The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who is also the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the gubernatorial election slated for September 19, 2020, shocked his audience during the debate between him and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Governor Obaseki was asked on his plans to solve the gaping manpower deficiency in the health sector in Edo State and he replied saying that healthcare has evolved to digital heights and that even without doctors and nurses, the sector could still run efficiently.
Since Obaseki was elected as governor nearly four years ago, there has been no new employment of Medical personnel in the 34 hospitals in the state.
Recall that Obaseki had in 2016 promised to build a Primary Healthcare Center (PHC) in each of the state’s 192 political wards, which is still unfulfilled till this date.
The State government has been faced with renewed agitations by unions in the health sector for better working conditions including the implementation of the federally approved skipping in grade level and payment of the Covid-19 allowances in the past few months with the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in the state hospitals embarking on a warning strike 2 weeks ago.
They had expressed concerns over the neglect of the health sector by Obaseki with inadequate funding, lack of basic medical equipment and facilities to work with and the governor’s refusal to pay any visit to the Hospital since his assumption of office 4 years ago.
In an interactive session with the Edo State Branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) last week, the governor fluffed the opportunity to make amends with the health workers on the issue of adequate remuneration when, in response to whether he would implement approved wage-adjusted awards by other state governments, he merely informed them that a medical consultant earned twice his salary.
This didn’t go down well with the medical workers who are spoiling for a showdown with Mr. Obaseki for appropriating so much money to himself as security vote without funding the health sector.
Governor Obaseki is currently trailing his APC opponent, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu in different opinion polls in the state at 37 to 63% in an election expected to be won easily by the APC candidate.