By Nudoiba Ojen
The Federal Government may have ordered fresh selection process for the appointment of a substantive Chief Medical Director for Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, following investigations which reveal that the previous process was fraught with irregularities, graft and alleged bribery.
Already, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on orders of the Presidency, has stepped into the matter to probe alleged bribery of major actors of the Federal Ministry of Health and other key players during the past administration.
It was gathered that the ICPC has sent invitations to the embattled CMD, Prof Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo and his co-contender in the contest for the office, Prof Femi Fasanmade, to come forward on Friday, August 11, 2023 to explain some transactions in their bank accounts.
Recall that Prof Olufemi Fasanmade, a former Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), who contested the position with Prof. Adeyemo, had petitioned the Presidency and copied the Health Ministry, faulting process of Adeyemo’s selection, alleging glaring irregularities and the scoring formula.
According to a leaked ICPC memo to the Federal Ministry of Health on Thursday, the anti-graft body requested the Ministry to come along with the two contenders, Prof Adeyemo and Prof Fasanmade, to undergo a mandatory fresh process, before any of them could be cleared to have emerged in the appointment process.
The memo read; “In continuation of the screening exercise for candidates shortlisted for appointment as CMD, LUTH, kindly inform the candidates to come to the Commission Headquarters for an interview to explain some transactions in their accounts on Friday 11 August, 2023 by 12pm.”l
“Also, they are to come along with printed copies of ALL their bank statement as earlier requested,” the memo added.
Consequently, the Ministry’s Director of Hospital Services, Dr Andrew Noah, forwarded written memos to both Prof Adeyemo and Prof Fasanmade to comply with the directives on the appointed date.
Sources say the development has caused panic in LUTH management and wild jubilation among staffers, throwing up high level controversy and uncertainty in the tertiary teaching hospital.
A source at LUTH queried why those who implemented the previous selection process allowed such grave irregularities to mar the outcome of the process, saying, “The process leading to the emergence of a substantive CMD, mandates ICPC clearance”.
Sources queried why only LUTH CMD matter was hurriedly concluded by the Ministry among the six teaching hospitals where interviews to select CMD were conducted same day and all others still have their leadership in acting capacity.
Recall that tension has been brewing in LUTH since the past two months following the issuance of a letter by the Health Ministry confirming the appointment of Prof Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo as the substantive CMD, a move resisted by key stakeholders in the hospital.
Their grouse is that the Ministry claimed to have acted on a purported approval by former President Muhammadu Buhari administration dated Sunday 28th May, 2023 and signed by the erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, contrary to the reality that the official handing over to President Bola Tinubu took place on Friday May 26, 2023.
President Tinubu was said to have been pissed by the myriads of controversial actions of the Health Ministry including the recent situation at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) where appointment letters were given to three separate individuals as acting CMD within few weeks and some other federal hospitals where two or more people were appointed CMDs.
It would be recalled that following the expiration of the tenure of the former LUTH CMD, Prof Chris Bode, two candidates, the current embattled CMD, Prof Wasiu Adeyemo who was as at then the Ag. CMD (based on a hurried recommendation of the Governing Board mid-way into the selection process) and Prof Olufemi Fasanmade, a former CMAC in the hospital were made to undergo an examination and an interview.
The process was challenged by Prof Fasanmade who promptly forwarded petition to the Presidency and copied the Health Ministry.
In the petition, Prof Fasanmade had faulted the selection process, glaring irregularities and the scoring formula which he alleged was masterminded by the immediate past Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to impose Prof Adeyemo as CMD at all costs.