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Periscoping Nigeria’s Health System

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During a recent ranking of
Global Health Systems of the United Nations member states by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Nigerian Health System was ranked 187th out of 191 member states ranked. This ranking looked at the impact of the health system on the member states population health using well accepted health indicators.
In developed countries, healthcare, education, and welfare of the population are accepted responsibilities of the government. This principle and concept has recently been consolidated by the United Nations (UN), declaring the provision of basic healthcare to the population of every country one of the Fundamental Human Rights. And Nigeria is signatory to this Declaration.
This article draws our collective attention to an expensive and wasteful national crisis with many silent victims. Let’s begin the review.
An America adage says, “you have to know where you come from in order to know where you are going”
The Nigerian two-tier Health System has its genesis from the colonial era when Nigeria was under the British Empire. During the Colonial days all British nationals and Nigerian politicians with any serious health condition in the country were transported to Britain for treatment. Meanwhile, functional General Hospitals were built and operated in the cities and some midsize towns, and British Missionaries also operated excellent Missionary Hospitals for the rest of the population in the remaining midsize towns.
Since independence in 1960 and for over 53 years, this relics of colonialism has remained in the Nigerian Health System. Today, the Nigerian politicians, top civil servants, military officers, current and retired, and heir families that constitute the “neocolonial masters” are routinely air-evacuated to Canada, Britain, France, Germany, South Africa, Middle-Eastern countries, Australia, and other European countries for all their medical care including, medical check up in the form of medical vacation at public expense while the rest of the Nigerian population makes do with ill-equipped, poorly maintained, inadequately staffed, and dysfunctional public health facilities, most of which are in very deplorable State.
Lest we forget, our national health infrastructure was neglected for many years under the series of military dictatorships some of who just allowed poorly trained staff to run these institutions due to severe brain drain and intellectual flight from the country for various reasons. The patients at these hospitals usually get a list of medical supplies including drugs, intravenous fluids and tubings, syringes, needles sheets, and disinfectants to come with at admission or family members must rush to get the items on the list while the patient is processed.
This “two-tier health system” as it operates in Nigeria is medically unethical, morally indefensible, and discriminatory by class. The Nigerian political elites invariably commit “moral hazard” overseas as they consume more medical services than if they had to pay the entire bill out of their pockets.
From Health Policy and Management perspective, this “two-tier health system” in Nigeria creates severe health disparities, and makes the totality of the Nigerian Health System appear disorganised, dysfunctional, uncoordinated, fragmented, duplicative in services, expensive, wasteful, and economically unsustainable, thus, the very poor ranking by the WHO (187th out of 191).
A quote from a recent policy paper from the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja is both instructive and substantiates most of the above mentioned health policy concerns, I quote, “the health status of Nigerians are in deplorable state with numerous problems including low motivation for health professional workers, a culture of corruption and little consultation between the Federal and the State authorities and between Federal Ministry of Health and other Federal Ministries” unquote. Given such self-assessment, do you wonder why Nigeria has the second highest maternal mortality in the world?”
It is imperative to state that there are enough accumulated blames in the 53 years of our independence to go around. We need to recognize that we can not waste any more time or resources. Everyone must sacrifice, specially our elected officials who remain the most beneficiaries of “the two-tier health system”.
Health care reform takes time to mature and for a reform to endure, it has to be a comprehensive overhaul and not patchwork of incremental healthcare improvements on the status quo. We know that our current health system is broken and needs fixing immediately. We ought to develop a comprehensive National Health Plan and stick to it, but right now, we do not have one. If we do, it should not be put close to the vest of the Minister of Health and his Federal Ministry of Health officials. Unfortunately, this Minister’s actions appears to favour “For-Profit” Health System solutions for Nigeria to a Universal Health System where healthcare is a right of all Nigerians and not to a privileged few. Data from WHO shows globally that, the nations with the best health Systems (France, Japan, Sweden, and Britain) also have the most cost-effective healthcare, and they are insuring the health of all their citizenry.
What every Nigerian must realize is that as a nation, we have wasted billions of US dollars (or Trillions of Naira) in Overseas Health Care the last 53 years on our “neocolonialists” (our political elites). These are resources we could have used to improve our national health infrastructure, purchased modern equipments for our health facilities, build adequate capacity, recruit, train, and retain the health professionals needed to operate the system. Hopefully, the next 53 years will be innovative and more visionary for the Nigerian Health System than the last 53 years.
Consequently, I make the following few of many recommendations:
*Regionalisation of the National Health System following the Six Geo-Political Zones/Regions and formation of Regional Health Systems and Regional Health Management Teams. For example, North Central Health System and the Niger Delta Regional Health System.
*Any reform agenda must comprehensively review all four-components of any health system namely: finance, insurance, delivery system, and payment. Imperative questions on these components are: 1) How will the reform be sustainably financed nationally, regionally, at the State, LGA, and community levels? 2) Can the National Health Insurance Scheme be rolled out immediately for all Nigerians as a National Universal Health Insurance Plan as in Britain? If not, why? There has been enough pilot studies of the scheme and it is time to get serious and stop wasting resources. The new health delivery system should have universal access to healthcare for all Nigerians and should be located close to where the people live. Finally, what type of payment system do we need for all the providers? Single-payer system as in Britain and Canada or multiple-payer system as they are trying to work out in the United States?
*Some form of health workforce brain drain Reversal Program must be developed and instituted to bring home Nigerian Health Professionals Overseas and stem the exodus of our “best and brightest health professional” graduates to foreign countries.
*Health Information Technology and Electronic Health Records (HIT-EHR) diffusion must be an integral part of any 21st Century Health Care Reform. Computers will help the reform go faster, smoother, reduce cost, provide accountability, transparency, improve patient safety, improve quality of care, with no more lost patient paper charts and records.
*Primary care and evidence based preventive care must be central to the basic health care for all with medical homes for chronic disease care. Primary and preventive care must be key to this reform agenda because data shows that 75-85% of any population only need primary care service in a given year and only 5-10% need tertiary (University Teaching Hospital) type care. Further, high ratio of Primary Care Providers in any population is associated with lower hospitalisation rate, and adults who have primary care physician as their regular doctors experience lower mortality and lower health care costs.
*Our federal proxy Health Agencies and Commissions must be streamlined and merged to work co-operatively with the regional, states, and local governments. The University Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centers will co-ordinate the healthcare in each state, down to the local government, and community levels through the Clinical Service Line (CSL)-Model chaired by their more skilled, competent, and highly trained chairmen and Chiefs of Service. The CSL will be Co-Chaired by a management expert for efficiency and effective management of the program and resources allocated to each Clinical Service Line.
*Every community in Nigeria needs either Community Health Centre (CHC) or Mobile Clinics for our Very Rural Areas coordinated from their LGA-District Hospitals. Each CHC must have Teams of Medical Home Primary Care Physicians with Health information -Systems-Electronic Health Records, Out-Patient Pharmacy, Medical Labs, x-Ray, Urgent Care, and a Birthing Center run by midwives supervised by doctors at their LGA District Hospitals. Each Clinical Service Line will have directors at the LGA-Hospitals and CHC coordinated from the University Teaching Hospital or Federal Medical Center at the State capital.
*Patient Safety initiatives and Patience Compensation for medical errors, accidents, injury, and death as a consequent of health care through no fault of theirs should be considered in the new health delivery system to be formulated.
*A National Healthcare Consensus Conference should be convened consisting of: 1) national, regional, state, and local legislative and executive branches of government: 2) representatives of the health professions, health industry, and labor: 3) experts in health economics, health policy and Management, budgetary processes, and health services administration. This should be a retreat of workshops, small group sections, and presentations for 3-4 weeks at the end of which a truly National Health Plan will emerge that will provide universal access to healthcare for all Nigerians executed (95-99.9%) in Nigeria by Nigerians to be implemented over 3-4 years that will eliminate the “two-tier health system”.
*While the foregoing reforms are taking shape, the Federal Ministry of Health should immediately buy health insurance in every country Nigerian governments transport Nigerians for cost-effective healthcare. It is well known that health services overseas is more expensive without health insurance than with one.
This comprehensive overhaul of the National Health System as proposed above will enormously expand the health sector of the Nigerian economy, creating thousands if not, millions of jobs nationwide, and thus, contribute to our economic growth and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next rebasing of the Nigerian economy.
The National Conference and the National Assembly should carefully review our health system on national security grounds, the dysfunction of the current Nigerian Health System, and the waste of our scarce national health resources. They must not accept any patchwork of incremental healthcare improvement on the status quo if, there is no comprehensive reform agenda to eliminate “the two-tier health system” as discussed above. It will do nothing for the greater good of Nigerian healthcare, knowing what they do now, about the national need for universal health insurance and universal access to healthcare.     .
As an expert in Population Health Policy and Management, I can say, it is not that Private (For-Profit) Health System has not been tried, it has failed woefully everywhere. This is why all European countries, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Australia, and South Korea have abandoned it since after the Second World War and embraced Universal Healthcare for its cost-effectiveness and provision of universal access to healthcare for all their citizenry. United States was the last industrialized country to change their health system and they too are in the process of making the switch right now. There are multiple countries with best practice of Universal healthcare Nigeria can emulate like Britain, Canada, Sweden, and other players that will help us get it done like WHO and the World Bank. Nigeria will not be reinventing the wheels here.
Consequently, the National Conference must forge a new direction and leave a legacy of transformative recommendations in healthcare for all Nigerians to experience for a lifetime that will bring Nigeria squarely into WHO standards that Ghana and South Africa have already achieved for all their citizenry. Why must our political officials have better healthcare than those who elected them?
Finally, the Conference should propose and the National Assembly should immediately merge “the two-tier health system” in Nigeria into a single Universal National Health Plan for all Nigerians executed in Nigeria by Nigerians most of who had their specialisation training overseas.
Prof. Amaye-Obu is United States-based Population Health Policy and Management expert.

 

Prof. Fons A. Amaye-Obu

Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu

Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu

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Governor Wike And The Audacity Of Accountability

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On Monday, July 12, 2021, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Govenor of Rivers State, did what most leaders, especially those elected to superintend the affairs of their people at various levels of governance, are often too scared to embrace.
This is either as a result of under perfomance or the glaring inability to impact positively on their people and area of administration.
Governor Wike boldly mounted the podium at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt and with unshakable confidence, cerebral oratory and fearless advocacy, laced with admirable aplomb, exhibited the audacity of accountability, when he presented his scorecard.
He gave an account of his stewardship, in a progress report covering the six years since he assumed office as the  Governor of Rivers State on May 29, 2015.
Of course, many Rivers people will recall that the presentation of the performance scorecard had already been programmed as the culmination event of listed activities marking the second year anniversary of the second tenure in office of the Governor.
Yet, incredibly, every item listed on the activity chart, from flag-offs to inaugurations and a few other extras, had been accomplished with timely precision, performed by a distinguished cast of national and indigenous statesmen from across the geopolitical zones in the coutry and garnished with the flamboyant pomp and cultural pageantry, reminiscent of the proud, colourful, quintessential Rivers traditions.
It is indeed amazing that long after many states have forgotten how their own second year anniversaries celebration  transpired, Governor Nyesom Wike was still flagging off and commissioning projects across the length and breadth of Rivers State, two months after. 
As a matter of fact, precisely six weeks ago, the activities for the celebration of the second anniversary of the second term in office were kick-started, with the flagging-off and commissioning of new and completed projects and for 40 days, Governor Wike, his cabinet and his array of distinguished special guests, traversed the length and breadth of the State to either commission or flag-off various development projects cutting across different socio-economic sectors.
The global Community and the entire nation saw the phenomenal harvest of projects, including roads, bridges, education, healthcare, housing, social welfare, sports and rural development across Rivers State, as the sounds and sights of the happy and grateful beneficiary institutions, communities and people, were beamed on live telecasts.
The very fact that he delivered on every single item listed on the programme of activities, which had been drawn up several weeks before the second anniversary, was not only remarkable for the audacity and confidence of his visionary leadership, but indeed an excellent reflection and astute exhibition of what governance accountability to the people is all about.
By way of summary, Governor  Wike’s account of six years of focused, determined, strategic, courageous leadership and unprecedented transformational development across the 23 Local Government Areas of the State, covered the breathtaking infrastructural revolution, golden era in health care delivery, educational advancement programmes, practical efforts in agricultural development,  pragmatic rural transformation initiatives and the economic stimulus engagements.
Other areas included, strategic housing development, robust and necessary equipment, in hard and soft logistics, as well as humanitarian support to security agencies, smooth and uninterrupted administration of justice, expanded frontiers in sports development, appropriate social welfare provisions, unparalleled recognition for culture/tourism and of course the entrenchment of a peaceful, rancour free, political atmosphere, which all featured prominently, even against the backdrop of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Wike highlighted the fact that since 2015, his administration has delivered over a thousand kilometres of Trunk-A roads; embarked on construction of phase one of the trans-Kalabari road, simultaneous construction of ten arterial flyovers, with three already commissioned and connected the ancient coastal community of Opobo to the rest of the State and the country by a tarred road.
He further said that his administration has also transformed not less than 18 major single lane roads to dual carriage ways with street lights, pedestrian walkways and covered drains and while noting that the dualization of Ahoada–Omoku, and Egbema Omoku roads is also underway.
He affirmed that his government has reclaimed vast swathes of sand-filled land for some of the coastal communities, including Abalama, Bakana, and Kula to advance their development and also started the sand filling of 55 and 42 hectares of reclaimed land for Abonnema/Obonoma and Okrika communities respectively.
In the education sector, Governor Wike said his administration has provided over 1200 classrooms and nearly 14,000 desks to over 200 primary and junior secondary schools, all in addition to the reconstruction, furnishing and equipping of several secondary schools, including some renowned and famous ones too, with modern classrooms, laboratories, libraries, sports facilities, staff quarters and paved interconnecting road networks.
“As a result of the concrete and targeted interventions, the education system is becoming more and more effective and qualitative in the State with enrolment and transition rates of over 98 per cent, while over 80 per cent have consistently recorded 5 credits and above pass rates, including Mathematics and English in WASCE since 2015,” he said.
In the health sector, Governor Wike said his government has commissioned the 132-bed Mother and Child specialist hospital, established the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, rebuilt and upgraded the Government House Specialist Clinic, renovated existing primary health centres and general hospitals, and built some new primary healthcare centres  for under-served communities.
All these and indeed many more, were succinctly and brilliantly packaged and presented in the compendium of 536 pages, which captures the fundamental achievements of the Governor in the last six years.
Central and integral to the amazing infrastructural transformation taking place all over Rivers State, is the international construction giant, Julius Berger, which has brought its globally renowned expertise, complemented by some critically recognized indigenous construction firms, in a formidable partnership with the  government, to deliver quality, enduring legacy projects that will and have met all International standards.
Indeed no leader or administration could be more committed and insistent on embracing and ensuring that the courage and audacity to entrench and ensure accountability, are upheld in delivering good and responsible governance to the people.
Of course, the six years account of stewardship presentation would not have been complete, if Governor Wike had ignored his nationally acclaimed civic role and responsibility, as a Governor and concerned Nigerian, who loves our country so much and wants our democracy to survive, to once again voice his fears and concerns of many voiceless Nigerians.
He drew attention to the state of the nation, especially the deteriorating economy, the worsening insecurity, the lack of purposeful national leadership and the strangulating hardship being faced by ordinary citizens, as a direct result of the visible failure and mismanagement of our democracy and diversity by the APC-led Federal Government.
One of his and what eventually became a national concern was the nomination of Ms. Lauretta Onochie as an INEC Commissioner and gladly, the matter has been appropriately handled by the Senate to the relief of Nigerians, which it appears had listened and acted on this timely advise by Governor Wike: “Where Mr. President lacks the courage to so do, then, the National Assembly, which has a responsibility to defend our democracy must endeavour to wake up on the right side of history by rejecting her nomination.”
The other matter which engaged Governor Wike’s attention is the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, which is now before the National Assembly and while commending the House of Representatives for affirming and reassuring Nigerians on its positive provisions in the proposed bill on electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of unit results by electronic means, he offered the following advise: 
“Everyone who means well for our democracy believes electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of results has the potential to prevent the large-scale rigging of election that has become regular in our electoral system. President Buhari readily attributes his victory in both the 2015 and 2019 polls to the introduction of the novel card reader device by President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration; yet he has been overly reluctant on the need to midwife the birth of a new, transparent, efficient and trustworthy electoral system for the country.
“Let me therefore warn that we do not need a soothsayer to tell us that to allow the old ways of doing things and much vilified status quo to continue to prevail in our electoral system as recommended by the Senate’s version of the bill would be a complete disservice to the nation and a recipe for disaster for our country.
“Again, I hope Mr. President still cares about his legacy and would therefore prevail on the APC-controlled National Assembly to give the nation an Electoral Act with positive provisions on electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of results from the unit level to prevent rigging and guarantee trust, credibility and confidence in our elections.”
On the now uncontrollable state of insecurity and insurgency across the country, Governor Wike advised thus: “The heightened degree of insecurity across the country and the obvious inability of the Federal Government to tackle this menace continues to be very troubling. Nigerians are in desperate need of relief from the daily incidents of kidnapping and mindless killings across the country by insurgents, herdsmen, bandits and militia groups.
“The APC-led federal Government must step up and be alive to its constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property in all parts of the country or admit its lack of capacity and resign before the country collapses like a pack of badly managed cards on its hands. Enough of the excuses, ineffective actions and buck-passing”.
It has often been said that accountability is the very hallmark of good governance and excellent leadership and leaders demonstrate accountability by taking responsibility over the success and growth of the people and areas they administer by resolving to own up to commitments and promises that they have made. 
Being an accountable leader is not an easy task but it is essential in order to be a change agent and to deliver real value to your people. Accountability therefore means being answerable to the actions and decisions made by the administrator and possessing both the vision of a leader and the courageous sagacity and  administrative acumen to execute that vision.
The accountable leaders are the ones that can take a challenging vision and make it a possibility, even when it requires asking for help when and where it is necessary. They regularly monitor and review how they are doing and take the time to celebrate wins along the way, despite the bumps that will periodically appear to delay the project. 
In the last six years, Governor Wike has exhibited all the hallmarks of an excellent accountable leader both in projects delivery and governance, with his footprints everywhere across the 23 local government areas of the State, and even beyond and like the Governor himself says: “Take it or leave it, the truth is constant. There is no promise we made or project we set out to achieve that we have not fulfilled or delivered”.
But like all true accountable and transformational leaders, Governor Wike would rather leave the judgement of his performance for the people to make, even as he is convinced like many Rivers people are too, that his administration has lived up to its promises, made the desired difference and brought about the transformational changes that majority of the people had yearned for when they gladly gave their mandate and trust, six years ago. 
Governor Wike captured this conviction aptly in the following declaration and pledge: “The sheer number of audacious projects we have rolled out and executed in the last two years clearly confirms our abiding promise to continue to deliver more development projects for the benefit of our State, our people and the nation until our last day in office.
“I wish to therefore assure you that there will be no let-up in our commitment and determination to deliver more projects to further consolidate the progress we have achieved in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
It is only fitting therefore to reflect on the six years of the administration of Governor Wike in the uplifting words of veteran journalist, International publisher, media mogul and indeed the doyen of post modern Nigerian journalism, Chief Dele Momodu: “Super congratulations to the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, on the extraordinary job he has done in the last six years.
“I was proud to see a Nigerian leader render account of his stewardship two years ahead of the completion of his second tenure… May the good Lord complete the massive Projects he has assigned himself in the coming months. Amen”.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.

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Wike’s Enduring Legacy Berths At Opobo

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After 150 years of its existence, the ancient kingdom of Opobo, an island in Rivers State, can now be accessed comfortably by road, following the inauguration of Opobo axis of the Unity Road by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
The road was commissioned on Saturday, July 3, 2021 by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees and former Minister, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri.
Waziri observed how excited the people are to have a road of such high quality to drive on and hailed Governor Wike for bringing humanity to governance.
The 11.15 kilometres long and 7.3m wide road, with five bridges along the Opobo axis of the super highway, has a minimum fill height of two meters, with a maximum height of 8 meters at some points.
It was built through swamps, mangroves and some of the most difficult terrains for road construction and has a 1.5m wide shoulder on either side. It also has 18 culverts and 5 bridges with a shoulder of 1.5 metres on either side.
The road, which is an ambitious project initiated by fomer Governor, Dr. Peter Odili has connected the Island of Opobo to the rest of the state .
With the commissioning of this axis of the Unity Road, an important campaign promise which Governor Wike made to the people of Opobo has been fulfilled.
It is also important to note that with this official commissioning, the great land of the legendary King Jaja, will now become a post modern, coastal tourist attraction with viable economic opportunities open to the global Community.
The avalanche of encomiums which have poured in from Opobo indigenes, Rivers residents and indeed many of those who either watched the live pictures from the commissioning or saw the still photographs of the glistening stretch of endless shiny nylon tar all the way into the heartland of Opobo kingdom, speaks volumes.
The amazing import and impact, both historical and existential, which this completed legacy road project represents for all and sundry is better imagined than described.
Governor Wike, prior to the inauguration of the Opobo/Nkoro axis of the Unity road, had often teased, in campaign language mode, that the people of Opobo town had never driven home with their vehicles for the past 150 years, until his intervention to complete the road for them.
Typically, the confused and attention seeking opposition had swallowed the well laid bait set by Governor Wike and filled volumes of Newspaper pages and the entire social media space, with their desperate campaign to locate themselves in the glory circle.
They attempted to woefully undermine the unparalleled accomplishment of the Rivers Governor in delivering the road and then dubiously misled the public with contrived contributions of the immediate past administration to the actualization of the project.
Of course, His Majesty, the Amanyanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaka, Jeki V, a King who exudes imperial majesty and regal wisdom, understood Governor Wike perfectly and it will now be written and etched forever in the annals of Opobo folklore, that it was during his reign that his people actually drove home comfortably for the first time on this super highway.
The Amanyanabo who is also Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, captured the historical dimensions of this legacy project, when he declared that his people will remain eternally grateful to Governor Wike for the courage, compassion and visionary acumen he has brought to leadership.
He also appealed to the Governor to initiate another land reclamation project in Opobo, to provide more land for the increasing population of her indigenes.
Governor Wike, while addressing the ecstatic crowd at Opobo, declared that the completion of the road and its inauguration is a dream come true not only for the people of the area, but especially for his administration, adding that he feels happy to have fulfilled his 2014 campaign promise to the people of Opobo.
To appropriately accord honour to whom it is due and equally address all the unnecessary and self-seeking innuendos flying around, now that the project has finally been completed, Governor Wike expressed appreciation to the administration of Dr. Peter Odili for conceiving the Unity Road project.
Governor Wike equally stressed that without the foresight of Dr. Odili, it would have been difficult for his administration to complete the Opobo axis of the Unity Road.
To further add a well deserved icing on the Opobo cake, Governor Wike directed his Special Adviser on Special Projects, in prompt response to the appeal of the King, to liaise with the Amanyanabo and leaders of Opobo on where they desire a new land to be sand-filled and reclaimed for them.
Governor Wike also urged the Surveyor General of the State to commence the process of land mapping and survey of the already sand-filled land in the area to enable Opobo indigenes to begin allocation of spaces among themselves.
It has often been said that one of the defining attributes of good leadership is the visionary discernment to provide what the people need more in their peculiar environments, rather than cosmetic, white elephant projects.
Governor Wike has exhibited an uncanny and astute visionary leadership by boldly delivering enduring projects where they will have meaningful impact instead of inaugurating projects just for cheap publicity.
The Urban Renewal Programme in the capital city, including the flyovers, the internal roads construction with drainages and streetlights, amongst others, have gradually returned the capital city to its garden city status.
It is this same astute leadership that has led to the highly acclaimed construction of some of the life changing projects like the Sakpenwa-Bori-Kono super highway, the first phase of the trans-Kalabari road, the reclamation of land in Abonnema, Obonoma and Okrika as well as the location of three new University campuses across the State.
The Mother and Child Hospital, Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, the Rivers Cassava Processing Company and Real Madrid Football Academy also stand out for mention.
These indeed are some of the legacy projects of the Governor Wike administration and they will remain indelible and ensure that his name is etched in the sands of time for posterity.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.

By: Paulinus Nsirim

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Dakuku Peterside: The Tragedy Of A Misguided Intellectual

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Our attention has been drawn to an article titled: “Governor Wike: When facts yield to pernicious propaganda,” written by Dr Dakuku Peterside and published widely both in mainstream and online media platforms.
Ordinarily, we would not have bothered responding to the long winding, virulent and dubiously rambling epistle for the simple reason that Dakuku Peterside’s riposte was a rejoinder to a professionally crafted  features piece painstakingly  written by the highly respected journalist, Chief Dele Momodu, titled: “My Close Encounters with Gov Nyesom Wike.”
Of course, the title of Chief  Momodu’s piece, “My Close Encounters with Gov Nyesom Wike”, speaks loudly for itself, as a narrative predominantly inspired by his personal observations and comprehensive fact-checking tours of Rivers State and several other official and informal meetings with Governor Wike in the line of duty.
Chief  Momodu has quite appropriately replied to Dakuku Peterside’s vitriolic and pugnacious bellyaching, in a succinct, widely publicized and highly recommended must-read 7-point right of response.  
This response has situated his original article in its proper context and in measured tones, exposed the perfidious intellectual treachery, which defines the polemics of our newfangled public intellectuals. 
However, Dr.  Peterside, apparently in an effort to justify his recently arrogated, self styled title as: “a policy and leadership expert”, obviously assumed against the backdrop of some recent poorly written, ordinary and simplistic essays, lacking the intellectual rigours and analytics of an “expert”, attempted to stand truth on its head, with an overdose of misleading passages, which sadly reflected the unfortunate tragedy of his present predicament and dilemma, as a misguided intellectual.
Our response has thus become quite necessary therefore in view of the risk that, as Dr. Peterside rightly observed, the danger of allowing misinformation or blatant falsehood to stand and flourish, is the irreparable harm it does to society, as such misinformation leads to the arrest of social development and alters the popular aspiration of the people.
For example, an excerpt from his tedious rejoinder, which succinctly captures this dislocated intellectual locus, reads thus: “No amount of propaganda, not even leveraging on the reputation of Bob Dee, can garnish a bad case… it is only fair that as a significant stakeholder in the development and politics of Rivers State, I am joining the patriotic endeavours of well-meaning Rivers State people to put the record straight. In doing so, I concede that in our highly politicized environment, falsehood ignored later starts looking like the truth, and with time facts become debatable. This, unfortunately, is not time for politics.”
Against the backdrop of the above therefore, it becomes imperative to properly locate Dakuku Peterside within the ambit of his present hibernation and the torpor that ultimately invokes misguided hubris on his suffocating inertia.
Unceremoniosly relieved from his recent unimpressive misadventure with NIMASA; a job for which he had little knowledge and zilch experience, but was appointed as compensation for his failed Governorship bid, Dakuku has been compelled to recline quite disconsolately to his recognized day job of Wike-bashing.
Charged with reluctant gusto and this time masquerading with the ambivalence of an omnibus self imposed title as “leadership and policy expert”, ostensibly crafted after several pedestrian appearances as a ‘Speaker’ at some makeshift conclaves during his short- lived stint at NIMASA, Dakuku’s  pathetic appendage of the Amaechi Administration and pitiful lackey of the Transportation Minister, has once again been exhumed.
We do not wish to further glorify his attention seeking, garullous verbiage, especially now that we are also aware of the devious and frenetic jostling for appointment into the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) substantive Board. 
Suffice it to say that just as Chief  Momodu has aptly observed in his response, Dakuku goofed in almost every paragraph of his bitter, acrimonious and conserted effort to undermine the amazing, determined and unstoppable zeal and dynamism with which Governor Wike is delivering legacy projects across the State.
It is indeed a shame that a ‘significant stakeholder’ and a ‘leadership and policy expert’ as Dakuku addresses himself in his verbose essay, is still appropriating projects meant for the welfare and wellbeing of Rivers people, to specific administrations, as though they were personal property. 
Perhaps, he needs to be reminded that the railways which his mentor is gloatingly delivering were conceptualized and commenced with considerable work done on most of them by the previous Federal Administration.
The same goes for the second Niger Bridge, the rehabilitation of Airports and some of the far reaching reforms in the maritime sector. We are even embarrassed that Dakuku Peterside, who could not attract a single project or influence any meaningful value adding initiatives to the lives of his people in his many years as NIMASA Boss,  can shamelessly reference the Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro Unity Road.
To even make such a pedestrian point that the Wike administration cannot complete the remaining 20 percent of the road in six years is laughable. After 150 years of existence as a Kingdom, his hometown, Opobo has been linked by road by Governor Wike.
It is even more surprising that despite the avalanche of information and authoritative clarifications in the public space about the refunds from the Federal Government, Dakuku Peterside, like a drunken analyst who has only just woken up from a delayed stupor, is only now adding his own misleading misinformation to the discussion, when the train had long left the station. 
This is utterly ridiculous coming from a supposed scholar and so called ‘significant stakeholder’.
Like Chief Momodu rightly pointed out, Dakuku’s jaundiced perception of events in Rivers State, attests to the sad fact that he is no longer familiar or conversant with the reality on ground, which even distinguished members of his own party, APC have participated vigorously in, establishing the  credibility of the amazing work Governor Wike is doing across Rivers State.
 One needs not remind Dakuku Peterside that political psychophancy can oftentimes transform into reputational absurdity.
Indeed, Dakuku Peterside’s tirade resonates loudly in his warped translation that the curfews in Rivers State, most of which have also been necessitated by the horrendous failure of the Federal Government to stem the rife spillover insurgency and wide spread attacks by unknown forces in the land, as well as the Covid-19 lockdowns to enforce mandated protocols, aimed at curtailing community spread of the global pandemic in Rivers State, are examples of insecurity in the land.
One would not have been surprised if this was some beer parlour analysis by an inebriated critic but the fact that it is coming from a man of Dakuku’s so called scholarly disposition beggars belief. It would be a waste of time therefore to inform him that the spate of insecurity in states surrouding Rivers State has made it imperative and inevitable for Governor Wike to show bold, determined, focused and decisive leadership in order to protect and secure the lives and properties of Rivers indigenes and residents.
But perhaps, the most malevolent manifestation of jealousy and malicious angst echoes loudly and ruefully in the petty bitterness inherent in Dakuku Peterside’s conclusion, when he says: “I am aware that Governor Wike’s main signature project is the replica of the Government House that he has built for himself in his village…”. What else could be more churlish and infantile than this kind of dangerous covetousness which speaks ill of the good fortunes of one’s neighbor.
Ironically, while Dakuku Peterside is still wrapped up in the hypnosis of a past, riven with monumental failures, which he and his atrophied co-travellers have continuously attempted to repackage with half-truths, cover-ups, outright lies and distorted facts, Rivers people whose lives and communities Governor Wike had impacted and is impacting positively, have continued to shower uncensored enthusiastic and sincere encomiums on him, from Etche to Saakpenwa, Bori, Ikwerre, Kalabari and even from Dakuku’s own backyard in Opobo, when they celebrated the 150 years anniversary of Opobo kingdom.
We are however gratified in the knowledge that Governor Wike does not even have to engage in what Dakuku Peterside has so petulantly refered to as ‘pernicious propaganda’. His works in road infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, human capital development and sports, speak for themselves in the 23 Local Government Areas.
Let us also notify  Dakuku Peterside, that Governor Wike still has nearly two more years of his administration left and with the promise that he will impact every Local Government with legacy projects and will complete all projects he has embarked on, he has already written his name in gold in the annals of time. There is no amount of bellyaching or convoluted analysis that can alter that. 
As a second term Governor, Wike is working as if it is his first tenure and Rivers people and the entire world are seeing and applauding him everyday.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.

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