Monday, 25th October 2021
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Ode to Dr. Tosin Ajayi

He had a dream of good health care for the African child. Health care was all he thought about. He was a trailblazer in health care in Nigeria.

He had a dream of good health care for the African child. Health care was all he thought about. He was a trailblazer in health care in Nigeria. He was arguably the doyen of modernisation and transformation of health care. He had disappointments, no doubts. He was not a perfect person. But he touched lives of his staff, colleagues and friends.

Their words were emotional and comforting. They were loaded with prayers and best assurance that they had come to terms with the loss of Dr. Olutosin Joseph Ajayi, who passed on April 26, 2020.

In her highly emotional statement, Mrs. Olufunke Oluwole, former personal assistant to the MD and Training Officer, Medicine & Healthcare Africa (a subsidiary arm of The First Foundation Group), “it still appears as a dream to me that my boss and mentor, Dr. Tosin Ajayi, is no more. He was so full of life and passion that I never imagined death would come calling so soon. A man of many parts, a passionate advocate for the development of healthcare, an enigmatic boss and visionary leader. He saw what the world did not see and built an organisation as proof that excellence was possible with the right leadership.”

Oluwole added, “He was a gift that kept on giving. A dogged advocate for a shift in the paradigm thinking of healthcare leaders. He never got tired of running the race for a better healthcare system in Nigeria.”

Another staff, Mr. Onadipe, said, “he worked with passion, integrity and energy. By his death, all the people who knew him will miss a highly intelligent, vibrant individual with a rare friendliness and charm of personality. Dr. Tosin Ajayi was a genuinely warm and wonderful individual — one I will miss greatly.”

According to Emy Ekong, Ajayi was “a quintessential gentleman, whose conversations were spiced with wisdom, humour and proverbial sayings. He was a simple, peaceful personality and his legacy lives on in the lives he has touched and more particularly through his First Foundation family. Your appointment with God is seen to me as His plan for you. God loves his children. He loves you for doing His work on earth to the Best of your ability. This is what matters in the hereafter. You depart in the flesh only, but will always be remembered in our hearts. Your teachings & goodwill live on in all the people impacted by your kindness. Only fond memories of you are left behind in our hearts.”

Mr. Jerry Attah, said he was a truly good and great man. “He was a man of many parts and he gave his all to every part. He was humane, generous, intellectual and focused and he was loyal to all the good causes he championed and believed in till the very end. The Nigerian healthcare space has lost a great advocate and Nigeria has lost a great son.”

Dr. Hakeem Akinlade, his friend and colleague, said that he met the late Dr. Tosin Ajayi, “when he was a young, vibrant medical officer brimming with enthusiasm of wanting to make a difference in the medical landscape of Nigeria. In wanting to help humanity in his chosen profession he established The First Foundation Medical Engineering Co. Ltd to take care of the best high end medical equipment to be used in his hospital and other hospitals nationwide.”
According to Hakeem, “He was arguably the Doyen of ‘The modernization and transformation of Health Care’. He pioneered the use of Ultrasound, CT scan and Telemedicine in Nigeria and was at the vanguard of Public Private Partnership in Health Care. Dr Ajayi’s passion was not limited to Health care. He was equally concerned about the welfare of all and sundry which was evident in the way and manner he cherished his staff at First Foundation some of whom like Emeh Gladys Ekong had worked with him for over Thirty years (30) .His staff had a special place in his heart and he spent quality time with them building their capacity, mentoring, lecturing, motivating and inspiring them to be the best they could be and always to look beyond themselves.”

According to Dupe Koiki, Ajayi was a man she was honoured to know. “In his bid to further enhance the knowledge and wellbeing of mankind, he founded another company called Africa Future. From this name one will realize that he not only thought of Nigerians but the whole of Africa. How its race can be better and this led him to the realization that things can only be changed if new born are properly tutored/nourished in their first 1000 days from conception. On this project he was before his home call.”

For Bimbo Afolabi, Dr. Tosin Ajayi was “an enigma, a rare gift to humanity. He was a boss with a very big heart. He had a unique relationship with every member of staff and tried as much as possible to make everyone feel like family. He made the company one big family and genuinely loved his staff. He shared his big life by spending even his memorable moments in their company. He loved to organize parties just for his staff to experience what they would never ordinarily afford. He was incurably humble and down to earth.”

Afolabi said he did not suffer fools at all. “He was extremely passionate about his work till the end and selflessly changed the dynamics of medicine and the business of medicine in Nigeria. Always interested in what would make Nigeria a better nation he went ahead and founded his last and most important to him ‘Africa Future ‘ a company amongst many he owned created only to develop Nigeria in a bid to bridge the developmental gap between Africa and the already developed countries. He would say and I quote” this is my last race, I intend to run it to the very end.”

John Dovoh, longest serving staff of Dr. Tosin Ajayi, said his “boss was a man, who lived his life wanting to better others. May his soul rest in peace. I miss you and pray that your legacy lives on.”

Ayomide Agemo said he was a great mentor, always providing knowledgeable advice and support. “He did an incredible job of bringing out my strengths and helped me bestow confidence in myself and in my abilities. He inspired me to do my best. He helped me strive for goals. I found guidance and discipline, everything in one person.”

Dr. Ibironke Shodeinde, President- Elect, MWAN) Lagos State branch, said, “an exceptional pillar of support, very accommodating, highly intelligent and humble who never dis-honoured our gender as women rather embraced us as men like himself; your sudden exit is painful deep to my marrow.”

Shodeinde said his “words of wisdom were incomparable, passion for humanity was great especially for born and unborn generations regarding their milestones in their first 1000 days in life. You will sorely be missed. Your legacy lives on and you will forever remain in our memories as MWAN grows stronger as desired by you.”

For Okosun Raymond, special assistant to late Dr. Tosin Ajayi, he will forever be remembered for his invaluable contributions to the development of the Nigerian healthcare system. “He was a colossus that bestrode the landscape of healthcare and medicine. Sadly, like I have learnt in the last one year, a good run will always come to an end as I ruminate on what might have been if death did not put an end to his noble objective of changing Africa. I am consoled, however, that many of us who had the privileged to work and relate with him, including many of his friends and associates, will carry on with the dream in diverse ways and places. The seed of the development of Africa, which he sowed, will never die. To these people, it will surely germinate, grow and bear bountiful fruits in due season.”

Mrs. Agunbiade said he was a unique boss, leader, teacher, counselor and preacher. He was a good and caring father to many. “Words cannot express the inspirations and changes your words of wisdom and knowledge made in my life and that of my children, because the knowledge you impacted into me helped me in raising my children. All those times you sat us down driving in a point of knowledge (wisdom) of life… Your legacies; sure will live for generations to come.”

Dr. Anthony Omolola, CMD, St Raphael Hospital said he met Dr. Ajayi in 1989, when he visited First Foundation Hospital, Ikeja. “He was a phenomena, a human capacity builder, a researcher, a mentor, philanthropist, a teacher, an Afenifere man, a physician who loved all physicians with passion, a philosopher, a psychologist and entrepreneur per excellence.”

According to Omolola, “the world will forever remember the good things he did for humanity in general and his service to GOD Almighty. The medical and non-medical communities will also remember him for his good deeds.”