Debo Adeoye, Ibadan
Emeritus Professor Oladipo Olujimi Akinkugbe, the foremost Nigerian Professor of Medicine, first professor of medicine to be appointed by any African University, has died in Ibadan at the age of 87 years after a brief illness.
According to available information, the late Professor of Medicine had been sick for some time. In fact, we heard he just came back last week from Germany where he went for treatment.
A source added that, “he got worse yesterday and died at his son’s house. The son had to take him to his house at Onireke (in Ibadan) for care.”
Mr. Toye Akinrinola, the head of University College Hospital (UCH), Public Relations Department, also confirmed his death on Monday when contacted on phone.
Akinkugbe, who was promoted to a chair of medicine at the University of Ibadan at the age of 35 years was born in Ondo town in Ondo State. His father was a chemist and druggist that was connected to the marble rich clan of Igbeti in Oyo State.
Professor Akinkugbe attended Government College, Ibadan, along with Professor Woke Soyinka and Chief Christopher Kolade. He was a brilliant student and established himself as an undisputed leader in the science subjects. He was later admitted to study medicine at the University College Ibadan in 1951.
After passing his 2nd MB examination in 1955, he was posted to University of London [the Royal London Hospital] for his clinical studies, wherein 1958, he obtained his MBBS of London without any skirmishes. After completing a six months internship at the London Hospital, Professor Akinkugbe then embarked on numerous short programmes in different institutions, expanding his knowledge and experience, and obtaining a diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the University of Liverpool in 1960.
Being a western region government scholar, Professor Akinkugbe came back to Nigeria in 1961 and took an appointment with Government Specialist Hospital, Adeoyo, Ibadan. But later that year he went back to England to do his DPhil. programme in Oxford.
On successful completion, he returned to Nigeria to take up a lectureship at the Department of Medicine University of Ibadan in January 1965.
Thus began Professor Akinkugbe’s brilliant academic career during which he became Professor of Medicine in 1968, Dean Medicine 1970 – 74 and Head of Medicine 1972. Taking special interest in Hypertension and Kidney diseases, he has made tremendous contributions in these areas.
He studied and taught at some of the world’s most prestigious universities, including the University of London, Balliol College, University of Oxford England and Harvard Medical School Boston, USA.
He was Chairman, Vesta Healthcare Partners and Chairman of the Presidential Projects Implementation Committee (PPIC) on refurbishing of Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria.
He was also a chairman of the Board of Management of University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria and one-time Chairman of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.
He also served as Pro-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt; was a former Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria; a former Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin; and a former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
Before hanging the stethoscope, Akinkugbe He practised medicine for 60 years. During the period, he pioneered the establishment of two critical clinics, one in hypertension and the other in renal disorders at the UCH, Ibadan. Both clinics were firsts in Africa.
After retirement, Akinkugbe established his own clinic, the Ibadan Hypertension Clinic, which he managed for 20 years.
He has attended over one hundred national and international professional, scientific, educational and health conferences, in the past forty years, in all the continents of the globe. He has made presentations in many of these conferences. Published many authoritative works, and received numerous awards. He is a member and fellow of over twenty international organizations, societies and institutions.
He is a recipient of the National Honour of Cote De Voire. Within Nigeria, Professor Akinkugbe was Foundation Chairman Joint Admission and Matriculation Board [JAMB]; Principal and Foundation Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin; Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria; Chairman Planning Committee, Ondo State University; Chairman Planning Committee, University of Abuja; Chairman of the Presidential Projects Implementation Committee (PPIC) on the refurbishing of Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria; Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Port Harcourt. To each appointment, he has brought a very high degree of knowledge, skill, thoroughness, dedication and above all integrity and transparency. He was married with two sons.