On Saturday, Otunba (Dr.) Michael Olasubomi Balogun, Founder of First City Monument Bank, (FCMB) and philanthropist signed an agreement handing over the Otunba Tunwase National Pediatric Centre (OTNPC) to be jointly managed by the University of Ibadan (UI) and University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
Otunba said that the agreement between the parties is to ensure a smooth running and management of the facility. He said:
”On my 60th birthday in 1994, I built this referral tertiary hospital for health care services, teaching, and research into all aspects of child health.
“Upon the completion, we considered who to hand it over to and the first Provost of OTNPC, Prof. Adenike Grange suggested that it should be handed over to the University of Ibadan. She assured me that if it was given to the University of Ibadan, the University College Hospital will definitely be involved in its running. She said while the UCH handled the clinical part, UI will involve in academic research to bring the centre into the world terrain.
“I didn’t know that there was any dichotomy between UI and UCH. I wasn’t aware that UI is a separate entity from UCH and that UCH is owned by the government.
”We had in place all the facilities required for the delivery of world-class healthcare for residents. Student paediatricians were in place to engage in research work. In spite of this, things have not been running smoothly according to my dream. I was worried.
“On several occasions, the Chief Medical Director would inform me of staff rebellion.
“Subsequently, medical staff and patients were all leaving. At first, I thought it was something ephemeral and that everything will be alright. My understanding had been that UCH will be fully involved in the running of affairs at the OTNPC.
“The saddest part of it all was when my wife received a WhatsApp message. I wish I could read it here. In the message, I was praised that I built a state-of-the-art pediatric hospital in Nigeria and that for one reason or the other the medical experts working at the hospital and patients have deserted the place because I was using the blood of the children to increase my wealth.
“I broke down in tears the day I got that message. I knelt down in prayer to the good Lord to help me. And thank God, the good Lord answered our prayer.
“I therefore want to appeal to the VC and CMD to work collectively to resuscitate the OTNPC to meet the yearnings of the founder of the place.
“When I decided to give OTNPC to Ibadan, people raised the alarm because OAU and Babcock University wanted it too.
“But because of my association with the UI as well as UCH, I felt I was safe. I am appealing to all of you for the sake of God and humanity and the children born and unborn, the UI and UCH are together and should work as one to revive the hospital.”
“UCH should oversee the day-to-day running while UI will engage in research and other academic works. Let us keep our eyes on OTNPC. We should not allow a lofty idea of a patriotic individual to be destroyed. I want us to bring back the old glory as both UI and UCH to take over the place.
“The knotty point which can cause any delay has been sorted out by the grace of God. The chairmanship will be rotated between UI and UCH so that it doesn’t appear that anybody is seen as an underdog.”
The OTNPC is a world-class healthcare facility for infants built on 50 acres of land along Sagamu-Benin Expressway way.