One sunny day, this writer was in the midst of a few young but brilliant guys, with age range between 18 to 23years at a popular Bodija estate restaurant Ibadan just to take a walk round the town and observe happenings around the town.
These young chaps unaware of my presence there, then started a discussion about what they wished to become in life -as in choosing their carriers when one of them curiously asked others that “sorry guy, do you know one man called Adeduntan? Then others responded by asking him that ” yes we don’t know him in person, but we have heard of his name many times especially when he was contesting for Governorship position in Oyo State in 2011 and 2015.
One of the guys went further and said, ” see my Dad was telling me some days ago about this man, Adeduntan that he is an internationally recognised cardio vascular surgeon who is well revered and he also told me that this man was once a consultant to one of the well respected Presidents in the world. Anytime there was a need for his services, they used to send chartered flight to pick him up”.That his father said,he did not know what Adeduntan was doing in politics.
Seriously, this discussion by these young men really caught my attention as a journalist and with this I decided to dig deeper to know about this unsung hero in his home stead ,just like Our Lord Jesus Christ who until now is not well received in Israel ,but well received in other nations of the world.
This is just the best description of who Chief Dr. Azeez Popoola Adeduntan is-one of the few world recognized cardio vascular surgeons.
Chief Dr. Azeez Popoola Adeduntan, having built his medical carrier excellently and excelled even as one of the very few Cardio Vascular Surgeons around the world served as Assistant Professor of Surgery, at Morehouse Medical School, Atlanta, Georgia,(1995-1996)- but left in 1996 -because according to him he did not want to be a “paper tiger”-a classroom surgeon who could not operate.Hence he ventured out of the university to open his own private clinic in the USA in 1996.
He is currently the President, Chief Executive Officer, as well as Medical Director of RILGA LLC-a professional corporation in the USA and NIGERIA .
With all these great feats, then the question is of what essence is Politics to this great man of all first and best?.-unless you know the dictum that’ drives him -“A man is not blessed by GOD unless he is a blessing to others “.
Sometimes around 2010, Adeduntan was in the comfort of his office in Atlanta, and was in deep thought of why and how things can be rightly done in his state, Oyo and how best to give back to larger percentage of people aside from those that had benefited from his generosity, and so the idea of joining politics came.
Though , Adeduntan has few years ago established a non governmental and non profit organization “Dr Azeez Popoola Adeduntan Foundation ” with headquarter at ADEDUNTAN BUS STOP,Alakia, Ibadan where many peoples’ needs have been solved through the intervention of this international surgeon.
Many indigent students in tertiary institutions across the country and beyond have been assisted and still been assisted with scholarships and bursary to see them achieve their dreams.
Adeduntan has made numerous Contributions/Service to the Nigerian Community at home and in Diaspora:
He has been a consistent donor to the Nigerian Women Association of Georgia (NWAG), and he is a Gold Sponsor, Otu Umunne Organization (Gold Sponsor).
ADEDUNTAN was conferred with A MERIT AWARD by alliance of ALL NIGERIAN ORGANIZATIONS IN GA(ANOG) ,USA for these sterling qualities in 1998 .
As an alumni of the great Obafemi Awolowo University, he has also been assisting the institution Medical Students Journal Club as he Contributes regularly to the club.as a patron.
Not only that, Adeduntan is not just a member of the Ibadan socio cultural group (Omo Ajorosun Club Ibadan), he has also been a super financial member of the club, a very good example was his multi million naira personal donation for solar inverter system when he represented the then Governor -now Late, Abiola Ajimobi at the club’s 2019 anniversary.
Other clubs that Azeez Adeduntan had extended his hands of generosity to includes Ibadan Solidarity Group where he is also a member, Ondo and Awe Descendants Union, Ibadan Descendants Union,USA, where he is also a member ,Eko Club, Atlanta, YORUBAS of Atlanta, St. Jude’s Children’s Fund Atlanta, Homeless shelter, Salvation Army Fund and has a Foundation for the less privileged named after him in both NIGERIA AND THE USA.
In 2011, Azeez Popoola Adeduntan attempted for the first time to become the Governor of Oyo State and joined the Labour party, -a relatively uknown Political party then ,which he publicised and made popular with his high financial commitment and exceptional performance at all debates organized for the then GOVERNORSHIP candidates.
Were AZEEZ in the right party in 2011,he would have won the GOVERNORSHIP seat handily, as he defeated all other candidates that participated in the debate on splash fm radio station.
People especially pressmen and politicians still talk about that debate with nostalgia.
But due to insincerity, backbiting and the bad politicking of Nigeria Politics which Adeduntan by then was not In the know-the battle then was lost due to the majority of the then Labour party members that worked underneath for another party candidate majority because of “hunger.”-because a hungry man cannot think about the future .
But rather than give up and go back to his comfort zone, this “Special Breed” chose not to disappoint his teeming supporters and in 2015 rolled up his sleeve for another contest on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) this time with the current Oyo State Governor Engr Seyi Makinde, then an aspirant, and another major aspirant then, Senator Tesleem Folarin who in 2015 got the ticket of the party in a “Commando style”.otherwise called “JAGBA”style.
Just before the election of 2015 the then Governor, Late Ajimobi who then was seeking for a return beckoned on the “the international surgeon” to support him and also promised to compensate Adeduntan by also working for him after his completion of his eight years.
The evidence of this was reflected at the 2019 Ibadan week grand finale held in March 2019 at
Obafemi Awolowo stadium, Oke Ado, where the late Governor before handing over an award by Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes to Adeduntan said in Yoruba “see ri, emi ni mo ni ki Doctor duro ki n pari odun mejo mi, ki n wa gbe Ijoba fun won meaning “I was the one that appealed to Doctor to please wait till after my eight years, then I will hand over to him.”
It is note worthy to also state here that almost two years into his second term, former Governor Abiola Ajimobi invited then Dr Azeez Popoola Adeduntan from the USA to come and restore the pace setter STATE health sector which by then was comatose.
Immediately after his inauguration on June 17, 2016, Dr Azeez Popoola Adeduntan, swung into action when he personally led the ministry officials to crack
down on fake hospitals across the state.
Indeed, the exercise was greatly revealing as many hospitals and maternity homes were closed down due to many sub standard facilities that were found there while many of them were even being owned by fake and unqualified medical personnels.
During one of such trips to Oyo town, the commissioner and his team visited one hospital in the town and on getting there, the so called medical Doctor who owned the hospital was a drop out of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile ife, not minding that he also had his education at the University, the commissioner ordered the immediate closure of the hospital.
No doubt this greatly reduced unnecessary deaths and mortality among pregnant women in the state.
In Oyo as at today, one important and most successful government intervention in health sector in the last twenty years is the Oyo State Insurance Scheme.
The scheme in the state was facilitated and fast tracked by no other person than Dr Azeez Popoola Adeduntan as the Honourable Commisioner of the state in less than two years of his tenure.
The scheme through its supervising agency has refurbished and rehabilitated many health centres and maternity hospitals in the state while it has greatly assisted both the poor and not too poor residents of the state to meet their medical needs.
For this, the name Azeez Popoola Adeduntan has already been written in Gold even before the eventual greater service coming his way soon by God’s Grace.
(To Be continued )