The controversy surrounding the selection of Prof. Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo as the Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has not yet reached its conclusion.
The presidency has finally begun a full-scale investigation into how a letter of appointment was handed to Prof. Adeyemo less than a week after President Bola Tinubu’s assumption of office, without the president’s authorization, as reported by Daily Independent.
Remember that until previous President Muhammadu Buhari’s departure on May 29, this year, there was no clear successor to outgoing LUTH CMD, Prof. Chris Bode, whose term expired on March 24, 2023. Strangely, on Sunday, May 28, 2023, after Buhari had already officially handed over power to President Tinubu two days earlier on Friday, May 26th, some highly connected officials of the Federal Ministry of Health were said to have hurriedly dispatched a letter appointing Prof Adeyemo as substantive CMD.
Even more puzzling to The Presidency was that, taking advantage of the change in government, the concerned upper echelons of the Health Ministry hurriedly finalised the CMD position at only LUTH, out of six Federal Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria where interview processes for CMDs were conducted on the same day and remained inconclusive.
In response to this embarrassing usurpation of power, President Tinubu, through his Chief of Staff Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has ordered a full investigation to establish the culpability of officials in the Federal Ministry of Health and former key top shots in the Presidency.
A memo from George Akume’s office as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, dated October 17, 2023, and referred to as 58787/S.1/C.1/300, has leaked, prompting the Coordinating Minister of Health, Prof. Ali Pate, to provide a written report detailing what happened during the interview selection process.
To “enable government take further necessary action on the matter,” the SGF requested a speedy reply from the Health Minister in a letter written by Permanent Secretary Dr. Nnamdi Maurice Mbieri.
While the Independent Corrupt Practises and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had not yet given final clearance on the process, the Health Minister received a memo asking the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Daju Kachollom, to explain why the Ministry had issued a letter of appointment to the LUTH CMD in substantive capacity so quickly.
Dr. Kachollom, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, was interviewed by our correspondent and said that no one now working in the Ministry was in charge when the alleged violations that led to the LUTH leadership fight occurred. I wasn’t there when that happened,” she said. Justice will be served, I promise you that.
We’ll take a look at what’s already been accomplished, and then we’ll finish off by the book. According to her, the Tinubu Administration will not stand for any deviation from established administrative norms, and she urged the media to have faith that the government will act fairly and make amends in the event of any wrongdoing.
The latest turn of events suggests that the Tinubu-led government will soon order a new selection interview process in which the two candidates, the currently-under-fire CMD, Professor Wasiu Adeyemo, and the currently-under-fire aggrieved challenger, Professor Femi Fasanmade, a former Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), would square off in an open and fair manner.
Through multiple petitions filed to The Presidency and the Health Ministry, Prof Fasanmade had stridently disputed the appearance of Prof Adeyemo, first as Ag. CMD as he was the most senior and predecessor as CMAC while Adeyemo also served as his Deputy.
In the appeal, Prof Fasanmade attacked the selection process, evident inconsistencies and the scoring system which he said was masterminded by the immediate previous Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire to install Prof Adeyemo at all means as CMD.
His main point is that the now-defunct Governing Board of LUTH, led by Alhaji Sali Bello, made a fundamental mistake by appointing Professor Adeyemo as Ag. CMD, despite the fact that he was not the most senior consultant at the university.
He went on to say that this was what led the Health Ministry to place faith in the appointment and use it to shape the course of events, including the distribution of inflated grades to give Prof. Adeyemo an apparent advantage.