Tribute to Prof Jesse Abiodun Otegbayo at 60 – Dr. Bukunmi Kolade

How I became a diligent student in medical school because Dr Otegbayo described me as such…

It gives me a lot of pleasure to write these few words about an erudite scholar, clinician and highly respected medical administrator. My first contact with him was during my medicine 2 posting in 1995 at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. He was senior registrar in the unit with Prof Olubuyide as consultant. After a rather exasperating clinic, where we were mostly dull to percussion, Prof Olubiyide requested him to punish us by asking us to write an essay. He chose the topic “FEVER”. It was to be a 750 worded essay on fever and to be submitted at the next clinic.

Essay on fever or malaria fever? I asked. “Is there no difference between malaria fever and fever”, one of my friends retorted as he sauntered away. Where will I get 750 words writing about fever??? edakun egbami??? Remember there were no internet in those days, so access to information meant going to the Latunde Odeku library. I had not been there in the last 2 years. Why now? I asked myself.

I forgot all about it till the night before submission, when I suddenly remembered. Fortunately, my room mate, Akin Ojeshina, was an effico????. I borrowed one of his huge books on internal medicine. I think it was Harrisons’ textbook of medicine… I’m not sure now; but I read and read and read. From there I drafted my essay on fever. I submitted it the following morning and forgot about it.

Till about 3 weeks later when Dr Otegbayo was passing comments about the purulent stuff most of us had written????????????. He however remembered one write up that was distinctive and stood out. He brought it out from his clinic drawer and read out the student’s name. Who is Charles Oluwabukunmi Kolade??? I presented myself smiling shyly????????‍♂️????????‍♂️????????‍♂️ And he went on and on about how it was only a diligent student that could have written such a detailed article and encouraged my peers to follow my steps. Me? diligent?? Issokay oo kontinu. Even to me it was news. You could describe me with many words as a student. Color blind, YES. carefree, YES. Happy go lucky. YES, but certainly not diligent.

But guess what? that was how I decided to be diligent in medical school, because a senior registrar, we all held in awe, described me as diligent. I wasn’t too surprised when I ran into him and his wife carrying their son along the UCH East Gate as they walked to Vine Branch church a few Sundays later. So he’s a Christian; I thought to myself. No wonder he’s so humane.

When he wanted to do his part 2 project on hepatitis B screening, he recruited a few of us and spoke to us nicely as he carefully took consent from us, one after the other, before drawing the blood samples. This couldn’t be said about other senior registrars who “use” bloody medical students for their projects. For the students who turned out hepatitis B positive, he spent hours counselling them on what to do subsequently. His humility, humanity and fear of God is a beauty to behold.

As you cross over to the sixth decade in this journey of destiny you have walked in so purposefully. I will join my friend and brother in quoting Isaiah 46:3&4

“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
All you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
Yes, I carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
Until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.”….

And remember that you changed at least one student’s life in medical school… And I am sure I am not the only one.

Happy Diamond Jubilee Prof!!!!!!!!

Written by Dr. Bukunmi Kolade (MB,BS Ib, FWACS)

Posted by Deji Yesufu

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