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Sunday, 25 February 2024 16:03

[OPINION] Our President has committed handball again - Jude Eze


The title of this piece was influenced by a drama book titled: "Our Husband has gone mad again" authored and published in 1977, by one of Nigeria's leading playwrights and theatre directors — Olawale Gladstone Emmanuel Rotimi, best known as Ola Rotimi.

The award-winning playwright in the book takes a comic swipe at ideological misfits and opportunists who strut the ever-accommodating political landscape of contemporary Africa. A former military Major, takes to politics. His motives have far more to do with vanity than patriotism, and his attempts to adapt to a situation he hardly comprehends produce highly comic results. His predicament is complicated by the unexpected arrival of his American wife who discovers two more marriages contracted without her knowledge and her husband beset by political problems.

It sheds light on the many reasons why a man may marry more than one woman and how although he may do it to solve certain problems in his life, may end up incurring more problems for himself!

The plot of that book smacks off an intriguing semblance to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu's presidency.

Since he obsessively got his so-called "lifetime ambition" of becoming Nigeria's President chanting his lustful "Emi lokan" mantra, Tinubu has been commiting one foul or another in the playground of national political leadership.

From day one, on his inauguration ceremony, when he made that gravest tyrannical decree: " fuel subsidy is gone" without adequate cushion on ground to insulate the people from the harsh economic atmosphere it will generate, Nigeria has not been the same.

A country like Nigeria that has been perpetually subsidizing fuel prices for her citizens over the years, can be likened to a drug addict who cannot be forced to stop it abruptly. Rather, he must be counselled properly by experts and offered a medically unique leeway of exorcism to avoid the complications of withdrawal syndrome. In the same vane, to withdraw this necessary evil called "oil subsidy" there was need for an expertly protocols to avert the subsequent withdrawal syndrome that will inevitably ensue as a result. But no, the acclaimed "Lagos city boy" only waved the wand of military fiat and declared an end to subsidy regime which took our economy from ICU where his successor left it, straight to the mortuary.

As we battle this, he came up with unrealizable unification policy of the exchange rate, allowing for free market pressure to regulate the rates. Now Naira is hitting all-time low in forex. As if this was not enough, he committed another handball. Instead of finding solution to resuscitate the economy, he was nepotistically busy relocating key parastatals and agencies of government like FAAN, CBN NSPMC to his hometown of Lagos.

All these foul were not checked because he has the referees and linesmen in his pocket. The judiciary, and the bicameral legislature are all in his kitty. Even the fourth estate of the realm — the Media, who are to Politics, what VAR are to the game of football, are all pliantly abeyant and obeisant.

Incidentally, once these institutions are subjugated in any nation, democracy is interred, and despotism takes the center stage; giving the despot the latitude to abuse power. Perhaps, it's this unfortunate situation which he created that led him into commiting yet another handball on Thursday, February 15 2024, this time around, in heath sector.

On the said date, there was a State House Press Release announcing the appointment one Dr. Babajide Salako (a Medical Doctor) as Chairman of the Governing Board of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN). This is anomalous and outright violation of the provisions of Act Cap M25 LFN 2004 2003, which established the Council, and clearly provided the criteria and guidelines for the appointment of the Chairman of the Governing Board.

Ever since that announcement was made, all Medical Laboratory Scientists within and outside the country has risen against the appointment which they call illegal and irrational at the same time. The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) unanimously rejected the illicit appointment.

The Act in its Section 3 (1) (a) clearly stated thus: "There is established for the Council a Goveming Board (in this Act referred to as the "the Board") consisting of — a Chairman who shall be a qualified Fellow of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria with 5 years post qualification experience and shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the
Minister from a list of the Fellows submitted by the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as "the Association'").

This was violated in that Dr. Salako was not a Medical Laboratory Scientist, not a fellow of MLSCN and he knew next to nothing about regulations of Laboratory Medicine as a specialty.

The National President of AMLSN — Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi in collegiality of his National Executive Officers (NEOs) hosted a Press Conference on the matter on Monday 19 February 2024 at its national Secretariat — AMLSN House, Durumi Phase I, Abuja where they made their official position against the appointment known. From the conference they met with the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare — Daju Kachollom. After a lengthy session, the Permanent Secretary assured them that the Minister, alongside other stakeholders will see to the remediation of the situation in line with extant laws.

In the words of Casmir: "When political connections supersede professional qualifications, society suffers and progress stagnates." While at Arise TV, he argued that appointing a Medical Doctor as Head of MLSCN Board is like appointing an Army General as Inspector General of Police. While he may know security by his training, he knew next to nothing about civil policing.

Two weeks has gone by, and nothing meaningful, aside mere rhetorics of promisory notes, has come from the authorities concerned.

In a democratic society, the appointment of individuals to sensitive professional positions should be based on merit, qualifications, expertise and experience. Dr. Salako's appointment reeks of political favoritism and nepotism, as he does not meet the criteria stipulated in the Act. This kind of appointment undermines the integrity of Federal Ministry of Health, and raises concerns about the motives behind such decisions.

It further highlights a disturbing trend in Nigerian politics where politicians use appointments to reward their cronies and political allies, regardless of their qualifications or suitability for the position. This practice not only weakens institutions but also deprives qualified professionals of the opportunity to contribute their expertise to the development of the country.

Political appointments should be based on merit and competence, rather than political connections. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "Merit and good works should be rewarded. It is not who makes the appointment, it is who merits it."

This appointment reflects a troubling trend where political leaders use appointments as a tool to reward loyalty and compensate cronies, regardless of their qualifications or merit. Such actions undermine and compromise the quality of leadership in crucial sectors like healthcare.

In December 2017, controversy trailed former President Buhari’s new Board appointees, as names of four of his friends who are ‘Dead’ were found in the list. Tinubu is apparently learning the rope with perfection.

May daylight spare us!


✍️ Jude Eze.

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