SACK OF MEDICAL DOCTORS BY LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT-ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL
5/9/2012 1:14:18 PM -
The move by the Lagos State executive arm of government, sacking striking medical doctors on its payroll is unwise, illegal, unconstitutional, and can only best described as a travesty of justice. It is reminisce of the draconian and dark days of military juntas, when the Abacha military dictatorship sacked striking lecturers; an action which no other government, military or civilian had resorted to until now, not even the vilified ruling Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) will dare do this. It reveals the actual character of the Fashola Administration in Lagos State, and of the governor himself, who is a lawyer, and a supposed Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). It shows the true nature of a man who prides himself as a Democrat, a custodian of the law, and a so-called apostle of good governance. It bares his intemperance, impatience, and intolerance; and it reveals the deceit, and hypocrisy of a major Opposition Party and an alternative, that is no less different than the PDP. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) really cannot provide alternative leadership for this country, because it is not any better than the PDP. The only difference is that the PDP is an outright political wolf, while the ACN is a political fox. But then, the wolf and the fox are both canine, and belong to the Dog family. Therefore, it is crucial that Nigerians realise this through these unfolding events, because it once again gives a glimpse of what to expect, should the Nigerian people make the mistake of allowing the ACN to gain, and control power at the centre, for truly, the ACN controlled government in Lagos is the role model of the Party, and an epitome of so-called good governance and democratic State for a misled populace. And even as we speak, its other model governor, who is a former vocal National Labour Leader is yet to take a stand on the anti-people policies of the Fashola Administration, or perhaps he has suddenly lost his voice.
You know, since the sack of the medical doctors were announced, we have watched, listened, and read most of the articles and comments, both in the print and on social media networks, and as in many other cases as this in the State, there seems to be a diversion from the real issues, with a good number of the commentators dwelling only on the effect of the strike action on patients, and how medical doctors in Lagos are better off than their counterparts in the rest of the Federation. They seldom got around to mentioning the fact that the issues that led to the strike action have been lingering for over five years now, without any headway due to the recalcitrance of the governor; that the doctors have always been told to wait until the right time, which invariably means never; that the Fashola Administration has not been true to the agreements made; that the Lagos State government has often chosen the path of intimidation and coercion rather engage in good faith negotiations; that the Fashola Administration in choosing to illegally publish the salaries of the doctors in National Dailies, without publishing the huge amounts it deducts as taxes from the doctor's salaries, should have at the same time, published, in the spirit of equity, the immense salaries, emoluments and allowances of the governor and those of his cabinet commissioners and retinue of special advisers; that the Lagos medical doctors, in signing the Hippocratic oath, never signed to live under fear, poverty and inhuman conditions; that even if it is true that the doctors are better off than their peers in other States in this country, their packages and working conditions still fall far short of world-class standards and best practices; that agreements are legally binding, and that the doctors have the right to a Union and protests under extant laws, and should be able to exercise that right without fear of intimidation and harassment. Those commentators never got around to mentioning all of these facts.
Strike actions and protests are constitutionally guaranteed, and the greatness of a free and democratic society is the right to protest for right. It is time to place the issues in perspective, and put them where they are supposed to be. All that the doctors had done to warrant these unprovoked actions from the Fashola Administration is their insistence that the government follow through on its commitments and obligations. The Fashola Administration has overstepped its bounds. On issue after issue, it has shown that it has no concern for the feelings and yearnings of its people; whether on demolition of thousands of homes without compensation, bullying and muzzling of striking teachers, refusal to implement teachers' salary scale and N18, 000 minimum wage, or its refusal to sit and negotiate in good faith with striking doctors. This government in Lagos has absolutely no regard for labour and human rights.
Instructively, the Fashola Administration in Lagos has grown richer by the day, and has made more money than all the years combined in the Tinubu Administration. Throughout the Tinubu Administration, Lagos State never generated more than N800million in Internal Revenue monthly, not to mention the fact that its Local government funds were withheld then by the Obasanjo Administration at the centre, yet that Administration, somehow, managed to keep the State together. But today, the Fashola Administration, aside federal allocations, generates between N18billion and N23billion monthly in Internal Revenue, although there are talks that 20-30% of that goes to its Think Tank on Taxation and Internal Revenue. Why then is the so-called action governor unwilling to deploy its huge resources on behalf of its people. It is on record that the State government owes almost 25% of the current national debt, despite the vast resources accruing to it.
We therefore demand that the Fashola Administration rescinds its action, apologise to the medical doctors in particular and the people in general, and reinstate the doctors with immediate effect because sacking them, and recruiting new ones in such haste, smacks of brigandage, and it's tantamount to casualisation of the health sector. It certainly does no one any good, and those doctors hired under such circumstances, will be less than half-baked, and will not be treated any better.
Editor in Chief and Chief Executive