Interview with J.B. Fabunmi (1953) - Obstetrics and Gynaecologist Specialist.


The GCI Museum Project Team interviewed Dr Fabunmi, an Indian trained Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist. In the interview, he told us that GCI of his time was like an academy equipped to train and prepare students for any profession or vocation they wished to pursue after their stints at the College. Below are the chats with the ancient Old Boy.

Can we meet you sir?
I am Dr Fabunmi, O and G Consultant at Alaafia Hospital, Adamasingba, Ibadan.I was in Carr House and a member of 1953 Class Set.

When and where were you born?
I was born on a Sunday - the 108th day on the Gregorian calendar of 1937, i.e. 18th of April, 1937 at Araromi, Oke – Padre, Ibadan.

What was your earliest memory?
My earliest memory is historic.

Can you please share it with us?
My father went to a Catholic Priest School, and when he was about to be consecrated, my mother went and disrupted the ceremony, saying that her son would not be childless. That is what I remember, although I don’t know the connection.

Was there anyone that was very influential to you while you were growing up?
There was a playmate of mine in the neighbourhood called Popoola. He assisted me to defeat my fear of rats and rat-like animals. His parents raised guinea pigs and rabbits, he gradually and steadily helped me to hold and finally play with them. This I think influenced me to become a Medical Doctor.

Which Primary School did you attend for your primary education?
I first attended St. Patrick’s Primary School around my place of birth, after which I attended some other schools. I finally attended St. Stephens Primary School, Modakeke, Ile – Ife where I wrote my entrance examination to GCI. I was there between 1950 & 1952

What year did you gain admission to GCI?
It was in September, 1953. Our Set was the 25th Set to pass through GCI.

How did you gain admission to GCI?
The admission was a rigorous process. The Teachers of GCI came to our Primary Schools, we did entrance examination, and we were called for written and oral interviews within the compound of GCI and then we were selected based on merits and admission letters were dispatched to us through our Headmasters.

How many days did you spend for the interview?
It used to be at weekends, usually from Friday to Sunday but am not very sure.

What House were you in GCI?
Carr House.

Could you still remember the Heads of Carr then?
Yes, David Folorunso, Biyi Afonja, Ire Asayo, Dele Aderelewo, Andrew Ofuya and Olaiya Otolorin each became Head of Carr House in 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958 respectively.

How did your first day at GCI look like?
Am not sure I remember but that was the first time I slept on 2 feet wide – to the left and right plank bed with strangers.

Sir, we learnt that matrasses were provided then.
During my own time, matrasses were not provided. We were quite unfortunate, we used blankets instead.

What was your favourite subject then?
Biology and English.
One Mr Evans was always commending my English, and he believed that my English was the best.

Did you partake in any sport while at GCI?
I was all-rounder but I preferred Soccer and Cricket, I rose higher in Cricket and I was made the Vice – Captain of Cricket Team.

Was there any teacher you remember having been particularly influential?
Yes, that would be Mr Evans – my then English Master, because he was always encouraging and approving me before everyone.

Do you still have any reminiscences on your ex-classmates?
Yes especially those in Carr House such as Olaiya Otolorin, Jide Bademosi, Jibola Olaniyi and Akin Adubifa

What did you like most about being in GCI?
It is the discipline

What did you like least in GCI?
Some of the immediate seniors are a little bit bossy, some of us were even older than them, and knew them outside GCI; but we had no choice than to give them the respect they demanded. For example, we used to call them by adding ‘please’ to their names.

Were there any common pranks?
Yes if you would call it pranks. The very senior Boys used to take beverages from juniors without any objections.

What course did you study during your tertiary education?
Medicine, at Calcultta Medical College, Calcultta, India. It’s under Calcultta University. My medical school was between 1962 and 1968.

What informed your choice of Medicine?
My flair for living and moving things. Thanks to my childhood friend, Popoola who helped me turn my phobia to passion. There was also an incidence in my early days whereby I collected some earthworms, and enclosed them inside a bottle, by the next day, they were all dead, and that struck me and motivated me more. In short, the failed attempt to help earthworms, my penchant for Biology and my love for moving animals pushed me toward Medicine.

If you could do it again, would you still study Medicine and practice the profession?
Yes, but may not really practice it. I think I would prefer to teach Biology or Zoology or any of its field.

Was there any extracurricular activities you participated in while at Calcultta Medical School?
Yes, I was a Pole Vaulter.

Did you have any knowledge of Pole Vault while in GCI?
Yes. In GCI, you were trained to have knowledge of every sports.

How did you start your career?
I started by having my Housemanship program at Adeoyo State Hospital in 1969, after which I was transferred to General Hospital, Igbeti in 1971 and I later returned home to continue the medical practice at Jericho Hospital, Eleyele Road, Ibadan in 1972. Between 1972and 1975, I proceeded to UK for my In-house Training Award in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and I returned home with a Post Graduate Degree. I continued serving with the Oyo State Government as a Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Adeoyo State Hospital and General Hospital, Oyo till 1982 when I retired.
Thereafter, I started a private medical service with Alaafia Hospital in Ibadan before relocating to England in 2003. I came back in 2011 and continued my medical practice with St. Mary Catholic Hospital, Eleta, Old Ife Road, Ibadan and later Alaafia Hospital, Adamasingba, Ibadan where I currently practice.

What kept you going in the profession?
The satisfaction I derive therein.

Did any of your children choose your profession?

Did any of your son attend GCI?
Yes, Seyi Fabunmi and Seye Fabunmi attended GCI in 1982 and 1983 respectively.

How did your life at GCI influence your growing up?
The discipline GCI instilled in me has really helped me a lot for the tremendous achievements made so far.

Which political figure do you most admire?
Well, I would say it’s Pa Obafemi Awolowo just like most persons in my era would answer this question.

Is there any significant political event that you ever witnessed?
I'm not really politically minded.

Where would you like to see a change in this current political dispensation?
I will like to see a change in everyone especially the political and public office holders where a mindset that will eschew all forms of corruption will be developed. I also like the introduction of “Whistle Blowing Policy” and I wish to see Whistleblowers being encouraged and protected properly. That will also help to tame corruption, and ensure its establishment at all tiers of government and in all institutions.

What is your happiest memory?
That would be the day I was admitted to GCI?

When last did you visit GCI?
I live around Apata at Gbekuba-NIHORT road, so I see GCI almost every day. My last time at GCI was during late Dr Victor Adebambo’s burial in November, 2016.

How would you compare GCI of your time to GCI of today?
I don’t know much of GCI of today, but I learnt that the School has grown so wide that its academic, sporting and boarding facilities cannot adequately complement the outgrown population.

How would you describe GCIOBA?
It’s very interesting. Thumbs up to the past presidents especially Chief Lekan Are. They have done tremendously well. The current President too, Chief Jolaoso Abiodun is a very discipline, friendly, exemplary and humble gentleman, he is doing well too.

Do you have any memorabilia to bequeath to GCI Museum?
I think I have some, especially my special running vest but I will have to search my house for it. As soon as I get them, I would get them across to you.

Thank you very much sir.

PDF icon INTERVIEW WITH DR FABUNMI (1953).pdf126.95 KB





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