Reactions have trailed a statement by the Kogi Central Senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan declaring to fight the concessioning of the newly built Reference Hospital Okene by Kogi state government.
Akpoti-Uduaghan made the declaration in a meeting with some students from the senatorial district, noting that the decision was not in the interest of the people of the state whose funds were used to build the hospital.
She said: “I do hear rumours that it’s going to be concessioned, but I will tell you this, I’m going to fight against that because I understand what concessioning does.
“For those of you who don’t know, that means the management of that hospital is going to go into private hands. Imagine a project being built by our own collective funds being given to a private sector to make profit out of it, and it’s situated in one of the poorest places in Nigeria. So, how would people afford the service?
“She argued that the hospital should be under the control of the government and run by the medics from the state…”
ebirareporters.com reports that the government in October 2022 Kogi State Government has revealed that it has entered into a concession agreement with Zenith Medicare and Kidney Center, a private company to manage the Reference Hospital Okene.
Earlier this month, the papers were signed in the office of the Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Ayode Arike.
According to the Health Commissioner, Zakari Usman, the concession agreement came on the heels of the government’s desire to ensure sustainability of these equipment and facilities in the hospital.
He noted that the company has a world-class reputation and highly recommendable in maintenance and management.
However, the statement of the PDP Senate candidate , culled from her live video on Facebook has generated reactions and made the concessioning a topic of debate.
Mukaila Maikasuwa wrote: The hardest thing to do in Ebiraland is fighting for the poor, they won’t even know that you are fighting for them. How does one appreciate what he or she does not understand. Concession of government establishment to private firm is detrimental to poor citizens, you can’t afford the services rendered by such firm. Is it the word concession you don’t understand or you are just hating as usual? Don’t be boastful about the fact that a particular candidate cannot win, only God can determine who wins, stop playing God.
Aliyu Mahmood said, “what is the purpose of primary health care again? Every hospital have its purpose and target customers. Reference hospital was never meant for the poor. It is called reference hospital for a reason —because it is a hospital meant to handle special medical issues that cannot be handled by primary health care centers. You want to fight the concession of a hospital you didn’t know how the State Government sourced for the fund to execute? a white elephant project that has consumed so much money. how does the state government recover her money if it’s not properly managed considering the poor management culture of public infrastructures by Nigerians. Is it safe to say, She is not abreast with the reality and properly equipped with the needed skills of Governance and representation? Maybe She should remain a comrade, she should keep fighting —she will represent us better in that aspect.”
Oyiza: “Truth is the best sector that can sustain Reference hospital is a private sector.
With due respect to all government officials, I am sorry to say that we don’t have a good maintenance skill. Most government owned properties are poorly maintained and managed.
The government has made the right choice for this, for the hospital to carry out it’s effective tasks, let the private firm handle it.
Good healthcare is quite expensive in this our part of the world, may God help us.”
Ahmed Tijani: “I can now understand you’re fighting GYB and not your senate.
It’s only a fool that can take you serious but as for me, I had learned my lesson since 2015.”
Okatahi Haleemat: “But is the property of Kogi state government within her jurisdiction as a Federal Senator? I mean, this is a state government property, and the best thing that can happen is actually a member of the state house clamoring that it should not be privatized.
I do not think this has anything to do with Natasha if she wins.
Also, the videos of the equipments and the building shown to the public, actually can not be maintained by government.
There is this attitude of mismanagement of government properties that runs in the blood of Nigerians especially when that particular individual vacates office.
This very move is actually welcomed and a smart one. Perhaps it might also be to protect moving these facilities in the future just like what happened to the obangede specialist hospital then.
If one needs to fight for this particular project, it’s through negotiations and diplomacy to subsides the fees for the people.”