Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has said no governor should use COVID-19 as an excuse not to invest in infrastructural development that can foster economic development and prosperity.
Wike spoke during a facility tour of the ultramodern Government House hospital and Administrative building in Port Harcourt by the Senate Chief Whip and former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
He said Rivers would not join the league of states that hide under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic to deny their people basic infrastructures like roads acknowledged universally as a major contributor to higher economic productivity, growth and trade.
He said: “Covid-19 cannot be an excuse to any government. COVID -19 is a bad thing, but it has come. It will go whether we like it or not. But people will also be alive.
“Infrastructure must be provided, so you can’t say because of COVID 19 nothing will be done. At the time COVID 19 ends, what will the people be facing? Lack of basic infrastructure. So, because of COVID19, I am not going to be doing anything? I am not a party to that. I will continue to work whether it is COVID-19 or not.”
Wike explained his administration had conscientiously been investing in high-quality infrastructure that had positive economic value to stimulate job creation, boost foreign direct investment in the State.
He said in the midst of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the state government on Wednesday approved two additional flyovers at the cost of N 12.4bn to Julius Berger.
According to him, investments in these projects have been made possible because of the government’s judicious application of State resources to meet the pressing needs of the people.
He said: “You manage whatever you have for the interest of the people. Infrastructure brings investments. Part of the problem we have in this country today is the decay of infrastructure. We don’t have it and that also affects investment inflow. So, when these roads are there, you will see people will come in. You don’t expect a private investor to begin to do the road for you. It is not possible.
“You want to do agriculture, there is no road. How can we do agriculture when there is no road? How will the product be brought to the city, to the market? So, you must provide these basic infrastructures for investment inflow and that is what we are doing.”
Wike applauded Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for visiting Rivers State to assess what his administration was doing to improve the quality of life of the people saying such bipartisan collaboration was required for the country to move forward.
Speaking after inspecting the Government House hospital and Administrative Building, Kalu said Wike’s deliberate investment in crucial infrastructural was commendable.
He said: “All the facilities I have seen here is first class. This is what I can’t even see in Europe. The hospital I have seen, the doctors’ room, the conference centre is something else. I must commend Governor Wike. You see I am a bipartisan person. We need to commend anybody who has done a good job. He is PDP, I am APC.”
He implored the Federal, State and Local authorities to urgently consider it worthwhile to emulate the Rivers State government by investing in the ultramodern hospital like the one built by the Wike’s administration.
According to him, this will help to curtail the huge foreign exchange expended on medical tourism.
He said: “I advise every other State governor or the local authorities and national authorities to build hospitals like this. If you know how much we spend on medical tourism, you will pity this country.
“We are not talking about the party; I am talking about conscience and what I have seen. This is fantastic. I have never seen any private hospital in Nigeria or government-owned hospital as I have seen in Government House.”