July 21, 2011

Ohanaeze Ndigbo seeks review of merit award

ENUGU—OHANAEZE  Ndigbo has called for a review in the selection process of the Nigerian National Merit Award in Medicine, Arts, Science and Technology.

Its Secretary-General, Chief Nduka Eya, said a selection process that had ignored Professor Sam Ohaegbulam, the Medical Director of Memfys International Hospital for Neurosurgery, Enugu, despite his outstanding practice since 1974, was an embarrassment to the Federal Government.

Ohaegbulam was recently given the  Excellence Gold Merit Award by African Neurological Society in Rabat, Morocco.

To ensure a more balanced decision on those nominated for national honours, he suggested that professional associations of the candidates should be carried along

Eya, former education commissioner in the defunct Anambra State, who accused Nigerians of not being proud of their own, stated that unless the inferiority complex and colonialism in Nigerians were eliminated, the country would not move forward.

He said: ”I was not surprised that the entire African neurosurgeons celebrated a Nigerian, Prof. Ohaegbulam, before his countrymen in Morocco, because the man’s medical practice and humanitarian work were enough to attract him even higher honours.

“This is a man who left the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, to establish a private hospital, Memfys International Hospital for Neurosurgery in 2002 in Enugu and shortly after that, the hospital has turned a reference point to all teaching hospitals in the South-East zone and parts of Northern Nigeria in the area of neurosurgery.”

The Ohanaeze scribe recalled that Prof. Chinua Achebe rejected a national honour because he was not comfortable with the calibre of persons on the honours list, and would not be surprised if Ohaegbulam rejected the award if it is presented it to him.

Former National chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, described the state-of-the-arts facilities at Memfys International Hospital For Neurosurgery Enugu, as not only a blessing to Africa but a big boost to Nigeria’s primary health care.

In his comments, the International President of African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect, ANPPCAN, Prof. Peter Ebigbo, said the continental award conferred on Ohaegbulam in Morocco was well deserved, adding that apart from an outstanding medical practice, Ohaegbulam had also contributed immensely to community development as a former traditional ruler and had given free lectures on neurosurgery to medical students of the University of Nigeria Nsukka for over ten years, after resigning his appointment in the ivory tower.

Similarly, the provost, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Prof. Basden Onwubere, noted that the vacuum created by the absence of Prof. Ohaegbulam had been difficult to fill, stressing that since his resignation, the college had missed his reservoir of knowledge and experience in neurosurgery.

He called on the federal government to reward him for his contributions to medical education in Africa, especially Nigeria.