By Ignatius Chukwu
People seem to have lost count how many ties Gov Nyesom Wike has donated N500m to PAMO University.
PAMO means ‘Peter and Mary Odili’. So, the populace usually understands that the donations are to Dr Odili and wife.
Some members of the opposition have already compiled how many times Gov Wike has shelled out N500m to the university or other projects with the name of Peter or Mary Odili.
Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State shook the state Wednesday afternoon when he shelled out last minute N500m to the university belonging to his mentor, Peter Odili.
Wike had once announced in church in 2019 how he won his election case that got to the Supreme Court merely by complying with the ‘advice’ of the former governor by going where he advised him to go and doing what he advised him to do.
He later explained that what he meant was that he obeyed the advice of an elder. Many attributed Wike’s court victories to the former governor.
As if the speculations were true, Gov Wike has donated N500m every academic year to support the PAMO University and has sent 100 students on scholarship to the medical school every year.
Odili has confirmed that the governor even increased the number and is not owing a kobo.
Now, Wike says the support of his administration to PAMO University of Medical Sciences in Port Harcourt since its inception has proved to be worthwhile, not misplaced.
The governor stated that in its five years of establishment; from 2018 to 2023, PAMO University is being celebrated because of the quality of students it has groomed already, and the satisfying growth it has witnessed.
Gov Wike who spoke on Wednesday before inauguration of PAMO Teaching Hospital in Iriebe Town of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, said the institution is the first private university established in Rivers State.
The governor attributed the visible success story to the characteristic commitment, passion, and sense of purpose known of the founder of the university, Peter Odili, a medical doctor and former governor.
According to him, Odili, after his years as governor of Rivers State, did not go into retirement or relocate to Abuja to join association of former governors, but established PAMO University to offer more service to society.
“So many states have money, how many have been able to put it for people to see that yes, you have money. So having money is a different thing.
“You may have money but may not be able to use that money for the good of the people. So, this is what public officers should always learn that you still have a lot to serve mankind.”
Gov Wike recalled the criticism that greeted his administration’s support to PAMO University, but similar support will be given to the Wigwe University, being the second of such private tertiary institutions established in the State.
According to him, he has promised to reconstruct an access road to the Wigwe University, and assured that any other of such investment will also attract State government support.
Gov Wike expressed the hope that with the tremendous work PAMO University is doing, coupled with the College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University, the state will not only be training hub for medical professionals, but export such experts to the rest of the country, though he had announced bonding to graduates sponsored by the state government.
The governor stressed that already the incoming administration of Siminialayi Fubara is aligned with the glowing vision, and will steer affairs of state and do better than what has been recorded in his tenure.
In his address, founder of PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Odili, stated that the institution announced it’s establishment on 10th February 2018.
Since then, he noted, Gov Wike floated a state government annual scholarship scheme for at least 100 indigenous students.
But after the first year of implementation, he emphasised, the number of benefiting students was increased subsequently and until date, the state is not indebted to the institution.
“What the governor has done is invaluable, unquantifiable, and we cannot put a figure on it.
“And so, the PAMO family; PAMO Educational Foundation, PAMO Clinics and Hospital Ltd, PAMO University of Medical Science, the Board of Trustees, and Governing Council, and Board of Directors, in humanity, we are dedicating this centre, named after you for the service of humanity. This complex will be called Chief Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike complex.”
Dr. Odili said the PAMO University Teaching Hospital is designed to be accessible to the poor in the society.
“This will be the destination of hope and survival for sick people that will need the services here. This centre will be known for having staff that will treat their patients like their employers.
“Without patients, doctors and nurses have no work. So, every patient, no matter how poor, will be treated as an employer here with compassion, with dignity, and with respect. Poverty will not be a hindrance for access to this centre.”