Prof. Innocent Ujah,, has been elected as the new president of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).
The former Director General of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research was among other executive members elected at the end of the association’s 60th Annual General Conference and Delegates Meeting held virtually on Saturday.
Ujah, who is currently the Vice Chancellor of the newly created Federal University of Medical Science, Otukpo, Benue State, polled 347 votes to beat his closest rival, Dr. Oguzie Jerry-the-First, who got 19 votes during the association’s first ever Zoom election held Saturday evening. Other contenders, Ibekwe Titus, got six votes while Katibi Ibrahim polled only five votes.
In his acceptance speech, Ujah said despite the challenges occasioned by COVID-19, NMA successfully used technology to conduct itsnational elections, adding that the welfare of doctors will be his priority for the next two years as President of the association.
Ujah, a professor of Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, was born on November 6, 1954, and hails from Aidogodo-Okpoga, Okpokwu council of Benue State.
Ujah, promised to devote his best to the association.
He said : “Today, history is made in the annals of the NMA that despite the challenges occasioned by the novel virus ravaging the nations, the NMA is also able to collectively evolve a novel approach in using technology to conduct its meetings and further conducting elections using electronic means into the national offices,” he said.
“I am excited, humble and grateful to God Almighty and you all for electing me as the President of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). Thank you for this great honor and privilege, whose import is deeply ingrained in my conscience.
“You have spoken with your votes and expressed with clarity your trust in me and my leadership ability by this broad-based national and inter-generational support across the country. With this trust comes a great responsibility to lead our great and vibrant Association with confident strides towards the path of glory and positive impact. I am pleased to say that I have humbly accepted to serve as your President from 2020 to 2022. I promise to devote every effort to lead our Association to greatness.
“Our administration will take the issue of the welfare of our members as a top priority. We will lobby and advocate for improved renumeration, realistic hazard allowance, Universal applicability and many others.”
Ujah also promised to look into ways of reducing the cost of running the NMA.
Also elected into the National Officers Committee of the NMA to run the affairs of the association for the next two years were Professor Rasaaq Adebayo, 1st Vice President and Dr Daiyabu Ibrahim, 2nd Vice President.
Others are Dr Phillips Ekpe, Secretary-General; Dr Saliu Oseni, Deputy Secretary-General; Dr Eric Anazodo, National Treasurer; Dr Jauro Pobe, National Financial Secretary, and Dr Uwah Aniekeme, National Publicity Secretary.
With this new development, Professor Innocent Ujah as NMA President replaces Dr Francis Faduyile as the new president for 2020 to 2022.
However, there are concerns that as a VC of a federal government institution, the role of the association as a pressure group may weaken overtime.
Sharing his thoughts on this, a Lagos NMA E-Delegate and a Columnist, Dr. Goke Arogundade, said that: “The NMA is a major pressure group in the health sector and some even argued it is a quasi-trade Union. But having a VC of a government institution as President will weaken the body, as he has a bigger job with government to protect.”
Meanwhile, a Consultant, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Ekpe Philips Uche, emerged Secretary General of NMA, scoring 264 votes, while his closest rival, Dr. Galadinma Usman, got 113 votes.
Lagos’ immediate past NMA Chairman, Dr. Saliu Oseni emerged Deputy Secretary General of the association scoring 98 per cent to beat his closest rival.