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Aderinola Bunmi
LAUTECH
Science Laboratory Technology
Aspirant, Nigeria.
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The Cross River State Government representative in the Governing Board of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Legal Counsel of concerned staff of the institution and some applicants who applied for the post of Director of Administration in the Institution (UCTH) have petitioned the Chairman of the Governing Board over the appointment of Director of Administration (DA) by Federal Ministry of Health.

The Federal Ministry of Health had in a letter reference SMH/530/T/1/71, dated July 19th 2019, titled ’Re: Director of Administration, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital’ addressed to the Chairman of Governing Council signed by the Permanent Secretary, A. M. Abdullahi had appointed one Barr Eyoma Edetdet Obong as Director of Administration.

Interestingly, the institution in June 29 2019 advertised for vacancy position of the Director of Administration following the retirement of the incumbent DA, Prof Archibong E. Archibong on September 10, 2019.

Though, the date for the expiration of the six weeks for the advertisement to elapsed, seven persons have already applied, suddenly, the Federal Ministry of Health shot down others from applying and appointed Barr Ededet Eyoma Obong against due process of screening, interview and appointment, DAILY POST gathered.

The Board member who represented the Cross River State Government and also the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Dr Joseph A. Bassey petitioned the Board Chairman over the appointment of the DA. The petition dated August 1st 2019 titled Re: ‘Appointment of Director of Administration, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital’ regretted the flagrant abuse of due process by the Federal Ministry of Health.

“I wish to formally protest, in the interest of the Government and people of Cross River State whom I represented in the UCTH Board, against the letter from the Federal Ministry of Health reference SMH 530/T/1/71 of 19th July 2019 on the above subject matter signed by the Permanent Secretary and addressed to you.

“Mr Chairman Sir, I see this letter as a gross violation and complete usurpation of the powers of the legally constituted board of the only federal health institution located in our dear state and a call to anarchy with attendant lack of trust on the management and governing board of this institution which I refuse to be part of nor allow myself to be used to perpetuate injustice and illegality that has the potentiality of snowballing into unimaginable consequences from staff of the institution and interested members of the general public due to abrupt termination of the ongoing due process put in place by the governing board.

“Mr Chairman Sir, the directives that the current DA vacates office immediately and the appointment of a new substantive DA by the federal ministry of health by fiat, without recourse to the institution Governing Board and the University Act/extant rules and circular earlier quoted, is an aberration and a dangerous precedence in the history of the management of University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria.

“I wish to, therefore, call on this Board to toe the path of justice, fairness, equity, respect for due process and transparency in the process of appointment of a new DA that will take over from the incumbent when he finally bows out in a few weeks from now and advise the federal ministry of health against this chosen path of disregard to laws and procedures, conflicting directives” he stated.

Dr Bassey noted that the institution already had enough issues to contend with, including cases of national consequences currently in court that originated right here in Calabar and “We should not allow ourselves to be dragged into another one,” he pleaded.

Consequently, the concerned staff of the Institution represented by a legal firm, A. B. Cobham and Associates in a petition to the Chairman of the Board dated August 2nd titled ‘Re: Director of Administration, UCTH: A Usurpation and an abuse of power ‘signed by A. B. Cobham regretted the action of the federal ministry of health.

“A letter dated 19/7/2019 signed by A. M. Abdullahi (Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health) is an affront to the extant laws specifically, University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards) Act, CAP 463, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990. Section 5 (3) (3) (a) of the said Act stated inter alia There shall be for each hospital a director of administration who shall-(a) be appointed by the board and shall by virtue of the office also be the secretary of the board.

“However, in accordance with the said power, the management did advertise for vacancy for the post of DA in the Guardian Newspaper of Saturday, June 29, 2019. It is also on record that the said process is ongoing as candidates did apply.

“Importantly, the same author of the referred letter had on the 4th July 22019 reiterated the same position of law as posited by us in his letter addressed to you and others tagged Re: Conduct of appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Exercise in Tertiary Health Institution/Agencies but our clients are surprised with this sudden summersault and grievous infraction of the law.

“It is also pertinent to state that at no point did the board meet or appoint a DA as required by the extant law. From the foregoing, we respectively solicit that the said directive should be discarded…If our lawful demand is not met within 2 days from this date of this letter, we shall without further notice to you, institute a legal action in the court of competent Jurisdiction for both legal and equitable remedies.”

When DAILY POST called on the Chief Medical Director of the institution, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme, he did not pick his calls and did not reply to text message sent to him, but Barr Ededet Eyoma in a reply to a text message sent to him said, “My brother, my phone was off because of low battery due to multiple congratulatory messages and calls.

“Don’t mind those detractors and enemies of people’s progress. Just join the multitude and congratulate me as most qualified for the position,” he stated.

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