Lagos — Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, yesterday, said he had no power to reinstate the 788 sacked doctors in the state health service, adding that he has no power to employ or sack any doctor.
Fashola who spoke in a television programme in Lagos denied any involvement in the sack of the doctors.
The governor, who spoke without prejudice, regretted that people had failed to understand that government is only an institution and people in public office would one day complete their service and leave while the institution remains.
Fashola said: "I don't even have the power to employ a doctor. A doctor is employed by the Health Service Commission and the Hospital Management Board that have delegated authority to the commission in line with the law made by the State House of Assembly. This body deals with employment, they approve promotions, they have disciplinary powers and also powers to review disciplinary procedures. The law does not give the governor any role to play in that process.
"Except the appointment of the chairman and other members of the board on the recommendation of the Commissioner for Health, that is the only role the governor has to play there."
Fashola further explained that his approval was not needed in promotion, employment as well as in disciplinary procedures, stating that what is happening currently with the doctors was an institution that is acting.
Condition for their recall
Fashola who insisted that government would allow institutions to work independently noted that the only condition for their recall would be if he is advised to do so by the appropriate authorities.
Fashola said the doctors were employed by the state health commission and were answerable to it and not the governor, noting: "If I receive advice that I can do so, I probably would. The problem there is that the law does not give me a role to play except in appointment."
Drawing analogy with elections, he said: "The law says that once you appoint a chairman, he is independent. Then, it is wrong for me or anyone to say go and change that. No matter how aggrieved we feel, we must allow institutions to work. If anyone is aggrieved with the results, you have to go to a tribunal to say that the results were wrong.
"If they failed to do their job or is done improperly, there is institution also set up to correct them. They cannot be self correct."
He said if all the parties genuinely seek solution, there will be away out.
Denies walking out on doctors
He denied reports that he (Fashola) ever walked out on the doctors, saying he only excused himself for another engagement.
He said: "All I can do is what I did yesterday. I had an engagement to receive a governor, I was running late. I had an appointment. They doctors said they want to see me.
"The courteous thing to do was to see them with our people. And to say look I don't believe that the doors are closed but you find the keys to open the doors. Go back to your employers. But you must excuse me for this meeting because I am going somewhere. As a courtesy, I have received you and even in spite of that, I spent time with you and have to excuse my self. These are the facts of the matter.
"Those who know me know that it was not the truth. I have a legitimate reason not to be with them but I waited for them to see what we could do to promote peace."