Anxiety as Presidency orders probe into LUTH CMD’s appointment

By Nudoiba Ojen

The Presidency has begun full scale investigation into the nomination process leading to the appointment of the Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo.

This followed protests and petitions against the appointment over allegations that the selection process was flawed and uncompleted while the appointment letter did not follow due process.

An aggrieved contender and former Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Prof. Femi Fasanmade, had in his petitions, challenged the emergence of Prof Adeyemo, first as Ag. CMD since he (Fasanmade) was the most senior as CMAC while Adeyemo served as his deputy.

In the petition, Prof Fasanmade faulted the selection process citing glaring irregularities and the scoring formula which he alleged was designed by individuals in the Federal Ministry of Health to impose Prof Adeyemo at all costs as CMD.

Beside, the appointment letter given to Prof Adeyemo was being questioned as the selection process of who to succeed the former LUTH CMD, Prof Chris Bode, whose tenure ended on March 24, 2023, was said to be inconclusive till the exit of former President Muhammadu Buhari as at May 29, this year.

Some highly placed officials of the Federal Ministry of Health were alleged to have hurriedly despatched a letter appointing Prof Adeyemo as substantive CMD, acting on a purported Presidential approval signed on Sunday May 28, 2023 at a time Buhari had already performed official handover to President Bola Tinubu two days earlier on Friday, 26th May.

It was gathered that out of the six Federal Teaching Hospitals which had interview processes for CMDs conducted same day and remained inconclusive, only LUTH was hurriedly finalized.

Miffed by the development, President Tinubu through his Chief of Staff, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has directed full probe to establish the culpability of officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and former key Presidency top shots connected with the embarrassing usurpation of the President’s power.

The Presidency, through a leaked memo dated 17th October, 2023 referenced: 58787/S.1/C.1/300, emanating from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, has swung into action and has demanded written report from the Coordinating Minister of Health, Prof Ali Pate, on what transpired throughout the interview selection process.

In the said letter signed on the SGF’s behalf by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Nnamdi Maurice Mbieri, the SGF directed that the Health Minister should be prompt in his response to “enable government take further necessary action on the matter”.

Upon receipt of the memo, the Health Minister directed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Daju Kachollom, to explain why the Ministry hurriedly issued letter of appointment to the LUTH CMD in substantive capacity when the relevant due-diligence agencies of government especially the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had not yet given final clearance on the process.

The Permanent Secretary, Dr Kachollom, said, “I wasn’t there when that was done. And I assure you that justice will be done. We will look at what has been done and everything will be done according to the books”.

The PS said that the Tinubu administration had zero tolerance for anything not in line with laid down administrative procedures and as such counselled the media to exhibit trust that this government would always demonstrate fairness and would redress any wrong if any.

It is hoped in many quarters that the Tinubu government may soon direct a fresh selection interview process in which the embattled CMD, Prof. Adeyemo and the aggrieved contender, Prof. Fasanmade, would slug it out in a most transparent manner.

The main plank of Fasunmade’s argument is that the foundational error was committed by the now dissolved Governing Board of LUTH led by Alhaji Sali Bello whose four-year tenure had expired more than six months still went ahead to appoint Prof Adeyemo as Ag. CMD and despite not being the most Senior Consultant in LUTH.

This, he further said, was what made the Health Ministry rely on the appointment to make decisions that influenced the overall procedure especially awarding undeserved scores which gave Prof Adeyemo the supposed edge.

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