67 hearty cheers to UI’s 11th Vice-Chancellor and Nigeria’s medical icon, Prof Isaac Folorunso Adewole, FAS

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

 By Olatunji Muhammed Oladejo

It is gratifying to note that all over the world, countries are known for greatness through efforts of their patriotic citizens who positively impacted their immediate environment and the world at large; people whose efforts will be remembered by generations. These people at one time or the other were confronted with challenges but they were capable of putting them off. One of such people is the 11th Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan and immediate past Minister of Health, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole (IFA), a man of keen intellect.

Advertisements

Not many people would remember that in 1984, Professor Adewole, as a progressive unionist was elected President of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria and led a nationwide strike that resulted in his dismissal by the then military head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently the President of Nigeria. The same person appointed him the Minister of Health and served in that capacity from 2015 to 2019 shortly before the end of his tenure as the 11th Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan.

The Federal Ministry of Health under his watch developed one of the most ambitious health programme in Africa to achieve UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE using Primary Health Care as the fulcrum. The programme aimed to provide 10,000 functional Primary Health Care facilities in Nigeria covering every political wards and this was able to provide access to basic essential health care to about 100 million Nigerians. There are indications that the same programme is being implemented in Osun State under Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s administration by leveraging on the resourceful expertise of Prof. Adewole. Indeed, he is a real change agent in government.

When Buhari declared him a wanted man,  Prof. Adewole went into exile. He used the period to productively work at the Cancer Campaign Research Institute in London, where he authored four papers.

Thereafter, he had a meteoric rise in medical politics as he was showered with an avalanche of top-notch appointments in medical associations  at home and abroad.

A Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science (FAS), Prof. Adewole is one of Nigeria’s most prolific writers in the medical field. He has authored over 200 scholarly articles in learned journals and over 20 books in various areas of medicine. Mention must be made of the training manual he co-authored on sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV prevention for medical students in Nigeria in 2007. The manual is currently being used in medical colleges in Nigerian universities.

Prof. Adewole is a strong pillar and significant reference point among researchers and scholars in his medical field. To incessantly quote him has been for them, a salutary demonstration of intellect and erudition. In every way, Prof. Adewole is a great medical scientist.

An avalanche of laurels have been conferred on him by appreciative beneficiaries all over the world.

As the 11th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, he was passionately committed to the welfare  and capacity development of staff and students of the institution for its sustainable growth. Apart from regular payment of salaries, only God knows how many academic and non-academic staff benefited from his staff development programme by exposing them to international conferences and training programme.

It is amazing how Prof. Adewole always helps staff get up to speed. He knows how to gauge the mood of his staff for an improved performance.  I recall a day he invited me to his office and asked me “Oladejo, why have you not come to me for any request like others?”. I responded: “I don’t have any request, sir” “But others have been coming to me for overseas trainings which I have granted”, he quipped. I replied: “I don’t need it sir.” Then, as a big boss, he retorted: “I hope nothing is wrong with you?; ask me anything and I will grant it.” I did not talk. He continued: “You must go to Israel for a management training” Thereafter, he directed that the trip must be processed immediately. Not a fault of his, the trip was aborted. The rest is history. I have since moved on. To God be the glory!

I am privileged to be on the team of Prof. Adewole through which I closely worked with him  for nearly three years. I learnt a lot from the Master’s feet in many ways.

He knows how to handle any complex situation in an adroit manner. Is there any challenge that IFA cannot handle? I ask?
To some people, however, he has his misdeeds. Nobody is perfect!

Again, not many people would remember that it was Professor Adewole’s Vice-Chancellorship that recognised that  management and students’s union engagement could be approached in a refreshingly different manner.

Prof. Adewole felt the need to change student leaders orientation in pressing home their demands before management without violence.

During one of his visits to UK, he noticed a students’ union President of University of the West England, Emmanuel Okon,  was a Nigerian and he wondered how he managed to win an election in a university dominated by the whites.

He established a relationship with him and invited him to the University of Ibadan. Okon spoke at the Leadership Capacity Workshop held at the the UI Hotels’ Conference Centre now Subomi Balogun Conference Centre. The programme was targeted at all student leaders comprising Students’ Union Executives Council,  Students’ Representatives Council ( SRC) Faculty Presidents, Hall Chairmen and Departmental Executive Committees.

The essence of Okon’s visit was to share the modern strategies student leaders could use to press home their demands from University administrators without violence.

He did justice to the topic and Prof. Adewole felt the UI student leaders should also travel abroad to see for themselves how things were being rightly done.

Four student leaders benefitted from this initiatve and were sponsored for the trip to University of the West England. They were the President, Mr. Babatunde Olamide Badmus (BB), Department of Theatre Arts, Faculty of Arts; Vice-President, Miss Oluwaseun Adebiyi , Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences; General Secretary, Mr. Ayokanmi Akinbuluma, Faculty of Law and the Speaker of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC)  Mr. Oluyemi Sarumi, Department of  Dentistry, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine. These four student leaders travelled to UWE in 2013. This experience changed the narratives on Effective Management/Students’Union Engagement.

Not many people would remember that as the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adewole worked with missionary zeal to sustain the prime position of Nigeria’s premier University and transform it into one of Africa’s top 10 Universities and one of the most prestigious Universities in the world.

It is really admirable how Prof. Adewole always sees projects through from conception to completion. The 1000 capacity Computer Based Testing (CBT), Distance Learning Centre, Ajibode Extension, the initiative of Prof. Adewole led administration, remains a star project in the University system in Nigeria. The Registrar/Chief Executive, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede alluded to the Centre as one of the best for examination condition in the country drawing the attention of other Universities to go to UI and see how examinations are conducted. Adewole’s  efforts at strengthening UI’s culture have, therefore, not gone unnoticed. Fantastic work! We thank Prof. Oloyede for the endorsement.

Even when the going gets tough, he continues to have the best attitude.

He is  exceptionally devoted to his family, friends and associates, and maintains excellent relations at all times.

It was Winston Churchill who famously said that good and great are seldom in the same man. Prof. Adewole is delightfully a rare exception. He belongs to a pantheon of his own. The whole world already knows that he is accomplished in his own field. But beyond his greatness as an accomplished academic and administrator, he is also an exceptionally good man, extra-ordinary patriot, extremely decent being and outstanding family man.

IFA is not selfish! IFA is selfless! IFA knows how to serve others! IFA motivates others to be selfless!

For all the outstanding achievements, service to God and humanity, we are proud that UI produces, Prof. Adewole!

For a fulfilling and remarkable earthly sojourn of positive difference, life of distinction and an indellibe name in the “Book of Records”, I celebrate your special day, May 5, appreciating God’s blessings in your life.

For me, a day is not enough to celebrate this intellectual power house, versatile product of the University of Ibadan, whom Osun State, Nigeria, Africa and the world are proud of.  May your star of excellence continue to shine.

*CONGRATULATIONS AND HAPPY HAPPY 67TH BIRTHDAY SIR!!!*

Olatunji Muhammed Oladejo, JP, MNIPR is Director of Public Communication, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *