Enugu Medical Doctors’ Election Turns Bloody Amid Allegations of Rigging

The elections of the Enugu State Chapter of Nigerian Medical Association has been truncated after it was marred by allegations and fracas from rival camps within the association. The event left one contestant, Dr Onyia, who is a resident doctor in the Parklane Hospital, Enugu, with head and hand injuries from bottle stabs. The election was put into chaos despite the presence of police and other security personnel.

Trouble started to brew when some members of the Association were put under investigation for corrupt practices by the embattled Chairman, Dr Ike Okwesili for refusing to remit Association dues as it is appropriate. “The major problem now is that there is a scheduled NMA Enugu state election and they are insisting that they must come and vote. Meanwhile, some centres are not boarded because they know they did not meet the constitutional requirement and I tell people this is not proper that they are behaving like rascals. That is the problem,” he disclosed to Vanguard News.

He said, “So what they are trying to do now is that people are contesting the election and insisting that the non-financial members must be cleared. They went and cooked up a meeting that was not even properly constituted and started shouting suspension. Why don’t they come and take over the secretariat? These are just a few individuals and a lot of senior persons are embarrassed. These people, the disciplinary committee headed by our past two chairmen, the Cardiologist, Prof Ejim and Prof Agwu had found them wanting and they want to renege on it. They don’t want to obey clear laid down rules. It’s politically motivated, there are those who have an interest in the election and that’s why they are pushing the rubbish.”

It was observed that a group of the Medical Doctors’ Association conducted an emergency virtual meeting, claiming that it has suspended the State Chairman, Dr Ike Okwesili, appointing one Dr Onyekachi Ugwuonye of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu as its Acting Chairman. It also ordered Dr Okwesili to the Ethic and Disciplinary Committee, on allegation of gross abuse of office for stopping a previous State Executive Council, SEC meeting that had already been scheduled. The group alleged that Okwesili illegally withdrew the rights and privileges of some members of the Association, suspended others based on misinformation, and planned to bar members of the Association of Resident Doctors of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, ARD ESUT-TH Parklane, from fully participating in the state NMA affairs.

The ARD ESUT-TH Parklane and some others, feared that their candidate is being rigged out of the election and reacted with rancour. They insisted, “The Chairman, Dr Ike Okwesili, stands suspended and has been referred to the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee, on account of gross abuse of office by deliberately and abruptly truncating an ongoing SEC meeting where weighty issues of withdrawal of rights, privileges, and suspension of members were to be discussed, a development that can throw the association into chaos.” This was disclosed in a communiqué he signed with Dr Izuchukwu Okam as the emergency presiding officer.

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