Fmc Owerri: Before We Crucify The Medical Director!

The Federal Medical Centre ,Owerri has been in the news recently . All the warring parties seem to be accusing the medical director of being highhanded . As part of my efforts in ensuring that reports are not lopsided,I decided to sample the opinions of workers in the other side of the divide . This is because,it is reasonable that before drawing our individual inferences and passing our respective judgements ,we ought to allow the principle of Audi alterem partem to be applied and that is only possible when we allow the other side of each story to be heard as it is enshrined in section 36 of our constitution . Argumentum ad populum is a fallacy in logic where a (wrong )proposition is accepted to be true because the majority of the people held it to be true .

Meanwhile,a former governor of Imo state was once accused of slapping and beating up of a catholic priest. That rumour was started and later magnified by his political opponents and even another catholic priest in Enugu without confirmation went ahead to release a music album claiming that he who beat a fellow priest would not be allowed to rule again. The incumbent governor then did not understand that our people were hyper-religious hence that malicious rumour contributed immensely to his inability to win his reelection in the state. Argumentum ad verecundiam is a fallacy where a proposition is held to be true because an esteemed person( in this case,the Enugu catholic priest) said it. Many Nigerians see their religious leaders as grand as gods. Regrettably,many years later,the same Enugu catholic priest came out to apologise that the former governor never beat or slapped any catholic priest. My question is what happened to the reputation of the governor that was damaged? Believe you me,in developed countries,that should have been the subject of litigations .

When Buhari's military regime came up with anti-corruption crusade,the cabals who were looting the country were not comfortable with his anti-corruption stance and they ensured that his military regime did not last. It was the same case with General Murtala Ramat Mohammed. Why are we always against those that come out with anti-corruption policies. If any government/administration wants to last in the country ,the principle of 'chop make I chop' must be strictly applied and if any leader refuses to comply with this devilish principle ,he/she will be labelled as being highhanded. Does it mean that refusing to share the funds meant for the public with few cronies or cabals will make one highhanded? When a suspect is found guilty of a crime and the judge convicts the suspect according to the law of the land,irrespective of the plea by the defence counsel(that the suspect is the only child of his aged parents) ,does that make the judge highhanded? My private investigations showed that in the course of revamping the moribund of the hospital,the medical director stepped on many toes and those cabals affected now want a pound of flesh .

My Oxford English dictionary defined highhanded as 'using authority in an unreasonable way ,without considering the opinions and feelings of others '.If a worker is found guilty and punished ,does that mean that the medical director is highhanded? Many Nigerians are what Aye Kweh Amah of Ghana called Chidodo birds,in his book,The Beautiful ones are not yet born. The said Chidodo birds hate excrement but feed on the maggots that feed on the excrements, what a self deceit? Everybody is shouting that the CBN and other bank staff standing the ongoing 8billion naira trial be jailed when we commit similar offences in our workplaces and when the long claws of the law turn to us ,we label our leaders as being highhanded. If our leaders continue to allow the feelings and opinions of others to take preeminence over what the laws governing our organisations stipulate,how can we now progress as a nation? When the immediate former senate leader,Victor Ndogba Egba, recounted how his brother was asked to sign less than 2 million naira of his father's pension,many Nigerians thought it was a joke. Believe you me,any Nigerian who comes out today to fight such corruption,the cabals in that area will find a way to kick him out by labelling such a leader as being highhanded.

One former military administrator of Anambra state once complained to his pastor that some cabals in the state were demanding their own share of the federal allocation to the state. Nobody believed him and we all wondered how an individual or a group of individuals could be so powerful as to make such a dastardly request from a sitting military administrator of the state but the eras of Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju/ his political godfather and Dr Chris Ngige/his political godfather later vindicated the military administrator . The state was made ungovernable to these past governors when they fell out with their political godfathers . What has the embattled medical director done wrong for some groups of workers in the hospital to be against her? Their major complaint is that members of the staff are punished at any slightest mistake,how can we bring back discipline to our civil service when we don't allow ourselves to be disciplined ? Is it not preposterous that Nigerians need a change when they have refused to change their lifestyles ?

Meanwhile,Since she assumed office as the medical director of federal medical center Owerri ,a lot of landmark achievements have been recorded ,which include but not limited to: remarkable progress in the hospital like the new Obstetrics & Gynaecology ward; building and completion of the new theatre, the new EPU and pediatric wards, Okpara nursing home; renovation of the wards;building of the new administration block (ABC block); the building of the new diagnostic centre ;increased staff strength from 1000 to about 3000;improved services at the pharmacy and Accident & Emergency unit. Having revamped the moribund state of the hospital to its current enviable state,I went round to sample different opinions on why many workers in the hospital are still against her and my findings were as confusing as they were shocking.

First,they hate her because people see her as being strict hence she is accused of being highhanded. She ensures that everyone in the hospital is up and doing hence she has abolished the 'ghost workers syndrome' in the hospital . Many workers hate the tendency that she has to punish them at the slightest mistake. She ensures that interviews are professionally and objectively conducted , and most appointments are on merit hence meritocracy lords it over mediocrity in the hospice. In view of this ,some workers and other principalities who were involved in employment racketeering before the medical director assumed office are no longer finding it comfortable and to them the medical director is highhanded. Are the cabals telling us that an applicant who neither knows anybody in the hospital nor have the money to bribe his way through cannot get any job in the hospital ? What wrong has she done by insisting that only those that pass the interview and qualify for the jobs will be employed ? When asked if her strictness has led to any efficient utilization of resources in the hospital,many people answered in the affirmative but still insisted that she is highhanded.

Second,little investigations from my colleagues working there showed that she does not give any grace when u fail to pass your exams within the stipulated time .She sacks the person according to the laid down rules and regulations hence they see her as being highhanded . It has to be noted that many tertiary hospitals in the country are training centers for all cadres of health professionals and for the resident doctors,there is a time stipulated by the law establishing Residency programme for one to pass all the exams required,so that spaces can be created for the intake of new resident doctors and in her own case,once any resident doctor exceeds the time stipulated for that training,the resident doctor is shown the way out. There may not be grace for the time to be extended but to me that does not make her highhanded. This is because if a policeman arrests one over a particular offence,the policeman does not become highhanded if he refuses to listen to one's plea but decides to bring one to book.

Regrettably,under her administration ,some of my distinguished colleagues complained that the hospital does not upgrade them in time when they pass their respective professional examinations in the postgraduate colleges . They say she acts like she is doing them a favour. My hands seem to be tied here because I know in a tertiary hospital setting ,there are different offices with different specific functions and that matters relating to clinical training reside within the office of the chairman,medical advisory committee(CMAC) unless people have decided to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Also after my interactions with my colleagues and other workers,it was clear to me that some people want her job at all costs and the cabals that were ripping the hospital off before her assumption of office want her out by all means.

In view of this,different petitions have been written to different authorities against her and series of protests have equally been arranged and sponsored against her .The struck that broke the Carmel's back was when she wanted to bring decency,efficiency and transparency to the laboratory and pharmacy services in the hospital. Expectedly,the cabals that were benefitting from unaccounted activities in these areas of the hospital started s malicious rumour that she wanted to privatise the laboratory and pharmacy units which she has severally refuted. I challenge those protesting against her administration to seek redress in the law court ,which I am sure that they are afraid of because they may not be able to prove any of the charges levelled against her hence it will be easier for them to damage her reputation through different sponsored protests and lopsided media diatribes against her administration .

Finally,removing her because some groups of workers sympathetic to some cabals are protesting against her administration will set an ugly precedent to the current administration 's anti-corruption fight . It then means that when any leader starts an anti-corruption crusade in an organisation ,those cabals affected will organise protests which will culminate in the leader being removed. That means that when the current adminstration starts prosecuting and jailing corrupt politicians and public servants ,their relatives and well wishers will organise protests in order to derail or topple the government . Every petition against any leader should be properly investigated and when found to be false and malicious ,the petitioner(s) will be made to face the music to serve as a deterrent to other would-be false petitioners that may be used by some cabals . I am aware that many people are after her job so that when she is removed the period of employment racketeering and other related offences can start once again and then employment will be by who you know and not what you know.

Dr Paul John
Port Harcourt
Rivers state
[email protected]

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Articles by Paul John