A sombre atmosphere yesterday enveloped the St. Nicholas Maryland Specialist Hospital, Lagos, following the demise of its Medical Director, Dr Ore Falomo, who died in the early hours of Saturday.
In the wake of news of the death of the renowned and respected medical practitioner, who was the personal physician of the late Moshood K. Abiola, winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, President Muhammadu Buhari and other notable Nigerians have expressed sadness over his passage even as they eulogized him.
President Buhari in a condolence message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, noted that Falomo served humanity for many years, working for citizens, eminent Nigerians and medical institutions.
The president commiserated with friends and professional associates of the former Chief Medical Director of Maryland Specialist Hospital, saying that his “dedication to duty and welfare of his patients brought him to recognition, especially as personal physician to Abiola.”
Buhari believes that the kindness and humane services of the late chief medical director will be sorely missed and prayed that God grant him eternal rest, as well as comfort his family.
Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, described Dr Falomo as a man that remained on the path of truth, even in the face of adversity.
His words: “I can only say may his soul rest in perfect peace. He did all he could and remained on the path of the truth. Dr. Falomo made a big contribution to the attainment of the democracy we are enjoying today. Even if the contemporary don’t remember him, history would remember him for his role. I console his family and wish him eternal rest.”
On his part, Senator Femi Okurounmu described Falomo as a man that remained loyal to the struggle till the very end, saying, “He was a courageous fighter and was not just a medical practitioner. He pursued what he believed in with a strong conviction. He remained loyal to Abiola till the very end. I pray he rests in peace like the valiant patriot and courageous fighter that he was.”
Similarly, a chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition, which fought against the then military regime for the revalidation of the annulled June 12 election and now a leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, expressed warm thoughts about Dr Falomo in a report on the online platform: “He was one of those loyal to the struggle and was a good nationalist and a patriot to the core. He was somebody who practiced what he believed him. He was a successful medical practitioner and we are certainly going to miss him.”
When our correspondent who visited a branch of the hospital located at Anthony Village axis of Lagos, it was observed that security had been beefed up in the area as family members, friends and associates of Dr Falomo were seen moving around the hospital premises in sombre as some discussed the development in hushed tones.
Pained by the death of respected doctor, one of the sympathisers seen around the hospital environment said in pidgin English, “Baba don go.”
A family source who wished not to be named, when pressed for comments, said:
“Yes, it is true that he died this morning. But that’s all l can say for now. We can’t provide further details about his death until tomorrow (today).”
A junior staff of the hospital said, “He died this morning. As l was coming in through the gate, l saw people standing in groups with gloomy faces. It was when l inquired what happened that l got to know he had died.”
Falomo played significant roles in the dogged fight against the junta that annulled the election won by Moshood Abiola, culminating in the return to democracy in 1999. During those dark days of military regime, the deceased was subjected to psychological torture by the military and was denied access to Abiola, who was incarcerated after the June 12, 1993 presidential poll.
Born on September 4, 1942 in Minna, Falomo started formal education at attended Baptist Primary School, Ijaiye from 1945-55, attended Methodist Boys High School from 1956 to 1960. Dr. Falomo studied Medicine in Ireland. He qualified as a medical doctor in 1968 and worked as a House Officer at Park Hospital, Davyhulme, Manchester, United Kingdom between 1969 and 70.
Upon his return to Nigeria, he joined the services of the Lagos State Ministry of Health as a Medical Officer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and was deployed to the Surulere Health Centre, where he worked for one year between 1971 and 72. He was transferred to General Hospital, Ikeja (1972-73) and later promoted Registrar 1, Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, where he served for one year (1973-74). He left public service to become the Medical Director of Onikoyi Clinic, Yaba, which he ran from 1974-79 and in 1980, he became the Chief Medical Director of Maryland Specialist Hospital.
Dr. Falomo was chairman of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors from 1971 to 74 and Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State, 1972-77 and National Treasurer of the Nigerian Medical Association for two years (1979-81) and was four years (1981-85) a representative of the NMA on the Management Board of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. He held several other positions in various professional associations and was listed on NMA Roll of Honour.