By Tolulope Macaulay
Founding Vice-chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Emeritus Professor Oladipo Olujimi Akinkugbe, has been reported to have passed away on the 15th of June, 2020 at the age of 86.
The Vanguard newspaper had earlier reported the demise of the Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Ibadan. According to the report, he died after a brief illness.
Prof. Akinkugbe who was a distinguished and well respected academic and physician is said to have laid the foundation for the pre-eminent status of the ‘better by far’ university that is most admired today.
According to the University’s current VC, Prof. Age AbdulKareem, the erudite scholar can appropriately be referred to as “the founding father of the university who envisioned many years ago what others could not see. He was an accomplished administrator who laid the foundation for the alluring status of the University of Ilorin for others to build it into what it is today.”
The Professor was first the university’s principal from 1975 to 1977 while it was still a university college, before becoming the first Vice-chancellor of the university in 1977 to 1978.
He was dedicated to giving his services to his country’s national institutions, mainly the health and educational sector. He practiced medicine for 60 years and was a professor of medicine for 50 years at the University of Ibadan.
During the course of his service in the medical sector in Ibadan, he pioneered the establishment of two important clinics at the University College Hospital, a clinic majorly for hypertension and the other for the treatment of renal disorders both which were the first in Africa.
After retiring from the University of Ibadan, he went on to establish his own clinic, the Ibadan Hypertension clinic which he ran for 20 years before finally ‘hanging his stethoscope’ in 2018.
The Punch newspapers states that the professor can be compared to Hippocrates in Classical Greece for his excellence in medicine and medical education in Nigeria which is beyond debate. In the course of his 60 years in medicine, he also trained and mentored a lot of people at home and abroad in medicine.
During his lifetime, the esteemed professor at the age of 35 was the first professor of medicine ever to be appointed by any African University at the University of Ibadan.
He was the first chairman of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) and a former Vice-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University. He served as the Pro-chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt and was a former Dean of the faculty of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
He was also a former chairman of the Board of Management of the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan and the chairman of the Presidential Projects Implementation Committee (PPIC) on refurbishing teaching hospitals in Nigeria.
He was also a recipient of several awards and recognition such as the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNWOM), Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) and the National Honour of Côte d’Ivoire.