SPEECH DELIVERED BY IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, DR. ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI, CON, ON THE COMMISSIONING OF THE STATE HOUSE CLINIC ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING, PORT HARCOURT, BUILT BY THE RIVERS STATE GOVERNMENT ON MARCH 4, 2021
1. Today, I have several reasons to be happy. Many of you present here do not know that just a few hours ago, the Federal High Court, Lagos, gave judgement against EFCC and proclaimed that my property in Lagos was not acquired from the proceed of any crime and that no money from the coffers of Kwara State was used in acquiring it. You will all recall that sometime last year, the court in a similar case ruled in my favour against the EFCC application against my Ilorin property. For me, this judgement is another victory that almighty Allah, the ultimate judge, has given me over those who believe that because I disagree with them politically, they must run me out of town and use their office to persecute me. My gratitude goes to Almighty Allah for this court verdict. I also thank all the people who have stood with me as we fought the battle to prove that truth will always prevail over falsehood and that the light will always eliminate darkness. I thank the Nigerian judiciary for remaining the hope of all men and women, irrespective of status. My appreciation also goes to my lawyers, friends and family.
2. It is therefore a good coincidence that I am here today in the great city of Port Harcourt with a good friend and brother, Governor Nyesom Wike who has gone through similar experience of persecution. I have decided that I will be here to be part of this commissioning, not withstanding what the court judgement turned out to be because of the importance I attach to provision of quality health services to our people. I am delighted to be part of the public presentation of this health facility which definitely will improve the provision of health service in River State.
3. We have witnessed the commissioning of many good roads, flyover bridges and other infrastructure. This health facility is a testimony that the Wike administration is an ‘all rounder’ and that the health sector also is being well attended to.
4. As a medical doctor, son of a medical doctor and father of a medical student, the issue of health services to our people has always been very important to me. As a governor some 18 years ago, I worried so much about how to reduce infant and maternal mortality and ensure that the less privileged people have easy access to quality health services.
This led our administration in Kwara State to invest heavily and worked out several collaboration with international organisations on maternal and child health care. We also introduced the comprehensive health insurance scheme for rural people as well as built the Advanced Medical Diagnostic Centre which has continued to serve the entire people from across the North Central Zone.
5. By conceptualizing this important and well equipped facility that we are Commissioning today, it is obvious that the Wike administration also put emphasis on health services and has achieved a lot of successes in the provision of necessary infrastructure in this sector just as it has done in other areas. We can all understand that no government can fight poverty if the people are not healthy and strong.
6. While I continue to commend Governor Wike and all members of his administration for the numerous successes we witness across River State every day, let me say boldly here that Wike is one of our ambassadors in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Wike is a good example of the good governance that PDP represents to Nigeria.
7. In concluding Mr. Project, please, let me advise that you consider initiating a viable and sustainable Universal Health Insurance Scheme for the people of Rivers State, particularly those in the riverine and rural areas so that they can have easy access to quality health care. You are a man who makes success out of anything you set your mind to achieve and I am sure the people will be happier with the initiative. I also have confidence that you will implement the Programme successfully. Again, I recommend the focus on the child-maternal health Programme, particularly in the rural areas. In fact, River State can champion the need for the entire South-South Zone to collaborate on the health insurance scheme. A regional co-operation on universal access to quality health service will be another good example of good governance that the zone, which is 100 percent controlled by PDP, can demonstrate to the rest of the country.
8. Mr. Governor, I congratulate you and the whole of River State. I also call on the people to take ownership of all the beneficial projects that this Mr. Project and his administration are providing for the people. The people, both those who will manage and use the facilities, should treat them as their personal properties and protect them from any damage. They should use them well and preserve them for many years. We should all remember that Wike has done his own by providing the facilities. The facilities are our own to use and protect.
9. God bless Nigeria. God bless River State and her people.
Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON
March 3rd, 2021