The presidential candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi, has offered some insights into the industrial dispute between his government and medical doctors in 2013 when he was governor of Anambra state.
Obi, who spoke with Nigerian Youtuber, Adeola Fayehun, during a live interview on Monday in the early hours of Thursday said although the strike lasted for about 13 months, it did not affect a lot of people that were sick.
He said his attempt to bring change to the health sector in Anambra state by reviving moribund health institutions in the state was at the centre of the industrial dispute.
“It’s an issue I don’t want to discuss, our hospitals were not functioning, we tried to fund health facilities, it wasn’t working, there was strike in education too, we tried to fund our secondary schools and primary schools, it wasn’t working, so we decided that we have to have alternatives when I got to Anambra State, there was no single school of nursing that was accredited, no school of midwifery, no school of health technology – all these were not there.
“The hospitals were in bad conditions, same was the schools, we were putting money and we were not seeing the results, even bought ambulances, they disappeared, so I said no, we have to have an alternative. So we returned schools to the churches, the original owners, and say ‘we will fund you and of course, we saw the results, we moved from number 26 to number 1. The same thing happened with the hospitals, we built 10 schools of nursing, midwifery, and health technology but not through government.
“For example, in Iyienu being owned by Church of Nigeria, they have the school of nursing, school of midwifery and school of health technology, we funded and resuscitated it and it was accredited, we went to Onitsha, Waterside being owned by the catholic church and Borromeo, their schools of nursing, school of midwifery, we resuscitated it, they were accredited and are functioning now.
“We went to St. Joseph Adazi, their school of nursing, school of midwifery, school of health technology we resuscitated it and it’s working. We went to Our Lady of Lourdes in Ihial, school of nursing, school of midwifery, school of health technology, we resuscitated it and it’s functional.
“We even worked with one of the Church of Nigeria bishops that were very committed in health issues, Bishop Ikeakor, and set up in Amichi Hospital, we built school of nursing, school of midwifery and school of health technology, these are schools that are there.
“So, in doing this, I had issues with the established bodies because they saw it that I was now doing things to the private sector. For me, the result was important and that was the issues
“During my governorship, I had strikes with teachers, doctors, different groups, but it was trying to change them from being what they used to be to what it should be. When you bring change, you will have enemies – all those who live off the old order, he added.