Osaro Okhomina in Yenagoa
The first sign that the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the state is on the right track is the statistics of the human capital development, empowerment and collaborations.
Unlike in the past when difficulties and controversies surrounded the payment of partnership funding by stakeholders and the financing gap for the SDGs by donor agencies to the state since 2016.
Consequently,making the implementation dependent on the counterpart by the state alone. The SDGs in Bayelsa however went back to the drawing board and provide data for a comprehensive sustainable development plan for the state.
This,the implementation of the the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the state under the administration of Governor Douye Diri has injected new life with the Federal, States and other donors trusting the commitment of the administration for the people.
More effective for the SDGs in Bayelsa is the strategic inclusion of critical stakeholders including the Media , traditional rulers, Women Advocacy groups and Government agencies in the drive for change and successes in the implementation process.
Thus, successes are being recorded in leaps and bounds.
According to statistics provided by the State Focal Person and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on SDGs, Dr. Ebiwari Wariowei, the renewed turn around and life injection under the present administration has led to the inauguration of projects including a 100-bed mother and child hospital built through partnership between the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs and the state’s SDGs office at Azikoro Town, Yenagoa, two blocks of furnished 24 classrooms at the Government Science and Technical College, Okaka and a skills acquisition and entrepreneurial centre and two blocks of furnished 24 classrooms at Sampou.
Also a total of 366 pioneer trainees from various Local Government Areas of the State have been presented with starter packs and empowered under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme. These graduates not just to be self-reliant but to also be employers of labour so as to affect those around them and the economy of the state.
The SDGs have also served as intervention agencies in the upgrading ,construction and supply of medical equipments to primary health centres(PHC) across the state and capacity building for farmers on modern methods of farming and provision of incentives in the agricultural sector to fulfil goal 2.
In the addition, the SDGs efforts in order to supplement the State Government efforts, the need to upgrade,renovate and build schools is being met.At the last count, the SDGs in Bayelsa is distribution over 4,000 desks to 29 primary and secondary schools across the State. They also distribute uniforms and instructional materials to schools in the state.
Not yet done, in the three senatorial districts, over 3000 indigenes and no- indigenes have benefited from the medical outreach organized by the State Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs). The outreach is aimed at improving the well-being of people and beneficiaries received free medical care to screen hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Covid-19 and vaccination as well as surgeries.
The medical outreach, which kicked-off at Sampou community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area in Bayelsa Central berthed at Sagbama town in the West Senatorial district and climaxed at Ogbolomabiri in Nembe LGA in Bayelsa East Senatorial District. The event witnessed dental care, eye test and free eye glasses, donation of wheel chairs and crutches for the physically challenged.
The Focal Person and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals, Dr. Wariowei, said the essence of the medical outreach was to provide immediate critical healthcare to the people of the State.
According to him, the programme was also organised to ensure the people in the various communities are healthy in line in the maxim “health is wealth”, as it is only healthy citizens that can go about with veritable ventures.
“We are undertaking minor surgeries like the one for hernia, eye test, dental care, HIV/AIDS testing, typhoid, malaria and many more, this is to give them primary health care and we must say thank you to the Governor for always prioritizing the health and well-being of our people”.
While thanking the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri for approving funds for the health intervention programme, the SSA on SDGs emphasized that the agency remains a key vision driver of the Prosperity Agenda of the governor.Dr. Wariowei, who himself underwent dental care, eye test, and presented some wheel chairs and crutches to physically challenged persons, visited the theatre room to encourage patients undergoing surgery for hernia.
The paramount ruler of Sagbama Federated Communities, Chief Magbisa Moses-Ojo said most health facilities in the local areas are not performing optimally and expressed joy that the government has brought succour through the SDGs intervention in health.
“The government has remembered the poor by organising this medical outreach. Some of us can’t go to the hospital and when we do, there are no drugs for us. And so this is a welcome development. It is a means to rescue us, God bless the Governor”
The Governor Douye Diri’s commitment is shown through provision of the state’s counterpart funding for all SDGs projects and programmes amounting to N3.5 billion without controversy.
In the opinion of the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, collaboration between the federal government and states is the panacea to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Governor Diri, while inaugurating the 100-bed mother and child hospital built through partnership between the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs and the state’s SDGs office at Azikoro Town, Yenagoa, noted that while no government can function in isolation without the support of the other, the governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the health facility in the state.
According to him, “There is no level of government that is standing alone. The federal government needs the states just as the states need the federal government. So when we partner, we are going to address a lot of the sustainable development goals.This is not the first mother and child hospital in the state. Chevron built a similar facility at the Bayelsa Medical University but during the height of COVID-19 we had to convert it to a COVID-19 hospital. Since then, we have had the need to provide for our mothers and children till this opportunity came and we grabbed it”.
“Even when the temptation came for me to site this project in my community, l looked at the indices of the population and its proximity to our mothers and I said it must be domiciled in Yenagoa.This facility will be very beneficial to us as a people. In fact, for me, this is one of the best things that has happened to us as a state. But like Oliver Twist, we look forward to collaborating for more.Now our women and children have a place for safe delivery. They will no longer patronise traditional practitioners but take modern treatment and medicines”.
“The facility is equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment you can find anywhere in the world. That is why I am very happy. Please express our appreciation to Mr. President for this collaborative effort and for doing this for our mothers and the children.”
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to President on SDGs, Dr. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, appreciated the president for providing the necessary support that ensured collaboration with the Bayelsa government, which fast-tracked the projects under the SDGs.
She equally thanked Governor Diri for supporting, cooperating and implementing SDGs in the state, adding that the hospital is equipped with an ultra-scan room, ICU for both children and mothers, laboratories among other facilities.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, commended the beneficiaries for the successful completion of their training, which he said was designed to make them prosperous in line with the agenda of his administration.
He said his administration places priority on human capital development and will do all within available resources to sustain similar empowerment programmes,” the state was eager to move away from the tag of a civil service state to one with skilled individuals and entrepreneurs. My administration was building technical colleges in the eight local government areas of the state in line with the government’s agenda to empower the youths with vocational skills”.
“We flagged off this programme with 366 persons and today we are here with the same number of persons. Let me say congratulations to all the graduates. From the report available, you all performed well. This is a lifetime opportunity. We can build all the roads but if we do not build the human capacity, the success would not be complete. We want to move from a civil service state to one with people with skills and you are the ones setting the tone. Do not take this lightly as you have to affect people around you”.
“Rather than waiting for the federal government, we decided to start with what we have. There can be no better investment in the youths than what we have done. I call on the youths to shun crime and criminality. Find yourself a skill.
The days of white-collar jobs are over and there is a paradigm shift. You have showed the world that Bayelsa youths are not lazy. In addition to interventions like this, we are setting up technical colleges in the eight local government areas to provide opportunities for young people. Let me appeal to the federal government for our matching grant for 2021/2022 so we can train more people.”
Opinion written by Osaro Okhomina, media practitioner in Bayelsa