President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Team
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and some appointees in the Health Sector

A Talent Hunter, his Minister and their Stars

By Rahma Olamide Oladosu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has in the course of his remarkable political career earned the huge reputation of a successful talent hunter due to the ease with which he recruits the best Nigerian brains from across the world to join him in his election-winning exploits and visionary governance.

As governor of Lagos state, the exceptionally brilliant men and women he recruited did not only set the foundation for what is now known as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, they have also gone ahead to become Vice Presidents, governors, ministers, federal lawmakers, heads of federal agencies etc. Wherever they go, they shine brightest and exhibit this uncommon intellect and rare vision of where the country ought to be and how it should get there.

As a restless statesman who will not stop until he gets to the top and takes Nigeria to where it belongs in the comity of nations, aside from grooming some unknown individuals with potential to help him deliver good governance, he also smartly befriends the self-made ones whose sheer brilliancy and capacity he cannot resist because he knows he would need them in the future to help him actualise his vision in a particular field. One of those outstanding Nigerians who President Tinubu has befriended over the years and who is now helping him to succeed in his field is the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate.

Pate is a household name in this country, and he needs no introduction anywhere in the world as far as medicine and health governance are concerned. He was the one Tinubu identified as the action man to lead the actualisation of his vision for medical industrialisation and self-sufficiency in the production of drugs and other pharmaceuticals. Obviously, he is a square peg in a square hole.

But since President Tinubu and Professor Pate cannot do it alone, they have recruited a couple of individuals with eye-catching CV to head strategic agencies that are crucial to the actualisation of their masterplan.

The appointees include:

1. Dr. Muyi Aina: He is the Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). He is an experienced management consultant and public health professional with a background in healthcare and management consulting.  He brings over 25 years of national and international experience in human development, healthcare leadership, and executive management. He has vast experience designing and implementing transformative public health programs and interventions spanning Primary Health Care development, healthcare financing, immunisation, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, MNCH, disease eradication, global health security, health systems leadership and innovation.

Dr. Aina has a medical degree from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. He earned an MPH in International Health from Harvard University and a PhD in infectious disease epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also holds a certificate in vaccine science and policy from Johns Hopkins University.

2. Dr. Kelechi Ohiri: He is the Director-General of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), an agency that was legislatively revamped last year to operate as Public Private Partnership and directed at providing accessible, affordable and qualitative healthcare for all Nigerians.

He recently held the position of managing partner at Flint Atlantic Capital Partners as a medical doctor with extensive experience in the healthcare sector spanning clinical medicine, consultancy and advisory roles in both the public and private sectors.

Dr. Ohiri holds a medical degree from the University of Lagos and acquired a master’s degree in public health and health policy and management from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. During his time at Harvard, he was a Healthcare Management Fellow.

3. Dr. Temitope Ilori: He is the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), an agency that provides an enabling policy environment and stable ongoing facilitation of proactive multi sectoral planning, coordinated implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all HIV/AIDS prevention and impact mitigation activities in Nigeria.

She served as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Community Medicine at the University of Ibadan and has been actively involved in policy formulation and strategic development. She served as the Commissioner for Health in Osun State, Nigeria, from 2011 to 2014,

Dr. Ilori holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Ibadan. Her scholarly pursuits extend further as she pursues her PhD. at the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

4. Professor Saleh Yuguda: He is the Director-General of the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC), the government institution charged with the responsibility of regulating, coordinating and providing safe, adequate and quality blood and blood products for transfusion in a cost-effective manner to all who may require it in Nigeria with an emphasis on voluntary non-remunerated blood donation in order to save lives across the country.

He is a dedicated academician and a compassionate healthcare practitioner, holding in reference the learned toga of a professor, and Chief Consultant Haematologist, at the department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Gombe State University and Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe.

Professor Yuguda bagged his MBBS degree at the University of Maiduguri and obtained the Fellowship of Faculty of Pathology (FMCPath), National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, majoring in Haematology and Blood Transfusion from the University College Hospital Ibadan. He has received several awards. He has also engaged in a lot of community services at the local, state, national, and international levels.

5. Dr. Fatima Kyari: She is the Registrar/CEO of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), an agency aimed to regulate the practice of Medicine, Dentistry and Alternative Medicine in the most efficient manner that safeguards best healthcare delivery for Nigerians.

She is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology at the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is an adviser for Light for the World, an international non-governmental development organisation (INGDO) based in Austria, supporting the development of Glaucoma Programmes in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Mozambique.

Dr. Kyari had her medical training at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and ophthalmology residency training at National Eye Centre, Kaduna, Nigeria. She completed her MSc in Public Health for Eye Care and PhD. at the ICEH at LSHTM.

6. Pharm Ibrahim Babashehu Ahmed: He is the Registrar of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), a government parastatal charged with the responsibility of regulating and controlling pharmacy education, training and practice in all aspects and ramifications, including regulating Pharmacy Technicians and Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors (PPMVs).

He was until his appointment with the Director and Head of Planning, Research and Statistics Department at the PCN Head Office/Registry. He has held several positions in the service of PCN, including being a member of the management team since 2004.

Pharm Ahmed is a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN) and has served the PSN in various capacities such as Council member, Chairman, Electoral Committee.

7. Dr. Tosan Erhabor: He is the Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), an agency whose mission is to strengthen the health laboratory systems and professional practice for quality services through strategic regulations and accreditation.

He is a seasoned Medical Laboratory Scientist and civil servant with about 24 years of experience. He started his working career as a Lecturer, at School of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Benin Teaching Hospital.

Dr. Erhabor is an active member of Association of Medical Laboratory of Scientist of Nigeria (AMLSN), International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science (IFBLS) and a member of IFBLS Expert Group on Hematology. He has attended several training sessions both in Nigeria and Overseas including Canada 2000, Sweden 2004, India 2008, USA 2009, Kenya 2010 and South Africa 2012.

8. Dr. Olajide Idris: He is the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the national public health institute with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies.

He stands as a distinguished figure with a journey spanning over three decades in the field of public health and healthcare administration in Nigeria. His journey in healthcare administration took a significant turn when he assumed leadership roles in the Lagos State health system and for nearly two decades, he steered the largest subnational health system in Nigeria, leaving an indelible mark on the sector.

Dr. Idris pursued a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Yale University in Connecticut, USA. His quest for knowledge also led him to engage in post-doctoral research at Columbia University in New York, USA.

Last Line

Nigerians are waiting with bated breadth to see where President Tinubu and Professor Pate will take the health sector to. With the above set of appointees, the wait will be worth it.