The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has called on the incoming governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, not to toe the path of his predecessor, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, whom they alleged had not been paying medical doctors’ salary arrears.
Making the appeal at a media briefing that took place at the weekend, shortly after their 63rd Annual General Conference (AGC) and the Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM), in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba State, the association expressed sadness at the alleged ways and manners in which the incumbent governor of the state relegated medical doctors to the background.
Led by its National President, Dr Uche R. Ojinmah, they said: “We are hopeful that the governor-elect for Abia State shall not work in the bad ways of his predecessor, who was [unconcerned] about the welfare of Abians.”
The association, according to Dr Ojinmah, is optimistic that the incoming governor will be responsive to public servants in the state.
“We know that as a specialist in finance, you will understand how the implementation of not paying civil servants in a civil service state affects the chains of the economy of that state,” the NMA president stated.
He also lamented the alleged lukewarm attitude of the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, toward doctors’ and civil servants’ remunerations in their respective states, advising them to go back to the drawing board “and kindly listen to their doctors and workers.”
He further stressed: “It is an anomaly to be proud of salary arrears; we called on Ortom, the governor of Benue State, to remember that leaving behind eight months’ salary arrears of our doctors will be a terrible legacy.”
The NMA, attributing the ongoing massive brain drain in the health sector to a host of factors including a lack of improved salaries, arrears, and insecurity, urged the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, make the country conducive for Nigerian workers.
The AGC/ADM, which took place at the Catholic event centre in Jalingo, was attended by medical doctors from the 36 states of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).