By Gabriel Olawale
Founder of FCMB Group and Otunba Tunwase Foundation, Otunba Olasubomi Balogun yesterday donated the N5 billion Otunba Tunwase National Pediatrics Centre in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State to University of Ibadan and University College Hospital as part of its commitment towards ensuring Nigerians, especially children have access to a world-class medical facility
Speaking during the hand-over ceremony in Ogun State, Balogun who was represented by Group Chief Executive and Chairman of the Board of Otunba Tunwase Foundation, Mr Ladi Balogun said that the inspiration by Otunba Olasubomi Balogun to build the hospital was first inspired when he took over the children’s hospital at the UCH Ibadan, where he was exposed to the true plight of sick children and the high demand for world-class medical facility to cater for their needs in a sustainable manner.
“Today’s event marks a significant milestone to a philanthropic project embarked upon 11 years ago, with the sole objective of providing a world-class medical facility to Nigerians, especially children, by an individual who consistently craves for the social and economic development of his fatherland.
This N5 billion establishment, credited as a prototype of the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, United Kingdom.”
He disclosed that at the end of its construction, some institutions requested to manage the hospital, but Otunba Balogun strongly believes that the University of Ibadan and University College Hospital are in a better position to do that, effectively and further raise its status, considering their respective pedigrees.
He, however, expressed optimism that with the partnership, the institution would contribute immensely to the general well-being of all Nigerians and serve as a symbol of great possibilities for all those who look to achieve greatness and give back to their fatherland.
“Following the signing of the MoU last year by all the concerned parties, the resolution is that while the University College Hospital (UCH) has been mandated to provide clinical services, the University of Ibadan (UI) will engage in research and other academic works, while students from UI would also be involved as part of the training.”
Appreciating the gesture, Chief Medical Director, UCH Ibadan, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo said that it’s an indisputable fact that health and welfare of society are critical to the development of any community, “we at the UCH are grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the well-being of residents in Ijebu community, Ogun State and Nigeria at large.
“UCH is not just witnessing the generosity and benevolence of Otunba Tunwase now. Many years ago, he endowed the Otunba Tunwase Children Emergency Ward in UCH and he has been funding the Ward since then. A lot of children have been saved there, while training and research in Paediatrics have been going on unhindered.”
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, UI, Professor Adebola Ekanola who was represented by the Provost of College of Medicine, UI, Prof. Olayinka Omigbodun described Otunba Olasubomi Balogun as a well-known statesman, entrepreneur and philanthropist with several charitable projects and programmes for the people of his hometown of Ijebu-Ode, as well as other parts of Nigeria.
His philanthropy ranges from the provision of this world-class medical facility to education, capacity building, youth empowerment and other socio-economic initiatives, aimed at enhancing the development of humanity and society in general.