By: GBENRO ADEOYE
Ademola Fashola, the father of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, has been flown to the United States for medical attention for an undisclosed ailment, as the crisis rocking the health sector in the state continues.
The governor’s father was said to be accompanied by two doctors from the state, one of who is the Medical Director of Ebute-Metta Health Centre, F. O. Williams.
The governor, on Monday, sacked 788 striking doctors following their failure to respond to queries issued to them to defend the strike action.
The doctors had gone on a three-day warning strike to press for the full implementation of an agreement reached with the state government over an improved salary structure called CONMESS.
A senior official of the state government, who did not want his name published, confirmed that the elder Fashola had been evacuated from the country before the strike.
“I also heard about it but it didn’t happen during the ongoing crisis,” he said. “I heard that his father had been flown out before the strike started at all.”
As at the time of this report, Dr Williams could not be reached as calls made to his mobile phone were unsuccessful.
Following the sacking of the doctors and their subsequent forced eviction from their staff quarters, the state government announced that it has employed 373 substitute doctors into its health system.
The state’ Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, also said more applications have been received from doctors interested in working in state-owned hospitals.
However, checks at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and some other state-owned hospitals revealed that many of the new doctors were yet to resume; thus jeopardising the fate of hundreds of sick residents.
One of the affected doctors, who also did not want his name published, claimed that the governor once stated, during one of their negotiations, “that he has no need for public hospitals”.
“Fashola told us that he doesn’t use facilities in state hospitals and that whatever project he carries out there is not for himself,” he said.
The doctor also claimed that former Lagos State Governor and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftain, Bola Tinubu, last year, at a meeting to broker peace between the state government and the doctors, said the state could afford to shut down all its public hospitals.
“Tinubu told us that if his mother fell ill, he could afford to fly her outside the country and even pay the bills if all residents visited private hospitals,” he added.
When contacted, Idris confirmed that the governor’s father was recently flown abroad, but on a referral from LASUTH. “He was attended to at the teaching hospital; and it was at the teaching hospital that he was referred abroad,” he said, while refusing to state the nature of Fashola’s ailment.