COVID 10m+; Akinkugbe; Ajimobi

Tony Marinho

 

COVID-19 records deaths approaching 530,000 infections 10,400,000, with around 26,000 recognised cases in Nigeria. Stay safe!!

The astronomical increase in Covid-19 cases is no joke. ‘Social Distancing’ is no joke. The words ‘Safe Distancing’ are better at family level. Nigerians: ask ‘Am I safe, is my family safe?’ If in doubt – stay at home. Pray, stay at home.

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A tribute in memory of Emeritus Professor O. O. Akinkugbe July 17, 1933 – June 15, 2020.

I first met Professor Akinkugbe when I was a medical student 1968-74 in the College of Medicine/ University College Hospital Ibadan.

Flowing sparkling white coats billowing behind ‘stethoscope strangled’ necks and a retinue of hurrying clinical staff, followed by medical students like myself, was a daily sight to behold in UCH.

It was a glorious foothold and opportunity to participate in the days when UCH was properly funded and maintained, spotless, sparklingly clean and the fourth best teaching hospital in the Commonwealth and where Saudi kings came for treatment and queens delivered princes and princesses and medical students reported for first class ward rounds, lectures and tutorials with their teachers – Consultants and Professors who appeared infallible and ‘godly’.

Professor Akinkugbe will remain in our medical history as among the top rank of medical and administrative professionals as an iconic academic, medical and university administrator, medical guru in the fields of hypertension and renal disease, post-graduate educationist, large international figure and one with valuable government and medical agency connections.

He is a prime example of his professional generation which strengthened the faculty of medicine/ medical school foundation laid by a dedicated team of mainly British academic doctors who came with missionary zeal to start UCH in Adeoyo Maternity Hospital before moving to UCH.

For me, it was an honour to be known by him. In our profession, when you see your revered teachers leaving an event you instinctively offer to accompany them to their vehicle.

It was always an uplifting pleasure to accompany any of his generation on such short trips. One of his many talents was choosing enigmatic titles for his numerous excellently delivered academic and public lectures.

His first medical love, active patient care, shone through his numerous accolades as dean, founding vice chancellor of University of Ilorin and member/chairman of many organisations including medical supplies and Health Management Organisations.

After the hurly burly of active medicine, in later life, he established the Hypertension Clinic, where he kept his precious library.

He ran that clinic, with a charity component, till 85yrs of age when he memorably ‘Hung His Stethoscope’, out of his reach, on a tree in a well-attended international event.

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He extended his generosity to me when he and Professor E. Edozien once asked if I was interested in the health minister’s post.

‘Yes, sirs,’ I said appreciatively, but declined [mistakenly, in the angry view of some family and friends] because ‘I could not work with the then government structure’. And that was the end, since they did not or could not change the government just to give me a job, haha!

Specifically variously as a member,  distinguished member,  chairman, patron and trustee of Educare Trust over most of the entire 26 year life of Educare Trust till his passing, Emeritus Professor O.O. Akinkugbe has lent his name, stature, advice, multifaceted experience,  presence and financial support to almost all of the many Educare Trust’s board meetings and its myriad activities to stimulate the youth to greater heights.

He was never willingly absent from Educare Trust meetings and youth activities. He was at the opening of our first Educare Trust Exhibition Centre in Brick House Bodija in 1997.

Thus, his impact on youth in Educare Trust was immeasurably large, multifaceted, and varied. He followed the first chairman, Dr J.O. Toyosi into that post and helped give Educare Trust the steady hand and, through his reputation, an international stamp of recognition associated with his person and those of his distinguished colleagues, also patrons and trustees in similar positions of towering role model giants and elders.

The entire Educare Trust Family deeply mourn Emeritus Professor Akinkugbe. We will miss his grand but unassuming presence, his incisive contributions and constant prompt attendance.

Educare Trust has been blessed with a cloak of dignity in willing senior ladies and gentlemen. We join them to encourage his wife, Professor Mrs F. Akinkugbe, children and entire family. May he rest in perfect peace. Amen.

We also mourn late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, immediate past two-term governor of Oyo State who is credited with, among other things, facilitating the restoration of dignity of labour at BCOS, the technology university and infrastructural projects.

He is also credited with breaking ‘the jinx’ of a ‘one term/governor’ for the state and bringing peace to a state sadly previously known for murderous inter and intraparty political mayhem and the instability of the unbridled territorial ambition and disgruntlement of ‘other ranks and file’ in the parallel political hierarchy of the motor parks which spilt over into violence leaving innocent bystanders unsettled, dead, injured or deprived of their possessions.

We mourn, with his loved ones at this time, especially Chief Mrs Florence Ajimobi and the children, and the wider family.

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Such a family loss is a huge personal paralysis and almost unbearable family burden. We pray that God will grant them the support strategies needed, Amen. May he rest in peace, Amen.

Source: The Nation Online Nigeria

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