Professor Oladele Adebayo Ajose (1907-1978) who was the foundation Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), started the journey of a new University, on June 8, 1961. He was a man of great vision, selfless achiever, honest and disciplined. Professor Ajose’s humane disposition and natural warmth are legendary and devoid of discrimination.Oladele Ajose (born 1907) was a Lagos prince and Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University. He was an early advocate of primary health care in Nigeria and the first tenured African professor at the University of Ibadan and in Nigeria. He was one of the earliest Africans to hold a professorial chair.
Born into the Royal House of Oba Ologunkutere of Lagos, Ajose was educated at King’s College in that city before proceeding to Glasgow to study Medicine in 1927. He graduated MB, ChB in 1932, took the Diploma of Public Health in 1935, and returned to Nigeria in 1936. He was awarded an MD in 1939 and became a leading public health expert in Nigeria.
Ajose worked in Lagos from 1936 as an assistant Medical Officer of Health and then as a MOH, and he was a lecturer and an examiner in public health and forensic medicine at the Yaba Medical School. In 1948 he was appointed Professor of Preventive and Social Medicine at University College, Ibadan, the first Black African to hold a Chair there, and he was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1958 to 1959. From 1961 until 1966 he was Vice Chancellor of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo) University.
In 1961, Ajose was made Chief Bada of Ilora. He was the founder of the British Red Cross Society in Nigeria, the Infectious Disease Hospital in Lagos, and the Ilora Health Centre, and he was the first President of the Nigerian branch of the British Medical Association, which became the Nigerian Medical Association. He was appointed OBE in 1961.