Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has said that Nigeria would develop more speedily when states across the country are allowed to develop at their own pace and capacity in the spirit of true federalism.
He said items on the country’s exclusive list have clearly placed restrictions on states which cannot be part of development in such areas which are exclusively for the federal government.
Amaechi, who is Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), spoke at the 2013 physicians’ week of the Rivers State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the NMA Secretariat along East-West road in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Wednesday.
According to a Government House press statement on Thursday, the theme for this year’s physicians’ week is “federalism and Nigeria’s healthcare system, an appraisal of the primary and secondary health care system”.
“Part of the problem of Nigeria today is beyond corruption and is the totalitarianism where one man is in Abuja and completely decides whether you will feed or not and we are saying no, it’s wrong. A substantial part of the problem in Rivers state today is the fact that the police commissioner is being manipulated from Abuja”, Amaechi said.
“But in a true federalism, a state is supposed to have its own police. When I went to Kenya, I saw county police in Kenya. Africa has left us behind. Before we used to lead Africa, we were referred to as giant of Africa. Nigeria is not a giant and can never be a giant until we have good leadership…”
Governor Amaechi urged medical practitioners employed by the state to be committed to their professional calling and offer best healthcare delivery to all Rivers people, saying that doctors have no business going on strike since the state government pays their salaries and provides them with other benefits. He re-assured that his administration will do more to improve healthcare delivery in the state.
“Please be committed. If you want to be a good doctor you have to show commitment, sympathy or empathy. We are saying you have a contract with us, we have fulfil our own part of the bargain, if you refuse to fulfil your own, are you being fair? Rivers State government doctors should please go to work because if you know the number of patients that will die because you are not at work”, he said.
Earlier, the chairman of the State chapter of the NMA, Dr. Ibitrokoemi Korubo said the week-long event was for doctors in the state to reflect on what it means to be a doctor and look at the health indices for the previous year with the intent of improving those indices for the future.
He described the primary healthcare programme in Rivers State as the best in the country and commended Governor Amaechi for improving healthcare delivery in the state.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Dr. Baundele Agborubere noted that while there has been some transformation in Nigeria’s medical development, much still need to be done.
He lauded Governor Amaechi for providing health assets even at the primary level across the state