By Segun James
The founder of FCMB Group, Chief Olasubomi Balogun, has donated his Otunba Tunwase National Pediatrics Centre (OTNPC) in Ijebu Ode to the University of Ibadan as part of his commitment towards ensuring better health for Nigerians, especially children.
Built at a cost of over N5billion, the centre will be managed by the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan and it is expected to help improve health care delivery for children in Ijebu Ode and other parts of the country.
At the ceremony, the Group Chief Executive and Chairman of Board, Otunba Tunwase Foundation, Mr. Ladi Balogun, who represented his father, described the facility as a gift to UCH and the university.
Balogun said the handover is a follow-up to the signing of a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that involved the Otunba Tunwase Foundation, the University of Ibadan and University College Hospital on October 2020 in Lagos.
The gesture, he noted, marks a significant milestone in a philanthropic project embarked upon 11 years ago, with the sole objective of providing a world-class medical facility to Nigerians, especially children, by an individual who consistently craves for the social and economic development of his fatherland.
He stated that at the end of its construction, some institutions requested to manage the hospital.
He, however, noted that his father believes that the university and UCH are in a better position to do that effectively, considering their respective pedigrees.
He expressed optimism that with the partnership, the institution will contribute to the general wellbeing of Nigerians and serve as a symbol of possibilities for all those who look to achieve greatness and give back to their fatherland.
“Following the signing of the MoU last year by all the concerned parties, the resolution is that while the University College Hospital (UCH) has been mandated to provide clinical services, the University of Ibadan (UI) will engage in research and other academic works, while students from UI would also be involved as part of the training,” he said.
Balogun added that the resolution was that while the UCH has been mandated to provide clinical services, the university will engage in research and other academic works while students from UI would also be involved as part of the training.
“Otunba Olasubomi Balogun is a well-known statesman, entrepreneur and philanthropist with several charitable projects and programmes for the people of his hometown of Ijebu-Ode, as well as other parts of Nigeria. His philanthropy ranges from the provision of this world-class medical facility to education, capacity building, youth empowerment and other socio-economic initiatives, aimed at enhancing the development of humanity and society in general,” he said.
According to him, Balogun was first inspired to build the facility when he took over the children’s hospital at the UCH Ibadan, where he was exposed to the plight of sick children and the high demand for world-class medical facility to cater for their needs in a sustainable manner.
He added that the facility, credited as a prototype of the Ormond Street Childrens’ Hospital in London, United Kingdom, will boost healthcare delivery in Ijebu Ode. He also called on well- meaning Nigerians to support the government in the area of health delivery for the people.
“At the end of its construction, some institutions requested to manage this hospital, but Otunba Balogun strongly believes that the University of Ibadan and University College Hospital are in a better position to do that, effectively and further raise its status, considering their respective pedigrees. It is our hope that this institution would contribute immensely to the general well-being of all Nigerians and serve as a symbol of great possibilities for all those who look to achieve greatness and give back to their fatherland,” he said.
The Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, lbadan, Prof. Jesse Abiodun Otegbayo, appreciated Balogun for establishing the facility in Ijebu Ode and for donating it to UCH to enhance quality healthcare delivery to the people.
He pledged that the institution will sustain the high-level healthcare services being provided at the main hospital in Ibadan.
In a remark, the Acting Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Adebola Ekanola, represented by the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Prof. Olayinka Omigbodun, assured the gathering that the facility will be transformed into the best paediatrics hospital in the Sub-Saharan Africa.