By: Deji Yesufu

In July 2009, former American President, Barrack Obama, made his first official trip to Africa, when he visited Ghana. On that historic occasion, Obama said: “Africa does not need strong men; it needs strong institutions.” And just as many political statements possess the ability to divide opinions, this was not going to be anything less. Many African leaders, who themselves were strong men overseeing weak institutions, felt that Obama’s statement was unnecessarily antagonizing. Others were less critical: they felt that the matter was not an either-or thing; Africa could have strong institutions and still have strong men lead those institutions. In a society where things are developing, you would need both. Prof. Adeniyi Abidemi Adenipekun is offering himself to lead a strong institution – the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. Prof. Adenipekun has all the credentials to offer strong leadership to an established institution and to help ferry this great citadel of learning to greater heights. In this essay, I will be presenting to you reasons why Prof. Adenipekun should be the next Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

Prof. Adenipekun possesses all the credentials that people who have achieved academic excellence and have reached the heights of their careers have – and it would be superfluous to begin to enumerate them here. Prof, however, has a lot more than the average professor you would find in a university. Prof. Adenipekun was the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) and Director, Clinical Services, Research and Training, at the University College Hospital (UCH), between 2006 and 2011. This was the period when the great Prof. A. O. Ilesanmi was the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UCH. Prof. Ilesanmi gave (the then) Dr. Adenipekun unparalleled support so that Adenipekun could get a lot done. So much so that on five different occasions, Adenipekun was acting CMD at UCH. Adenipekun enjoyed this support from Ilesanmi because of his high sense of responsibility and ability to solve problems. Rather than sit back and enjoy the perks of office, Prof. Adenipekun threw himself into work at the UCH and the whole institution felt it.

As CMAC, Prof. Adenipekun influenced the training of senior nurses in the United States of America to upscale medical services at UCH’s intensive care unit (ICU) and accident and emergency (A&E) department. This singular action has placed UCH at an unrivalled height in ICU and emergency services in Nigeria. Having trained in India himself, Prof. Adenipekun influenced the training of a team of cardiac doctors in open heart surgery in Chennai, India. It was during his time that the PPP Cathlab was set up in UCH. He encouraged the hospital management to finance staff development, through which some staff went from mere first degree to obtaining PhDs. He organized the training and re-training of the hospital’s Renal Team, which led to some successful kidney transplants. It was during his tenure that the land mass opposite the UCH main site was successfully acquired. He supervised the start of the first-ever Hospice and Palliative Unit in any Nigerian hospital. That unit is now a full-fledged department in UCH. The UCH private suite was established when Prof. Adenipekun was CMAC. He ensured that the old Cobalt-60 machine at the (then) Radiotherapy Department, meant for the treatment of cancers, was replaced by a new one. These and a host of other achievements can be easily gleaned from the time that Prof. Adenipekun served as CMAC.

Long before becoming CMAC and even after that, Prof. Adenipekun had occupied leadership positions in various spheres of work. He was chairman of Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) between 2002 and 2004. He was the second Vice-President, Society for the Study of Pain between 2005 and 2007. Vice-President, Center for Palliative Care in Nigeria (CPCN) from inception till date. He was a member of the board of management of UCH between 2006 and 2011. National Vice-President, Hospice and Palliative Care from 2007 and 2011. He was acting head of department at the Department of Radiotherapy from 2010 to 2013, and he became substantive head of department of the same department, but now renamed Department of Radiation Oncology, between 2017 and 2020.

While pursuing his academic and professional life, Prof. Adenipekun’s spiritual life has not been found wanting. He has been the Chairman, Board of Management, Redeemer Health Center, from 2021 till date. When you observe the work that has been done at that hospital, situated almost opposite Oyo State Housing Cooperation, at Bodija, you will have a perspective into the kind of leadership acumen that Prof. Adenipekun brings to an organization. Alongside all these, he is the Pastor in charge of Jesus House in Oyo Province 12, region 21, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). He does all these, while at the same time being a high-powered member of many other organizations. Including the Association of U.I.C.C fellows, Nigerian Medical Association, Nigerian Cancer Society, Association of Radiologists of West Africa, Commonwealth Association for Public Administration (CAPAM) – among others.

I am a staff of the Department of Radiation Oncology and I publish this blog as a hobby. When I learnt that Prof. Adenipekun was giving the office of the Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, another shot, having lost with a slim margin to the outgoing Provost, Prof. Olayinka Omigbodun, I decided to write this blog to promote my boss’s quest for leadership. Now, here is how civil service works: there are bosses you obey because you like their leadership acumen; there are those you obey because you do not want to be queried. Prof. Adenipekun is one of those in the former. In December 2011, my wife and I had our first child. Someone told Prof that Yesufu had had a child and promptly Prof. came to visit. He was with us for a brief moment and then left, handing me a handsome envelope.

When you consider a man with so much commitment, who still finds time to visit a lowly member of staff, you have a leader, a father, and a good man in one. In January this year, I was launching my book, HUMANITY. It was going to be an online event and I invited Prof. Despite being a Saturday when he would usually be engaged with work outside UCH, Prof. was with us from the beginning of the launch (held via Zoom) up till the end. And when it was time to support the production of the book, Prof. was one of our highest donors. At the Department of Radiation Oncology, most staff have a similar estimation to Prof. Adenipekun. Prof is the father of the department (while Prof. Campbell is our grandfather). He may not be the head of department anymore but he leads his other colleagues very graciously. In academic circles, when people are no longer in office, they simply do not participate in meetings again. Not Prof. Adenipekun. He would come to department meetings and share ideas with us to move the system forward. Having served in various leadership positions, Prof. Adenipekun deserves to be Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

There is no doubt the fact that all those running for the office of Provost of the College of Medicine, UI, can serve in that position. The reason is that Western Nigeria and the University of Ibadan still have the best academic thinkers in Nigeria today. But just as you have a first among equals in every system, I am convinced that Prof. A. A. Adenipekun is the leader of the pack in this case. I appeal vigorously to all the lecturers and staff of the University of Ibadan who are eligible to vote, to bring this good man into office. Then, four years from now, you will thank me. I am confident that Prof. Adenipekun will offer the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, strong, visionary, courageous, and progressive leadership.

Posted by Deji Yesufu

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