TRIBUTE: My journey to the University of Ibadan in 1948

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University of Ibadan gate
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By Anezie Okoro

I belonged to the first set of Medical Students that moved to the University of Ibadan campus in 1949. Although the set before us made up of Dr Akingba, Dr Ishaya and the rest of them had their first MB at Yaba they were later transferred to London to complete their medical course.

Many of us came from the east by train. While some of us boarded in Aba, others boarded in Enugu. We continued from Enugu to Makurdi then Kaduna. At Kaduna we changed trains and proceeded to Lagos. This aspect of the journey took us a day and a half. We therefore arrived in Lagos on Saturday, October 9 1948. We were quartered in the old Yaba high school which housed students and staff. New buildings had been put up. One of them was the library which was housed in three blocks of buildings. The scholarship students made up of students who did very well in the entrance examination were in a separate block. We came in October and resumed lectures that same month.

We were about sixty-four that commenced our medical course but by the second MB we were reduced to twenty-four. In 1949, we were transferred to new buildings which actually weren’t meant for students because new and big hostels were being planned for students. The Pharmacology building was at the new site while other students remained in the old site.

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The Yaba school was closed in 1948 so we were moved to Ibadan. On getting to Ibadan, we were housed in old buildings. We learnt that the new buildings on the campus were meant for staff. However, since we needed to be near the anatomy and physiology blocks, we decided to protest and occupy the buildings. In fact, we went there on a Saturday because we had these buses that would take us from the old site to the new site. We succeeded in occupying the buildings and stayed there for the two years period for the completion of our anatomy and physiology courses. Our Anatomy teachers were Professor Alistair Smith and Professor Broadbent.
After our second MB, arrangements were made for those of us who passed on the first attempt to go to the UK for our Clinical posting. Some went to London, Oxford and Newcastle. I went to Bristol. In all it took us four years to do the first and second MB. I was attached to a class in Bristol. The set that passed after the second attempt joined our classes in the UK and some of those who qualified did their house jobs in the UK too. Some of those in the first set include, Professor Ango Abdullahi, Akinsola and Idowu. They were among the first twenty-four who passed the second MB and went abroad to finish. Some of those who finished in ’56 such as Alfred Ikeme came back home to do their house jobs. I also came back home to do my house job in Adeoyo Hospital.

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Abubakar Imam was the first northerner in our set. Many people did their primaries in Surgery, O and G, and Pediatrics. There was this joint exam in London and UK which you can do while in the university but I did my conjoined before my MBBS. After my houseman ship, I went to Lagos where I took interest in dermatology. From there, I went to Cameroon and worked at Victoria hospital where I was later put in charge of the whole hospital. I took over from Dr Akinsete.

CV
Professor Anezionwu Okoro was born on May 17 1929.

Genres: Children’s fiction, Medicine/ Health, Environmental sciences/Ecology.

Career: Professor of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975-. President, African Association for Dermatology, 1986-91. House surgeon, University College Hospital, Ibadan, 1959-57; Medical Officer, 1957-64, and Consultant Dermatologist, 1965-66, Ministry of Health, Lagos; Associate Lecturer, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, 1964-66; Consultant dermatologist, Ministry of Health, Enugu, 1966-74; Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., Lagos, 1977- 81; Visiting Professor, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, 1987, and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1988; King Faisal University, Dammam Saudi Arabia, professor of dermatology, 1989-95.

Publications: The Village School, 1966; The Village Headmaster, 1967; Febechi down the Niger, 1971; Febechi in Cave Adventure, 1971; One Week in Trouble, 1973; (and illustrator) Dr. Amadi’s Postings, 1975; Pictorial Handbook of Common Skin Diseases, 1981; Education Is Great, 1986; Double Trouble, 1990; Pariah Earth and Other Stories, 1994; The Second Great Flood, 1999.

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He retired in 2019 as an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Ebonyi State Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. He turned 91 on May 17 2020.


Emeritus Professor Anezie Okoro is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan

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