The Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, on Friday bagged the best performing governor on the eradication of polio in the southeast from Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation at a ceremony at the Women’s Development Centre in Awka.
Speaking while presenting the award to Mr Obi which went with a cash prize of N120 million, the minister of state for health, Mohammed Pate said the award was not by chance as the governor had distinguished himself in the health sector which he observed had resulted in the provision of ambulances to hospitals, accreditation of schools of midwifery and the partnership with the Church and described the Anambra example as a total package, noting that the state had remained polio-free in the past five years.
Responding, Mr Obi thanked the minister for coming to the state to present the award on behalf of Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation and noted with satisfaction that it was not one of the awards anyone could suspect as having been bought and said the state government would match the N120 million it received with another N180 million which would be ploughed into the building of ten more health centres in the state.
Recalling some of his strides in the health sector, the governor cited the state’s first teaching hospital as an example.
‘‘What happened was that the government of the day admitted medical students without a medical school in place and the assessors said they would not accredit the university but I pleaded with them when I came in to give me two or three years to put a teaching hospital in place. But they could not believe me as they thought it impossible that a teaching hospital could be built in two, three years.
“It was one of them that pleaded with them to give me a chance and they did. When they returned at the appointed time they were shocked to see the teaching hospital in place. It has since become the fastest teaching hospital to be built in Nigeria,’ Mr Obi stated to the applause of the packed audience.