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Healthcare: Rivers Enters a Golden Era



By Paulinus Nsirim

Friday, June 11, 2021 marked another remarkable day in the annals of Governor Nyesom Wike’s robust and comprehensive efforts to ensure the provision of qualitative healthcare infrastructure for the people of Rivers State, with the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, RSUTH.

The flag-off and foundation laying ceremony for the Renal Centre was performed by former Transportation Minister, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who echoed a familiar sentiment, when he noted that Governor Wike has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that is positioning the State as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.

He added that the Rivers Governor’s achievements in the health sector in particular, has already surpassed what former Governors of the State had done.

Governor Wike, while emphasizing the decision of his administration to give priority to qualitative healthcare delivery by providing state of the art equipment and enduring infrastructure for the health sector, stated that his administration has appropriated about 40 percent of the 2021 budget into the sector and about N9 billion had already been expended in the rehabilitation, equipping and comprehensive upgrade of the RSUTH which is progressively transforming into a world class health institution for academic and medical services.

“As we came in here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9 billion in this teaching hospital. If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the state government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget,” Governor Wike said.

The Commissioner for Health, Professor Princewill Chike who aptly explained that the Renal Centre was for the treatment of Kidney related conditions, lauded Governor Wike for his committed attention to the health sector and noted that the Centre, when completed, will become another landmark developmental project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney related ailments.

Dr. Friday Aaron, the Chief Medical Director of RSUTH, commended Governor Wike for approving the renal centre.

Shedding more light on the need for the specialist centre, he explained that chronic kidney disease is a major burden globally and Nigeria has an estimated 14 million cases, with over 240,000 of these cases requiring renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.

The CMD who left no one in doubt that kidney problem was a very present and serious health issue affecting many Nigerians today, said the centre is expected to be completed in six months and will house the hemodialysis unit with eight hemodialysis machines and the surgical component comprising most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant.

Dr. Aaron also confirmed that Governor Wike has released the funds required to build and equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.

Healthcare watchers and analysts will confirm that Governor Nyesom Wike has not only stressed consistently that his administration will give priority attention to the health sector, but has walked the talk by releasing comprehensive funding to implement and deliver the desired results in the sector.

It will be recalled that Governor Wike confirmed, during a courtesy visit by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative for Nigeria, in December 2019, at the Government House Port Harcourt, that his administration increased the budgetary allocation for the health sector in the 2020 budget because of his commitment to universal health coverage in the state.

He said: “We have increased the budgetary allocation for the health sector in the 2020 fiscal year. We have placed priority on health. We are expanding our health facilities for the benefit of our people. The issue of health is critical to the development of the state. Without health, other sectors will suffer. Therefore, we will continue to invest in the health sector,” Governor Wike had declared at that meeting.

Indeed this second term of Governor Wike’s administration can quite conveniently be regarded as the consolidation of the Governor’s golden era in the holistic agenda of providing accessible and qualitative healthcare to address the health challenges and expectations of Rivers people, both in the areas of standardized infrastructure and capacity building.

The foundation laying ceremony for the Renal Centre in RSUST was thus a fitting finale to a robust series of health and medical related activities which also witnessed a commissioning, the historic flag-off of the construction of several medical structures and a grand matriculation ceremony of arguably the fastest growing medical university in the world.

On Friday, May 21, 2021, PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Rivers State, held its 4th Matriculation ceremony in a colourful and well organized gathering, replete with all the academic formalities and grandeur synonymous with such events.

Governor Nyesom Wike, was the Special Guest at the ceremony and used the opportunity to shed more light on the Scholarship scheme which the state government was fully sponsoring for 500 students to study medicine and other related courses at PAMO University, which is creating access to education for most indigent students.

Still on medical scholarships, Governor Wike, on Saturday, June 5, 2021, announced the award of scholarship to all 55 students of Faculty of Medical Sciences of Rivers State University.

The announcement was made during the inauguration of the Senate Building of the Rivers State University and the foundation stone laying for the construction of the Faculty of College of Medical Sciences building, comprising of Faculties of Basic Clinical Sciences, Clinical Science and Pathology of the University.

The scholarship, according to the Governor, will last the entire period they will be on the programme. He also directed the management of the institution to refund all fees already paid by the students and forward their details to his office for computation.

“Today, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Innocent Ujah as our special guest, performed the foundation laying ceremony for the building of a Faculty of Clinical Sciences, a Faculty of Basic Sciences and a Pathology building for the Rivers State University, College of Medical Sciences.

“To ensure the speedy completion of the project we have released the sum of N7.6billion to the University for the establishment of these faculties. This covers for the faculty buildings, their furnishing and the installation of the best available medical equipment,” he stated.

And on Monday, June 7, 2021, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, was in Port Harcourt, to flag off the N25.9 billion Dr.Peter Odili Cancer/ Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and noted with delight that the centre would augment the assets available to treat and reduce Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) not only in the South-South but the entire country.

“I observe that this project has been named after someone, who has built a reputation, not just as a medical practitioner, but as a former governor,” he said.

He commended Governor Wike for his vision and achievements in the health sector, stressing that he (Wike) had shown his commitment and determination to add value to the state’s healthcare system.

The Mother and Child Hospital had also been commissioned and is ready for use.

The 132- Bed Hospital which has an on site quarters for doctors is furnished and fully equiped with 50 Delivery Rooms, 6 Modular Operating Theatres, Invitro Fertilization Equipment, Fluoroscopic Equipment, Mamography Equipment and other equipment for leading pediatric and gynaecology practice.

Prior to these landmark ceremonies, the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had commissioned the ultra-modern Government House Clinic and Administrative Building on Friday, March 5, 2021.

The State Commissioner of Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, gave a comprehensive summary of the impressive components of the new clinic.

“The Clinic is fully equipped with Operating Theater, with a Monitored Recovery Room; C-Arm for Fluroscopy; Top End Anesthesia Ventilator and Equipment; One Fully Equipped ICU Room with Isolation requirements, latest ventilator and monitoring system; two Emergency Rooms, with Oxygen and Compressed Air outlets, monitoring, defibrillator, and portable ventilator; Consultation Rooms; fully equipped Endoscopy Suite for intervention in all endoscopes (gastroscopy, colonoscopy, and bronchoscopy), with Electrocautery and Argon Gas and coagulation; fully Automated Cleaning and Drying Of Scopes, to minimize infections and prolong longevity.

“The new Clinic also boasts of the latest 1.5 Tesla MRI General Electric; 64 slice CT scan General Electric; Ultrasound with different probes (cardiogy, abdominal, vascular, OBS); Digital X-Ray; fully equipped Laboratory, independent with high tech machines for haematology, chemistry, hormonal studies ELISA and Chromatography, cultures, microscope, blood bank, and many other tasks.

“It also has a well-stocked Pharmacy with medication storage area; a friendly facility for disabled/physically challenged people; sterilization autoclave machines; automated water treatment machine UV and De-ionizer; One OBS room; four double bedrooms (total 8 beds), all equipped with a portable monitor with telemetry real-time transmission of all patient’s vitals to the central nurse station in the ward; One VIP lounge and a room with continuous monitoring Wi-Fi as well as 24 hours ambulance service.

“All the equipment, monitors, and desktops are connected through a computerized integrated system linking the Radiology with the Laboratory and the Electronic Patient Records, that can be checked and managed on-site, but also remotely, anywhere in the world, using an authorized access.

“Finally, the new clinic parades a dedicated team and personnel that has undergone orientation/training on the use and working of the facility /available equipment.”

It will also be recalled that in 2018, Braithwaite Memorial Teaching Hospital (popularly known as BMH) was upgraded, completely equipped and converted to serve as the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and is today, not only reckoned to be one the largest and best Teaching Hospitals in the country, but now enjoys full accreditation for the programmes of that facility for the training of medical students by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

It is also on record that when Governor Wike assumed office in 2015, the workforce in the primary healthcare community was on strike, and the secondary healthcare sector was either shut down or facilities were dilapidated.

Unlike his predecessor who owed the workers a frightening backlog of salaries and other emoluments. Governor Wike quickly recalled the striking Primary Health workers to work and also paid House Officers at the then Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH) their outstanding dues and allowances, deliberately owed them for months by the previous administration.

As Governor Wike’s administration enters its sixth year, one thing that even his detractors will agree with is that he has steadily and successfully overhauled the healthcare system in the state, both in quality infrastructure provision, human capacity development and prompt payment of remunerations to health workers.

Renovations and upgrades of major hospital structures and facilities have been quite regular too. Last year, the Rivers State Executive Council approved the reactivation of the Kelsey Harrison Hospital and the Dental and Maxillofacial Hospital in the State, by a special committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo.

The unexpected global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was to provide the definitive platform on which Governor Wike’s golden era of quality healthcare delivery to Rivers people was cemented and consolidated.

His focused, proactive, determined, courageous and humane leadership, which often saw him leading from the frontline, ensured that mandated protocols were observed.

It was little wonder therefore that the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, having deemed him to have passed the Four-Way Test in his leadership of Rivers State for the past six years, especially on his management of the
pandemic, conferred the 2019/2020 Good Governance Award on Governor Wike, on Friday, May 7, 2021.

There is certainly no doubt that the bold, impactful and enduring legacy projects which Governor Wike had delivered in the Health sector have made tremendous impact on the lives of Rivers people.

With many more to come before the end of his tenure, the Governor has not only underlined his determination to address the critical health needs of Rivers people but indeed, to prepare and position the sector with maximum capacity, to cope with emerging health issues and challenges.

Governor Wike has already pledged that only the best is good enough and will be delivered to Rivers people during his term as Governor.

With what has happened in the Health sector since 2015, Rivers State will not only be providing well trained manpower to address the medicare gap locally and nationally, but will now be poised to attract unprecedented medical tourism that will compete favorably with the rest of the world, in line with global best practices.

Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State

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Voice of Emancipation: Hiding in Plain Sight




By Kayode Emola

What is happening to the Yoruba Nation Struggle? Is sovereignty still an attainable possibility? These questions and many more are on the lips of enthusiastic Yoruba begging for answers whilst awaiting the birth of their new nation. Rightly so, given that many of us in the trenches promised that there would be no 2023 election in Nigeria, as we would have already left the country. Alas, it is less than a month before the 2023 general election is scheduled; only a miracle will be able to thwart the election now.

How did we get it wrong? Why haven’t we got out of Nigeria by now? I don’t think this is the appropriate time to start apportioning blame. However, I do believe that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, then we are bound to repeat them again and again. We must be mindful that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, those hell-bent on causing schisms amongst the advocates of independence are not only impairing their work, they risk jeopardising the entire struggle if care is not taken.

The solution to the Yoruba question is hiding in plain sight, yet it is so simple that only a few can decipher it or see how to implement it. Rather than focusing on the practical steps to get us out of Nigeria, some people are now being cajoled by meaningless slogans. Consider the claims of the Ominira Yoruba 2022 team, that if 5 million people signed a petition in support of independence, Yoruba would be able to exit Nigeria and nothing could stop it. The petition surpassed its five million target and yet nothing happened.

So Ominira Yoruba 2022 announced that they would make a declaration of independence and this would be the catalyst that would bring us our own nation. Yet no plan was put in place on how this was to be implemented aside from flippant announcements on Facebook and other social media outlets. When this failed to materialise Yoruba Nation, they then came out with Reclamation, and following its fruitlessness, then Occupation. The truth is that, no matter how catchy a slogan we produce, if we don’t have a concrete plan on how to get Yoruba out of Nigeria, we will continue on this trajectory of big grammar inside empty cannon.

The first step in achieving anything in life is to ask if anybody in the world has done the same thing already. If so, you can learn from them and apply their methods to your situation. If there are none, then by all means go ahead and invent the wheel, do some trial and error and work out a strategy to get you to the finish line. However, in this situation, there are many countries whose precedents we can learn from, including Norway/Sweden, South Sudan/Sudan, Czechoslovakia and finally, former Yugoslavia etc.

Whilst some of these countries exited peacefully, some had extremely violent departures. However, the key element was that they were determined to exercise their right to self-determination. The unifying feature that they all shared was that they all declared their independence from the larger, and dared to face the consequences. For some countries like South Sudan leaving Sudan it led to a long and bitter civil war; in contrast, when Norway left Sweden, the latter accepted the declaration of the former and they parted peacefully.

If the only option that allows for every indigenous nationality to exit Nigeria is through the declaration of independence, then the simplest and most logical route would have been to bring everyone together in consultation. In this scenario, any declaration of independence by one indigenous nation in Nigeria could be followed immediately by simultaneous declaration from other regions. This would dissuade the Nigerian government from attempting to take a stand against these nations or starting a war that they could not possibly sustain.

In light of this, what should we now do? We need to organise ourselves into formations, working towards the greater good. Those in the diplomatic circles need to intensify their diplomatic outreach to those countries around the world that will be sympathetic to indigenes’ independence. Whilst those in humanitarian circles need to embark on massive campaigns with humanitarian agencies, explaining the reasons why Nigeria must be dissolved

If we all come together with this resolve, then Nigeria would have no option but to let us go because we would have the support of our people and the international communities. Undoubtedly, we will not achieve unanimous acceptance from every country, or even across own our people; but those who do believe in the cause must press on until victory is achieved.

Therefore, my advice to those still being deceived by slogans and jamboree is this: open your eyes and see that, unless we do the work, no amount of camouflage or deceit can bring us out. We need to be ready to be open-minded, to put in the effort required to achieve success. Yoruba nation *will* come, but not by lies of ¬_”a tí gbá”_ (“we have collected it”) or “God has done it”.

Even if God has said Yes, if we fail to put in the necessary work, we will remain on this mountain for a very long time. The year of 2023 still has a long way to go: we can work towards something meaningful, or we can continue to deceive ourselves that Yoruba nation will be served to us on a platter of gold with no effort on our own part. A word is enough for the wise.

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Adding Value

Adding Value: The Power of Imagination




Dear Destiny Friends,

Success and failure start from the mind. The human mind is like a rubber, the more you stretch it, the more it expands. The human mind is the brain, if you don’t use it, it won’t work. We all have the power to change the course of our life without allowing us to be victims. This is because the greatest power God gave us at creation is freedom and choice. Just like you have the power to think positive thoughts, you also have the power to think negative thoughts. It should be noted that whatever you focus on expands.

It’s quite unfortunate that many of us don’t know how we can use our mind to attract opportunities, if properly stretched. For the human mind to work at optimal capacity, it must be capable of using the power of imagination. According to Napoleon Hill, “whatsoever the mind can conceive, believe, it can achieve it. The right question we should ask ourselves is if we are using the power of our imagination.

Imagination takes several forms. The human mind can be artistic in nature, it can be creative, and it can also be challenging. The mind will only work on how you program it. If you program your mind to think like a leader, it will be activated, if you program the mind to overcome challenges it will be activated, if you program the mind to either think positive or negative thoughts, it produces the desired fruits for you.

You may be wondering where the power of imagination comes from? The power of imagination starts from the mind. To understand how the mind works, you have to look at the brain. The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.

One may ask, is imagination the same thing as intelligence?  One can imagine something, but don’t take proactive steps to implement it, but the man who takes actionable steps can be regarded as an intelligent man because he got the inspiration and knows what to do. According to Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. This is a fact because the true intelligence level of an individual is not dependent on the facts a person knows but on how he applies them creatively to solve problems in the world.  Albert Einstein further stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

The power of imagination cannot be overemphasized. One of the distinguishing traits between wealthy men and the poor men is their mindset. A big difference between a rich mind and poor mind lies in how they process information. While rich and wealthy minds have a positive and growth mindset, poor men have a negative and fixed mindset. While the growth mindset sees problems as opportunities to make impact by solving them, fixed minds see problems as obstacles to making impact. While rich and wealthy minds spend money to invest, poor minds spend money to impress. While rich and wealthy people spend after saving, poverty-stricken minds save from the remnant of their expenses.

This power of imagination works in different ways. Sometimes, it comes like a vision, a revelation. inspiration or even feelings. This imagination can be something you would like to change, or a cause you would like to work on. When you get this prompting, the best thing you can do is commit it to prayer and believe in it especially if it’s a revelation or vision you have been shown. It might look so big and impossible to attain. Whenever you feel this way, just know that you must activate your growth mindset.

Wealth creation starts from the mind. If you want to be successful in any craft, you must envision it in your mind. Most of the great people if not all the great people we celebrate in the world utilized the power of imagination to create a product. If you want to be rich or start a business, you need to take the bold step, if not, you’ll remain where you are.

Nobody can stop a person whose time has come. Nobody can stop you; you are the only one who can stop yourself if you doubt yourself or tell your dreams, vision, or ideas to the wrong person. The wrong person in this case can be your parents, friends, mentors or even your spiritual leader. Don’t get me wrong, these people may not be bad people, they may not understand the calling or vision you had. They may not even see you as the person capable of doing it because you don’t look it. They may be speaking from their experience which may not be your reality. Let me tell you, if God wants somebody else to get the revelation or inspiration, he will put the imagination in their mind. Just to encourage you, God does not call the qualified, he calls the unqualified and then qualifies you.

In conclusion, the power of imagination is a very powerful and creative tool a progressive mind can use to excel in life if properly activated. This is because nobody knows you more than you know yourself.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success

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Be Empowered to Remain in Power




By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“When you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to “MANifest”! Chase excellence, and success would chase you pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”Tolulope A. Adegoke, PhD., MNIM, FIMC, CMC, CMS

 Commitment has been described as dedication, steadfastness, allegiance, faithfulness or loyalty to a course, and individual, group or a supreme being. It is about giving one’s self to a course with success as the only option. Commitment binds you irrevocably to a course you believe in until success comes. It is not the same as mere involvement, but dedication to seeing a course(s) completed or fulfilled to cause an effect or impact either within one’s self, others, corporates and the world at large.

The world is filled with peoples. Anybody can be involved. Being involved in an activity that involves other people does not make you part of a team. As a matter of fact, it only takes a number of people involved in working together to have a group. You must understand that a group is absolutely not a “team”. The difference? In a group, people are involved in activity(s). In a Team, people are committed to a process and a goal. The difference between commitment and involvement is known by the difference in the “omelette and “corned beef”. In the making of omelets, the chicken is involved, in the corned beef, the cow is committed!

Commitment is the secret to the success of the postage stamp. To get the letter to its destination, it must first commit to the envelope. After that, the rest is a matter of time. A train gets to its destination because of its commitment to the rails.

Commitment operates in five major levels which would be expatiated below:

  1. Commitment to God (The Creator that gives to all that gives and receives)
  2. Commitment to a Course for a Cause

iii.              Commitment to Process

  1. Commitment to People
  2. Commitment to yourself

Commitment to God

Those who have discovered themselves in God have no problem committing to Him. Those who sideline God in success ventures will find out soon enough that it is the pathway to “frustration” and an insignificant “death”.

Commitment to a Course for a Cause

You must always remember that, you were never created to simply pursue wealth and all trappings of the worldly successes. After all your bills are paid, and you have a spill-over, what next? Highly successful and effective people, first of all, find a higher course for a greater cause for which they were willing to lay down their lives if need be, then throw themselves wholly into it. The principle is that, if death does not scare you, the possibility of failure cannot! As the Bible rightly said, “those who keep their lives lose it, while those who lose it, find it!” The other name for it is significance or relevance. Make money in order to enhance your platform(s) for significance or irrefutable relevance. At a recent time, Bill Gate has committed time and resources to finding solutions to the scourge of HIV/AIDS and poverty eradication in Third World countries. What he did caught the attention of Warren Buffet (who wasn’t reputable for charity), the World’s Second richest man at that time. This made him donate the sum of $37billion (US Dollars) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When asked why, he answered, “Because they know how best to give it away better and faster than I can.”

Commitment to a Process

Everything in life evolves. The only tree that grew to full stature in one day died the same day! Ask Prophet Jonah in the Bible. If you cannot commit to a process, you will forfeit the promise.

To master your skill in life, there is always a process of apprenticeship. Permit yourself to fail…but don’t remain a failure. The Olympic medalist who won the 100-metre dash in less than 10 seconds was only celebrated for what he had invested years of consistency and hours of practice to.

Tiger Woods had played golf as a child and he had always nurtured a vision to win every championship in golf. So he started to work towards that, easily.

The father (being a good Lawn Tennis Player) of Serena and Venus Williams (The World Lawn Tennis Champions) had coached them to always win since they were very young.

What the world celebrate today in these people is actually the process they had committed too long before they started winning laurels.

Commit to Yourself

Budget for self-development. Your greatest investment is the one you make on your personal development. When you are right, everything around you will be right!

Things don’t happen because you chase them to happen, rather they happen become you have become a center of attraction that commands the necessary attention. For instance, when you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to MANifest! Chase excellence and success would chase you, pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”

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