Opinion | Amaechi Vs Wike: The True Story About RSSDA

Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) was a special purpose vehicle created in 2008 by the Rotimi Amaechi led administration, over 2000 rivers state indigenes were offered this opportunity to study abroad for Medicine in top notch colleges abroad. However, the RSSDA failed to understand that you cannot just wake up and study medicine in universities abroad without first completing a pre-degree course which is related to medicine.

As at 2014, about 1000 of these students on this program by the RVSG has already completed their pre-degrees and wanted to venture into the world of medical studies but same agency charged with the duties to oversee this, claimed that they had spent over 70 percent of their funding for their pre-degree programme.

It is unfortunate that anyone would want an incoming government left with a backlog of salaries and pensions payments and loads of projects to return the glory of the garden city to take on a project that ought to have benefitted the indigenes of the state since 2008.

Common sense tells one to ask; “what pre-degree programme lasts for 7 years anywhere in the world?”

Consequent on this, the incoming government established universities for both indigent and non indigent students to study medicine . Other schools were also available and scholarships provided for the students who on the RSSDA programme went abroad to study English language and other Art related courses.

Did those students return to Nigeria? No.

A popular one amongst them, who goes by the twitter handle @JajaPhd was one of these beneficiaries and he went on to study pre-nursing course and then went on for a masters degree and then applied for a PhD course in physiotherapy, all at the expense of other possible beneficiaries.

Does it make any sense that you were funded to study a first degree and pave way for others but instead you chose to take all possible funding made available for others? No!

Was it a scheme borne out of genuine love for Rivers people? Yes

Did it fulfill its purpose? No

Pepple said by the end of September 2014, nearly one thousand of the students would have fully completed their studies, majority with flying colours, while stressing that the remaining are still in the programme and would continue to enjoy the full sponsorship of the government.

Shortly after Amaechi became the Governor of Rivers State, he established the RSSDA, with the aim of empowering lives and creating better future for Rivers state and its people.

Amaechi said at the inauguration of the RSSDA: “Our mission is to serve our people with humility and render transparent and accountable stewardship, anchored on integrity and good governance. We shall use our God-given resources to improve the quality of life of our present and future generations, and empower our people in a peaceful, just and harmonious society under God.”

The pioneer executive director of RSSDA, Mr. Bolaji Ogunseye, who was seconded from the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), like Pepple, tried his best.

RSSDA in its best can be described as a drain pipe for cronies and girlfriends for those who were friendly to the administration then in Rivers State.

Chidozie Anwuzie writes from Port Harcourt and can be contacted on cepejspm@gmail.com