How Ehanire’s Mischief Bungled Appointments of CMD For Three New Orthopaedic Hospitals


Immediate past Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had, in the twilight of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, created a mischief and left a legacy of confusion for the President Bola Tinubu-led Administration in the Ministry of Health.

Ehanire had overreached himself by making three appointments apparently to countermand the same appointments already made by the former Minister of State for Health, Hon Joseph Ekamanamam whose schedule it was to make such appointments.

The development has created palpable tension in the health sector.

As it is, two acting medical directors have been “appointed” by the federal government for each of its three newly-established National Orthopaedic Hospitals.

The yet-to-take-off federal health institutions were established and sited in Benin, Jos, and Jalingo, in Edo, Plateau, and Taraba states, respectively.

A National Obstetrics Fistula Hospital, Benin, was also established by the federal government to take off concurrently.

Reports said that the immediate past minister of state for health, Joseph Ekamanamam, presented letters of appointment to the three acting medical directors to the three hospitals on Wednesday, 24 May, 2023.

The development, however, took a dramatic turn, when on Friday, 26 May, 2023, the minister for health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire again presented letters of appointment to another set of acting medical directors for the same hospitals.

In the case of the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Benin, Dr Philip Ugbodaga, an APC chieftain and until his appointment Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, was said to have received his letter of appointment from the minister of state fur health, Hon. Joseph Ekamanamam, while Dr. Ehanire presented a letter of appointment to Prof. Alfred Ogbemudia.

Dr Ugbodaga, who once served as chief medical director of Benin Central Hospital, THE CONCLAVE reports, played an active leadership role in the APC presidential campaign in Edo State.

A reliable source in the federal ministry of health, in Abuja, who is in the know of the happenings in the ministry, told our correspondent that the logjam might have been caused by conflict of interest between the two ministers.

The source explained that appointment of acting heads of federal hospitals like the one in contention “falls squarely on the table of the minister of state.”

According to him, “When government establishes a new institution, whether a university, hospital or anything, the minister has the power to appoint an acting head for a period of six months and is renewable for another six months, that is final.

“These National Orthopaedic Hospitals were established in Jos, Plateau state, Jalingo, Taraba state and in Benin, Edo State. It is almost two years since the President signed the Bill establishing them into law, but, until today, they have yet to take off.

“All the big hospitals, like the UNTH, UBTH, and others fall under the main minister, Dr. Ehanire, in terms of recommendation of CMDs for appointment by the president, but the smaller hospitals, like the orthopaedic hospitals, national medical centers, and psychiatric hospitals, all report to the minister of state. So, these new appointments fall squarely on the table of the ministe if state for health.”

THE CONCLAVE reports that whereas the minister of state followed the due process in the appointments of the three CMDs, the minister “unconscionably meddled in the process, thus running against the grains of due process.”

A source hinted that despite the fact that the minister of state knew that the appointments were his responsibility, he was said to have on a number of times reached out to Dr Ehanire to find out from him if had candidates.

When Ehanire was not forthcoming, as learnt, the Minister of State for Health went ahead to do the needful by making the three appointments.

THE CONCLAVE reports that a committee had been emplaced in the Ministry of Health to look into the issue of double appointments for the three new national Orthopaedic hospitals.

Feelers said that the final clearing house is the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.

Senator George Akume, who has just been appointed as the SGF, is expected to announce the position of the federal government on the issue.

The Conclave