Best brains needed to drive national development, says Babalakin

Dr. Wale Babalakin

• Describes Elebute an ‘outstanding scholar’
The Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), has said policies must be made to attract the best brains to teach in the nation’s ivory towers.

This, he submitted, would speed up the Nigeria’s development.

Babalakin spoke yesterday at the valedictory session organised by the institution’s College of Medicine for the founder of Hygeia HMO Limited and former Chief Medical Director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Emmanuel Adeyemo Elebute (CON).

Noting that he was inspired by the late Elebute’s credentials and achievements, the senior lawyer added that the deceased contributed immensely to the development of medicine.

His words: “Prof. Elebute attended CMS Grammar School and studied medicine at Trinity College, Dublin. He won the Cunningham Medal for Anatomy and Fitzpatrick Scholarship for best performance in all professional examinations. With all the options available to him, he chose to come back to Nigeria and contribute to the College of Medicine, UNILAG. His CV is one that we should propagate.

“We have been having difficulty in attracting the best of scholars to the university system. In the era of the Elebutes and those immediately after them, there was no better thing to do than to be in the academia. Various policies have made this unattractive and until we reverse them and begin again to attract the best brains to teach in the universities, our national development will remain stifled.”

Stating that the late Elebute was not only an academic but a ‘phenomenal administrator’, the pro-chancellor held: “He was the Chief Medical Director of LUTH from 1978 -1980. Before then, he had participated actively in the union of doctors, seeking to improve the welfare of doctors as President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) between 1968 and 1970.

“He was also a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Surgery. What this tells us is that we can rebuild from where we find ourselves. We can create a Nigerian academy that will be the envy of all.”

Babalakin explained that having distinguished himself as an academic, the late don went further into providing medical services by establishing the Lagoon Hospital, which is “arguably one of the best medical centres in Nigeria today” and transformed it into Hygeia HMO.

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