The protest rocking the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, heightened on Wednesday as protesting workers locked Governor Ayodele Fayose out.
Some staff had staged violent protests following the death of two doctors from the hospital that were among the six doctors and a driver that died along Abuja-Kaduna road on April 24.
The deceased and six others were on their way to the Nigerian Medical Association’s Annual General Meeting.
The protesters had called for the immediate removal of the Chief Medical Director, Dr Majekodunmi Ayodele, accusing him of being responsible for the cause of the accident.
Two of the doctors, Dr. Tunde Aladesanmi and Dr. Alex Akinyele, were staff of the hospital.
Fayose had met stakeholders consisting of all medical and non-medical workers, traditional rulers and Ayodele at the Government House, Ado Ekiti, where he pleaded with parties to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign.
But the situation in the hospital got worse on Wednesday as the protesters barricaded the highways and carried three mock coffins of Ayodele with the inscription “R.I.P. Dr Majekodunmi Ayodele”, with the photograph of the CMD affixed.
The governor, who rushed to the hospital on hearing about the protest, was barred from entering the premises by the protesters. They blocked the main gate with a hummer bus belonging to the hospital.
The presence of some traditional rulers did not help as the monarchs left in a disappointed, having been held in the sun for over an hour.
The governor, after about an hour of waiting at the gate, eventually succumbed to the will of the staff and addressed them outside the hospital premises.
Fayose said, “I’m not here for Ayodele. I’m here for you. This is a federal hospital. As much as you don’t want him again. I support you. I want to thank you for your patience, but we have to remember that we have no other place than Ekiti State and we should ensure that hooligans don’t hijack this protest from us.
What you are doing today goes to show that the people’s power is greater than those in power.
“The death of our six doctors is still fresh in our memories, so we cannot afford to lose other lives. It is so unfortunate that the actions and inactions of Dr Ayodele has led us to this level and deprive many Ekiti indigenes the needed medical services.
“If it is in advanced clime or advanced democracy or if I were Dr. Ayodele, I will resign. I held a meeting with the management on Tuesday, May 10, where I told the CMD that he has not done well for this state and the hospital in the way he manages the affairs of this institution. Nobody can give kudos to him with the way he has run this place.
“Dr Ayodele cannot be bigger than this institution. There was a rumour that I brought him here to resume office, this is not true. I cannot identify with him under this circumstance. I want to tell you staff that you have a good case. One man cannot be greater than you, but you need to be careful.
“I will write my own report before the end of today(Wednesday) and send to Abuja on the need for the federal government through the Ministry of Health to make a change in this hospital by withdrawing the appointment of Dr Ayodele with immediate effect. I will tell them, that the CMD can no longer enjoy your confidence.
“Federal Government must not treat my request as opposition voice. Let me put on record that the FG will be held responsible if anything happens.
“But as you stage this protest, I want to plead that you allow patients who need medical care to be treated here in the interest of our well being.”
Fayose called on the Police and the Department of State Services to work hand-in-hand and prevent the protest from being hijacked or escalate before controllable state.
In a related development, the Olojudo of Ido Ekiti, Oba Ayorinde Ilori-Faboro in a meeting with the governor at his palace said that the hospital crisis had engulfed the community.
He appealed to the Federal Government to set up a panel of enquiry into the crisis, adding that even if the CMD would go as demanded by the staff, a cabal of the staff workers allegedly insitgating the crisis against the management of the hospital must also be shown the way out.
He also said that he was leading a high-powered delegation to brief the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, on the recommendation of the governor.