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‘Infrastructural decay’ Alumnus donates N417 million to Nigerian university

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‘Infrastructural decay’ Alumnus donates N417 million to Nigerian university

An alumnus of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI), Philip Ozuah, has donated $1,000,000, amounting to N417 million based on the official exchange rate of N417 to a dollar as posted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on 3 August.

The amount could, however, be as high as N645 million if exchanged at the parallel market, otherwise known as black market, which reportedly traded at N645 to a dollar.

The donor announced the sum on 1 August during a virtual sod-turning ceremony for a student hostel project.

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Mr Ozuah, who was also the keynote speaker and fundraiser-in-chief at the ceremony, said the donation was to support the construction of the college’s new student hostel and other infrastructural repairs.

The hostel project was initiated by the management of the college in partnership with the Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association Worldwide (ICOMAA-WW).
College management confirms

Confirming the development, the college in a statement on its website noted that the alumnus was a classmate of the Provost of the College of Medicine, Olayinka Omigbodun, who requested that alumni should come together and “help build a much needed new hostel for students of CoMUI.”

In July, the provost in a video made the call to alumni and other members of the college to support the building of the hostel and other structures.

She said: “This is a clarion call of all members of the College of Medicine University of Ibadan Alumni Association to join us, to partner with us, strengthen and scale up the College of Medicine University of Ibadan structures and systems on Monday, 1 August.

“I invite you to join us at the Sod-Turning Ceremony for the College of Medicine University of Ibadan and the College of Medicine Alumni Association Student Hostel project.”
Precedent

This is the second time institutions associated with Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan, would turn to the public for support due to dwindling government support and decaying infrastructure.

The university’s teaching hospital had earlier publicly requested support after the report alleged imposition of mandatory N1,000 electricity bill on patients was made public.

Earlier in July, a former member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Lanre Laoshe, had donated to the hospital 1,000 litres of diesel, following a public request by the facility’s Chief Medical Director, Jesse Otegbayo.

The institution’s facilities, which had in the past been ranked as some of the best globally, are fast degenerating, but the government seems incapable of sustaining them.

The story is the same for almost all public academic and health institutions nationwide.
About Mr Ozuah

Though other alumni members of the college donated generously towards lifting the academic institution during the event, Mr Ozuah’s contribution was the lion’s share.

He was said to have earned his Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme at the college in 1985 before proceeding abroad for further studies.
The donor is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Montefiore Einstein Medicine, the umbrella association for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore health systems.
According to the college provost, in a video posted online, Mr Ozuah after earning his medical degree from the college, went for his Paediatrics internship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and proceeded to the University of Southern California School of Medicine for his post-doctoral fellowship.

She added that; “He served as Professor and University Chairman of Paediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.

“He expanded access to underserved communities, under his leadership, Montefiore health systems specialties have run top 100 per cent of the nation’s hospitals.
“He receives more than 200 million dollars in annual research awards from the NIH and he leads an organisation that is owed to 800 MD students, 190 PhD students, 120 students in the combined MD PhD programme and 200 post-doctoral research fellows.”
More donations

Before the sod-turning ceremony, the medical college said it had received donations from other alumni members.

In June, at the 2022 Annual General Meeting of ICOMAA North America Branch, the class of 1989 donated $30,000 towards the project.

Also, two alumni identified as Dolamu and Modupe Shokunbi, the President and Publicity Secretary of ICOMAA-North America donated $6,000 towards the project.

Similarly, the college disclosed that an alumna of the MBBS Graduating Class of 1990, Olajumoke Banjo and her husband, Ayodele Banjo have donated $12,000 towards the student hostel project.

In her comments, Mrs Banjo was quoted as saying: “I am grateful for the training provided by our medical school. It was a foundation for our marital union as our first meeting place. The degree from the college enabled us to settle in different continents of the world and encouraged my daughter to follow in the profession.”

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