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How Ameyo Adadevoh stopped the 2014 Ebola Plague in Nigeria

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ameyo-adadevoh
When the swine flu spread to Lagos in 2012, Ameyo Adadevoh was the first doctor to diagnose and notify the Ministry of Health. Two years later, in 2014, she was again the first doctor to recognise another infectious virus – Ebola.

Ameyo Adadevoh was a great-great-great-granddaughter of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a great-granddaughter of Herbert Macaulay, a grandniece of President Nnamdi Azikiwe and a daughter of Professor Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh (1933-1997), the 4th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos.

In 2014, Adadevoh was the doctor in charge who oversaw the treatment of Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian national who brought the Ebola virus to Nigeria. When she diagnosed his symptoms, Dr. Adadevoh took an action that would stop the virus, hence saving millions of Nigeria.

Who was Ameyo Adadevoh?

As I have written above, Ameyo Adadevoh was a descendant of the famous Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther and Herbert Olayinka Macaulay, the father of Nigerian nationalism. If I should trace her lineage further up Crowther, then it would safe to assume that she was also descended from Alaafin Abiodun. The brave King of the Oyo Empire who saw to the end of Bashorun Gaa, that wicked prime minister of the old Oyo Empire.  

Born Stella Shade Ameyo Adadevoh in Lagos in 1956, the physician was the daughter of Professor Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh, an academic expert of chemical pathology and the vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos between 1978 and 1980. Ameyo Adadevoh lived most of her life in Lagos where she spent the last 21 years of her life working at the First Consultant Hospital in Obalende, Lagos Island.

Ameyo-Adadevoh
Stella Shade Ameyo Adadevoh (1956-2014).

How did the Ebola Virus Disease start?

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a life-threatening disease with occasional outbreaks occurring primarily in Africa. The disease most commonly affects humans and non-human primates, like gorillas, monkeys, and chimpanzees. It is caused by infection with a group of viruses in the Ebolavirus genus.

The Ebola virus triggers a sudden, serious illness that is often fatal if untreated. It first appeared in 1976 in two parallel outbreaks, one in what is now Nzara, South Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo, with the latter occurring in a village near the River Ebola, where the disease takes its name.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2014 through 2016 was the largest outbreak since it was first reported in 1976. The epidemic started in Guinea and then spread across borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

How did the Ebola Virus Disease get to Nigeria?

On July 20, 2014, Patrick Sawyer left quarantine in Liberia and flew to Lagos, Nigeria to attend a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He collapsed at the Lagos airport and was taken to the First Consultants Medical Center (FCMC), a private hospital where Dr. Adadevoh worked.

Under normal circumstances as an ECOWAS official, he was supposed to be taken to a government hospital, but the doctors at all the government-owned health facilities were on an indefinite industrial action, so he was taken to the FCMC.

The first FCMC doctor to see Mr. Sawyer diagnosed him with malaria. However, when Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh saw him in her ward the next day, she suspected Ebola despite the initial diagnosis of malaria and the fact that neither she nor any other doctor in Nigeria had ever diagnosed the Ebola virus disease before.

ebola-virus-disease
More than 1,552 people across West and Central Africa died as a result of the deadly Ebola virus disease in 2014-2016.

Adadevoh asked Mr. Sawyer if he had any contact with Ebola, which he denied. As a diligent clinician she was, she immediately contacted the Lagos State and the Federal Ministry of Health and had him checked for Ebola.

Adadevoh’s heroic acts

While awaiting the test results, the patient and other Liberian government officials began demanding that Adadevoh discharge Sawyer so that he could attend the ECOWAS meeting, but she declined vehemently.

They threatened to sue her for abduction and breach of his human rights (restraining him against his decision because she did not have a confirmed diagnosis), but she managed to resist their relentless pressure and said that “for the greater public good” Sawyer would not be released.

However, Adadevoh and her team did what they could with the limited resources and supplies they had in the hospital to treat Sawyer. His Ebola diagnosis was later confirmed, and he died at FCMC.

Adadevoh had strongly turned down a request by Sawyer’s employers to have him discharged from the hospital so that he could catch a flight to Calabar, a coastal city that is 750km from Lagos, where he had been due to attend a conference.

When the swine flu spread to Lagos in 2012, Ameyo Adadevoh was the first doctor to diagnose and notify the Ministry of Health. Two years later, in 2014, she was again the first doctor to recognise another infectious virus – Ebola.

Dr. Adadevoh’s precise and timely diagnosis of Sawyer resulted in the Nigerian government mobilizing the resources needed to deal with the outbreak of Ebola in record time.

bishop-samuel-ajayi-crowther
Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c.1809-1891), translated the Holy Bible to the Yoruba Language.

Its efforts have led to a much more strategic control of the virus across the region, and the Nigerian government has been able to successfully monitor all potential connections from the patient index, Patrick Sawyer.

In all, there were 20 cases of Ebola. Eleven of them were health workers, in which six of them survived while five succumbed to death, including Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh.

Death and Legacy

For a long time, Ameyo Adadevoh’s noble and patriotic deeds will be remembered. She took it upon herself to help prevent further spread of the virus in the country by reporting to the government. She put her foot down and stopped Sawyer from leaving the hospital when it was reported he had Ebola.

Her sacrifice averted a national or even a global catastrophe as the story would have been different if Sawyer had ended up in another hospital under the care of another doctor.

In her last hours, Ameyo Adadevoh received intravenous fluids and oxygen assistance and was closely monitored by physicians from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Eventually, she died of the virus on August 19, 2014. She was 57.

ameyo-adadevoh-posthumous
President Muhammadu Buhari presents a posthumous ECOWAS Award of Excellence to Mr. Bankole Cardoso, on behalf of his mother, the late Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, June 29, 2019.

Ameyo Adadevoh was a member of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, MWAN, British-Nigerian Association, and National Postgraduate Medical College. She served as a non-executive Director of Learn Africa PLC and a writer for the first-ever “Ask the Doc” column in Today’s Women Magazine, among other accomplishments.

As of today, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh is a recipient of 19 awards and honours, albeit posthumously. She was survived by her husband, Afolabi Cardoso and their only son, Bankole Cardoso.

You can also follow me on Twitter @AmazingAyo.

22 Interesting Facts about Abeokuta

abeokuta-interesting-facts

Abeokuta was a sovereign nation for 20 years and 11 months before the British amalgamated her with the rest of Nigeria in 1914. She had her own laws, Police Force, Civil Service and was well organized. The Alake was the head of the defunct government known as the Egba United Government (February 1, 1893 – January 1, 1914).

The repressive system of government by leaders of the EUG did not go down well with the Egba people and this led to the Adubi War (1918). I have compiled some facts about this ancient and paramount city that seats as the capital of Ogun State and also the pride of Egbaland.

Foundation of Abeokuta

1. Abeokuta was founded in 1830, with Sodeke as her leader. The initial name of the city was “Oko Adagba” meaning “Adagba’s farmstead”; Adagba was an Itoko farmer. Sodeke who led the Egba people the land met him there.

2. Abeokuta means ‘under the rock’, signifying the protection which the Olumo Rock offered the Egbas during attacks from intruders.

3. Since the discovery of Olumo Rock, no one has fallen from it. Not even once.

A City of many Firsts

4. The first church in Nigeria, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, is in Abeokuta.

5. The first Baptist Church in West Africa and the first local government in Nigeria (Abeokuta South) are in Abeokuta.

6. The first University in Nigeria should have been located in Abeokuta but due to the grudge between the Alake and Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, it was established at Ibadan as the University of Ibadan in 1948.

7. The first secondary school in Nigeria was sited in Abeokuta before it was relocated to Lagos as CMS Grammar School due to unknown reasons.

Image of Olumo Rock Abeokuta
20th century illustration of the Olumo Rock. No one has fallen from the Rock since its discovery in 1830.

8. The first hospital in Nigeria, Sacred Heart Hospital, is in Abeokuta. It is still functioning.

9. The first bridge in Nigeria (Sokori Bridge in 1903) built by a Nigerian (Mr. John Adenekan) without European supervision is in Abeokuta.

10. The first Newspaper in Nigeria (Iwe Irohin) was founded in Egbaland in 1859.

11. The first president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers and the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria were Egba indigenes. They both married each other. They were also the first male and female admitted to the Abeokuta Grammar School.

12. The first indigenous Chief Justice of Nigeria (Justice Adetokunbo Ademola) was from Abeokuta. He was the son of the longest-reigning monarch (Alake) in Egbaland.

The Alake

13. Okukenu Sagbua I, was the first Alake of Egbaland. He was enthroned on August 8, 1854. His descendant, Okukenu Sagbua IV is the current Alake of Egbaland.

14. Alake Gbadebo I, was the first monarch in Nigeria to visit England on a state visit. He spent 20 days at sea-May 5-25, 1904.

15. The first time a white man came to Abeokuta on January 4, 1843, everybody (both young and old) left their homes and market places to catch a glimpse of Henry Townsend, the white man.

Image of Iwe Irohin
Iwe Irohin, 21st edition, September 1860.

16. During the American Civil War (1861-1865) which interrupted the United States’ cotton trade to Europe, the Egba people exported cotton to England.

17. One of the most influential women in the history of Egbaland and the first Iyalode of Egbaland was Madam Tinubu. Tinubu square in Lagos and Ita Iyalode in Abeokuta are named after her. She died in 1887.

18. In 1893, the Egba United Government was recognized as an independent nation by Britain. She had her own laws. Many developments were made until 1914 when she was amalgamated to form Nigeria. The Sokori Bridge was constructed in 1903 and the Abeokuta Grammar School was founded on July 16, 1908.

Notable People from Abeokuta

19. Abeokuta has produced many outstanding persons among the Yoruba people:

Academics

Accountancy

  • Akintola Williams
  • Folorunso Oke
  • Bola Kuforiji-Olubi

Law

Image of Alake Okukenu Sagbua
Okukenu Sagbua I, was the first Alake of Egbaland. He was enthroned on August 8, 1854.

Medicine

Military

Civil Service

  • Simeon Adebo

Literature

  • Ajisafe
  • J.F Odunjo
  • Amos Tutuola
Reverend Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti
Reverend Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti (June 1, 1855 – September 4, 1930), the first Nigerian to release a record album in 1925.

Music

  • Josiah J. Ransome-Kuti
  • Fela Ransome-Kuti
  • Femi Ransome-Kuti
  • Fela Sowande
  • Ebenezer Obey
  • Sina Peters
  • Adeola Akinsanya
  • Prince Adekunle
  • Ayinla Omowura

Journalism

  • Olusegun Osoba
  • Reuben Abati

Women Rights and Entrepreneurship

Politics

Additional Facts

20. In 1925, Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti (1855-1930), Fela’s grandfather, became the first Nigerian to release a record album after he recorded several Yoruba language hymns in gramophone through Zonophone Records.

Image of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti sacked Alake of Egbaland, Lioness of Lisabi
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (1900-1978), the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car.

21. The most enlightened clan among the Yoruba tribe are the Egbas. Her chiefs had been interacting with the Queen of England as far back as 1868 which continued till a century later. English and Egba monarchs did exchange gifts.

22. The only South Westerners ever to rule Nigeria are from Abeokuta (Olusegun Obasanjo and Ernest Shonekan).

Are there any other interesting facts about Abeokuta that are not captured in this article, don’t hesitate to share your comments below.

You can follow me on Twitter @AmazingAyo.

You can also know more about Abeokuta in the video below:

Ernest Okonkwo: The ‘Intercontinental Ballistic Missile’ Football Commentator

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Ernest-Okonkwo

Although, Ernest Okonkwo held sway as a sports commentator with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, he was more famous as a football commentator. Okonkwo was one of Africa’s best football commentator, if not the best. He added fun, zeal, desire, and professionalism to his job. Check out this commentary:

Iron gate Emmanuel Okala throws the ball to Chairman Christian Chukwu. Chukwu taps the ball to the Dean of Defence Yisa Sofoluwe; Sofoluwe sends a telegraphic pass to Midfield Maestro Mudashiru Lawal. Muda Lawal dribbles two opponents and sends the ball to Mathematical Segun Odegbami.

Odegbami dilly-dallies, shilly-shallies, and locates Elastic Humphrey Edobor. The storm is gathering near the opponent’s goal area, and it would soon rain a goal. Edobor turns quickly to the right and returns the ball to Odegbami. Odegbami kicks the ball towards Quicksilver Sylvanus Okpala who shoots an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from outside the penalty box. It is a goal! It is a goal! Nigeria has scored!

Well, there are many more below. Just read on.

Ernest Okonkwo

Today, August 7, 2019, makes it 29 years since the golden voice of sports commentary, especially football, on the radio in Nigeria, Ernest Okonkwo breathed his last. The voice can only be heard by those privileged to have made recordings while the legendary Okonkwo was alive.

Image of Ernest Okonkwo
Erudite Sports commentator, Ernest Okonkwo/Sports Village Square

The commentary above is a brief reconstruction of the late Ernest Okonkwo’s characteristic descriptions of events in a football match between the then Green Eagles of Nigeria and a foreign national team. Okonkwo was one of the best radio commentators of his age.

To the latter generation of sports followers in Nigeria, Okonkwo’s name may not ring a bell. But to the older ones, the broadcast journalist represented the best in the running of sports commentaries on the radio.

The Wordsmith

He was a master of descriptive language. Like Chief Segun Odegbami once remarked about the late sports commentator, Okonkwo was “always conjuring words easily, effortlessly and aptly like a magician with his bag of tricks”.

Odegbami wrote, “I recall how people used to turn down the volume of their television sets in those days and turned up the volume of their radio sets to watch a match at home. I recall also how some spectators would carry small transistor radio sets to match venues and listen to radio commentaries of the same match right inside the venue!

“That was how powerful radio commentaries were rendered by great commentators, each with their unique style and strength in delivery.

“Despite the brilliance of Ishola Folorunsho, Sebastine Effurum, Kevin Ejiofor, Tolu Fatoyinbo, Yinka Craig, Dele, and a few others, Ernest Okonkwo stood slightly apart and ahead, shining just that little bit brighter in that constellation of stars that turned ‘commentating’ into an art form and made listening irresistible.

“Mr. Okonkwo was different. He gave players new names, reflecting certain outstanding or defining characteristics in their lives.

“As he ran the commentaries, he would conjure descriptive words delivered in impeccable English and a masterful usage of football lingo. The magic is that wherever he described a particular player and gave him a nickname, it stuck, thereafter, forever.”

A Giver of Names

In the 1970s through 1980s, despite the preponderance of world-class musicians across the globe, Ernest Okonkwo’s radio commentaries are considered more melodious to listen to than the best of music.

An influential sports commentator, Ernest Okonkwo was a word­smith. His captivating football commen­taries were made of simple, but fluent English.

He was an expert at coining words and new expressions. Football commentary listeners on Radio Nigeria will remember his nicknaming of footballers like Segun Odegbami as ‘Mathematical’, Adokiye Amiesimaka as ‘Chief Justice’, Yisa Sofoluwe as ‘Dean of Defence’, Sylvanus Okpala as ‘Quick Silver’ or other expres­sions like “Christian Chukwu taking an ‘Intercontinental Ballistic Missile’ type of ‘banana shot’.

That was how he nicknamed Dominic Nwobodo of Enugu Rangers, ‘Alhaji’, after the player sustained a head injury during a match, wrapped his head with a bandage that made him look like a Muslim wearing a turban when he returned to the pitch.

Emmanuel Okala was ‘Tallest’ for his towing 6ft 5in imposing frame. Christian Chukwu was ‘Chairman’ for his commanding and leadership style on the field of play. Alloysius Atuegbu, stocky, short but powerfully built, was ‘Blockbuster’.

Interestingly, Amiesimaka served as Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in Rivers State after his retirement from football. Was that prophetic?

There were ‘Slow Poison’ (Idowu Otubusen), ‘Elastic’ (Elahor), ‘Caterpillar’ (Kelechi Emetole) and so on. All became household nicknames in Nigerian football.

‘Nigeria has scored Nigeria’

On November 12, 1977, in a 1978 World Cup qualifying match against Tunisia at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria needed just a draw to feature in Argentina the next year.

Ernest Okonkwo
Ernest Okonkwo reads about the death of Father Tiko, July 2, 1986/Image Source.

Alas! In the 61st minute, with the score at 0-0, defender Godwin Odiye headed the ball past goalkeeper Emmanuel Okala into his own net. With a pin-drop silence in the background, you could hear the commentator, Ernest Okonkwo screaming, “Nigeria has scored Nigeria”.

It was the best one could get out of the situation that at least Nigeria scored. To Okonkwo, it was the only way of consoling the brooding spectators.

The ‘Golden Voice’ of Sports Commentary

In another rhythmic description of a match between Rangers of Enugu and Raccah Rovers of Kano in 1979, he says:

“He beats Christian Chukwu; he beats Christian Madu; he beats Christian Nwokocha…he beats three Christians in a row! Who is this man? He must be a Muslim. Oh! It is Shefiu Mohammed sending a diagonal pass to Baba Otu Mohammed.”

Recalling his commentary in a World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Tunisia in 1985, he says again:

Okey Isima, with a short pass to Sylvanus Okpala. They both play in Portugal. They can communicate in Igbo; they can communicate in English; they can communicate in Portuguese and they just communicated with the ball.

Also, around 1987, when Iwuanyanwu Nationale of Owerri (former Spartans) played against the African Sports of Côte d’Ivoire right at the Owerri Township stadium, Nigeria’s Rashidi Yekini was playing for the Ivorian club.

Yekini was a torn in the flesh of Iwuanyanwu Nationale’s defence. No one could mark him! He was taller, bigger, and faster than the defenders guarding him. He knew the terrain and the Iwuanyanwu players quite well. He almost single-handedly destroyed the Owerri ‘war-lords’ that anytime he got a through-pass it was always deadly. So whenever that happened, Ernest Okonkwo would say, “the devil is out of chain, the devil is unchained”

Career and Legacy

Such was the power of his description and coinage of expressions that former national team left-winger, Adokiye Amiesimaka was quot­ed in a publication as calling for the naming of the media tribune of the Abuja National Stadium after Ernest Okonkwo.

Born in Nando in Anambra-East Local Government Area, present-day Anambra State in 1936, Ernest Okonkwo attended the local primary school there before he proceeded to the famous Government College Umuahia, present-day Imo State for his secondary studies.

Okonkwo joined what is today Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), then known as the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as a Programme Assistant on March 8, 1957, before being trained at the Australian Broadcasting Commission between 1964 and 1965. He later became the first manager of sports and head of Outside Broadcast (OB) with sheer dint of hard work.

Ernest Okonkwo Death

Okonkwo’s death on August 7, 1990, marked the end of a journey he began in 33 years ago in 1957 when he joined the then Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Joy Okonkwo, and five children, one of whom is Amaka Okonkwo-Oboh who is a sports lawyer.

Unfortunately, little is known about his personal life but we will not relent to research more on the life of the man who made football commentary soothing to the ears in his heydays.

Which other commentary lines about Ernest Okonkwo do you know about? You can share them in the comment box below.

You can also follow me on Twitter @AmazingAyo.

Sources

Remembering Ernest Okonkwo, the Golden Voice of Sports Commentary

Notes on the beautiful game

Odegbami: The Man Who Named Me ‘Mathematical’ – Ernest Okonkwo

Ernest Okonkwo, The Anchorman that Could

Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti: Teacher, Nation-Builder, Clergyman

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Israel-Oludotun-Ransome-Kuti

The Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was born on April 30, 1891, to an Egba family in Abeokuta, present-day Ogun State. His father was Reverend Canon Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti who was well known for his outstanding administrative competence as well as his talents as a singer, which earned him the nickname “the Singing Minister” by the British colonialists.

His mother was Bertha Erina Olubi. Among his siblings were Azariah Olusegun and Grace Eniola Ransome-Kuti, who would give birth to Wole Soyinka, the first black African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Early Life and Education

Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was born at the Anglican parish of Gbagura, Abeokuta, where his father was serving as a teacher/catechist. He started his primary education in 1896 at the Suren Village School and thereafter went to the C.M.S Grammar School, Lagos, but returned to his hometown, Abeokuta to complete his secondary education at the newly opened Abeokuta Grammar School. He was the first student to be admitted to the school in 1908.

Image of Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti
Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti (April 30, 1891 – April 6, 1930), Principal, Abeokuta Grammar School, Abeokuta (1932-1954), President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (1931-1954).

In 1913, Ransome-Kuti matriculated at Fourah Bay College, Freetown and returned to his country in 1916 with a B.A. degree. He began work in Lagos, as a teacher at his former grammar school from 1916 until 1918 when he left for Ijebu-Ode.

Principal, Ijebu-Ode Grammar School

Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was 27 years old when he became the principal of Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, in the Ijebu-Ode Province. The school had earlier been established in 1912 and had provided the only secondary education for all the residents of the Ijebu province. Ransome-Kuti was there for nearly 14 years.

One of his modernisations at this pioneering educational institution was to organise the first Boy Scout troupe in Ijebu-Ode. The troupe then became known in the Ijebu-Ode Province as the first of its kind. Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti’s great knowledge and sensitivity towards the Ijebu people soon won him their admiration and respect and he became their spokesman.

Image of the The Ransome-Kuti family, c.1940.
The Ransome-Kuti family, c.1940.

Ransome-Kuti acted as a mediator between the British colonial residents in the province and the locals. His unparalleled achievements in Ijebu broke the myth that his own ethnic group, the Egba people of Abeokuta could not work hand-in-hand with the Ijebu people and he was able to draw the two groups together for the common good.

His departure from Ijebu in 1932 was marked with a widespread expression of loss and regret that his successor at the Ijebu-Ode Grammar School struggled to fill in his shoes. It then erupted the popular saying among the people then that, “This new Kuti is not as the old.”

Principal, Abeokuta Grammar School

On leaving Ijebu-Ode in 1932, Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti returned to his hometown, Abeokuta where, for the next 22 years, he served as principal of the Abeokuta Grammar School. During that period, he visited the United Kingdom at the start of World War II in 1939 and again, during the war between 1943 and 1945. Ransome-Kuti spent the latter years in Britain  as one of the members of the Elliott Commission reviewing higher education in West Africa.

First President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT)

In May 1926, while he was at the Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti founded an association of local teachers. It was known as the Association of Headmasters of Ijebu Schools. A similar association had been formed a year earlier in 1925 in Lagos by another renowned Anglican clergyman, Reverend J. O. Lucas. Lucas was the one who inaugurated the Lagos Union of Teachers in May 1925.

Reverend Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti
Reverend Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti (June 1, 1855 – September 4, 1930), the first Nigerian to release a record album in 1925.

These two bodies grew and became the base from which the idea of a national organization that embraced teachers from all parts of Nigeria. On July 8, 1931, they culminated in the formation of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT.

At its founding that year, in Lagos, Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was elected as the Union’s first national president. At successive elections he was re-elected and he held that post until his retirement in 1954 at the age of 63.

A man of a strong, forceful and charismatic personality, Ransome-Kuti guided the union in its early campaign for improved working conditions for teachers and against colonial education policy in general. He and his contemporaries in the executive body of the NUT, notably Alvan. A. Ikoku (1900-1971), Eyo Ita Esua (1901-1973; later Chairman of Nigeria’s Federal Electoral Commission in the First Republic; 1964-1966), and the Reverend (later Bishop) Seth Irunsewe Kale (1904-1996) were successful in winning recognition from the British colonial authorities as well as benefits for their members, that by October 1948 were said to have numbered 20,000.

Alvan-Ikoku
Alvan. A. Ikoku (August 1, 1900 – November 18, 1971).

With the improved conditions, the union grew rapidly and by the 1960s had become the largest professional organization in Africa, with a membership that exceeded a quarter of all the teachers in the continent.

Today education is still the largest single employer in Nigeria, directly touching more Nigerians than any other service. The thousands of teachers who joined the NUT annually soon found not only respectability but also strength in their union. It was the foresight and dedication of the Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti that led to that dignity and unity.

Marriage and Family

On January 25, 1925, Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti married his heartthrob of 12 years, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, former Miss Frances Abigail Olufunmilayo Thomas. He had met her when she was 13 and Oludotun waited for her to complete her education before he got married to her. He was 33 while she was 24. Together, they had four children; Dolupo, Olikoye, Olufela, and Bekolari.

Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti Death

On April 6, 1955, less than a year after his retirement and 24 days to his 64th birthday, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti died of a cancer-related illness at his residence in Isabo, Abeokuta. He was 63.

Image of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti sacked Alake of Egbaland, Lioness of Lisabi
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (1900-1978), the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car.

Legacy

Ransome-Kuti was instrumental in the founding of the first university in Nigeria, University of Ibadan, at Ibadan, which was to be sited in his hometown of Abeokuta and as a musician, composed the national anthem of Egbaland. His most favourite quote was, “My character is greater than my books.”

Many great and prominent Nigerians have passed through the revered Ransome-Kuti and Abeokuta Grammar School some of whom were his nephew, Nobel Prize Winner, Wole Soyinka, late Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Sijuwade Olubuse, Iyalode of Egbaland, Bisoye Tejuoso, her son, Oba Dapo Tejuoso, and others too numerous to mention.

Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti holds the record as the longest-serving president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (23 years) and the principal of Abeokuta Grammar School (22 years).

The Reverend Kuti Memorial Grammar School, Isabo, Abeokuta and Kuti Hall, one of the halls of residence at the University of Ibadan which opened in 1954, are named after him. Also, a head statue of Ransome-Kuti is mounted at the entrance of the Abeokuta Grammar School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta.

You can also follow HistoryVille on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Sources

Adeyanju, Tunde (1993). The Rev. Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti: Teacher and Nation Builder. Litany Nigeria. ISBN 978-978-31846-0-2.

Fargion, Janet T. The Ransome-Kuti dynasty.

Johnson-Odim Cheryl (1997). For Women and the Nation: Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti of Nigeria.

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