By Nze Nwabueze Akabogu (JP)
Cont’d from last week
6. State General Hospitals: It is a common knowledge that the State general hospitals had since become glorified health centres or worse still dispensary units or consultancy for state employed doctors where the poor and most vulnerable in society hardly access adequate medical attention or medicare even as medical doctors in State general hospitals seldomly report for duty in the hospitals as their attention is usually focused more on their private clinics where they attend to their patients on the payment of huge medical bills. This rather unfortunate situation often compel desperate patients to seek for urgent medical attention from private hospitals where they often pay highly exorbitant hospital bills for their medical treatment.
This scenario had created a boom for private hospitals across the State at the expense of the State general hospitals which are grossly ill-equipped and hopelessly lacking in adequate manpower. The attendant consequences of this ugly situation is the frequent loss of lives of people who could not easily access medical treatment from the State general hospitals nor capable of paying exhorbitant hospital bills charged by the private hospitals. The incoming Soludo administration should urgently look into this rather pathetic and worrisome situation with a view to taking decisive action to mitigate the suffering of the masses especially the poor and vulnerable in society. The incoming Administration should urgently upgrade and properly equip the State general hospitals across the State to carter for the medical needs of the poor and downtrodden in society. The State general hospitals must be directed to always attend to their patients promptly and charge only minimal fees as was the practice during the first Republic in the early sixties.
The incoming government must equally ensure that the ongoing construction of new general hospital buildings across the State awarded by the outgoing administration must be completed without further delay and put to use for the benefit of Ndi-Anambra. One typical example of the ongoing hospital projects in the State is the ultra-modern Specialist Hospital Complex sited at the Enugwu-Ukwu General Hospital. The contract for the construction of this gigantic edifice was awarded by the outgoing Obiano Administration in 2017 and on completion to serve the people of Anambra Central Senatorial Zone even as similar Specialist Hospitals were also sited at Onitsha for the North Senatorial Zone and Ekwulobia for the South Senatorial Zone. Unfortunately, the hospital project at Enugwu-Ukwu had suffered unwarranted delay in its completion presumably due to lack of adequate funds from the State government. When completed, the state-of the-art Specialist hospital no doubt will serve Ndi-Anambra even as the Hospital will be fully equipped with modern medical facilities of international standards for the benefit of the people of Anambra State and beyond. The incoming Soludo Administration is hereby implored to urgently look into the case of undue delay in the immediate completion of the hospital project and release the necessary funds to the contractor should that be the case for the undue delay in the completion and commissioning of this all-important project.
- Revamping Education Sector: The education sector in the State is currently in a terrible state of decay even as this important sector is seriously lacking in infrastructural development including the dearth of qualified teachers in Public Schools as well as teaching tools such as computers, and laptops etc. The incoming Soludo administration should as a matter of utmost urgency critically look into this all-important sector as well as the welfare of the teachers and other staff in our public schools. It is no gainsaying the fact that education is the catalyst or cornerstone for civilization and advancement in any modern society and as such everything humanly possible must be done to ensure that the education sector in the State does not collapse, but should be given adequate attention and support by government.
- Abandoned Water Projects: It is a matter of deep regret that many water projects across the State had been abandoned by successive administrations for many years running and thereby giving rise to the indiscriminate drilling of water bore holes by Ndi-Anambra with the attendant consequences of environmental degradation as well the destruction of the ecosystem. The incoming administration must take urgent action to resuscitate the moribund water projects across the State in the overall interest of Ndi-Anambra who obviously have no other option than to resort to indiscriminate sinking of water bore holes for their daily needs.
Ndi Anambra would be looking forward with great excitement to the day when the dry public water taps along the major roads in urban cities and villages would start to run again.
- Waste Disposal Management: The present state of waste disposal system in the state is indeed pathetic and disturbing and absolutely nothing to write home about even as the Waste Management Authorities (ASWAMA) charged with the task of the regular collection and evacuation of refuse or waste across the State has performed woefully below average and had proven grossly incapable of discharging its statutory functions. In recent times heaps or piles of refuse littering the highways and designated dumps in major towns and cities across the State had become a common sight. The consequences of this apparent dereliction of duty on the part of the relevant authorities (ASWAMA) is the possible outbreak of epidemic on a large scale thereby endangering the lives of Ndi-Anambra particularly during this era of COVID-19 and the newly discovered Delta and Omicron variant pandemic. The incoming Soludo administration must act quickly to remedy the ugly situation in the overall interest of the health of Ndi-Anambra.
Furthermore, the ASAWAMA should be better equipped in terms of providing the Waste Management Authorities with more and serviceable trucks for the prompt evacuation of refuse or waste from major towns and cities. Equally, the ASWAMA should be directed to henceforth carry out its functions of refuse evacuation only at night even as the present practice of evacuation of waste during the day time obviously constitute great danger and nuisance to motorists and other road users. In the same vein, the workers at ASWAMA especially those that carry out the daily evacuation of waste must be properly motivated to enable them have self pride in carrying out the most difficult task even as the public often tend to look down on them as inferior beings and lowly paid workers. Ndi-Anambra should appreciate the enormous contributions by these conscientious and patriotic men and women who daily evacuate domestic waste despite the health hazards they are daily exposed to in the course of carrying out their difficult and rather thankless job.
- Abandoned Government Lodge Project: At the inception of the current democratic dispensation in Anambra State in 1999, the erstwhile Mbadinuju administration conceived the lofty idea of constructing a modern and befitting government Lodge in the State Capital Awka. Consequently contract was awarded for the construction job which was sited near Jerome Udoji Secretariat but regrettably had turned out to be a white elephant project even as successive administrations in the State had turned blind eyes to the long abandoned and wasting State asset which had already consumed a colossal amount of Tax payer’s money. It has become imperative therefore for the incoming Soludo administrative to urgently take necessary steps to complete this gigantic edifice and immediately put the building into other use even as a new government lodge already sited at Isiagu is presently under construction.
- State Work Force: The outgoing Obiano administration in the State must be commended for maintaining cordial labour relationship with the State work force during the past eight years through the regular payment of salaries and allowances to State workers. However, a lot needed to be done to further motivate the State workers through regular promotions and retraining of deserving workers for greater productivity. Regrettably however, the pathetic and pitiable condition of the State retirees is of grave concern to Ndi-Anambra even as the retirement benefits of these retirees such as gratuity and other entitlements have not been paid to them and are in arrears for many years with the attendant consequences of untold hardship suffered by these senior citizens who had rendered many years of meritorious service to their fatherland. It is a matter of deep regret however, that some unfortunate retirees had even died while still waiting for their hard earned gratuity and other entitlements. The incoming Soludo administration must take prompt action as a matter of utmost urgency to clear the arrears of gratuity and pensions owed to these suffering retired State workers so as to avert any future deaths of these unfortunate retirees due to their present predicament.
- Local Government Election: It is utterly ridiculous and incomprehensible that Anambra State that prides itself as the “Light of the nation” has not been able to conduct local government election in the state since the past eight years. Anambra State is known to be one of a few States in the country that are yet to conduct the local government election in their respective states. The local government system which is the third tier of government is the closest or nearest to the people and therefore they deserve to have this important system put in place which is their constitutional right. The need and desirability of the local government system as the third tier of government could not be over emphasized even as the system was purely designed to take governance down to the local or grassroot level. Regrettably Ndi-Anambra had been denied the obvious benefits of this important tier of government which would have greatly impacted positively on their lives. It is needless to emphasize the obvious fact that huge benefits are derivable from the local government system to the people at the grass root level such as: (a) Construction and regular maintenance of rural roads (b) Construction and equipping of health centres to cater for the health needs of the rural dwellers (c) Construction and maintenance of markets and motor parks as well as the collection of fees and tolls on behalf of the state government etc (d) Construction of school buildings and supervision of primary school education system etc.
It is regrettable that the out-going administration had deliberately denied Ndi-Anambra the rare opportunity of freely electing their leaders at the grass root level but rather adopted the unconstitutional system of appointment of the so-called Transition Committees to oversee the affairs of the twenty one local government areas in the State which was clearly an aberration and must not be allowed to continue any longer in the State.
The Incoming Soludo (Solution) administration must as a matter of utmost urgency put all necessary machineries in place for the conduct of free, fair and transparent local government election in the State within his first year in office in order to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Ndi-Anambra particularly our rural communities to once again enjoy democratic dividends through the monthly Revenue allocations accruable to the local governments as the third tier of government.
Finally, may God Almighty grant Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo divine grace, love, strength and wisdom to successfully pilot the affairs of the State as he assumes office as the next Executive Governor of Anambra State on 17th March 2022. Amen!.
Nze Nwabueze Akabogu (JP) is a Regular Public Affairs
Commentator and Analyst.
He wrote from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State.
G.S.M: 08074942671, 07037256684
1st March, 2022