18th February, 2015
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has appealed to the state’s health workers never to embark on strike again no matter the provocation or disagreement between them and their employer.
Fashola, who spoke at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, southwest Nigeria at the 2015 State Council on Health, said medical workers had the responsibility to save lives and as such they should bury the idea of ever embarking on strike again to express their grievances or demand for their rights.
He told the doctors, nurses and other health workers that they must reach a consensus never to go on strike again, as their professional calling had placed them in a position akin to that of God on earth.
“I ask this not for myself; I ask it for the public that you serve. I have said repeatedly and I will say it again, you are like God on earth and God does not go on strike. And I believe that when all is said and done, we cannot live a life without government and differences,” he said.
Recalling a time in his early career as a young lawyer when he and some of his colleagues planned to go on strike, Fashola said when the late Chief FRA Williams heard about it, they were summoned and that the veteran legal luminary warned that he would be the first to petition against them as lawyers do not go on strike.
“The only reason he gave us was: ‘What about your clients; what would you tell them?’” the Governor said, adding that if lawyers could not go on strike in order not to delay justice to their clients, the onus was more heavily on doctors and other health workers who have the onerous responsibility to save lives.
“Now, I don’t know how physicians see themselves but I know how I see them. When you lie down and you are ill, that is the time the full weight of a physician dawns on you. I told some people the other day that the physician and the nurse are the only people who can tell you not to go out today and you won’t argue. It is an awesome power,” he said.
According to the governor, “the powers you have over us do not come ordinarily because I believe powers and privileges come with enormous responsibilities. So, I make that appeal today and I hope that somehow you will find a consensus and, perhaps, truly then could we set ourselves aside as Centre of Excellence.”
Governor Fashola praised the state’s health workers whom he said, against all odds, had remained resourceful, inventive and unyielding in seeking to keep the people of Lagos in a state of well-being, adding that the ever increasing population of the state remained the greatest challenge.
The governor said in terms of infrastructure, his administration’s impact had been felt, especially in the area where it has sought to reduce infant and maternal mortality, adding, “we have delivered today seven out of ten Maternal and Childcare Centres, each a 100-bed facility for women and children. The remaining three, I believe, will be completed before the end of the year.”
“We now have a state-of-the-art Burns Unit, the Ayinke House is undergoing a total reconstruction and re-equipment and should be completed in a matter of weeks. We now have the largest Cardiac and Renal Centre in the whole of West Africa in Gbagada and it is now undergoing pre-commissioning testing and will open very soon for business. Our new School of Nursing in Igando, Alimosho is up and running,” he said.