By Ayo Onikoyi
Nigeria’s premier tertiary health institution, University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, has unveiled one of Nigeria’s top actors, producer and director, Saidi Balogun as its Ambassador.
The unveiling took place during the week-long celebration of the 60th anniversary of the hospital, the largest in Africa. And those in attendance included the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Governors of Oyo and Ekiti States, Abiola Ajimobi and Rotimi Akeredolu, the Minister of Heath, Prof Isaac Folorunsho Adewole, frontline lawyer, Aare Afe Babalola, the Olubadan of Ibadan, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji and the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, amongst several others.
It will be recalled that Saidi Balogun, who now holds the ace as the first Ambassador of a health institution in the country, was miraculously saved from the throes of death after his widely publicized 2006 car accident by the doctors and nurses at UCH, Ibadan.
Speaking at the event, the Ibadan-born actor, producer and director, was full of gratitude to God and all the staff and management of UCH for the great work they did in ensuring that he does not just stay alive but well and complete without being confined to any form of disability.
“I will never forget when the then CMD came to me after I regained consciousness. He asked me if I had faith in Nigerian doctors and nurses and the facilities available at the hospital. I told him I did. At the time, arrangements had been made to fly me abroad for some delicate surgeries but the doctors at UCH carried out all the delicate surgeries and here I am today”, he said.
The elated Mr. Balogun, who expressed his deep appreciation for the honour done him with the ambassadorial role, promised to use every means to promote and propagate the great works of the hospital. He also hinted that he and his team were working round the clock to launch, in no distance future, an NGO to be known as Saidi Balogun Foundation for Accident Victims, which will focus on rescue, treatment and rehabilitation of accident victims.