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Tribute to Adewole at 64


Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole

With winsome smiles, and the peculiar swagger that is all his, he ambles around majestically,  using every ounce of energy in his body to positively affect the world around him.

He dazzles you with his friendly mien, just as he appears calm and cool.

However, contrary to the popular cliche that “if you don’t rest, you will be laid to rest, the Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole has not gone on leave to rest in the last eight years, yet, he keeps the ball on the bounce without any sign of fatigue.


An uncommon grace of God you may say. He is 64 years old today.
It will be recalled that Adewole was about to conclude his five-year single tenure as the 11th Vice Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan (UI) in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as Health minister.

As his media assistant who worked closely with him while the tenure lasted, I can testify that this medical doctor neither went on leave nor fell sick for a day.

I challenged him on a particular occasion, asking “Oga, what is the secret of your daily vitality, you never show any sign of weariness despite your challenging job?”  

His response was comically instructive, “may be because I don’t do those things you do!” And what are those things? Only Adewole could define them!
When he was appointed as Health minister in 2015, I, like many of his admirers feared for his health. Having worked assiduously for unbroken five years for the betterment of UI, I thought he deserved to rest.

But, as they say “the reward of hard work is an opportunity to do more!” He was recognised for his industry and appointed to do more for his country.

Clearly, Adewole enjoys divine uncommon grace. How many Nigerians at his age can afford to be crisscrossing the length and breadth of the country in the service of humanity without  having to regularly visiting local or foreign hospitals for rejuvenation? Uncommon grace makes the difference!
However, we can’t adequately celebrate Adewole at 64 without highlighting some of his peculiar qualities which make him unique. Chief among his attributes is his inclination towards ameliorating the sufferings of the people.


Perhaps,  because he is a medical doctor, Adewole hates to see people in pains. Probably not necessarily because of his profession, but due largely to his biological make up.

He is a welfarist to the core. His regime as UI  VC may have come and gone, but not so its ripples.

Till tomorrow, people keep making reference to his kindness and welfarism. Apart from the large number of people he employed, Adewole took some radical steps which spoke directly to people’s plight. Destinies were positively reconstructed as he genuinely displayed love and passion towards people, though at his own risk!
Assisting people is his pastime. His joy is the fulfillment and accomplishment of other people. He simply loves to see people to prosper.

Not a few people have attributed his appointment as Health minister in the twilight of his administration in UI to all the good he did, by all the means he could, in all the places he could, and to all the people he could.

Indeed, Adewole is a gregarious fellow. He is a man of the people. He radiates so much zest in fellowship and cultivation of acquaintanceship.

He is a powerful network specialist. He connects easily and flows with you as if you had known each other for years.

No wonder some people are of the opinion that he may one day contest the governorship position of his state of origin, Osun State! Yes, he has the qualities. He is eminently qualified. But does he have the financial wherewithal?


It is doubt! He is a socially smart soul. He believes nobody succeeds without synergy.
In the same vein, Adewole loves to invest in human capital development. He challenges you to grow. He compels you to develop. For instance, he facilitated so many conferences and seminars for many people while in UI.

He sent people abroad for training. His passion for excellence in all departments of life is contagious. As a result of his own attendance at international conferences, he changed his position about industrial action in the health sector.

Adewole, ever before being appointed as Health minister, had been condemning the idea of closing down hospitals during protest.

He confessed that Nigeria was derided at an international conference when he told the participants that all hospitals in the country had been shut down.

“Is your country at war,” the foreigners asked him. Since then, he has been urging his medical colleagues to find better options rather than closing down hospitals in protest.
Another outstanding quality of this enigma is that he is a peace-loving mind. I have personally witnessed several occasions he extended olive branch to his perceived enemies and opponents.

Even at a level one can describe as condescending, Adewole is always in the habit of pocketing his pride and making peace with people.

Saanu wrote from the University of Ibadan.

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