Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The struggle over who becomes the next Chief Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has assumed an ethnic dimension with a group operating under the aegis of “Cross River State Network for Good Governance and Justice” calling for the next occupant of the office to come from the state’s Central senatorial district.

The group said they were rooting for someone from the central senatorial district because the position has in recent years been occupied on senatorial basis, a development they noted informed the emergence of the current CMD of the hospital, Professor Thomas Agan, who hails from the state’s Northern senatorial district.

Making their stance known in a press statement made available to THISDAY in Calabar, they argued thus: “Statistics at our disposal have revealed that in the last 35 years, the Southern brothers have held the position of the CMD for about 18 years while the Central and North have held it for 16 years.”

In a statement signed by Comrade Edet Asuquo, and Comrade Bassey Bassey Ibor, Coordinator and Secretary of the group respectively, it said it was the zoning policy that saw to the emergence of CMDs for the hospital right from the tenure of Professor Roland Ndoma Egba.

They pointed out that from the fallout of the screening of the candidates done on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, three aspirants Professor Ikpeme Ikpeme, Professor Edet Ikpi, and Professor Ngim Ngim, who emerged first, second and third respectively, have been forwarded to the Presidency for appointment as the next CMD.

“We are aware that the tussle has moved to Abuja to ensure their favoured candidates are selected. But, what is disturbing is the intrigues and machinations adopted for the selection processes, which have raised the alarm over the issue of rotation of the position.

“We have it on good record that since the era of Prof Egba, there has been a common understanding that the seat has been rotated among South, Central and North.

“While Prof Egba (Central) handed over to Prof Etetim Asuquo (South) and then the incumbent, Prof Agan from North, we had also expected that the incumbent should have handed over to somebody at the Central,” the statement said.
The group said though they were not against merit in appointing a successor to Agan, they were insisting on following equity and justice by zoning the position to a contestant from the Central senatorial district.

They stated that among the candidates was Prof. Ikpi, a former Commissioner of Health of Cross River State and former Chairman Medical Advisory Committee of the UCTH, who hails from the Central senatorial district.

Making a case for the appointment of Ikpi, the group said: “He equally has international experience having served as Professor and Chairman for the Faculty of Surgery of the Liberian College of Physicians and Surgeons as well as Member of the Liberian Postgraduate Medical Council under the World Bank’s Health Workforce Project for Liberia.
“It is our considered opinion that his appointment will engender a sense of equity and fairness in the polity and that given his tremendous administrative experience, he will bring remarkable progress to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.”