Jacob Sogboyega Odulate

Jacob Sogboyega Odulate, known as ‘The Blessed Jacob’, inventor and essayist, was born 1884 in Ikorodu. As a pharmacist of informal learning and a man of quick wit, Odulate soon achieved fame for the medicine, Alabukun, which he manufactured. As a fourteen year old, he had left his father’s polygamous house at Ikorodu for Abeokuta through a tortuous road that took 3 months to thread on foot. There he met the pharmacist, ‘Dr.’ Sapara under whom he acquired the basic knowledge of curative products.

In 1918, Odulate established the Alabukun Patent Medicine Supply Stores. The Alabukun medication which he manufactured with the assistance of his wives and children contained local raw materials as well as imported propriety drugs from a Liverpool company in the United Kingdom. Odulate believed there was no single herb, root or bark that has no hidden treasure in it for human use. He died around the age of 78 in the Creek Hospital, near Onikan in Lagos. His first son, Albert Olukoya passed on before then after a motor accident in 1948, disenchanting him of his annual Alabukun Almanac mentioned in Wole Soyinka’s Ake as one of the Nobel laureate’s childhood delights. Odulate’s daughter, Folake Solanke became in 1981 a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the first female to be so honoured.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer