Covid19; Nigeria’s medical system has failed its people; Chief Ereprefa Rasaki Nelson Porbeni (Orange exclusive interview)

Country and the world at large seems to be running out of options while they await different trial vaccines, individuals have continued to weigh in on the effects and shortcomings of the system being put in place.

Orange in an exclusive interview with Chief Porbeni, a business man for decades, stakeholder in oil and gas sector, stakeholder in the Power sector, quite an orator we might add, he had a lot to say on the pandemic.

Here’s the excerpts from the interview;

Question;For record purpose sir, we would like to meet you –

My name is Chief Ereprefa  Rasaki Nelson Porbeni, I am from Bayelsa and Delta state, I was born in Lagos in a Mosque in Ajegule in 1950 but I am a christian hence the name Rasaki, but my farmiy moved to Warri before I knew myself, I grew up in Warri and lived in Warri where i attended schools round  Delta, first i attended Gorvernment primary school in Warri, then to Burutu where i finished in CMS primary school .
When i say CMS at my age you will understand that is Anglican primary school and I went to Okpara Anglican grammar school in Okpara waterside and left, I went to James Welch grammar school Emevor In isoko and I also went to Hussey  college for higher school but did not finish because i gained admission into the university in USA (Stillman college, Tuscaloosa, Alabama)  to study business administration, in 1972 and returned back to Nigeria under pressure from my farmily in 1982 and did my youth services in warri and moved to Port-Harcourt in 1983 and have lived in Port-Harcourt ever since.
I am married to Dr. Ibimonye and we are blessed with six children, grand children and one great-grand child.
I worked for a few private companies including the West African Oil Field Services (WAOS).But mostly, I have being a private business man and not a politician.

Question;What is your view on the covid-19- ?

Thank you, the pandemic or covid-19 as we call it has being a global disaster, the virus was underrated by a lot of countries including Nigeria, Nigeria had had the opportunity to cease it before it hit Lagos since we saw it coming. However, they did try at the beginning but after that in my own opinion it became politicized. The federal government at the beginning also tried but the awareness of how serious covid-19 was and is still serious, wasn’t made known enough to the communities. So in my view I believe along the line we missed the track and so you can see the increase in the infection rate and death, because the spread could not be controlled by the lockdown and citizens were not keeping NCDC rules guided by World Health Organization (WHO). The effect this is having is that we have lost contact tracing almost completely and the infection keeps rising. Coming back home I want to emphersize again that I am not a politician and that the governor Rivers State was among the governors that was doing the right thing in the covid-19 crises, Governor Wike saw and new the seriousness of covid-19 and took it on as a war because as governor he knew his responsibilities he closed down both air, land and sea borders to Rivers State he put in strict measures and laws for Rivers citizens to use face mask and for it’s citizens to adhere to NCDC guidelines, but in my own opinion we didn’t listing to him enough his good intentions became Politicized and we can see the result, the rate of infection is getting higher and our people are dying. I hope and I pray that it doesn’t take us to another lockdown.

Question;In certain term how have you been able to cope in the pandemic in your own way-?


thank you, as you came in am sure you saw everybody wearing their face mask in my compound. Fortunately my wife is a medical doctor so she has been in the forefront of making sure we keep to wearing our mask, social distancing and using hand sanitizers we have also to send messages to our villages that we belong, to educate our people and I have gone personally to educate them about the seriousness of covid-19 and that the disease is real.

I have in my own little way told all those that I come across to listing to the advice of the scientist and doctors and follow their instructions. I want to use this opportunity to recognize the wonderful job our health care workers are doing. Nigeria doctors are rated very highly in the world and we should pray for them, both the federal and state government should surport them as much as they can.

Question;Do you think federal government is doing well about this covid-19- ?


Nigeria is such a massive place, the federal government is trying but they can do better I would have thought that there would be a better coordination between Abuja the seat of power and the states, I expected Abuja to have a more effective distribution of testing centers.

Question;  Are there any lesson to be leant from this covid-19 –


The biggest lesson it has taught us is that the lack of funding by the federal and state government has lead to the almost complete collapse of the system. The federal government should look at the medical sector as an emergency, it will save the country a lot of money in foreign exchange and our people will have the medical care that they deserve.

Question If you are given the role to dish some certain idea to the government in this covid-19 what’s your advice your steps and measure?


if I have that privilege i would tell the federal government to look at countries that are doing well with the handling of covid-19 and learn from them.

Question; The federal government is talking about opening of schools without giving us a date what’s your take on it?


The federal government should work with the advice of the NCDC and scientist, they will know when it will be safe enough for schools to reopen.

Question;The world is a global village, What’s your view or lesson you learnt in this pandemic-?


Initially the world took the covid-19 for granted. We must listing to the scientist and let them guide us, there is no short cuts to the eradication of covid-19 and we must follow scientific guidelines to its complete eradication and the world must learn how to deal with it.

Question;During the lockdown government was distributing palliatives do you think that was the right to do ?


Yes. I believe the government intentions was good in other to curb the spread of the virus, but at the same time there was no way to get food during the lockdown so it was a good thing for government, NGO’s and companies to give palliatives to the needy.

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