Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has awarded a N40million research grant to Prof. Dimie Ogoina, a recipient of the Time Magazine “2023 100 Most Influential Persons in the World.”
Senator Diri made the pronouncement on Monday when Prof. Ogoina, accompanied by members of the central planning committee for celebrating the recipient, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Governor Diri, who applauded Ogoina for his dedication to duty, noted that the Chief Medical Director of the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital at Okolobiri was instrumental to the few deaths recorded in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world in 2020.
While congratulating the infectious disease physician-scientist for his achievement, the governor stated that he not only made Bayelsa State proud, but Nigeria and Africa as a whole
He said: “The moment I assumed office (in February 2020), we had COVID-19 outbreak. Prof. Ogoina was up and doing. His work ethics were second to none.
“I am not surprised that he has been recognized. Part of why we didn’t record several deaths in Bayelsa was as a result of the leadership he gave, working with the Ministry of Health.
“You have made our state proud. The state government hereby commits itself to a research grant for you to the tune of N40 million. We know you will bring more honour to Bayelsa.
“Let me on behalf of the Prosperity Government and the good people of Bayelsa State congratulate you for this feat you achieved. It is not a mean feat to be so recognized internationally. You are a proud son of Bayelsa, Kolokuma/ Opokuma, of Nigeria, and indeed Africa.
“The story about Prof. Ogoina is well-known. All that have worked with him attest to the fact that he sticks to his work regardless of the environment he finds himself.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Pabara Igwele, said Ogoina was worth celebrating due to his achievements in healthcare administration, noting that the adoption of his advised protocol saved many Nigerians from death during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks, the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential Persons in the World recipient attributed the recognition and award to not just his diligence but also the grace of God, saying his story was an inspiration to many as he singlehandedly carried out the research at Okolobiri in 2017.
Ogoina stated that his discovery was the route of transmission of the monkey pox disease.
Also speaking, secretary of the Ogoina celebration committee, Dr. Aseima Namara, stated that the world was beginning to look at Bayelsa positively as a result of the recipient’s achievements.
He said the NDUTH CMD was worth celebrating due to his hard work and dedication to duty.
He also commended the Diri administration for its achievements in the health sector and appealed for support for a one-week programme in honour of the awardee tagged: “Festival of Grace and Hard Work.”