Latunde Odeku

Prof Latunde, first row in bow tie
Latunde Odeku, prof., front row in bow tie. Source: NaijaArchives.

Latunde Odeku, physician and poet,who was one of Nigeria’s most distinguished medical scholars, was born in 29 June 1927 in Awe, near Oyo. He schooled at Methodist Boys’ High School in Lagos from 1940-46. He was a probational officer for one year at the Nigeria Customs and Exercise Department from where he joined the Howard University in Washington DC, USA, as a young undergraduate. He passed the Bachelor of Science degree Sum Cum Laude and also won a scholarship that lasted for the four years he spent at Howard’s Medical School. Latunde got license to practice in Canada. He started his neurosurgery residency in 1957, at the University of Michigan’s Post Graduate School of Medicine at Ann Arbor, and was awarded a special grant, which afforded him the opportunity to study for a postgraduate degree in Neuropathology. Latunde Odeku returned from America in 1962 to start neurosurgery as a unit under the department of surgery in the University College Hospital, Ibadan. About 85 medically related articles and 13 other articles on general topics were written either solely or jointly by him during his short lifetime.

Latunde Odeku was the author of a free versed collection of nighttime reminisce with didactic undertone, Twilight out of the Night (1964), declaring in Tyranny, about Nigeria’s oppressive first republic players that “Only tomorrow, their might shall cease.” Odeku died of a severe heart condition in August 1974 in London.