The claim by the Oyo State Government that it disbursed N118 Million to the University College Hospital (UCH) has led to a serious altercation as the premier medical institution insisted that it did not receive any money from the state government.
Officials of the Oyo State Government subsequently came out to explain that they didn’t actually give money to UCH, but that rather they gave medical equipments and assistance worth that amount to the institution.
That matter appeared to have died down, until Wednesday, July 1, 2020, when the spokesman for UCH, Mr Toye Akinrinola, was featured on a live interview programme anchored by Isaac Brown.
While answering questions, Mr Toye berated officials of the state government ‘for trying to play smart’, and their inability to differentiate between the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, and the University College Hospital (UCH).
Things however, got more interesting when Governor Makinde‘s Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa called live into the programme to tackle the UCH PRO.
Mr Akinrinola of the UCH had earlier said that the state government was not sincere on the issue of assistance to the institution.
According to him, though the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde claimed to have given equipments worth over N25m to them, nothing close to such was received by the hospital.
Akinrinola listed items so far received from the state government to include: 250 face shields, 25 reusable gowns, 10 overalls, and a few other items. He further claimed that immediately after UCH released a rebuttal against the government statement, three prominent politicians called the UCH CMD, asking the CMD to come and receive the N5m which the government announced that it had already given to UCH.
He added that: “After the CMD got those calls, he was advised against going to the Ministry of Finance because, it was thought that the government was trying to be too clever. How do you announce to the whole world that you have given money to somebody, but days after, the person denied receiving any money, then you now ask the person (through other people) to come and collect the money?”
The UCH PRO also disclosed that after announcement was made by the Ministry of Finance to the effect that monies had been disbursed to the UCH, Mr Akinrinola said he immediately put a call through to the Governor‘s CPS, Taiwo Adisa, to express displeasure, and to tell him that the statement released by Oyo state Commissioner of Finance was incorrect and unfair.
According to him, the CPS’s response was that the commissioner couldn’t have made the release if he didn’t have his facts right.
It was at this point that the programme anchor, Isaac Brown, announced that Governor Makinde‘s Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, was live on phone to explain government‘s side of the argument. Asked to respond, Taiwo Adisa confirmed receiving a call from Akinrinola, and that all what the UCH spokesman said were all correct.
He continued by saying, although UCH was yet to receive the equipments as promised, the money had already been disbursed to government suppliers, according to records at the Oyo state Ministry of Finance. He explained that maybe the government suppliers were having logistical challenges in delivering the items.
According to him, Governor Makinde wouldn’t release monies directly to UCH because the government doesn’t want to take chances with regards to having equipments stuck in transit, as a result of lockdowns.
He said that Governor Makinde had previously given money to the institution, but that management of UCH complained that it couldn’t access the funds, due to complications occasioned by Treasury Single Account, TSA. He advised UCH to be patient with Oyo state government’s supplier.
The UCH spokesman was apparently not satisfied with Adisa’s explanations.
Asked to respond, Akinrinola again berated the government for not stating clearly in its press release that it ordered for equipment for UCH, instead of claiming that it released monies to the institution. The interview hereafter, took a dramatic turn when Mr Akinrinola said:
“They claimed to have already supplied the Virology Department of the UCH with equipments worth N25m. However the worth of everything we’ve gotten from them so far, according to their own claim, is N2m. I can confirm to you that the items supplied to us, which I listed earlier, is much less than N2m.
“Besides, I wonder where they buy their own equipments, but I believe that we all buy from the same market. And based on that, I can tell you authoritatively that those items cost much less than the N2m that they claim.
“The government has work to do, because, when you give contracts out for construction or supplies, you have to do oversight in order to make sure that the contractor delivers to specifications, and not rip you off.”
At this point, Taiwo Adisa got offended and thrown courtesy to the wind. Because rather than address the substance of Akinrinola’s accusations, his next response bordered more on emotions.
He said: “Let UCH mind their own business. Oyo State Government is not on the same level, we’re not at par with the UCH, and so, we do not have to join issues or exchange words with them.
“The Oyo State Government is the owner of every square inch of land in this entire state. UCH is just one of many other health facilities and institutions within the state. Let them mind their business of treating patients under the mandate of the federal government.
“They should better leave governance to those elected to do so,” he concluded.
The matter has since become a subject of debate as people wondered why officials of the two institutions would come to the public to tackle one another over a matter they said should have been secretly solved amicably.