Okwuzi-Egbema General Hospital in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State is in coma. Natives and residents of the area have continued to beg the Nyesom Ezenwo Wike led state government to fulfil his promise of refurbishing the hospital.
It is believed that the governor on three occasions, during electioneering campaigns promised to rehabilitate the hospital. Sadly, about four months to end his tenure, the general hospital has deteriorated.
The current state of the abandoned public health facility which has been reportedly shutdown for years has become dreadful.
TNN gathered that since 2015 till date, the clinic which is said to be the only general hospital in the area, has not been operational, which has prompted residents to continually send a save our soul message to the local and state governments.
Speaking with TNN in an exclusive interview, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Kelly Iweka Ernest Rufus said, “I am from Okwuzi Community in Egbema kingdom. This abandoned state government establishment is in my homeland. If I keep quiet, who will speak for me? Who will know that I am suffering? Who will come to assist me?
“Many might be wondering why I’m still talking about this, despite having a political intention or being a faithful member of the ruling party in the LGA and state. My political intentions can wait. I will keep talking about it until it is fixed, totally rehabilitated and commissioned for use like others across the state.”
Rufus, who is also the founder and leader of an advocacy group, Egbema Massive Movement, EMM, decried the current state of the hospital. According to him, “I lack a particular phrase or clause to describe the current condition of that state government institution, that place is a graveyard, a graveyard seems more better a word than the current condition of that institution as we speak.
“Firstly, the hospital has not been in use, I think far back as 2014. The people of Egbema in the electioneering period welcomed the current governor of Rivers State to a community in Egbema known as Mgbede on the 14th of February, 2015, at the occasion of the Rivers State PDP valentine’s day party, therein, the state governor, then a gubernatorial candidate of the PDP promised the people of Egbema that if we elect him, among other promises made, that he will ensure that the Okwuzi-Egbema General Hospital will be used to celebrate his first 100 days in office, you and I know that from 14th of February 2015 till now is almost eight years and the hospital is still the way it is.
“There is no staff, there is no personnel, there is no nurse, nothing is functioning in that institution. The buildings have collapsed and the pathetic part of it all is that these are land marks cited in the place where people in Egbema would want to buy and use for private homes and business centres, but the state government came then and took away these quality hectares of land from the people just to erect a hospital that would take care of the basic needs, health challenges of the people. They stage- managed it, I don’t know what happened, maybe due to politics 2014, the hospital was shut down and then an incoming government came, assuring the people that if we vote out the government in power and support them, that once they win, that they will take care of the health challenge of Egbema by ensuring that that hospital would be refurbished, re-equipped and commissioned for use, so we are not happy.
“ I don’t speak for myself alone, the people of Egbema we are not happy, there are many more promises made that day, but the most pressing is this Egbema general hospital because health is wealth, it is only when you are healthy that you can live to talk about other promises made to you. So that place needs urgent attention, the state government should come back and fulfill their promises to the people.
He didn’t just say this on February 14th, he made the promise again on 2017, at the occasion of the flag-off ceremony of the Omoku zonal hospital project and again on 2019, all these promises are on the media, so if a governor who has promised to complete any project he embarked on, and who has also promised Rivers people that he will not finish his tenure without completing every promise he has made to different portals of the state can abandon a promise made eight years ago, a project that wouldn’t cost if I am right in my assumption, wouldn’t cost more than a billion naira to put to standard, and daily we see him commissioning projects, kicking up projects, worth more than the commiserate sum to put that hospital in good shape, if you are the people of Egbema you won’t be happy with this.”
When asked if the community has other hospitals, Rufus said, “Egbema is a kingdom of its own with over 400,000 persons as of the last census conducted, I don’t know how much more increase we have recorded now, there is no other hospital within the communities of Egbema, within the entire communities of Egbema and its environs, inclusive of the Ndoni and that of the Omoku.”
On the contributions of Egbema representatives in the various political offices, he said, “you know, sometimes, within last year, I made a publication asking the younger generation of our time, if at all we have people we can look up to for political mentorship, in answering your question, I doubt we have qualitative representation here, from the councillors which of course I shouldn’t be talking about them because I don’t even know if they exist at all, down to the local government administration. Local Government Chairman has his own allocation and his own programme, but it’s quite pathetic that a kingdom like Egbema, the major kingdom that constitute the LGA, there is no, will I say, there is no state government or local government presence here, the local government is not thinking towards this direction because if the LGA chairman is thinking towards this direction, the LGA chairman should have done something on its own as a council, while hoping on the state government to redeeming their pledge.
“Now, you talk about the house of assembly, the representative, you know, we are so marginalized in this part of ONELGA called Egbema, the current local government chairman is from Ogba, the current house of assembly member is from Ogba, the current house of rep member is from Ogba and we have an LGA known as Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni, so who do you now think, who do you expect to present the case of Egbema before the state government? I don’t know if you get what I am saying.”