

 

“Maybe if you call in the next three hours, I will be able to give you a clearer picture because I’m yet to see the Senate president for further details on the matter. As far as I know, there is no cause for worry, anybody can fall sick except that some of the president’s aides do not help matters at some points.

“You won’t believe that some persons who claim to love the president more than others held a meeting with some members of the House of Representatives to incite them against us; that they should insist on having the joint session in their chambers instead of the Senate chambers as it has always been. And funny enough, they claimed that the president was more disposed to having the joint session in the lower chamber, which was a blatant lie.

“It is unfortunate that people will play politics with life as if they can create one. What stops them from saying, ‘Look, the president is indisposed. He would rather send in the bill through his adviser?’

“There is nowhere in the constitution that says the president must be physically present to submit an appropriation bill. It was later that some of us learnt that a few days to that Thursday or so, the president had needed some medical attention and as such, he was not likely to have the strength to stand and address us.

“But rather than opening up, these persons played smart by generating crisis between the two chambers and throwing the nation into an arena of perceived impasse.”

 

 

What You Need To Know About King Faisal Hospital – Where Yar’Adua Is On Admission

Our Reporter- 28.11.2009

King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH and RC), Jeddah, began in March 2000, due to the generous gift of the custodian of the two holy mosques, King Fahad Bin Abdul Aziz. It was his wish to provide outstanding medical services to the people of the Western region. This luxurious tertiary care hospital is located in the prestigious Al-Rawdah district, only a few minutes away from the King Abdulaziz International Airport. It occupies 80,000 square metres with a capacity of 460 beds.

The protocol programme aims to provide outpatient care for distinguished guests. Selected nursing and paramedical personnel are staffed on a full time basis. It has a tracking system for pharmacy, phlebotomy, X-ray and other services.

Patient Relations Programme

KFSH and RC adopted the new concept of unifying all the services that a patient may need under the umbrella of the patient relations programme. This programme consists of social service, patient relations, admission and pre-registration, eligibility, medical coordination, medical records and home health care.

Community Relations Programme

KFSH and RC unified the three departments of media affairs and health education, public relations and the hospital club under one department to ensure the best service to the public. The programme aims to promote the services of KFSH and RC-Jeddah as the leading health services provider in the region, in order to benefit the community and raise health awareness.

The telemedicine programme was established to support both national and international medical needs. Telemedicine services are integrated into routine practice where radiology and pathology images can be transmitted to other medical facilities. Services provided by telemedicine include— videoconferencing, tele-pathology, tele-radiology, interactive distance learning programme, and patient education seminars.

In order to provide the best patient care information support, the computer and hospital information centre has established a hospital wide network infrastructure. This network is state of the art technology. The hospital recently signed a contract with Cerner Arabia for a clinical management information system. The hospital is in the implementation stage of integrating its management information systems.

Total Quality Management

KFSH and RC-Jeddah has adopted a customer driven quality management philosophy. The quality management department coordinates the efforts of quality and performance improvement in the organisation. In a further effort to meet international health care quality standards, the hospital has committed to the accreditation process through the Joint Commission for International Accreditation (JCIA). Quality management is coordinating the efforts of KFSH to meet the 11 standards of care that the JCIA established for meeting quality health care.

HOBA was established to encourage KFSH and RC staff to share their knowledge and skill with colleagues in all the regions of the kingdom, thereby ensuring that all patients distant from KFSH and RC still have access to more convenient and cost effective health care. HOBA also designs programs to train health professionals, and addresses health related issues.

Technical and Research Affairs

KFSH and RC is an equal partner in the center of innovative minimally invasive therapies (CIMIT). The CIMIT partnership includes four other world class centres of health care excellence, and develops the latest technology and methodologies to reduce the physical trauma of surgery.

KFSH and RC is entitled to have its faculty/ staff participate in single or multi disciplinary research projects. KFSH and RC also has agreements for cooperation with elite universities and medical centres like John Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, Baylor University, Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Academic and training affairs manage the residency and internship programmes. To enhance and support specialisation, they coordinate and organise the training programmes between KFSH and RC and the other partners in the community, such as the faculties of universities and governmental hospitals. Academic and training affairs also organises local and international seminars and symposiums.

Medical Services

The Department of Medicine includes internal medicine, nephrology and renal transplant units, a pulmonary section, an endoscopy unit, diabetes, gastro-enterology and infectious disease.

Outpatient clinics receive 1200 patients daily in the various clinics, which include general surgery, medicine, pediatrics, OB and gyne, neurosciences and oncology.

The oncology department includes adult and pediatric hematology, bone marrow transplantation, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and oncology.

The neurosciences department provides world class clinical care to patients to diagnose and treat neurological disorders, such as sleeping disorders. The department includes neurosurgery, clinical neuropsychology, psychiatry and clinical pathology. In addition, due to the spread of epilepsy in the kingdom, the neurosciences department initiated a complete treatment programme for epilepsy that is accredited by the International Office of Epilepsy, which is linked to the World Health Organisation.

KFSH and RC-Jeddah is an important referral centre for high risk adult and congenital heart procedures, such as atherectomy, stinting of coronary angioplasty, balloon dilations of stenosed valves and coarctation of the Aorta. Surgery includes ENT, ophthalmology, urology, general surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and the day surgery unit.

Pediatrics provides specialised medical services in addition to general pediatrics. Pediatric specialties include: gastroenterology, nephrology, renal transplant, rheumatology, metabolic diseases, allergy and immunity diseases.

The ophthalmology section has two well equipped clinics. It contains a contact lens fitting room, A and B ultrasound, argon laser and yag laser, fundus photography camera, visual field, and ximer laser suites. It also encompasses an operating room for minor cases, and a fully equipped operating room for major operations.

Dentistry provides comprehensive dental services. It offers high quality care, encompassing pedodentices, crainofacial surgery, prosthodentist, orthodontics, dental laboratory and recovery room.

The Department of Pathology and the medical laboratory offer an extensive range of advanced diagnostic clinical services, using the latest technology. It is pursuing accreditation by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).

Radiology includes the following modalities: MRI and CT; nuclear medicine; ultrasound, angiography, fluoroscopy, and general radiology. radiology also performs diagnostic, therapeutic and invasive procedures, including ultra sound and CT guided biopsy.

The intensive care unit is a state of the art facility. It is the largest ICU department in the kingdom. It occupies the second floor with a capacity of 54 beds, including 16 beds for surgical and medical, eight cardiac surgery beds, eight ICU beds, eight coronary care beds, and 14 beds for the neonatal Intensive care unit.

The Department of Emergency Services consists of 22 beds, 10 patient examination rooms, two critical rooms, and four pediatric beds. It also has a plaster room, ENT, ophthalmology, OB and Gyne, and operating room for minor procedures and a VIP section.

There are more than 800 nurses from over 15 countries in the nursing department at KFSH and RC-Jeddah. The nursing department is a mosaic of excellence, education and experience blended with culture, competence and caring. Most of the nurse in the outpatient department are bilingual, to ensure effective communication with patients. The nursing department embraces total quality management philosophy in all services. One of the objectives of the nursing department is to develop a strong continuous education programme for all nurses. Collaboration with community partners, such as King Abdul Azizz University is a major focus of Nursing Affairs.

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Special Report

‘Wike Has Transformed Rivers Through Projects’

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On April 11, 2015, the good people of Rivers State trooped out in their numbers to declare their preference for the creation of a New Rivers State. They voted overwhelmingly for Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (CON, GSSRS) to lead the state into prosperity.
That decision by 1,029,102 (One Million and Twenty Nine Thousand, One Hundred and Two) Rivers people representing 87.77 per cent of the total valid votes cast established the process of rebirth, revival and reconstruction of Rivers State. That decision laid the foundation for the unprecedented development being witnessed across the length and breadth of Rivers State.
Over the first 31 months of his first term, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has transformed the state through the unprecedented roll out of people oriented projects.
Economic recession has crippled development in most states of the Federation . Majority of states cannot pay salaries , let alone, embark on the developmental projects.
The case of Rivers State has been different . Like Governor Wike has told anyone who cares to listen, Rivers State is operating a divine economy built on sound economic principles and the overriding interest of the people .
Governor Wike has over the first 31 months of his first term embarked on the massive construction , reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads, schools, hospitals, reclamation of lands, agricultural development and provision of other critical infrastructure across the three senatorial districts of the state .
Revival of the State economy and basic governance structure
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike ( CON, GSSRS) inherited a battered economy. At the twilight of the immediate past APC administration in the state, all the economic fundamentals were in a terrible shape, while businesses had collapsed. The basic governance structure in the state was in shambles with the state bureaucracy at a vegetative state.
Through careful implementation of reform policies, Governor Wike has over the last two years revived and repositioned the Rivers economy. After two years of good governance, Rivers economy is one of the most vibrant in the country, supporting corporate, medium-sized and small businesses across the state.
Business entrepreneurs who relocated from the state at the twilight of the immediate past APC administration are returning to the state. One of the major indicators of revived economy is the sustained growth of the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR).
While other states suffer from economic recession, Governor Wike posits that Rivers State is enjoying an era of boom because it operates a Jesus economy. The foundations of the state’s economic growth are from God, hence it cannot be affected by political and economic developments in the country.
The governor revived the State Assembly which was sitting at the dinning of the Government House under the last APC administration in the state. Since he proclaimed the Assembly, they have been passing laws for the good governance of the state. Two budgets have been passed, while the State Assembly enjoys independence and financial autonomy.
Regular payment of salaries and pensions
Immediate past Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi painted a gloomy picture of the finances of the state on May 27, 2015, when he declared: “Nyesom Wike is coming, let us see where he will get the money to pay salaries.” At this point two days to the end of that failed administration, the state civil servants were owed four months salaries and pensioners owed for six months.
With the state governance system and bureaucracy revived, Governor Wike has taken deliberate steps to ensure that civil servants and pensioners in the state receive their monthly salaries and entitlements.
Governor Wike initiated and implemented a scientific biometric exercise which paved the way for accurate data on workers and pensioners on the state’s payroll.
Rivers State is one of the very few states that is up-to-date in the payment of salaries and pensions. This has served as a motivation to civil servants to contribute their quota to the development of a New Rivers State.
The regular payment of salaries and pensions has helped in making the Rivers economy functional as the flow of liquidity is constant all through the period under review.
Projects Galore Governor Wike did not emerge Mr Projects by happenstance. His emergence is a product of vision and careful planning, targeted at repositioning Rivers State.
The 2017 budget was crafted to lift and flood the state with developmental projects.
Out of the N470billion budgeted for 2017, the total projected capital expenditure is N329 billion (three hundred and twenty-nine billion naira) only, which represents 70% of the capital estimate of the budget. This gives a capital to recurrent expenditure ratio of 70:30. This is unprecedented. The multiplier effect of this pro-people decision is being felt across the state.
Road infrastructure
Thirty one months ago when Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took over the reins of leadership, the economy of Rivers State was at its lowest level. The road infrastructure had completely collapsed, leading to economic stagnation.
Right on the day of his inauguration at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike launched “Operation Zero Potholes Programme”. Since May 29, 2015, the Wike administration has constructed, reconstructed and rehabilitated over 200 roads.
The administration started with the construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads in Port Harcourt; Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre and Eleme Local Government Areas. Majority of these roads were completed and commissioned at the end of the governor’s first year. Roads in Diobu, Borikiri, Port Harcourt Township and Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
Governor Wike’s development of road infrastructure is tied to the rapid social and economic development of the state. The first class road infrastructure, drainage systems and bridges being constructed, reconstructed and rehabilitated across the state by international and indigenous contractors have enhanced economic recovery in the state.
The road infrastructure is linking communities, thus enabling farmers and businessmen to link up with markets in Urban Centres.
At the last count, the Wike administration has constructed or is constructing over 200 roads, spanning over 500 kilometres in a statewide unprecedented intervention in the road sector.
Some of the key road projects include:
1.Rehabilitation/ Maintenance of some roads and drains, tagged “Operation Zero Potholes” in Port Harcourt metropolis (additional Works) (Ahoada Road, Force Avenue, Churchill and Creek Road, Evo and Woji Road, Tombia Extension, Ohiamini Road, Ogbunabali Road, Sokoto Road, Eleme Flyover, Kolokuma Road) – completed and commissioned
2. Rehabilitation of Industry Road – Completed
3. Construction Of Internal Roads and Drains In G.S.S Rumuokwuta in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area – Completed
4. Rehabilitation of marine base junction and Moscow road roundabout and laying of kerb stone and concreting of the island- Completed
5. Port Harcourt Government House – work in progress
6. Reconstruction of High Street, Rehabilitation of Prof. Okujagu Street and Danjuma Drive off Peter Odili Road in Trans Amadi Industrial Area-
7.Construction of Sani Abacha Road-
8. Captain Amangala Street, Bishop Fabara Street, Tourist Beach Road, Elliot Henry Street, Bishop Johnson Street, Bonny Street, Adaka Boro Street, Creek Road Extension, Extension of Ada Expressways by Rumuola Bridge and Dualization of Birabi Road by Presidential Hotel Roads
9.Desilting and Cleaning of Subsurface Drains and Manholes from Education to Emenike Junction, Okija Road to Nta-Wogba Creek, Mile 3 Diobu Section of Ikwerre Road and Big Culvert Under Aba Road and Desilting of Covered Drains and Deflooding of Bank Road, Gokana, Forces Avenue Thru Moscow Road Junction, Old GRA Port Harcourt-
10. Construction of Eagle Island – lioabuchi By-Pass, Port Harcourt. – completed and commissioned
11. Construction of Chief Benson Street Chief Benson Close, Omunakwe Str. And the Surrounding Streets Ortiarunma and Omarunma Close. – Contractor is on site.
12. Reconstruction of Roads in D/Line, PHC. – completed and commissioned
13. Dualization of Azikiwe Road (UTC) Junction – Lagos .Bus Stop. – completed and commissioned
Name of project – lga obalga
14. Reconstruction of Diobu Roads (Nnokam Road, Chief Amadi Street, Elechi Street, Odioma Street, Ekwe Street, Wokoma Lane, Azikiwe Street, Ojoto Street, Adelabu Street, Abel Jumbo Street, Ikwerre Rd By Education Bus Stop By The Flyover To Abonnema Wharf Road, Abakaliki Street, Anokwuru Street, Nkoro (Nsuka) Street, Nnewi Street, Okolabiri Street, Osina Street, Azikwe Lane, Ataba Street, Wokoma Street, Enwume Ave, Ejekwu St., Nnokam Street, Bishop Okoye Street, Wobo Street, Elechi Beach Road, Lumumba Street and Joinkrama St.) – comple ted and commissioned
15. Rehabilitation of Agip Gate to Eagle – Island- lloabuchi link Road Junction and Wike Road in Obio /Akpo L.G.A – Completed
16. Rehabilitation of Abuja Bypass, Mile III Diobu, Port Harcourt – Completed
17. Rehabilitation of Rumuola By Boricamp Junction To Rumuola Flyover, Rumuola Overhead Bridge By Rumuadolu Road To Presidential Hotel, Eliozu East-West Road By The Overhead Bridge – Completed
18.Rehabilitation of SARS (Nelson Mandela) Road, Rukpakwolushi-Eligbolo Road and Agip Road – Completed
19.Rehabilitation of Okocha Mgbuodohia Roads, Rumuolumeni As a Replacement For East/West – Ogbakiri-Degema-Abonnema Road – Completed
20.Construuction of Eneka-Rumuapu-Rukpokwu and Miniorlu – Mgbuakara – Eliaparawo RoadsConstruction of Owabie Road, Canaan Avenue and Ozurunha Street, Off Orazi, all in Rumuowabie Community in Rumuopirikom Town- Eneka- Rumuapu Completed
21.Reconstruction of Rumuagholu-Airport Road “A” L=2550m Spur to Nkpolu East/West Road “B” L = 1170m and Spur to International Market Road “C” L= 1675m- Completed
22. Rehabilitation of Rumukalagbor Road (the link road between Elekahia and Aba Road), Rumuibekwe Road and Eliohani Road- Completed
23.Rehabilitation of Mid-King Perekule Road to Woji Road, Port Harcourt- Completed
24.Reconstruction of Eliozu-Rumunduru-Oroigwe- Elimgbu Road/Bridge in Obio/Apkor LGA- Completed
25.Rehabilitation of Oyigbo Express to Imo River Aba Express Road- work in progress
26.Rehabilitation of Aba Road (Artillery Phase 1 – Phase 2 With CBN Junction, Rivers State Secretariat Complex Access Roads- Completed
27. Reconstruction of Woji Road From Old Aba Road to Woji Road/Bridge. – Completed
53. Construction of Akpajo-Woji Road/Bridge. – Completed
54.Reconstruction of Elioparanwo Road. – Completed
55.Dualisation of Epirikom – Rumuoiumeni Road, (additional works of canals) – Completed
56. Dualisation of Nkpogu Road (from Trans Amadi Road – Micheletti Junction – NLNG Roundabout) Including a Bridge, Reconstruction of Micheletti Junction – Amadi Ama Road and Mammy Market (Nlerum) Road. – Completed
57.Dualisation of East/West-Elelenwo-Woji- Slaughter- Trans Amadi-Garrison Roas. – Completed
58.Construction of Ozuoba-Ogbogoro-Rumuolumeni Road. – Completed
59.Reconstruction of Oyigbo Market Road to Kom-Kom in Oyigbo LGA. – Completed
Name of project – LGA Eleme
60. Repair of some section of East/West Road from Eleme Junction-Onne Junction. Contract Sum
Name of project – LGA OBALGA/Eleme
61.Dualization of Oil Mill-Elelenwo-Akpajo Road- work in progress
Name of project – LGA Ikwerre/Etche
62. Reconstruction of Igwuruta-Chokocho Road terminating at the Bridge – Completed and commissioned
Name of project – LGA Etche
63. Construction of Eleme Junction-lgbo Etche-Chokocho Road
64. Reconstruction of Chokocho-Umuechem-Ozuzu Road in Etche LGA
65. Construction of Ulakwo ll-Afara-Nihi Etche Road in Etche LGA
Name of project – LGA Emohua and Ikwerre
66.Construction of Rumuji-lbaa-Obele-lsiokpo Road In Emohua and Ikwerre LGAS –
67. Reconstruction of Airport-lpo-Omademe-Ozuaha Roads in Ikwerre Local Government Area –
Name of project – LGA Emohua
68. Construction of Elele Alimini Internal Roads Phase I –
69. Construction of Elele Alimini Internal Roads Phase II-
Name of project – LGA Tai, Khana/Gokana
70.Dualization of Saakpenwa-Bori Road –
71. Construction of Internal Roads of Birabi Memoral Grammar School (BMGS) Bori
Name of project – LGA Degema, Asari Toru and Akuku Toru
72.Dredging, Sandfilling and Reclamation of Bakana, Abalama and Abonnema in Degema, Asari Toru and Akuku Toru LGAS –
Name of project – LGA AKULGA
73.Construction of Abonnema Ring Road Phase 2- work in progress
Name of project – LGA Gokana
74. Completion of Kpopie-Bodo City Road
Name of project – LGA Akuku Toru
75.Construction of Internal Roads and drainage in Nyemoni Grammar School in Abonnema, Akuku Toru LGA
Name of project – LGA Abua/Odua
76. Construction of Abua-Degema-Emoh-lyak-lghom- Elok and Emoh-Egbolom Access Road in Abua/Odual Local Government Area
Name of project – LGA ONELGA
77. Reconstruction of Akabuka-Omoku Road –
78. Completion of Unity Road & Bridges (Khana/Andoni and Opobo Local Government Areas)
79.Rehabilitation of Omoku Internal Roads in ONELGA –
Name of project – LGA Okrika
80. Reconstruction of Ekerekana-Okochiri Link Road in Okrika Local Government and the construction of Okochiri Internal roads in Okochiri Community
Name of project – LGA Oyigbo
81.Reconstruction of Old Aba Road By Mbano Camp Junction
Name of project – LGA AKULGA
82. Construction of Abonnema New Bridge and Approach/Asphalt Overlay of Abonnema Internal Roads in AKULGA. – completed and commissioned
Name of project – LGA Ogu/Bolo
83. Reclamation/Sand filling of Olombie/Owukiri Island, Ogu Community . work in progress
Name of project – LGA Ahoada East
84. Reconstruction of Edeoha-lkata-Ochigba Road In Ahoada East LGA
Some of the roads completed or under construction are key to the rapid development of the benefitting communities.
The dualisation of the Sakpenwa-Bori Road that cuts across Tai, Gokana and Khana Local Government Areas and links neighbouring Andoni and Opobo Local Government Areas, remains the greatest post independence gift to the Ogoni People.
The road is also a key facilitator of economic activities. Even the milestone completion already attained has improved the fortune of the people.
The Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road is one of the most important roads since the creation of Rivers State, 50 years ago. This road links the prominent riverine communities of Andoni and Opobo Nkoro Local Government Areas to the rest of Rivers State, through Khana Local Government Area.
It is a road with economic and social significance to the riverine populations. The people of Andoni and Opobo Nkoro have shown their deep appreciation to Governor Wike for translating the vision of this road to reality.
The Woji-Akpajo Bridge recently completed by the Wike administration is a story of the commitment of Governor Wike to completing key projects abandoned by the immediate past APC administration in the state, but which are relevant to the development of Rivers people. Earlier in the life of the administration, the governor completed the Abuluoma -Woji Road and Bridge, also abandoned by that administration.
The recently completed Woji-Akpajo Bridge links Obio/Akpor Local Government Area to Eleme Local Government Area and helps to solve traffic congestion on Aba Road.
The Reconstruction of Edeoha-lkata-Ochigba Road In Ahoada East Local Government Area is a major economic intervention to help the farming communities in this axis. This is another abandoned road, which Governor Wike is reconstructing in line with his pledge to the Ahoada East people.
The Reconstruction of Obiri Ikwerre – Airport Road is a major alternate route to the Port Harcourt International Airport. This road nearing completion was flagged off for reconstruction during the first year anniversary of the Wike administration. Today, it has reduced travel time to the airport.
The Etche Roads are worthy of special mention. First it was the Igwuruta-Chokocho road, which was delivered as a major link between the food basket of the state and the markets of Port Harcourt.
That completed, Governor Wike flagged off and intensified the construction of other roads linking Etche communities and the rest of Rivers State.
They include: Construction of Eleme Junction-lgbo Etche-Chokocho Road, Reconstruction of Chokocho-Umuechem-Ozuzu Road in Etche LGA and Construction of Ulakwo ll-Afara-Nihi Etche Road in Etche LGA.
Etche people have never had it so good.
In Kalabari land, Governor Wike first completed the Abonnema/Obonoma Link Road and Bridge. Thereafter, he is constructing the Abonnema Ring Road which serves as an alternate route out of the ancient town.
The Wike administration is also constructing the internal roads of Nyemoni Grammar School in Abonnema.
It is necessary to highlight two other critical roads that are helping to reinvigorate the economy of Rivers State. The Construction of Abua-Degema-Emoh-lyak-lghom- Elok and Emoh-Egbolom Access Road in Abua/Odual Local Government Area and the reconstruction of Akabuka-Omoku Road.
In Rivers State, all the three senatorial districts have been impacted positively in terms of road infrastructure. Governor Wike people-oriented style of governance entails that all segments of the state are carried along. So far, he has religiously kept his promise.
December 2017 Road Flag Off Programmes
As the 2017 Christmas approached , Governor Wike flagged off the construction of key road projects. He flagged off the reconstruction of Ahoada-Odienereyi-Ihugbogo-Odieke Road in Ahoada East Local Government Area. The Governor also flagged off the dualization of the Omoku-Egbema Road and the construction/rehabilitation of Isiokpo Internal Roads and Drains in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Healthcare Delivery
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has worked towards creating a comprehensive healthcare that caters for the needs of Rivers people. The administration has invested in the improvement of health facilities and services across the state, while taking care of the welfare of professionals in the sector.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was in Rivers State to lay the foundation for the construction of an ultra-modern doctors quarters at the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital. This project is progressing satisfactorily.
Training of Health Professionals
The administration established a College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University and also started the setting up of the State Teaching Hospital with the signing of the bill to actualize it.
Support for Private Medical Practitioners
In order to guarantee that more residents of Rivers State have access to quality healthcare, the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike flagged off a private hospitals loan scheme (PHLS).
The first batch of the scheme witnessed 37 hospitals in the state having access to N500 million to upgrade their facilities and improve their services to the people . Seven of the beneficiaries are non-indigenes, while 30 are from Rivers State.
Flagging off the PHLS at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike urged the private medical practitioners to apply the loans judiciously.
The state government would pay the interest on the loans on behalf of the beneficiaries, while the beneficiaries will pay the principal sum. This novel scheme has improved access to quality healthcare in Rivers State.
Unprecedented Rehabilitation of Secondary Healthcare Facilities
Prior to the advent of the Wike administration, secondary healthcare had collapsed across the state. These General Hospitals suffered criminal neglected during the leadership of the immediate past APC administration in the state. Therefore, Rivers people in rural communities were denied access to quality healthcare.
In line with the vision of the Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to create access to quality healthcare for the people of Rivers State , the Wike Administration commenced the total rehabilitation of 13 General Hospitals .
The following are the hospitals being rehabilitated : General Hospital Omoku, General Hospital Nchia , General Hospital , Abua , General Hospital Isiokpo, General Hospital Abonnema, General Hospital Okirika , General Hospital Opobo , General Hospital Bodo, General Hospital Ngo, General Hospital Buguma, Psychiatric Hospital , Rumuigbo , General Hospital Emohua and General Hospital Eberi.
Rivers people from all walks of life have declared their support for the Governor’s commitment to rebuild the health infrastructure in the state. These hospitals have never witnessed any form of rehabilitation since they were constructed in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Governor Wike declared that his administration will transform the secondary healthcare sector of the state as a means of improving the living standard of the people.
The governor said that the state government resolved to revive the secondary healthcare facilities because they were abandoned for over two decades.
Their upgrade would open a new chapter in healthcare delivery in the state . Quality healthcare would be close to the ordinary people of Rivers State at their doorsteps .
Recruitment of Medical Personnel/Improvement of Facilities at Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital
Aside the development of physical infrastructure in health facilities across the state, the Wike administration has recruited qualified medical professionals to help the state government strengthen access to quality healthcare.
Also, facilities at the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital (BSMH) have been improved by the administration. Governor Wike has released $4million for the purchase and installation of modern equipment at the BSMH.
The administration will implement a phased distribution of vehicles to doctors on the payroll of the state government in the course of the year.

Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.

To be contd.

 

Simeon Nwakaudu

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Special Report

26 Nigerian Women Found Dead in the Mediterranean Sea

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Twenty-six Nigerian women and girls were taken from the Mediterranean Sea over last weekend. The women were in boats.

“It is a tragedy for mankind,” The prefect in the port city of Salerno, Salvatore Malfi, told it a massive tragedy for all people on the planet. He reminded that recently the officials rescued over four hundred migrants from Africa in the central Mediterranean.

According to official reports, the age of dead women was from 14 to 18. The communications officer for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy, Marco Rotunno, additionally told that the Spanish Navy found the bodies of 26 women floating in the water. Another official added that all dead women, who departed from Libya, were from Nigeria.

Additionally, Mr. Rotunno added that nobody had yet claimed corpses as family members. “So, there no chance to speak with any of 400 migrants, but almost certainly they were not relatives of these girls,” he clarified. The official also added that when groups of young girls are alone, there is a high probability that they could be victims of numerous sex trafficking rings.

“For Nigerian ladies, it is pretty standard to being trafficked. Unfortunately, it is a regional network. I have seen younger than thirteen, and they were alone and from Nigeria,” added the communications officer for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy.

Source: Naij Nigeria.

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Special Report

Kanu`s Ambitions and the Future of Biafra

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When Ralph Uwazuruike, the founder of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), told in his August interview with the journalists tat that Nnamdi Kanu, the head of the Indigenous People of Biafra, was used to wipe out Biafra, everyone thought it was their private fight. However, everything is a bit complicated.

At the very beginning of MASSOB activity, when Uwazuruike planned to launch Radio Biafra in the United Kingdom, he had unwillingly taken Kanu to run the shop. In some time, the determined young Kanu had his own ideas. Therefore, he displaced his supervisor and took charge.

Time passed by. Nnamdi Kanu became an influential person with his own army. It allowed him forming the Biafra Secret Service (BSS).

Kanu has already rallied thousands of young men to his cause and sold them on a fool’s paradise—a promise of heaven on earth when the Republic of Biafra is realized.

Unfortunately, he has worked his followers to an outrageous edging. The terrible videos from Aba and other parts of the South East which were broadcasted last week really demonstrated how hazardously close the country was to the outburst of another hugest bloody disagreement.

Last week, there were serious incidents on both sides: for example, the video of Nigeria soldiers making unarmed youths roll in the mud and lie face down at gunpoint in the head. Or the video of supposed IPOB members in secret locations beating some folks believed to be from the North with planks and frisking commercial cars for “non-Biafrans.”

These were tremendously frightening and dangerous spectacles, and as they outspread, Kanu, who had been praying for war, was busy looking for a secret place to hide. The real approach of the soldiers recognized in the video was terrible and must be punished. However, only the God knows what might have happened if soldiers had not been deployed?

By all means, Nigeria must keep away from a repeat of Odi (1999) and Zaki-Biam (2001), where the troop’s deployment after criminal gangs clashed with the military led to the killing of 220 civilians and dismissal of several villages. Therefore, if Kanu starts a bushfire, it can never know how it will end.

What is about President Buhari? The current president is the only one would win an election with near-zero support from two major blocks—the South and the South East. He should have seized the moment to expand his base. But he did not.

So, peoples’ lives are the most precious thing in the world. If Buhari and Nnamdi Kanu fail to agree somehow, all people in the region will undoubtedly suffer.

And the final question. When will the people of the Republic of Biafra finally realize that it would be much easier and calmer to develop own State without such people as Kanu?

Source: NAIJA.ng News

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