The former Director General of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Innocent Ujah, has emerged President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).
Ujah, who is the Vice Chancellor of the newly created Federal University of Medical Science, Otukpo, Benue State, polled 347 votes to beat his closest rival, Dr. Oguzie Jerry-the-First, who got 19 votes during the association’s first ever Zoom election held Saturday evening.
In his acceptance speech, Ujah said despite the challenges occasioned by COVID-19, NMA successfully used technology to conduct itsnational elections, adding that the welfare of doctors will be his priority for the next two years as President of the association.
He said: “We face a crucial time with the COVID-19 pandemic which is not just a health crisis but a socioeconomic crisis. Hence, NMA must be innovative in its approach. We will look at how to reduce the cost of running the association by adopting technology for some of our meetings. We will manage our resources with integrity and ensure that international standards of financial management are adopted in NMA in order to enhance accountability and transparency in the day-to-day operations of our Association. In addition, we will seek innovative ways for sustainable funding for NMA. I want to appeal to our members with such ideas to please reach out to the NOC with their contributions.”
The professor will now take over from Dr. Francis Faduyile who until now was the president of the association since May 2018.
However, there are concerns that as a VC of a federal government institution, the role of the association as a pressure group may weaken overtime.
Sharing his thoughts on this, Lagos NMA Member and a Columnist, Dr. Goke Akinrogunde, who observed the E-Annual Delegates Meeting, told THISDAY that: “The NMA is a major pressure group in the health sector and some even argued it is a quasi-trade Union. But having a VC of a government institution as President will weaken the body, as he has a bigger job with government to protect.”
Meanwhile, a Consultant, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Ekpe Philips Uche, emerged Secretary General of NMA, scoring 264 votes, while his closest rival, Dr. Galadinma Usman, got 113 votes.
Lagos’ immediate past NMA Chairman, Dr. Saliu Oseni emerged Deputy Secretary General of the association scoring 98 per cent to beat his closest rival.