Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has sacked the Commissioner of Health, Princewill Chike, hosting the preliminary session of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, in Port Harcourt without his approval.
The governor said the unilateral decision of the commissioner to host the MDCN without his approval was most embarrassing. He therefore used the opportunity of the reception he gave to the council to announce the sack of Chike. The visit to the governor was led by the chairman of the MDCN, Abba Wasiri Hassan.
The governor said the state government did not request to host the preliminary session of the council in Port Harcourt, stressing that the commissioner erred to have unilaterally scheduling to host the MDCN event at the same time when the state government was commissioning and flagging off projects.
“Frankly speaking, I have never seen an embarrassment like this in my life. Everybody knows that it is not my nature to bring people and you cannot attend to them or host. So, whoever has done this will suffer for it,” Wike said.
He turned down the request by the MDCN that state governments should establish one tertiary hospital in each of their senatorial districts will not be realisable due to paucity of funds. “You have talked about citing tertiary hospital in each of the senatorial district, you know it is not possible. That is why in Nigeria we have a problem. When you go for your budget, you put all kinds of projects. You know it cannot work. Where will you get the money to cite these in each of the senatorial districts.”
The governor explained that in a bid to improve citizens’ access to quality healthcare service delivery, his administration has embarked on construction of some zonal hospitals in Bori, Degema, Etche, Ahoada and Omoku.
He further stated that his administration has also invested huge amount of resources in promoting medical education in the State, particularly, with the establishment of the Rivers State University College of Medical Sciences and the annual award of scholarship to 130 indigenes of the State studying medicine at PAMO University of Medical Sciences.
“You’ll agree that I have provided the necessary funds for all whatever you requested to give a standard medical college. Our partnership with PAMO is very interesting. In fact, every year Rivers State government offers scholarship to indigenes. This year we have approved 130.”
Wike used the occasion to canvass for the reduction of the money the Federal government gets from federation account to enable the States have more resources to drive their development.
The governor said States should be allowed to fix the amount they can afford to pay their workers, including medical personnel. He contended that one of the banes of the country federal system is the attempt to foist a uniform salary structure on the entire country.
“I don’t want to talk about the salary thing. It is part of the problem we have. If you want to work in Rivers State, Rivers state government should negotiate with you on what you should earn. Why should the man who is in Kogi earn the same thing with the man working in Rivers State? what is the house rent in Kogi? What is the house rent in Port Harcourt?
“If we don’t want to run true federalism, we should leave it. I can’t sit here as governor of a state, you go to the federal government to negotiate, you come and give me to sign, I will not sign.”
Chairman, MDCN explained that they were in Rivers State for the ninth preliminary session of the council. He commended Wike for his positive attitude towards healthcare and medical delivery services in Rivers state, particularly, the huge investment in Rivers State University College of Medical Sciences, award of scholarship to indigenes of the state studying medicine and the construction of world class Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Port Harcourt.
The MDCN chairman urged governors to consider investing in tertiary hospitals in each of the senatorial district in the country in order to increase the number of hospitals available for the training of house officers and to check medical tourism.
The governor had in similar circumstances earlier in the year fired the commissioner for environment, who queried Julius Berger Plc over environmental impact assessment of some of its various sites.