Lagos State Medical doctors again went on a long strike. The Hospitals are malfunctioning. People are dying and the state is flooded in blood. Where is Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state?
In nostalgia, I reflect on our late great leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who has been described by the late Odumegu Ojukwu as “The best President Nigeria never had.” This was the man who with little wealth from cocoa in his hand, implemented perfectly, his four cardinal points which included free education, free health services, electricity and rural development. But for him, many of us in my generation would not have found the way to the classroom.
This is what Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has gradually and systematically eroded. Lagos State schools are not only in shambles but also the school fees are prohibitive. Unless Fashola’s governance. Closely at the heels of Awolowo is ex-Governor Jakande who clinically carried out with great success, the programmes enunciated by the great leader in Lagos state. Jakande’s term ended the reign of the good governors in Lagos state-governors who have the integrity and love for the welfare of the people. Subsequent governors concentrated in grandiose programmes and projects which provide thick cover for siphoning public money into their pockets and those of their political grandfathers and cronies. For this, Lagos has failed to assume that appellation, “The centre of Excellence” which was the case during the golden era of ex-governor Lateef Jakande. Today, the same Lagos State is submerged in blood from the poor and down-trodden citizens who could not be flown abroad for medical treatment, because Lagos State medical Doctors are on strike.
Why should medical Doctors in Lagos State be allowed to go on strike, you may want to ask? Strikes, all over the world are means of bringing employers in agreement with employees over conditions of service. Though rare, when the card of strike is used no one side can declare it illegal. According to section 628 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) code the responsibility for declaring a strike illegal should not be with the government but with an independent body which has the confidence of the parties involved.”
What makes Fashola’s case traumatic is that he is not only a lawyer, but a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who is expected to know and uphold not only the rule of law, but also the sanctity of the law. How on earth, can a governor in his right mind, rather than negotiating with the striking 788 medical Doctors unilaterally sacks them, and replacing them with the inexperienced riffraff Doctors who he had enticed with salary packages twice the normal salaries they should have earned. Yet these fire-on-the-mountain half-baked referral Doctors cannot provide the needed medical services and the result is that Governor Fashola is systematically sending these patients who otherwise should have survived, to their early graves. What a cruel and heartless way to resolve labour dispute? These are the citizens who the Lagos State Governor …