Rumbles over appointment of National Hospital Medical Advisory Committee chairman

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Rt. Hon. Patricia Etteh is Chairman National Hospital Board

The National Hospital is in the news again, and this time there is a furore over appointment of Director of Clinical Services and Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, (C-MAC).

Despite the law establishing the Hospital stating clearly, the manner in which appointments to the office of C-MAC are to be made, it is obvious that some people are bent on dragging the Hospital management and Board into the media for the wrong reasons.
The Act establishing the National Hospital Decree 36 of 1999 clearly states among other things that the Medical Advisory Committee shall be appointed by the Board. The law is equivocal about this in Part 3 Section 12 subsection 1c and it does not in any way states that this power could be delegated to any individual or group within or outside the Hospital.
At the 12th Extraordinary meeting of the Interim management Board, held on Monday July 3, 2006, the Board took the resolution without prejudice to the above condition for the employment of CMAC in Part 3 of the Act that the CMAC shall have a tenure of 2 years renewable for another two years.
From our findings, the tenure of the incumbent C-MAC expired around 5th May 2021. Given the dictates of the Act, the Hospital Board had always as a matter of privilege allowed Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, MDCAN, National Hospital Chapter to initiate the process of new C-MAC through conduct of an election.

This process though unknown to the law and not recognized by the law establishing the Hospital is to give them a sense of belonging. Even then, the Board only allows them to elect and send in three nominees from which one could be picked as the new C-MAC as long as he or she meets the criteria set by the Board during the interview.
Even when elections were held in the past, the Board still decided who occupied the post despite input from the MDCAN, so it is not a new thing.
According to information at our disposal, the MDCAN held an election in which three consultants, Dr Aderonke Obisesan, Dr Bayo Aluko-Olokun and Dr Oluwagbenga Ogunfowokan participated.
In the said election, Dr Aluko-Olokun won and based on this, he assumed that his appointment was automatic.

However, the Board, invited the three for screening and interview with known parameters that would help in assessing their abilities to handle the job at hand.
Only two of them went through the interview process with the third candidate claiming that she had withdrawn her candidature for health reasons. By the time the Board finished it’s assessment, none of the two met the benchmark set by the Board.
Based on the above, Dr Aisha Umar, the incumbent CMAC having satisfactorily performed the duties of the office was reappointed by the Board, in the same capacity for a second term of two years.

Dr Bayo Oluokun who won the election by MDCAN was appointed as Deputy C-MAC. He wasn’t the better of the two candidates, but he was said to have been appointed because he had support of a cross section of the MDCAN. The Board believed that what he lacked, he could gain in terms of exposure and experience as Deputy C- MAC.

Unknown to Dr Bayo Oluokun, it was alleged that some of the things that worked against him were his past misdemeanor and attitude to work.

For instance, he was alleged to have attended to less than 15 patients throughout last year due to absenteeism. His work ethics definitely did not recommend him for higher post.
Again, it was alleged that as a dental surgeon, he committed medical crime that bothered on ethical issues.
As if these were not enough, he allegedly failed to produce his School Certificate result during the interview process neither did he produce an affidavit when he appeared before the Board. His excuse was that he had none.
Having failed to impress the Board, Oluokun is believed to have instigated the new controversy by hitting the media with stories alleging that the Chairman of the Board is behind his being rejected.
This is not the first time that issues relating to the management of the Hospital is being personalized as if Patricia Etteh, who is the Chairman of the Hospital Board singlehandedly decides issues without regard to the law nor resolution of the entire Board.

It is believed that the ultimate aim of those behind the present attack is to create a crisis without regard for what the law states concerning appointment of C-MAC.
Already, the MDCAN leadership are alleged to have threatened to call NHA consultants to go on strike if the man they elected is not appointed as C-MAC which shows that it is either the body has other ulterior motives to its action or they do not know what the law establishing the hospital says on the issue.
Please note that the power of the Board in the the Act empowers the Board to provide general policies and guidelines, manage and supretend over the affairs of the Hospital, make, alter and revoke rules and regulations, then do other things which in opinion of the Board are necessary for the efficient performance of the Hospital.
In view of the above, the action of the Governing board is in accordance with the Acts and board resolution which is in the overall best interest of the hospital due to the enormous work that has been carried out during the lifespan of this management and Board towards ensuring that NHA fulfils and meets its vision of being the flagship of medical institution in Nigeria and the West African subregion.
Observers believe the NMA should call overzealous consultants to order over issues of appointment that is not ordinarily within their powers.

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