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MOSES ADEKOYEJO MAJEKODUNMI (1916-2012)

By NBF News

The nation has lost one of its leading lights in medical practice with the death of a foremost physician and former Minister of Health in the First Republic, Dr. Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi. Aged 95, the late consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Senator and Sole Administrator of defunct Western Region, died on April 12, 2012 in his Ikoyi, Lagos residence.

Since his demise, notable Nigerians including President Goodluck Jonathan have eulogized the sterling qualities of the renowned medical practitioner. In his tribute, President Jonathan noted that Majekodunmi's wisdom, immense patriotism, dedication to work, commitment to national service and excellence would undoubtedly be sorely missed by his family, friends, associates and the whole country.

Jonathan also observed that the deceased distinguished himself, not only during his brief sojourn as a federal minister and administrator of the old Western Region, but also as one of the pioneers of high quality private healthcare services in Nigeria.

In the same vein, other Nigerians have lauded Majekodunmi's exceptional and inspiring medical practice that eventually culminated in his founding of St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos. They also praised his nationalistic politics and selfless service to humanity.

Born on August 17, 1916 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the deceased was educated at Abeokuta Grammar School, St. Gregory's College, Lagos, before proceeding to the University of Dublin where he bagged 2nd Class Honours degree in Anatomy and Physiology in 1936. He also obtained a 1st Class in Bacteriology and Clinical Medicine between 1938 and 1940.

In Dublin, he worked as in-house physician at the National Children's Hospital in 1941 and the Rotunda Hospital from 1941-1942. The deceased came back to Nigeria in 1943 and joined the Federal Government Medical Services as a medical doctor. His medical practice there spanned 1943 -1949 before he was elected into the Nigerian Senate in 1960.

Later, he became the Federal Minister of Health as well as the Sole Administrator of the defunct Western Region in 1962 following the declaration of state of emergence in the region due to political crisis. He was on the board of Westminster Dredging Company as well as Union Bank. Majekodunmi was also member, Board of Governors, St. Gregory's College, Lagos.

The deceased was awarded honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D) degree of the University of Dublin and honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) degree of the University of Lagos. The Federal government also conferred on him the honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 1982. Also, he was a recipient of the foreign honour of Companion, Order of St. Michael and St. Gregory of United Kingdom.

Some of his publications include: Premature Infants: Management and Prognosis (1943); Partial Atresia of the Cervix Complicating Pregnancy (1946); Sub-Acute Intussusception in Adolescents (1948); Thiopentone Sodium in Operative Obstetrics (1954); Rupture of Uterus Involving the Bladder (1955); and Medical Education and the Health Services: A Critical Review of Priorities in a Developing Country (1966).

The late medic and nationalist will be remembered for his indelible contributions to national development through selfless services in medicine and politics. His accepting the leadership role at a period Western Region was engulfed in deep political crisis, between the Obafemi Awolowo camp and that of Samuel Akintola, was patriotic. One of his legacies was the establishment of St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos. Till date, the medical edifice remains one of the nation's best referral centres.

Though the deceased practised politics for a while, he dedicated most of his life to his first calling, the practice of medicine. We urge our present-day medical doctors to emulate the patriotic qualities of the departed medical icon and his shining examples. Perhaps, the best way to immortalize him is to ensure that St. Nicholas Hospital lived up to the billing of its founder by keeping his vision alive. We commiserate with his family friends and professional colleagues for the huge loss. May his soul rest in peace.


A man dies daily, only to be reborn in the morning, bigger, better and wiser
By: Latoyah Opoku