Doctors Strike: NMA President resigns, then withdraws resignation letter

The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Kayode Obembe, on Friday resigned and then rescinded his resignation following controversies over calling off the ongoing doctors’ strike.

Mr. Obembe said the NMA’s insistence on continuing the doctors’ strike led to his resignation on Friday morning.
He said he could not continue with “the deception that the strike continues.”

In a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES by the NMA secretariat, Mr. Obembe said: “I want to make it categorically clear that I stand by every letter of the document I signed – THAT THE STRIKE WAS SUSPENDED. And since upon my integrity and honour, I cannot continue to drive the doctrine that ‘strike continues’, I hereby tender my letter of resignation as NMA president.”

However, a few hours later, the NMA via its twitter handle said its president had rescinded his decision.

At 8 p.m. on Friday, the NMA through its twitter handle

“It’s also apt to state that the on-going Industrial Action by Nigerian Doctors has NOT been called off. Not until the FG heeds our demands.

“Consultations are still on-going and we shall update you with progress reports. To all concerned Drs and members of the public, THANK YOU”.

The Secretary-General of the NMA, Alayaki Adewunmi, confirmed the situation to PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Adewunmi told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday night that Mr. Obembe had indeed withdrawn his resignation letter.

“The letter was written and issued in the morning, but was withdrawn this night. We had a meeting, a national officers meeting, and he (Obembe) believed that was not the right thing to do, so he withdrew the letter. We would be having another meeting on Tuesday to discuss the way forward,” Mr. Adewunmi said.

There were reports on Monday that the doctors had suspended their strike, based on a letter by Mr. Obembe. The association, however, refuted the ‘speculation’ via its twitter handle.

“There have been speculation in the media about an unfounded report of @nmanigeria suspending the NMA strike; this report has not emanated from the leadership of @nmanigeria. Consultations are still on-going and we shall report as soon as concluded,” it stated.

The association also denied any conflict between members and their president.

“Claims of cracks within the NMA are deceitful and attempts to further mislead the Nigerian public. The NMA has been one and will remain so,” the association said via Twitter.

Also on Wednesday, there were reports that after a meeting of its leadership, the NMA suspended the strike; reports the association again refuted.

Following condemnations and pleas by Nigerians that it suspends its strike to at least address the current Ebola pandemic in the country, the NMA on Thursday, asked Nigerians to put pressure on the federal government.

“Why is everybody only begging @nmanigeria to call off the strike and no one is calling on @FG to satisfy our demands? #Hypocrisy #nmastrike,” it tweeted.

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