With a denigrating banner, celebrative songs, drumming and dancing, hundreds of workers at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) waved off yesterday the end of tenure for the immediate past Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Professor Abdulwaheed Latinwo.
The workers, under the aegis of Joint Health Sectors Union, expressed delight that Latinwo, who spent eight years in the saddle, was finally leaving, lamenting that his regime had brought them more woe than rejoicing. It was a carnival atmosphere as many staff trooped out to either join them or watch the procession.
The ceremony started at the Ambulance Point of the hospital and the workers, dressed in colourful attires, danced to music provided by a local artiste before moving to the Administrative Block which houses the CMDs office and later to other strategic points at the facility. A group among them carried a banner with the inscription "End of a Tyrant" while others symbolically swept away the footprints of the former CMD.
Chairman of JOHESU in the hospital, Comrade Olawumi Olutunde, said members had endured the eight years Latinwo spent as head of the institution, alleging that the former CMD constituted himself into a one-man, all-knowing institution with no regard for the plight of workers.
The union is currently on a warning strike called to draw attention of the hospitals management to sundry issues about their welfare. Olutunde said all the workers are still being owed arrears of allowances for as late as 2009.
He said: "We have been fighting and having meetings with him while he was there but he was such a man that once a meeting starts he is the only one to talk, no other is considered as having anything worthwhile to say, and so we are grateful to God that his tenure has ended today.
"During his eight years we lost several of our members; particularly when he stopped all the allowances knowing full well that most workers had secured loans and were servicing such with their salaries depending only on the allowances to make ends meet. Many died of hypertension.
"He built irrelevant structures all over the place; the Consultants have about four offices each; our activity today is a message, a proverb to the incoming CMD that we don't want anyone like Latinwo. Once the new man resumes we will meet him and let him know our position.
"We want a CMD that will embrace the most current of technology and equipment in service delivery, we want a CMD that will reduce the burden of medicare for our patients not someone who will ask patients to pay N2,500 to obtain registration card alone when outside it is far less."
Effort to get a response from the former CMD was not successful as he was said to have been in Abuja since the beginning of the week.