Saturday, May 22, 2021 9:40 am
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says the medical scholarship offered to Rivers students by his administration is a deliberate policy intended to produce well trained professionals that will enhance quality healthcare delivery beyond Rivers.
The governor made the explanation at the 4th Matriculation ceremony of PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Elelenwo in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on Friday.
Governor Wike stated that in the last three years, 100 Rivers students are awarded scholarship yearly to study medicine and other related courses at PAMO University , which is creating access to education for most indigent students.
He said the State government is impressed with the founder and Pro-Chancellor of PAMO University, Dr. Peter Odili for the establishment of the institution that has developed within a very remarkable time to be a center of excellence in medical education with adequate capacity to produce medical doctors, pharmacists, medical technologists, and other healthcare professionals for the State and the country.
Governor Wike said such initiative by Dr. Odili and indeed any Rivers indigene, is worthy of support from the state government. To this end, he announced additional N500 Million grant to enable management of the University to put in place the necessary educational infrastructure.
“We have decided to further support the growth and development of this University with the yet another grant of N500,000,000.00 (five hundred million naira) only. As we all know; the promise of education is better life just as no healthcare system can be effective without adequate number of qualified and skillful medical doctors and other related professionals, which our State, Nigeria and the world over are in dire need of.
“This was the reason we instituted the special scholarship scheme to cater for not less than 100 indigenous students of this University yearly for five consecutive circle of admissions with effect from the very first set of students.
“This special scholarship programme has covered four admission circles and benefitted 490 Rivers State students who are pursuing various medical courses in this university from inception to date.”
Governor Wike observed that if Dr Odili, a former governor of Rivers State, did not establish PAMO University, all the students that matriculated on Friday and others who are already at different levels of their studies would not have had the chance to pursue their educational dreams due to the admission crisis that continues to plague and frustrate the immediate transition of most youths from secondary to tertiary education.
The governor enjoined all the 490 Rivers State students who are benefiting from the scholarship and others to be diligent and committed to hard work in order to achieve academic success.
In his address, Dr. Peter Odili, described Governor Wike as a worthy successor who has demonstrated enormous love in the development of quality manpower for the health sector.
“For the first time in the history of this country and tertiary education, you awarded an annual scholarship for a 100 students studying here for five years. Your excellency ,what this translates to the families of these students cannot be quantified . You have wiped away poverty from those families, especially those who would not have been able to come and be student in private medical university. You have changed their lives. You didn’t stop there, you have also put in motion a process that will translate Rivers state into the highest producer of medical personnel from any state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He further continued: “Even though we have other institutions in this state, in no year have we had more than 20 medical graduates from the federal institutions around us. But with one stroke of your action you have laid the foundation that will guarantee that from now to the rest of the next five years of your scholars, a minimum of 40 Rivers indigenes will be graduating as medical doctors from PAMO University.”
The Pro-Chancellor said from 2025, Rivers state will be graduating a minimum of 80 medical graduates from PAMO University every year.
Dr. Odili noted that with robust support from Governor Wike, PAMO University has committed itself to excellence, grown its student population to over 500, secured permanent operational licence in May 2021 and is poised to have its first set of graduands in 2021.
Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Michael Diejomaoh said 172 students are being admitted for the current academic session and they will join others to further the excellent academic record already secured by the institution.
The Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Professor Princewill Chike, who delivered the 2020-21 matriculation lecture, described 21st century medical students who are better equipped than predecessors as the future of the medical practice.