BY LEKE ADESERI, South West Regional Editor, Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna & Monsur Olowopejo
DR. Adekoyejo Moses Majekodunmi who died at 86 years on Wednesday was a Senator and Minister of Health in Nigerian First Republic.
He was appointed sole administrator of Western Region in June 1962 after a political crisis in the region, holding office in place of the Premier, Samuel Akintola, until December that year.
The crisis was due to a struggle between Akintola and the former Western Region Premier and current leader of the opposition Obafemi Awolowo, which had led to violent scenes in the House of Assembly. On advice from the police, one of his first acts was to sign restriction orders to detain leaders of both factions. After the situation had stabilized, Akintola resumed office on 1 January 1963.
The late Majekodunmi attended Abeokuta Grammar School and St Gregory’s College, Lagos before enrolling at the University of Dublin, where he bagged a 2nd Class Honours in Anatomy and Physiology in 1936, and later, a 1st Class Honors in Bacteriology and Clinical Medicine.
While in Dublin, he worked as a house physician at the National Children’s Hospital in 1941 and the Rotunda Hospital (1941-1942). He returned to the country in 1943 and became a medical officer in the Nigerian Medical Service. From 1949 to 1960, he worked with the Nigerian and Federal Medical Services as a gynecologist and obstetrician, and was also a consulting doctor with Massey Street Maternity Hospital, Lagos, General Hospital, Lagos and Creek Hospital, also in Lagos.
In the 1960s, he was a member of the Nigerian Senate and later held board membership with Westminster Dredging Company and Union Bank. He founded St Nicholas Hospital and once served as secretary of the Nigerian branch of the British Medical Association. He was also chairman of the Egba Maternity Clinic. He founded Saint Nicholas Hospital in Lagos, which opened in March 1968.
Jonathan mourns late Majekodunmi
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, yesterday, described the death of First Republic Senator and Minister of Health, Dr. Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi, as a great loss to the nation.
The President said that Dr. Majekodunmi’s wisdom, immense patriotism, dedication to work, commitment to national service and excellence will undoubtedly be sorely missed by his family, friends, associates and the whole country.
He noted that late Dr. Majekodunmi 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 health care services in Nigeria.
The President who paid tribute to Dr. Majekodunmi’s uncommon courage and willingness to answer the call to national service even at a period of political uncertainty extended sincere condolences to members of the Majekodunmi family and urged them to take solace in the fact that the eminent physician lived to a grand old age and has bequeathed worthy legacies to his offspring and the nation. President Jonathan prayed that Almighty God will grant the soul of the elder statesman peaceful rest.
Ajimobi, Daniel also condole with family
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State of condolence to the family of the late First Republic Health Minister and Administrator of the defunct Western Region, Dr. Moses Majekodunmi, said in a message through his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, that he received the news of the death of the elder statesman with shock and disbelief.
Ajimobi said late Dr. Majekodunmi, was a renowned medical doctor whose contributions to the field of Medicine for well over half a century of practice could not be quantified. He also lauded the patriotic instinct of the late politician, saying that he defied all odds to accept his appointment as Administrator of Western Region at a time when the region was enveloped with violence.
Also, the former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has described the death of the former administrator of Western Region, Chief Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi as loss to the Yoruba race and Nigeria. He said the elder statesman during their lifetime worked strenuously for the development of the race and country stating that they displayed patriotism and tenacity of purpose in all the assignments trusted on him by posterity.
Daniel said: “In his life time Dr Majekodunmi was an icon of the medical profession. He was seen as a pacesetter that pioneered first class private medical practice after a distinguished stint in the public service. And when he was called upon on a rescue mission during one of the most difficult periods of our nation’s history, he discharged the responsibilities creditably well.”
Oni and Kalu
National Vice Chairman (Southwest) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Segun Oni commiserated with the Majekodunmi family, the people of Ogun State and Nigerians over the death of Dr. Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi. Speaking through his Media Aide, Mr. Lere Olayinka, Oni, who described the late Majekodunmi as a foremost medical practitioner, politician and nationalist said: “Though the death of a beloved father can be devastating no matter how old he lived, but the entire Majekodunmi family should be consoled by the fact that the Papa lived a fulfilled and exemplary life.”
Former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, said in a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Emeka Obasi, that Majekodunmi made his mark on the political scene in Nigeria, leaving behind legacies Nigerians would be proud of. He said: “But for the bold steps taken by Dr. Majekodunmi, a seasoned medical doctor, in the trying days of the Western Region to accept to serve as the Administrator of the region, perhaps there may be no Nigeria today because of the volatile nature of the region then. He stood by what he believed to be right and was justified at the end of the day.”
Fashola, Ogunlesi, Kuku, others
Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola described late Majekodunmi as an effective and far-sighted leader.
In a condolence letter to wife of the deceased, Mrs. Katsina Majekodunmi, Fashola said that although most Nigerians would remember him as a former administrator of the defunct Western Region, his effective and far-sighted contributions as Minister of Health in the First Republic under whose watch the first indigenous college of Medicine was established in Nigeria, would not be forgotten.
The governor recalled that the elder statesman personally oversaw the conversion of Mainland Hospital, Idi- Araba to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and recruited professionals who mid-wifed the process of awarding first Nigerian degree in Medicine and Surgery,Nigeria’s first professor of Medicine, Prof. Oladipo Ogunlesi, said by Majekodunmi’s death, Nigeria has lost one of her best sons.
Greatest health ministers
He said: “He was very dear to me. Who ever directed you to me know he was very dear to me. He was my teacher, he wrote the preface to my book. He was so many things to me and by all means he was one of Nigeria’s greatest health ministers. I am yet to recover from the shock.”
Joint Chief Medical Director, EKO Corp Plc, Olorogun Sunny Kuku, described Majekodunmi as one of the chieftains of the medical profession in the country. Kuku who regretted the passing of the medical icon, wished there were more like him in the country.
“He was a gentleman on the part of honor. As regards the medical profession, he was one of the greatest. In particular he did a lot of work in the area of secondary and tertiary health. All the health centres in Lagos were built by him and even the Teaching Hospital in Lagos. It was he who set it up and made sure it became the College of Medicine for the University of Lagos, his contribution to health in the St. Nicholas is unparalleled.”