Brief History of the Union

The history of Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP)

Formerly Nigerian Union of Pharmacists, Medical Technologists and Professions Allied to Medicine (NUPMPTAM).

Trade union as defined in Decree 31 of 1973 states that “Any combination of workers or employers whether temporary or permanent, the purpose of which is to regulate the terms of employment of workers whether the combination in question would or would not apart from this (Decree) Acts be unlawful combination by reason of any of its purposes being in restraint of a Trade Union body is a group of workers or corporate body of workers who have come together to regulate their terms of employment and by special circumstances in Nigeria with the backing of the law.

Prior to 1977, there were 896 registered Trade Unions in the country with four Central Labour Organizations. Major General S.K. Omojokun former Minister of Employment, labour and productivity during the launching of this union on Friday, 16th November,1984 said in paragraph 2 of his speech; “The history of trade unionism in Nigeria dates as far back as 1912 with the formation of white collar union in the civil service. This was followed by a steady growth of domestic unions with little or no bargaining power. As you are aware, development is a dynamic process and change is inevitable in the life of any society. With regards to trade unions, it has been found in a better position to discharge their obligations effectively to their members in a changing society. Accordingly, surgical operation was performed on over a thousand house unions by the administrator of trade union who was appointed by the Federal Military Government in 1976. The administrator and the team worked relentlessly in cooperation with the union leaders to reduce through amalgamations the number of house union to 71 industrial unions of junior workers, senior staff association and employers’ association”

It was this amalgamation that brought together by the grouping in the health industry what we have as the Nigeria union of Pharmacists, Medical (Technologists) Scientists and Professional Allied to Medicine made up of Pharmacists, Medical Lab Scientists, Physiotherapists, Radiographers, Dieticians, Occupational Therapist and Dental Technologist.

Post promulgation of the decree that brought together the amalgamation of professional bodies in the Health Industry, the issue of name became the very first albatross. The name given was Nigeria Union of Pharmacists, Dental and Paramedical Technologists, which was unacceptable to the group. Much more importantly at least two of the professional associations were registered in-house trade unions that were dissolved to give away to the 70 new unions. These groups through correspondence both to the Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity were anxious to see the inauguration of the union. Series of meetings were held at the Federal Ministry of Labour office situated in Ojuelegba, Lagos with members of the steering committee (nominees of each profession)

Mr. Abayomi Olasimbo, a physiotherapist was the pro tem secretary steered the ship of the union between 1977 and 1979. Series of meetings with the Ministry focusing on the change of name which was on the sore point militating against inauguration of the union yielded some fruit. A letter Ref: ML.IK/53/5.2/Sec/T/II of 17th January 1978 from the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations Department and signed for Permanent Secretary by G.C. Okogwu informed and I quote “Nigeria Union of Pharmacists, Dental and Medical Technologist.

The commissioner for Labour has approved that the above named industrial union be change to Nigeria Union of Pharmacists, Dental and Medical Technologists and Professionals allied to Medicine”.

This information was published in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette (Extra Ordinary) No. 6 Vol. 65 of 8th February 1978 and the Trade Unions Amendments Decree No. 22 of 1978 and conveyed to us in a letter Ref: ML/IK/53/SI/Sec.I/9 dated 1st of March 1979 and signed by A.H Odungide for Permanent Secretary.

Other professionals who kept the flag flying among others were:

Mr. T.A.O Adesina Medical Laboratory Scientist who later became the first President,

Late Mr. E.P Akpan, Radiographer;

Mrs. Fola Otuyelu, Dietitian;

Late Mrs. O.O Coker, Occupational Therapist.

These were nominees from their various professions. The pharmacists did not respond to invitations to attend meetings all through that period.

A steering committee was set up with some of those listed above and Messer V.M Sogbesan, (Radiographer), Bola Adelaja (MLS), John Ochei (MLS), B. Adedimeji (Dental Technologist).

However not much could be achieved as efforts to launch the union could not materialize as some were still not satisfied with the name and were pressing for a change, which translates to amendment of the decree.

Mr. A Olasimbo resigned as the secretary for personal reasons and Late Mr. E. Bassey, a Dental Technologist from LUTH was asked to take over in February 1981. Unfortunately for one year, nothing actually happened in spite of several appeals. At the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, held at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Mr. (Pastor) Fred Akinkuade was elected as the National secretary. That appointment put him in the fore burner of activities of the Association.

He was under pressure from members of his professional body primarily because of pending issues that could not be taken too far because of lack of necessary Industrial relation instruments with which to operate. He was persuaded to take over and coordinate the process of registration of the Union and act as Pro tem Secretary late in August 1982 as things were, there was no standing executive.

The initial constraints that confronted the union from inception were still visible.

  • The issue of the name other professionals felt out of place with Pharmacists and Medical Scientists (Technologists) featuring prominently.

  • Finance

  • Officials of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria were not attending meetings.

It took time, consultation and advice especially that of the Registrar of Trade Unions to make some progress.

REGISTRATION OF THE UNION

  • The process was tortuous as the Coordinator/Secretary had to visit the Registrar of Trade Unions severally, collecting mandatory signatures of members in all the professions for the purposes of registration. He had to visit different hospitals, ministries and parastatals for signature around the country.

  • There was need for a registered office of the union. A Medical Laboratory Scientist, Late Mr. Openiyi (of blessed memory) of Atoms Medical Laboratory offered their private Laboratory as the registered office at 12, Abiona close, off Falolu street, Surulere, Lagos. His other colleagues were Mr. Enaholo and Late Mr. Ajisebutu, all of blessed memory.

  • Collection of fresh application forms from the office of the Registrar of Trade Unions.

  • Copies of the approved constitution had to be printed which the Coordinator did on credit for the union when funds were not forth coming and he became a debtor on behalf of the union.

  • Preparing fresh form B (personal details of officers of the union).

  • The death of the Registrar of Trade unions that time also slowed down the process of registration.

Mr. Fred Akinkuade’s appointment as Acting Secretary was ratified at the meeting held on 3rd September 1982.

Attendance at the meeting was as follows:

  • Mr. A.O. Ukeagbu – Physiotherapist

  • Mr. R.I. Gbadamosi – Physiotherapist

  • Mrs. O.O. Coker – Occupational Therapist

  • Mr. C.E. Akporterabor – Medical Laboratory Scientist

  • Mrs. Fola Otuyelu – Dietician

  • Mr. F.O. Akinkuade – Medical Laboratory Scientist.

The Annual General meetings of the both Dental Technologists and Radiographer were on hence they could not be available for the meeting.

The posts of the union were shared out in this order:

  • President – Medical Laboratory Scientist – Mr. T.A.O. Adesina

  • Vice President – Pharmacist

  • Treasurer – Radiographer – Mrs. I. Eribo

  • Internal Auditor – Physiotherapist – Mr. J. Obiri

  • Trustee – Dental Technologist – Mrs. A. Jinmi

  • Trustee – Dietician – Mrs. Fola Otuyelu

  • Trustee – Occupational Therapist – Mrs. Omolade Coker

  • General Secretary – Medical Laboratory Scientist – Mr. Fred O. Akinkuade.

The above list of officers constituted the first Executive Council of the union. The position of the General Secretary is a paid position but paucity of funds made the occupant to function on gratis.

The certificate of registration was eventually issued on the 15th of August, 1984 and the Secretary personally collected it on the 17th of September, 1984 bringing to an end a journey that commenced in 1978. A letter of acknowledgement was sent to the Registrar of Trade unions on the 24th of September, 1984 NUPMTPAM/ORTU/54/1.

Even after the registration, he still got a letter from the Ministry of Health requesting to know if Pharmacists were members of the union. Precisely the letter was dated 28th of November, 1984 vide (C.3212/vol.1/119) which we were able to sort out with the Ministry since the initial amalgamation was a product of the restructuring by the Federal Government.

LAUNCHING OF THE UNION

Immediately after the registration, efforts were geared towards launching of the union. At the Executive Council meeting of the union on the 28th September, 1984, the launching Committee was set up with the following members;

  • Mr. Fred O. Akinkuade – Chairman

  • Mrs. I. Eribo – Member

  • Mrs. O. Coker – Member

  • Mrs. Fola Otuyelu – Member

  • Mrs. A. Jinmi – Member

  • Mr. A. Olasimbo – Member

  • Miss. Thorpe – C0-opted Member.

The hall of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs Victoria Island was secured for the Launching with 50% rebate through the effort of Mrs. I. Eribo, a Radiographer.

The Ministers of Employment, Labour and Productivity was physically present at the launching while the Minister of Health, Dr. Nsan sent a representative.

Mr. Sola Alatise, a Medical Laboratory Scientist was the Chairman of the occasion. There was a massive turn out at the launching with adequate press coverage.

POST LAUNCHING ACTIVITIES

A number of professional bodies and unions were in solidarity with us during the launching. The Nigerian Nurses and Midwives Association, Nigerian Labour Congress, Medical and Health Workers Union among others kept a close tie, with the union. For instance the Secretary was invited to present a paper on “Diagnostic approach in forming a new agenda for a reformed Health care in Nigeria” during the scientific session of the fifth Biennial Delegates conference of the Nurses in Kaduna on Tuesday 3rd March, 1992, this was honoured.

FINANCING THE UNION

Immediately after the inauguration there was a lot of excitement, but quite a number of Institutions were willing to cooperate with us on deductions of check off dues of N5 a month, some individuals especially in the rank of the Pharmacists were opting out. We then designed a form “Authority to deduct from my wages for purpose of check-off” which individuals had to sign. Even with this, it took time for it to take off as some employers, Universities, Teaching Hospitals were not cooperating.

APPOINTMENT OF EXTERNAL AUDITOR

On the 21st September, 1987, a letter was sent to the Registrar of Trade unions to approve the appointment of Messer Soji Akintujoye, a Co Chartered Accountant as our statutorily mandatory External Auditor. Approval was given and the firm became the first External Auditor. Our accounts were audited and ratified by the Ministry of Employment Labour and Productivity in 1988, 1989 and 1990 before the 1st Triennial Delegates Conference.

THE FIRST TRIENNIAL DELEGATES CONFERENCE

The recurring challenges of funds due to late take off of the union even past launching constrained our organizing the mandatory Triennial Delegates Conference. Some State branches such as Oyo, Ondo, Kwara, Anambra took off before the 1st Triennial Delegates Conference in 1991. A chapter like the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi Lagos was allowed out of desperation and administrative convenience. It was not meant to make them independent of the State branches. All the above were a prelude to the 1st Triennial Delegates Conference.

The first congress was due in 1988, however, it was eventually held at the Conference centre University of Lagos Akoka on the 18th April, 1991.

The National President Mr. T.A.O Adesina retired from Public Service and had to resign from his post. A new executive was elected at the Triennial Delegates Conference.

President – Dr. I Owoeye – Physiotherapist

Vice President – Mr. S.B. Olanisebe – Medical Laboratory Scientist

Treasurer – Mrs. I. Eribo – Radiographer

Internal Auditor – Mr. Cletus Wui – Medical Laboratory Scientist

Publicity Secretary – Mrs. Buraimoh – Dental Technologist

Trustees: Mrs. Omolade Coker – Occupational Therapist

Mrs. Fola Otuyelu – Dietician/Nutritionist

Mr. Bassey – Medical Laboratory Scientist

General Secretary – Mr. Fred Akinkuade – Medical Laboratory Scientist

There was a very powerful delegation from the Nigerian Nurses and Midwives Association led by her Executive Secretary, Mr. Olabode.

CONFEDERATION OF HEALTH UNIONS

In a collaboration move both the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Medical and Health Workers Union and this union had several meetings. This gave birth to our invitation to attend a World CONFERENCE of Health Workers on Social wellbeing, Health and Peace in Moscow in 1987. Our National Treasurer a Radiographer represented the union which was sponsored from Moscow.

A similar invitation was extended to us in 1989 from Czechoslovakia. The trip was sponsored by the Czechoslovakia Workers union. The General Secretary attended the conference representing the union.

This was the journey in the early days of the union; the little seed that was sown has grown to become a giant and a household name.

After the 1991 1st Triennial Delegates Conference, the union went into limbo. At about 1998-2004, the executive of the union led by Com. Val Ikamaeze, a Radiographer, Com. Lawal Abass (Medical Laboratory Scientist) National General Secretary who later handed over to Com. Dr. T. Onigbinde (a Physiotherapist) tried to resuscitate the union but to no avail, the union continued in her inactive state.

However, around 2002, our Comrades from Ilorin (Comrades Bernard, Fowotade and Alabi) paid a visit to Com. F.O. Faniran imploring him to assist in bringing the union back to life. After the said meeting,Com Faniran played an active role in resuscitating the union. This visit of theirs was like the wild fire that sparked up the interest again. As Com. F.O. Faniran held several meetings with various professional groups in the union. So many started showing interest again. Between 2004 and 2006 a caretaker Committee was put in place with a mandate to conduct the National Delegates Conference of the union and elect substantive executives.

Com. F.O. Faniran was the Chairman while Com. O.C. Ogbonna was the General Secretary. At this point, the union had no account, there was no money to run the union. The Chairman and the General Secretary were using their personal money to run the affairs of the union then. The union had only four (4) viable units which include; OAUTHC, Ile-Ife, UITH Ilorin, JUTH Jos and HMB Asubiaro Osogbo.

The caretaker Committee tried her best to resuscitate the union. In 2004, the involvement of the union in a meeting with the Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Eyitayo Lambo, paved way for the inclusion of members of professional Associations and union representatives into various Tertiary/Teaching Hospitals Boards which hitherto was not so.

In 2006 between 22nd and 25th November, 2006 at the Joint Heirs Cooperative building, Osogbo Osun State, the following officers emerged:

Com. F.O. Faniran National President – Physiotherapist

Com. Adeyemi Elijah – 1st National Deputy President – Medical Laboratory Scientist

Com. E.J. Akpan – 2nd National Deputy President – Radiographer

Com. M. Mallo – 3rd National Deputy President – Health Record

Com. O.C. Ogbonna – National General Secretary – Dietician

Com. A.K. Fowotade – National Treasurer – Medical Laboratory Scientist

Com. Oyeniran – National Financial Secretary – Radiographer.

Though the National Delegates took place at Osogbo, members of the union there did not participate actively. That notwithstanding, the National Delegates Conference was a success.

The new executives under the leadership of Com. Dr. F.O. Faniran resolved to inaugurate new branches all over the nation which paid off. Since then, the union has improved tremendously, more branches and State Councils were formed.

In 2007, the union’s leadership decided to change the name of the union from Nigerian Union of Pharmacists Medical Laboratory Technologists and Professions Allied to Medicine (NUPMTPAM) to Nigerian Union of Medical and Health Professionals (NUMHP). One of the health sector unions raised objection to this name and so it was dropped.

After our National Delegates Conference in May, 2011 a new name – Nigerian Union of Health Professionals (NUHP) was unanimously adopted and forwarded to the Registrar of Trade Unions in accordance with the provisions of the law but this name was rejected by the Trade Union’s Registrar.

Eventually, the National Executive Council of the union decided on February, 2012 to present two other names namely; Allied Health Professional Union of Nigeria (AHPUN) or Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP). The latter name was approved by the Trade Unions Registrar and same was approved by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity after due processes were fulfilled. Since the adoption of this new name, the union has been well accepted in many parts of the country.

The name of the union was re-launched on the 4th of April 2014 at Bayero Bero Hall Ikeja Lagos state.

The 5th National Delegates Conference of the union took place at Akwa Ibom between 5th and 8th May, 2015 and new officers emerged, they include;

Com. Dr. Ogbonna O.C – President – Dietician

Com. Utenoh Isaac – Deputy President North – Pharmacist

Com. Sotiloye V.O – Deputy President South – Physiotherapist

Com. Obisesan A.O – General Secretary – Medical Laboratory Scientist

Com. Ojiyi Happiness Chikodi – National Treasurer – Dental Therapist

Com. Akowe Jacob – National Financial Secretary – Dental Therapist

Com. Ugboaja C. – National Auditor – Radiographer

Com. Ezeanochie Nwamaka – National PRO – Physiotherapist

Com. Dr. F.O.Faniran – Immediate Past President – Physiotherapist.

The union since then had continued to make tremendous progress through establishment of various new branches and state councils.

NUPMPTAM Officers from inception to date

1978 -1984, 1984-1988 – (Akinkuade)

1984-1994, 1994-1998 – (Olanisebe/Faniran)

1998-2004 – (Val Ikanueze/Onigbinde and Lawal)

2004-2007 – (Caretaker Committee)

2007-2011 – (Faniran, Adeyemi and Ogbonna)

2011-2014 – (Faniran, Utenoh and Ogbonna)

2015-2019 – (Ogbonna/Obisesan)

Zonal Coordinators of the union 2011 – 2014

SS – Com. Roland Ogbotobo

SW – Com. Alhaji T.G. Oyetunji

SE – Com. Paul Salufu

NC – Com. Isaac Utenoh

NW – Com. Taoheed Adeyemo

NE – Com. Hassan S.

Zonal Coordinators of the union 2015-2019

SS – Com. AniebietAbasi Obot

SW – Com. Uzondu Eke

SE – Com. Paul Salufu

NC – Com. Ibrahim Kamal

NW – Com. Taoheed Adeyemo

NE – Com. Hassan S.

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