Falomo… quintessential doctor, philanthropist goes home with fanfare
Testimonies trailing the transition of Dr. Oluwatamilore Akinlade Falomo point to one fact: The deceased led an eventful life largely devoted to the service of God as a Christian as well as a benevolent life totally committed to uplifting the needy and the downtrodden.
Born in Lagos on December 4, 1940 to Chief Oluwagbohun Akinremi and Rebecca Falomo, Oluwatamilore started his elementary school at Baptist Day School, Ijaiye, Abeokuta in 1948. He finished in 1955 and proceeded the following year to Baptist Boys’ High School, Abeokuta for his secondary education. He, however spent only one year there due to his father’s transfer to Lagos and subsequently joined Methodist Boys’ High School, where he completed his secondary education in 1960.
Despite the fact that brilliant Falomo was into every sphere of academics in Secondary School, he did not belong to the group of “All works and no play that makes Jack a dull boy”, and so was an athlete who ran 220 yard race and represented his school on many occasions, who was also selected into the first eleven football team of his school. He was the leader of the Debate Society of the Methodist Boys” High School who also founded a social group of young boys and girls called Mainland Rankers that sang, did drama plays and organized picnics during Christmas and Easter festivities.
All these activities did not, however, prevent Falomo from finding his position among the members of the Choir of African Bethlehem Church Cathedral prior to his departure to United Kingdom to expand his horizon in education. He enrolled and completed his Advanced Level education at St. Andrews College, Dublin, Ireland between 1961 and summer 1962, a feat that earned him a full scholarship by the Nigerian Western Region to study medicine at Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, United Kingdom. He graduated in 1968, became a doctor with LRCP, LRCS and LM degrees. He later went back in 1978 to obtain a diploma in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
In diaspora, he was the treasurer of the Nigerian Union Students, Great Britain and Ireland, Dublin Branch and later in 1966 became the Secretary General of the same union. In 1967 and 1968, he served as its president. He was a worker at Park Hospital, Davyhulme, Manchester, United Kingdom as a House officer between 1969 and 1970, later returned to Nigeria and joined the Lagos Ministry of Health, Surulere Health Centre in June 1970 as a Medical Officer (Obst.Gynae)(OBG).
His resilience spurred him to form the Junior Hospital Doctors Association in 1970 and became its President. The association later metamorphosed into the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in 1972 and was the President until 1973.
Falomo became the youngest and second Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State Branch in 1972, a position he held for five consecutive years until 1977. The exuberant doctor successfully led the first “Work To Rule” action of all Doctors in the employment of Lagos State Ministry of Health to fight for the improvement of Healthcare delivery in the State.
He was transferred to General Hospital, Ikeja as Medical Officer (O&G) where he was between 1970 and 1972 and in 1973, he was posted to Island Maternity as Registrar I (O&G).
Falomo withdrew from the services of Lagos State Ministry of Health and set up the Onikoyi Clinic, Yaba in 1974 which later became the 50 beds Maryland Specialist Hospital, Anthony Village/Maryland.
He was the Deputy Leader of negotiating team set up by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) during the Udoji Award for doctors in 1974 which successfully negotiated a new salary scale for doctors.
Falomo became the National Treasurer of NMA between 1979 and 1981. He, in the company of Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti in 1980 at their personal expense attended the Delegates Convention of the American Medical Association in Chicago, USA to defend the NMA position to South African Medical Association’s attempted admission into the world Medical Association and the mission was successful while in 1981 both of them also went to Churchill Hotel in London to meet the leadership of National Party of Nigeria to negotiate the Call Duty Allowances for Doctors. Falomo served as the NMA representative on the Management body of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and during the same period as a member of Court of Governors, College of Medicine, University of Lagos. He was appointed Chairman of LUTH management Board on August 27, 1986 and the same year was appointed the Medical Adviser to the African Church Organisation of Nigeria. He was Baba Isale Ijo of Holy Trinity African Church, Oko-Oba, Agege, Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, NYSC (Mobile Clinic), Trustee of Nigeria Medical Student s Association (NIMSA), was at a time presented with Prestigious Grand Award of the University of Ibadan Medical Students Association, was Patron of University of Ibadan Medical Students Association and was Grand Patron of NMA, School of Midwifery, Abeokuta Branch. He was admitted to the Roll of Honour of the NMA and the third recipient of the award so far. He was given an Excellent Award as the Greatest Physician of our time by Lagos State University Students’ Union.
A man of many awards, Falomo in 1994 had a singular honour and responsibility of being appointed by late Chief M.K.O Abiola as his personal physician to look after his health while in detention by the Federal Military Government, an appointment that was approved by the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
President Mohammadu Buhari in acknowledgement of his exemplary life had this to say: “Falomo’s dedication to duty and welfare of his patients had brought him into limelight, especially as the personal physician to the late politician and business mongul, Chief MKO Abiola, late Chief Medical Director who would be sorely missed for his kindness and humane nature.”
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo described him as a distinguished, passionate patriot and doctor who dedicated his life to the cause of humanity through his renowned medical practice both in the private and public spheres.
Former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu described him as physician and an activist while the incumbent Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu described him as extremely gifted physician, nationalist and patriot. Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun described Falomo as a patriotic Nigerian who made a difference to our society in a private, social and professional capacities while Abiola in his life time described him as a man of encouragement.
Former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko described Falomo as the quintessential physician and activist while Femi Falana described him as forthright doctor who fought with others for access to health for the entirety of Nigerian people.
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