By Ime Silas, Uyo
The lives of millions of Akwa Ibom indigenes and residents are at great risk in the face of a possible spread of covid-19 in the state, if the call by all health professional bodies for the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, to resign is anything to be relied upon.
The health professionals have passed a vote of no confidence on the Commissioner, insisting that he must resign, failure of which they would pull out from any services aimed at combatting the deadly disease.
The health professionals, who made their position known in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting today, accused the Commissioner of unprofessionalism, highhandedness, clear inability to handle issues of the novel Corona virus in the state, etc.
The communique, which was signed by representatives of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), and National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), reads thus in full:
A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE CONGLOMERATION OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS PASSING A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE ON THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER FOR HEALTH AND CALLING FOR HIS IMMEDIATE REMOVAL AS COMMISSIONER FOR HEALTH
Good day distinguished members of the fourth estate of the realm, ladies and gentlemen.
Recall that following the outbreak of COVID-19 globally and within Nigeria, the Conglomeration of Healthcare Professionals in Akwa Ibom State met and issued a Communiqué containing a public health advisory to the Akwa Ibom State Government (AKSG) on measures to contain the potential outbreak of COVID-19.
While His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel has since adopted some measures suggested for which we thanked him. Unfortunately, the handlers of Government business particularly the Honourable Commissioner for Health and Commissioner for Information and their media hirelings and lilliputs, decided to declare a war against the very same Professionals who would be the first responders in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom State.
We also received reports that the commissioner for Health scolded NMA for uniting with sister Professional bodies, to which the NMA leaders stood their grounds. Consequently, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong called for a meeting of Professional bodies in the Health Sector today Friday 27th March, 2020.
- We observed with great surprise that NMA was not invited to the meeting of Professional bodies in the Health Sector.
2.While we had already received intelligence reports that the Commissioner was applying that measure as a punitive measure to the NMA for partnering with sister bodies (a power he does not have in the first place), on inquiry through the PSN and AMLSN Chairmen, he in his usual autocratic, know-it-all manner dismissed us.
3.When we pleaded with him to invite the NMA for a holistic and complete discussion, he rather threatened that we could walk out if we wanted.
4 All attempts by the Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Akwa Ibom State Council to speak were rebuffed by the Commissioner for Health.
5.At that point the members of the Conglomeration of Healthcare Professionals present namely Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Association of Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria (AMLSN), and National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), obliged the Commissioner’s prior request and walked out of the meeting.
Consequently, the Conglomeration of Healthcare Professionals (with NMA in attendance) immediately met thereafter and resolved as follows:
- We decry the poor inter-personal relationship of the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong with Professional bodies in the Health Sector.
- Reject the attempt by the Commissioner for Health to cause disaffection and bring about disunity among Professionals in the Health Sector. At this point, we historically declare our shared brotherhood with and stand in solidarity with Akwa Ibom State Government and its people on preventing COVID-19.
- We urge the State Government to disregard the Commissioner’s well known resort to his allegation of persecution and declare that nobody is fighting the Government of Akwa Ibom State led by the amiable gentleman, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel. We hereby reiterate our complete support to His Excellency Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
- We thank the Government for implementing some of the policy advisory as contained in our earlier Communiqué and appeal to His Excellency to continue to do more.
- Consequently, in order to save the health sector, we hereby, jointly, as the Conglomeration of Healthcare Professionals comprising of NMA, PSN, NANNM, and AMLSN pass a vote of no confidence on the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong for his lack of managerial and interpersonal skills, disregard for Professionals and professionalism, high-handedness and divisive tendencies, and outright poor management of COVID-19 preparedness.
- Health Professionals will no longer continue to work with him as we no longer enjoy his leadership of the Ministry of Health.
- Ipso facto, we call on Dr. Dominic Ukpong to immediately resign his appointment as Commissioner for Health.
- We shall continue to monitor our resolution as in (7) above. Where Dr. Dominic Ukpong decides to do otherwise, we may be forced to pull-out our members from COVID-19 duties while we continue to render other forms of health services. This is especially so as Dr. Dominic Ukpong has successfully convinced us that he is capable of fighting COVID-19 alone.
Dr. Nsikak Nyoyoko
Chairman, NMA – Akwa Ibom State Branch
Comrade Patrick Odu
Chairman, NANNM, AKS Council
Chairman, AMLSN –
Akwa Ibom State Branch
Dr. Akwaowoh Akpabio
Chairman, PSN AKS Branch