Medical Doctors in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) has warned that political interference and the seemingly apparent discrimination against the medical profession and established medical education in Nigeria, may derail the university system.
The Medical Associations in Lagos State have therefore appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to urgently announce any of the three finalists as the ninth Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU).
This was made known in a statement jointly issued by leaders of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Lagos; Medical Guild, and Medical and Dental Consultants Association (MDCAN), LASUTH Chapter.
The statement was signed by Adetunji Adenekan, NMA Chairman; Oluwajimi Sodipo, Medical Guild Chairman, and Mumuni Amisu of MDCAN.
In their words: “We do not have any reason to believe that the previous processes of selection of ninth Vice-Chancellor for LASU were not rigorous or not in compliance with the laid down procedures and the extant laws of the university.
“We appeal that any one of the three finalists in the second selection process be announced by Mr Governor without further delay.
“They all have what it takes to put the university in the path of unrivaled progress and excellence in its three core mandates of teaching, research and community service.
“We are afraid that political interference and the seemingly apparent discrimination against the medical profession and established medical education in Nigeria, may derail the university system.
“This will send a message to all clinical lecturers in the College of Medicine in general as unwanted members of the university community and to the selected Professors of Clinical Medicine in the university specifically.
“It will look as being perceived as second-rate academics in LASU despite proving their mettles by coming top in the interviews conducted.”
The selection of a new vice-chancellor for LASU has dragged on for months as several groups, including the National Universities Commission (NUC) faulted the process adopted by the institution.
In their statement, the leaders of the medical associations noted that the discrimination would portend danger to medical education in LASU and other Colleges of Medicine in Nigeria “where clinical lecturers had diligently held and still hold the forte, if their morale was killed”.
They urged the governor to ensure that merit and extant laws were applied in the matter.
“We will use any lawful and legal means to prevent the disenfranchisement of any qualified person, including medical doctors with fellowship,” the leaders said.
They stated their concern that intervention of the Special Visitation Panel was in furtherance of “a sinister agenda that was inimical to the progress of the university, and which may engender further crisis”.
The Doctors averred that their interaction with the panel exposed “not only feign ignorance, but their prejudice and bias against the medical academia”.
“we fear that their recommendations will reflect such and will only engender a crisis”.
“We are concerned by the level of ignorance feigned by the panelists about the Medical Fellowship.
“They all erroneously assert that Medical Fellowship was not an acceptable qualification to teach in the university, despite glaring evidence that this is the practice in Nigerian Universities and stipulated by the relevant laws and conditions of service of LASU.
“In addition, despite the fact that three past Vice-Chancellors of LASU (the pioneer VC, Prof. Folabi Olumide, the fourth VC, Prof. Fatiu Akesode and the seventhth VC, Prof. John Obafunwa).
“They have distinguished themselves as medical doctors with Fellowship and the condition of service of LASU recognised such, just as every other university in Nigeria,” they stated.
The medical doctors stated that the views expressed by the panel confirmed their fears that the whole “crisis in the LASU vice-chancellor selection process was orchestrated”.
The leaders added that the plan was “for the sole agenda of using the needless PhD versus Medical Fellowship brouhaha as excuse to reject the outcome of the selection process”.
They commended the efforts of all ‘stakeholders’, but warned against discrimination of medical doctors in the appointment of new vice-chancellor for the university to retain its role as a world class institution.
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