Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has identified the causes of brain drain that is perennially bedeviling Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria.
Gov. Wike laid the blame of why most professionals leave the shores of the country in droves for greener pastures squarely on the doorstep of dearth of requisite equipments and the intractable insecurity situation in Nigeria.
The governor spoke on the cause of brain drain at the inauguration of the Renal/Dialysis Centre and House Officers Quarters at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, 30 November 2022.
He maintained that welfare of doctors and other professionals are not primarily the sole reasons for brain drain in the country. He noted that because of the looming unemployment situation in the country, most people now opt going outside of Nigeria for the dream job they required.
Even when some of the professionals are employed within Nigeria, Gov. Wike insisted that such persons are not provided with the requisite equipment to use in their various organisations and industries.
“When you talk about brain drain, it is not only associated with the medical profession. So many people leave this country because of unemployment. So many people have left this country because of insecurity. So many people have left this country because where they work the equipment is not there.
“It is not only just because of welfare, that is why you see brain drain, no. It is not correct. Even professors in the university in the various faculties of law, faculties of engineering most of them leave because the tools to work are not there.
“But you are lucky you (RSUTH staff) have the tools here. So, clap for us first that we have provided the basic things. Today, you’re lucky, you’re working in a teaching hospital where you can find the equipment, at least, to make your job easier for you. So, it is not as bad as where the equipment are not there.”
Governor Wike reiterated that it was out of grateful heart that he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the release of 13% derivative fund arrears, from 1999 to date, that was never paid by previous administration to States in Niger Delta.
He wondered why saying thank you is an offense and a particular governor feels offended over the thank you said to President Buhari over the release.
The said governor, according to governor Wike had gone in national television to say that money spent to do a 3km road in his State would be used to construct more than 15 flyovers elsewhere.
“Simply because I said you people should thank President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing 13 percent arrears to us. I did not abuse anybody. Did I? All I said is please thank him, that if he did not release this arrears to me and some of our states, it may have been difficult for me to even talk about building a Renal Centre, Cancer and Cardiovascular centre, Basic and Clinical Sciences faculty, House officers quarters. I don’t think saying thank you is an offence.
“On television, I heard one of the governors said in his state to do 3 kilometre road will do more than 15 flyovers. Rivers State, is it not Niger Delta State? Don’t we have riverine areas in Rivers State? Amayanabo of Opobo said since he was born, he has never driven by road to Opobo.
“The day he drive by road to Opobo, he said, God is it possible that in my own time I will not go through the river again, I am now driving by road to Opobo. That is a major riverine area. By the grace of God this December (2022) we are going to commission the first phase of Trans-Kalabari Road. That is a major riverine area.
Speaking further, governor said, “I didn’t know that people are sick about the flyovers I do. Okay, sorry. I don’t want you to be sick again. I won’t do again. Instead of you to appreciate and ask somebody how are you doing this, and justify what you’re doing.
“I have turned the state capital around using a major construction firm like Julius Berger Nigeria PLC. If you know you have the capacity, if you know you have what it takes go and take Julius Berger and see whether you can pay salary.”
Governor Wike pointed to how determined he was in creating the space for medical education that led to the establishment of medical college at the Rivers State University (RSU), which hitherto was not in existence before he assumed office.
“To tell you it is not just flyovers, look at the health sector alone. As at the time we came, this State had no medical college, only the University of Port Harcourt had, and you see how competitive being a federal university. How many of our people get admission to read medicine and other related courses.”
About a 100 students of Rivers origin, he informed, at the PAMO university of medical sciences are also placed on State government scholarship, and who upon graduation, are to gain automatic employment into government establishment.
Governor Wike said while equipment are provided, and medical facilities upgraded, the manpower gap is also being filled.
The governor maintained that the current congestion that is experienced at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) is being addressed.
He explained that in the coming days, the Gynecology department will move to the Mother and Child Hospital and other departments moving to their dedicated facilities like the Maxillofacial and Kersely Harrison Hospital.
Speaking on the projects, Governor Wike urged Nigerians to seek medical assistance from the Renal/dialysis Centre because it has the best equipment and personnel to offer requisite services.
There is already an ongoing arrangement, governor Wike hinted, towards an effective management of the centre to ensure sustainability.
Governor Wike also advise the house officers to imbibe maintenance culture so that they can always keep the quarters clean and maintain the structure.
In his speech, Chief Medical Director of Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron said the two projects inaugurated are signature of the genuine love of governor Wike for the State.
Dr. Aaron recalled that the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) was already constructing a Renal Dialysis Unit and governor Wike noticed that if allowed in its form, will be limited in the service it will offer.
The CMD said governor Wike directed an expansion of the unit into a world class centre that will diagnose renal cases, perform dialysis and do transplant of kidney. This, he said is because the governor believes that Rivers people deserve the best.
In his address, commissioner for health, Prof. Princewill Chike said the Renal Centre is one of the best in Nigeria that has been provided by governor Wike for his love for the health sector.
The centre, he pointed out, is a one storey building that has lift that can take 13 person per time.
According to him, there are also doctors and nurses call rooms, water treatment unit, and a 6bed space dialysis area.
Prof. Chike also informed that on the first floor, there are two theatres, one is for where kidney donor and recipient are kept, with equipment to ensure the marching of the kidney.
He said the second theatre is where the transplanting of the kidney is done and the situation properly monitored.
Prof. Chike said there is 100kv standby generating set and 30kva inverter with 6 solar plates to ensure regular power supply.
The chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Ebi Robinson commended governor Wike for building the Renal centre and equipping it with latest state of the art medical equipment that will enhance the productivity of doctors in the hospital.