Home News ICOMAA Presidents extol Ogunlesi’s virtues, 1st Nigerian Professor of Medicine

ICOMAA Presidents extol Ogunlesi’s virtues, 1st Nigerian Professor of Medicine

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By IBUKUN EMIOLA

IBADAN- Two prominent leaders of the Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association (ICOMAA) have extolled the virtues of the late first Professor of Medicine, Prof. Theophilus Ogunlesi, describing him as a
great clinician.

Dr Abraham Ariyo, the President, North America U.S. chapter of ICOMAA and Prof. Emmanuel Otolorin, President, ICOMAA Worldwide, spoke in their separate condolences made available to newsmen on Monday in Ibadan.

Ariyo, also the Director, HeartMasters Cardiology and Interventional Cardiologist, Baylor Scott & White
Medical Center, described Ogunlesi as, “a
great clinician, an astute scientist, a doctor of doctors and a teacher of teachers.”

According to him, Ogunlesi, born on July 12, 1923, died on Jan. 19, 2023, in Sagamu, at 99 years old. He became the first Nigerian Professor of Medicine from 1965 and retired in 1983.

“He was a Professor Emeritus of Medicine from 1983 to 2023 at the Nigeria’s Premier Medical School, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

“Ogunlesi, a first Nigerian Professor of Medicine, was a great clinician, an astute scientist, a doctor of doctors, and a teacher of teachers.

“As Emeritus Professor, he gave a tutorial to my class in 1985 as new clinical students at U.C.H.

“My classmates still remember him drawing some futuristic map on the blackboard, which looks like the current electronic medical records of 2023. He was smart, with a brilliant mind and longitudinal foresight.”

“Young Ogunlesi attended St. Paul’s Primary School in Sagamu (1930-36) and his Secondary Education at C.M.S. Grammar School in Lagos (1936-40).

“He was a precious child nicknamed “professor” by his elementary school teacher. He distinguished himself and leapfrogged many grades because of his exceptional abilities,” Ariyo said.

In his condolence, Otolorin said: “Erín wó” is a Yoruba adage which literally means the Elephant has fallen.

“That adage summarises our feeling about the passing of our legendary and erudite scholar, Prof. Theophilus O. Ogunlesi, the first Nigerian Internal Medicine specialist.”

According to him, in his latter years, he was one of the pioneers of postgraduate medical education in Nigeria and became the teacher of teachers and mentor of mentors.

“He was the father of rural medicine, promoting students’ learning in Igbo-Ora and Eruwa. This students’ rotation helped to contextualise classroom learning and improve students’ understanding of preventive and curative medicine.

“His passing at 99 was unexpected as most of us were looking forward to celebrating his 100th birthday anniversary in July 2023.

“Man proposes, but God disposes ! May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace and may the Good Lord grant his family the fortitude to bear his loss at this time.

“You have left your footprints in the sands of time. You legacy will never be forgotten. Thank you for your service.

“Though, a product of the Yaba School of Health Sciences, he led the fight for the recognition of Nigerian Medical Doctors by travelling to UK to sit for the Medical Licenciate examinations that was then a requirement for appointment as a Medical Officer, thus shortcutting a six-year journey to that appointment.

“He later went back to UK to obtain the MRCP Degree in internal medicine. Hence, he was the first Nigerian to be appointed as a Consultant in Medicine in the then Medical School of the University of Ibadan,” Otolorin said.(NAN)

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