A group comprising of supporters of Labour Party in Abia State has called on Governor Alex Chioma Otti OFR to quickly caution his Special Adviser on Health Care Service Delivery, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo before she destroys the rudimentary of the civil service.
In a letter signed by Emeka Ikechukwu Iroha and sighted by our correspondent the Concerned Abia State Labour Party Supporters, accused Otti’s SA on Health of acting against the laid down principles of the civil service which if not corrected will embarrass the government.
The group made it clear that Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo lacks the power to order the Director of Nursing Service (DNS) Abia State Mrs. Dorothy Nwosu to step down.
“A commissioner cannot take a unilateral decision to remove a Director of Nursing Service (DNS) or even Principals of Nursing and Midwifery institutions in the Abia State Civil Service. And so, if a commissioner cannot, then a Special Adviser cannot even think about it.”
READ FULL LETTER BELOW:
THE NEED TO CALL DR NGOZI OKORONKWO TO ORDER
In as much as we all desire to get things done properly in Abia State, it is equally necessary that all processes to be applied in trying to get things properly done should be proper.
With the experience of what transpired as regards the market management committees, and the need to avoid a repeat of that kind of scenario, all Special Advisers to the governor have to be circumspect and think decisions through before stamping them.
We cannot in a bid of trying to correct things, trash out good eggs and replace them with bad eggs.
At the moment, tension is building in the health sector in Abia State where the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Care Service Delivery, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo is naively taking the wrong steps which will in turn paint the popular Governor Alex Chioma Otti’s government in bad light.
The civil service is structural, and no matter how smart you are in the private sector you will need some time or a good guide to help you understand the process to avoid disrupting it and creating bad blood within the system.
It is public knowledge that the previous government bastardized the civil service and it will be wrong, and shameful if this government will continue in that trend. What then will be the difference?
A commissioner cannot take a unilateral decision to remove a Director of Nursing Service (DNS) or even Principals of Nursing and Midwifery institutions in the Abia State Civil Service. And so, if a commissioner cannot, then a Special Adviser cannot even think about it.”
So, the attempt by Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo to remove the DNS and replace her with her sister from the same Item in Bende Local Government Area without following the due process, without minding her capacity and equally not minding the allegations and indictment on this her sister is purely a corrupt decision.
Otti’s administration must not be seen as rewarding corrupt people just because they have someone close to the government. The government must equally not fall for the trap of describing everyone as corrupt just because they worked in the past administration.
Take for example, the Director of Nursing Service in Abia State Mrs. Dorothy Nwosu, is one person that has shown so much passion in her duty, she has worked uprightly and is the only DNS that has taken it upon herself to fight for the collegiate upgrade of Nursing and Midwifery institutions in Abia State.
The collegiate upgrade will enable nursing and midwifery graduates from Abia State to participate in NYSC, the DNS who is in Abuja at the moment has almost gotten the approval and now they want to maliciously remove her because of the intention of Dr Ngozi to favour her sister Mrs Nwakaego Onyeukwu.
Meanwhile, the position of DNS is a product of career progression and can only terminate by retirement or when indicted by a panel or committee that must be set up by the Head of Service. An SA cannot just declare that a DNS should step aside, it is not done in civil service.
The government should equally be worried because nursing and midwifery students in Abia State are already getting agitated over the rumour that their DNS which is working tirelessly to upgrade their institutions is about to be removed. They are aware that the removal of the DNS will delay the process of the institution’s upgrade and equally defeat their desire to participate in NYSC.
This agitation by students if not carefully managed, can lead to a protest which ultimately will embarrass the government. This cannot be allowed to happen at this time when the government is facing numerous battles on different fronts.
It is important to also note that Abia State Nursing and Midwifery Schools have until Wednesday 28th June 2023 to conclude collegiate issue, or the schools stand the risk of the National Nursing Council Abuja withdrawing her accreditations. This will be the worst embarrassment that the Otti’s government will face as students and parents will revolt.
As for the principals, necessary civil service procedures must be followed. Moreover, why on earth will these principals be removed, when they have set standards that are currently been emulated by other neighbouring state nursing institutions?
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Care Service Delivery Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo, needs to be aware that the office she is occupying is new and there is nothing wrong with telling people to show you or teach you the procedures and processes.
Throwing allegations on the principals without being informed herself is bad. The school fees of Nursing students in Abia State were formally above N350, 000, it was this current DNS that pleaded with the former governor to reduce it to N215,000 considering the economic situation of Nigeria.
Dr Ngozi cannot be alleging that students pay another N155,000 just based on hearsay with no evidence to show, not knowing that the N155, 000 is part of the N215, 000 paid by the students. Civil Service is a critical organization that relies on facts and evidence to take decisions and is not based on emotional sentiment.
If you think you have your facts against the principals, set up a committee, invite them, put the evidence before them and allow them to equally defend themselves. That is due process and the process must be transparent.
Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo must be careful with the information she is being fed by Permanent Secretary Dcn Ekwueme, she is looking for every avenue to remove the principals because they rejected to accept her list of nursing applicants during the last process of intake.
The principals rejected it because it is not in their place to accept the list, it is the job of the DNS to accept the list, scrutinize the applicants and make sure that due process is followed.
The challenges in the Ministry of Health in Abia State are humongous and the task before Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo is massive. From fixing the primary and secondary healthcare centres in Abia State, making the healthcare centres functional, to payment of backlog of salaries to health workers, returning the accreditation of ABSUTH and many other challenges. Dr Ngozi should not allow herself to be distracted by the nursing institutions because of the personal interest of some people who have the aim of using these institutions as their cash cows.
Emeka Ikechukwu Iroha
For: Concerned Abia State Labour Party Supporters