MEDICAL AND DENTAL CONSULTANTS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (MDCAN) REJOINDER TO PROFESSOR EMMANUEL OSODEKE, THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES (ASUU) ON ELIGIBILITY OF POSTGRADUATE MEDICAL AND DENTAL FELLOWSHIP FOR THE POSITIONS OF VICE CHANCELLOR IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES
The attention of the Medical and Dental Consultants' Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has been drawn to an interview credited to Professor V.E. Osodeke, the National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), published by the Punch Newspaper on Sunday, 12th September 2021. Our initial reaction was to ignore the uninformed opinion of Professor Osodeke but for the risk of the unguarded statement being given any credence, as it would have been taken for granted that someone who occupies the position of the President of ASUU is knowledgeable about the peculiarities of different academic and professional training programmes that make up the membership of the body he leads. We are therefore constrained to make this clarification.
There is no confusion about Medical and Dental Postgraduate Fellowship and PhD and neither can they be substituted for one another. Attempts by Professor Osodeke and his cohorts to devalue the Medical and Dental Postgraduate Fellowship to a sub-academic degree, exposes their sheer ignorance of medical education as well as deep animosity towards the medical profession. It is pertinent to state that an old, misguided circular by National Universities Commission (NUC), which Professor Osodeke and his cohorts are basing their unfounded argument on has since been withdrawn. Furthermore, it will be surprising that Professor Osodeke will claim to be unaware that the Lagos State University (LASU)Governing Council amended its earlier advert for the position of Vice Chancellor to include the Postgraduate Medical and Dental Fellowship.
It is important to state unequivocally that the Fellowship is the highest obtainable academic and professional qualification in Clinical Medicine and Dentistry. The certification is issued by the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, a Postgraduate Institution established by the Act of the National Assembly (National Postgraduate Medical College Decree No. 67 of 24th September, 1979, now Cap N59, Laws of the Federation, 2004). The institution was established in 1979 and it is till today, the apex and only tertiary institution in Nigeria for postgraduate academic and professional education in Clinical Medicine and Dentistry.
Furthermore, the philosophy behind the establishment of this special postgraduate institution was because the founders of postgraduate Clinical Medicine and Dentistry thought it fit to integrate both professional and academic training together, a feat that may be impracticable within the regular university system. This way, the National Postgraduate Medical College is, therefore, able to meet the human resource needs of both the healthcare industry and the Colleges of Medicine. This dual nature, is a peculiarity of medical education worldwide and is not peculiar to Nigeria. We therefore reiterate once again that the Postgraduate Medical and Dental Fellowship is the only qualification recognized by the NUC to teach in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Dentistry in the entire country. It is therefore counterintuitive that a qualification that is adequate for employment and promotion would be found unsuitable for the position of Vice Chancellor. It will be important to mention that several Clinical Lecturers with Postgraduate Medical and Dental Fellowships have been Vice Chancellors of many Universities in Nigeria with stellar and enviable performance.
In addition, the unguarded statement by Professor Osodeke calls to question, not only his leadership style, but his scholastic competence as he is a "no show" in virtually all international academic platforms. The interview has failed woefully and unsuccessfully in denigrating the qualification of significant proportion of the ASUU members that he claims to be leading, as the Clinical Lecturers are bonafide members of ASUU. We therefore advise Professor Osodeke to desist from exhibiting such uninformed opinion that has the tendency to cause division among the rank and file of ASUU membership. We sincerely hope Professor Osodeke will avail himself of several publications on Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education in Nigeria and around the world, and their peculiarities, rather than exhibit such crass ignorance aimed at confusing the Nigerian Populace.
We therefore demand an unreserved apology for this public gaffe by the ASUU president.
Dr. Victor Makanjuola
Dr. Yemi R. Raji