By Codratus Godson
Gov Nyesom Wike has defended the N500m gift his administration gave in support of the PAMO University of Medical Sciences which is founded by ex-governor, Dr Peter Odili. Instead, Wike offered to build two hostels in the university, but however said his administration would support any other Rivers person that set up a private university.
Speaking during the first founders’ day ceremony of the university at Elelenwo, Gov Wike challenged every Rivers man and woman who has the capacity to establish a university to do so, saying Rivers State Government would support such a person. “This is the first private university in Rivers State. If Government does not support it, who would? I owe no apologies to those who criticise our support for this private university.”
Criticism was rife because it may have come about the time the governor won his governorship case at the Supreme Court after losing at both the tribunal and appeal court levels. Many tried unsuccessfully to link Wike’s victory with Dr Odili.
The governor however said on Monday thus: “We have given our children scholarships for every academic session. Not less than 100 of them. They are Rivers children. Giving support means that you want the good of the people of Rivers State. If this University was not established, those of them who are lucky to study medicine and other related courses would have found it difficult. It is good that this University has been able to create access for our children to study medicine. For us as a Government, we will not look back. We will continue to support this university”.
Former Head of State of Nigeria and Chancellor of Pamo University of Medical Sciences, Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), said the university as the first dedicated to medical education, is growing rapidly.
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, lauded Gov Wike for his commitment to the overall infrastructural development of Rivers State and commended Dr Odili for setting up such a university.
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, endowed a prize for anatomy, biochemistry and physiology. He said the best student in the mentioned area will be rewarded handsomely.
Odili thanked Gov Wike for the pomp and ceremony he adds to all events of the institution, adding that all the students sponsored by the Rivers State Government at the University are up to date in their payment of fees.
The Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Abubakar Rasheed, said that the NUC is proud to be associated with Pamo University of Medical Sciences for their achievements within the short period the school existed.
Vice Chancellor of the University, M.F.E. Diejomaoh, praised the foresight of Odili for ensuring that the university became a reality, saying the vision of the university is to be one of the best medical training institutions in the country.