After the death of his wife, Clara, in 2010 following a three years battle with cancer, Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole vowed to build a well-equipped hospital that will end medical tourism in Nigeria. The hospital, according to Oshiomhole, when completed will also be a cancer screening centre where the disease could be diagnosed early.
It was an elated Oshiomhole that on Tuesday declared that God has answered his prayers to finish strong and to finish well. He made the declaration when President Mohammadu Buhari visited the state to inaugurate projects among them a new five-star Central hospital as Oshiomhole promised.
Other projects inaugurated by President Buhari were the dual carriage way Upper Siluko road, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia College formerly New Era College, the 7.3km Ugbegun-Ujiogba-Ebudin-Igueben-Ewohinmi-Ohordua-Emu road that connects five local government in Edo Central senatorial district and the new Edo University, Iyamho in Estako West Local Government.
All the projects executed by Oshiomhole that were inaugurated by President Buhari were projects that critics said were impossible due to dwindling financial resources. For over 15 years, the Upper Siluko road was impassable. Flood sacked over 150 landlords in the area. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party told the people it was impossible to construct the road because of mermaid spirit in the flood. Residents in Egor village and other communities had to pay over N200 to get to the Benin City centre because of the bad road but today they pay only N70 while many landlords have returned to their houses even as economy activities have bounced back.
The Dr. Ogbemudia College was one of the three model secondary schools Governor Oshiomhole promised to build in each of the three senatorial district in 2009. It is equipped with a laboratory, library, a standard hall with floor tiles and PVC ceilings.
Before Oshiomhole constructed the 7.3km Ugbegun-Ujiogba-Ebudin-Igueben-Ewohinmi-Ohordua-Emu road, it was difficult to transverse the five local government areas in Edo Central. The road has reduce travel time within the localities.
The Benin Central hospital which the new five-star hospital now replaces was first built in 1902 with only 10 beds. Successive administration saw the bed space expanded to about 200 but the hospital lacked modern medical facilities including x-ray machine.
Speaking at the inauguration of the hospital, Oshiomhole said the hospital was fitted with the latest technology and that the contract for equipping the hospital was given to a reputable firm. He said the hospital will deliver quality health care in 11 key areas.
According to him, “We demolished a portion of the old hospital built in 1902 and built this new hospital. My own idea is that public health institutions should not be inferior to private health institutions.
“I almost wept when I first visited this hospital. What I found here was shocking and I concluded that even if a healthy man visited the hospital, the healthy would be admitted the next day.”
“This hospital is fitted with the latest technology in health care delivery. This hospital will not be run as public service.
“We will make that effort to work are rewarded and not for those that want to embark on strike.”
On the six-lane Upper Siluko road which was completed with street lights, walkways and underground drains, Governor Oshiomhole said he decided to put resources where it would maximum impact on the lives of the people.
Oshiomhole noted that his administration focused on those things that would deliver the greatest happiness to the greatest number of citizens in the shortest possible time.
“As you can see, this is not a GRA, but this road leads to where the real people are the real forgotten majority. They are the ones we use for census purposes so that we can attract revenue allocation. They are the ones who queue to vote, whether it is raining or it is sunny, without whom we democrats cannot be in office. But oftentimes, when they have finished, they are forgotten until the next four years. We have tried to bond with them by addressing the critical areas of their needs. That informed the choice of this area.
“I am glad that this road has opened up two other local government areas, and it has made life a lot easier. I want to thank the Enogie, I want to thank His Royal Majesty, Omo n’Oba n’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II for his support without which it could have been impossible to do some of the things we had to do.
“I am grateful to Mr President for graciously accepting to come to commission this major project.”
President Buhari who took out time to inspect all the projects described them as very solid and of high quality.
Speaking at the commissioning of the Ugbegun-Ujiogba-Ebudin-Igueben-Ewohinmi-Ohordua-Emu road, President Buhari said Oshiomhole had shown the importance of rural roads to the economic and security lives of the people.
Buhari said he ask Oshiomhole who owned the central hospital edifice when he first saw it without knowing it was the project he was coming to inaugurate.
He said: “the quality of the projects I was made to commission, are very, very solid, whether it’s the roads, the educational institutions or the hospital. Certainly, Governor Oshiomhole is lucky to last his two terms and to engrave his name in a golden historical plate.
“I believe the roads and the bridges will bring more people to live more comfortably and securely. He has done for well for the people. He built a good hospital, again he served the people.
“I congratulate the incoming Governor, I thank him for his stamina going through the primaries and going through the elections and importantly, winning it.
“We believe this system, the multi-party democracy system is the best for us. We are doing best because we found ourselves as part of this great country called Nigeria. We are blessed with human and material resources. We made a terrible mistake in allowing ourselves to be cornered into a mono-economy and we are now paying dearly for our mistake.
“Now we have to go back to the land, solid minerals and do a lot of savings so that we can leave a lot of savings for our children and grandchildren.
“I very much congratulate the Governor, he has shown a lot of foresight by the quality of infrastructure he has put on the ground. May God reward him abundantly.
“I stand here to congratulate Adams Oshiomhole for his foresight, for his hard work and for his personal integrity. I hope when he successfully hands over, he will take some leave away from the local problems maybe for a couple of months, before he comes back to square one.”