Nathaniel Taiwo Olusoga

Nathaniel Taiwo Olusoga was the first Ijebu medical doctor, son of Daniel Adenuga Olusoga and member of the Odubela family of Ijebu which also produced Joseph Odumosu who was the first Yoruba to reduce indigenous therapeutics into writing. Nathaniel was the only child of his mother and he grew up living with a philanthropist, J.H. Doherty. He schooled at C.M.S. Grammar School from 1914 to 1918 and trained as a physician in Scotland, returning in 1927 to instant stardom in Ijebu. In 1938, he was selected by the British Government as a member of the Legislative Council representing Ijebu province. On 7 March 1939, he appealed to the British not to renege on the policy of carte blanche to the Awujale. His effort to overturn the Balkanization of Ijebu, which had seen districts of Remo and Ijebu Igbo asserting their independence came to nullity.

Nathaniel’s reputation soared in 1946 when he protested against rubber-stamping during the legislative duty of ratifying the Richards Constitution, which the British Governor had forwarded to the legislators without proper conduct. He walked out of the council unceremoniously and headed to Ijebu where he spent most of his remaining life. He was hailed both by natives and expatriates for his moral stance, but this reputation would soon be mortgaged when he was found to be unethical in his role in the appointment of D.R. Otubusin as Awujale of Ijebu, a man whose shrewdness, he came to believe he had misjudged. Investigation revealed he had abused the sway he had on Resident Mackenzi and promoted family interests in his zeal for Otubusin, a man accused for having no royal blood, as they are related by marriage. As a consequence of this, Nathaniel’s hospital was boycotted and he was persecuted till his death on 27 November 1949.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer