Power brokers at the Presidency are said to be making frantic efforts to allegedly compromise the process of appointing a substantive Chief Medical Director, CMD, of the National Hospital, Abuja, DAILY NIGERIAN reported on Thursday.
The Aso Rock forces, it was alleged, are planning to influence the appointment of Dr. Mahmud Raji, as the CMD of the hospital despite his disqualification by the selection board.
Raji is the doctor who treated the son of the president, Yusuf Buhari, after suffering life-threatening injuries in a motorbike accident in Abuja in 2017.
On March 8, 2022, the Board of National hospital placed an advertisement in some national dailies, calling on suitably qualified candidates to apply for the post of the CMD.
Part of the requirements, as announced by the Director of Administration and Secretary of the Board, Dr Peter Ekwagkhide, included registration with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria not less than 15 years post qualification.
The advert stipulated that candidates, “must be a fellow of either the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria or West Africa Postgraduate Medical College or its equivalent registrable by the medical and Dental Council of Nigeria”.
Another requirement is that the candidate must have been a consultant for a minimum of 10 years.
But the newspaper gathered that 19 applicants applied for the number-one job in the hospital but only six candidates were shortlisted for an oral/written interview.
Those shortlisted are Dr Oluwole Olaomi, South West; Dr Oniyangi, North Central; Dr Yau Gagarawa, North West; Prof Abdulkadir Ayanniyi, South West; Dr Dike Obalum, South South and; Prof. Muhammad Danfulani, North West.
It was gathered a date was earlier set for the conduct of the interview but the board suddenly postponed the final interview indefinitely, due to alleged “orders from the above”.
An email dated September 6 and signed by the Director of Administration and Secretary of the Board, Peter Ekwagkhide, notified the shortlisted candidates about the postponement.
“Further to our letter of Invitation Ref. No: NHA/ADMIN/ 563/V.I dated 6th September 2022, I regret to inform you that the date for the conduct of the written Examination and Oral Interview for the position of CMD has been postponed indefinitely and a new date shall be communicated to you. Please acknowledge the receipt of this email,” the email read.
A source familiar with the leadership tussle however told DAILY NIGERIAN that the postponement was part of the game plan of the Villa forces to appoint Mr Raji through the back door.
The source noted that Mr Raji, who is a neurologist at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Zaria.
“Dr Mahmud Raji does not have any administrative experience. He has never been a head of a department. So he does not qualify to be the CMD of the National hospital.
“The Presidency is only out to reward him for treating the president’s son,” the source told DAILY NIGERIAN.
Reacting to the allegations, Mr Raji said as a Nigerian citizen he had the right to apply for any position he deemed suitable.
He denied knowledge of his disqualification by the selection board, saying he had not seen the list.
“I’m a Nigerian and I can apply for any post. I applied just like anybody else, and then I’m qualified. I have not seen the list and I don’t know anything about it. If I am invited for an interview I will attend, that just what I can tell you,” he said.
When contacted for comment, the Director of Administration and Secretary of the hospital board, Peter Ekwagkhide, initially declined to comment on the matter.
But when asked further by our correspondent, he said he was not aware of the imposition plans, saying the process is still ongoing.
“To my knowledge, I don’t know anything of that nature. At the same time I’m not in a good position to speak on this. But what I can tell you is that the process is ongoing,” he said.
Mr Ekwagkhide did not reveal when the board would resume the selection process.