CELEBRATING ISAAC ADEWOLE AT 68

Adeyinka Aderinto pays tribute to Adewole, former Minister of Health

He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but has great dreams of making positive impacts in the world. He would have been in another field solving problems but with the right counselling, he chose to stay within the professional fold of medicine where from scratch, he showed that though the beginning may seem tough, the future is bright with the right commitment to excellence. And with such commitment, he has pursued his career, touching home and abroad. He has brought glory not only unto himself, his state, Osun state, his homeland, Ilesa but to Nigeria and the world. Through his brilliant performances, he has won several international fellowship, grants and honours in the field of health and administration.

In 1978, he won the Glaxo Allenbury Prize for overall best performance in pediatrics. He was Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan; Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan and just as he was about leaving office after serving his constitutional five-year term, the federal government identified excellence in him as President Muhammadu Buhari nominated him as one of his minister-nominees to be screened by the National Assembly. He would later be put in his area of strength to head the Health Ministry where he revisited the primary health care system in the country and ensured that a Cancer Center was inaugurated as promised during his screening at the National Assembly. As Minister, he also worked to significantly improve the health of women and girls, and by extension, the health of men through the Saving One Million Lives Programme. Ladies and Gentlemen, unto us, a son was born on May 5, 1954 in Ilesha. He was named Isaac FolorunsoNot even a diviner would have predicted the phenomenon that was born and how impactful he would be to humanity. The boy of 1954 is now 68!

He attended Ilesa Grammar School, where he obtained a Grade one certificate with distinction in 1970 and Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 1972. In October 1973, he enrolled at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan; where he obtained an MBBS degree. On 1 October, 1997, he was promoted to the rank of a Professor of Medicine at the University of Ibadan.

How do we celebrate this phenomenon in a country with high unemployment and poverty rates? We cannot be held down by the poverty that is ravaging the land nor by the insecurity which has gripped everyone with fear. We need to celebrate those who do good unto humanity. This is why celebrating a highly cerebral scientist, accomplished administrator and role model to many people is perfectly in order. The month of May, which is number five, symbolizes grace which obviously has been with the Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Health, Isaac Folorunso Adewole, as he continues to tower higher in accomplishments. Folorunsho can roughly be interpreted as the one who God watches over or secures. Little wonder, he has fought several battles and God has given him victories in all. It is not a mere coincidence that Professor Adewole is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. His month of birth was named after the Roman goddess of fertility, Maia and it is a month loaded with success and love. Professor Adewole’s researches and scientific breakthroughs are in the areas of reproductive health and Oncology, and keeping the body healthy from diseases, particularly for women and girls.    

I know the celebrant having worked with him as his Director of Special duties while he was the Vice chancellor at the University of Ibadan. In this capacity, I superintended the implementation of his strategic plans for the premier university. With all sense of modesty, Professor Adewole achieved more than ninety percent of his dreams. The acronym of his name Isaac Folorunso Adewole (IFA) deifies him as an oracle, a man of mission and vision and the methodology to accomplish such tasks. His path was in activism which makes him focus on the welfare of his staff everywhere he has worked. As the 11th Vice Chancellor of the Premier University, University of Ibadan, Adewole’s tenure witnessed relative peace occasioned by his prompt attention to staff welfare, staff recruitment and human capital development. To his administration’s credit was the revitalization of University of Ibadan Teaching and Research Farm, establishment of a Hatchery, the UI Microfinance Bank, UI Water factory, UI Maternity center, the 33 kva power station, the National Institute for Maternal and Child Health, UI Research foundation, among several landmark academic and infrastructural projects. UI’s global ranking also improved significantly during his tenure. For all he has done, IFA has received awards both nationally and internationally from reputable organisations, professional associations and governments of countries. IFA, this is wishing you many happy returns, and renewed strength in the service of humanity.

Professor Aderinto is former Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) of the University of Ibadan

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