Alumni, Dentistry, Obafemi Awolowo University

IFUDSA Interview With The Legendary Professor Olusile

Prof. O. A. Olusile in 2009

In the summer of 2009, the legendary Professor O. A. Olusile was still a Dr. and the head of the department of Restorative Dentistry. He also doubled as the president of the Nigerian Dental Association [NDA]. Professor Olusile was, at one time, the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry. He was a man of many parts: a well admired lecturer, a trailblazing dentist, an accomplished family man, and a sports enthusiast.

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As a lecturer, he was thorough, disciplined, and hardworking. As a dentist, he was consistent, seasoned, and caring. You couldn’t divorce Dr Olusile from his unparalleled sense of humour, which he used to the delight of his students. It was never a dull moment with Dr Olusile.

“Gentlemen, open that fridge and bring out the juice that is inside, you will also find cups on the fridge, ah…ah, rinse them and take juice for yourselves.”

That was Dr Olusile in his characteristic manner.

It was shortly after the refreshment that the interview started. Benson Fadeyi (now Dr. Benson Fadeyi) and Kehinde Adeniyi (now Dr. Kehinde Adeniyi) anchored the interview, while Gbenga Dada (now Dr. Gbenga Dada) took the pictures. Enjoy the excerpts.

Channel 32: Can you please introduce yourself, sir?

Dr Olusile: I am Adeyemi Oluniyi Olusile, born 53 years ago in Lagos. My father died in the year 2000 at the age of 90. My mother died much earlier, in 1977, at 63. They were Christians, both ljebus. Therefore, I am a fourth-generation ljebu man (laughs); all my grandparents are from ljebu. I am married to an ljebu woman. I am an ljebu man in Conservative Dentistry. My wife is a nurse, and we have two children, a boy, and a girl. The boy graduated in 2007 from OAU (MBChB). The girl is in her final year.

Channel 32: Tell us about your educational background.

Dr Olusile: I attended St Judes School, EbuteMetta, Lagos for primary education. Then, I proceeded to Isanyin Grammar School, ljebu-Ode between 1966 and 1970. Later, I went to the Federal School of Science, Victoria Island, Lagos (1971-1973) for a Higher School Certificate. I started dental training at the University of Lagos (1974-1978). I had my housemanship at Lagos University Teaching Hospital between 1979-1980. My national youth service was in 1981 at Ife here, and I guess I am still doing it now. Between1985-1988, I was at Eastman Institute of Dental Surgery, the University of London through the Obafemi Awolowo University Scholarship Programme, and I had an M.Sc degree.

Channel 32: What informed your studying dentistry?

Dr Olusile: I have always had Dentistry at the back of my mind. Part of those who influenced my decision was Dr Ibikunle. He is someone people respect a lot.

In 2009: Benson Fadeyi, Dr. Olusile, Kehinde Adeniyi
In 2009: Benson Fadeyi, Dr. Olusile, Kehinde Adeniyi

Channel 32: How was the training?

Dr Olusile: We had the best in terms of training. Our teachers were very dedicated. There was a good library although there was nothing like the internet then. Treatment in the hospital was almost free, and patients always came.

Channel 32: Taking a look into the past, what lessons would you say life has taught you?

Dr Olusile: There is a reward for hard work.

Channel 32: As a lecturer in OAU, how would you assess the relationship between the lecturers and students in the Faculty of Dentistry?

Dr Olusile: The relationship was more cordial before. I had students who used to come to my office to ask for fruit drink. Students were always coming to share their problems with me, but now, I guess students have fewer problems (laughs). Personally, there have been more gaps between myself and students than there used to be. Maybe because I am growing older and the age difference is getting wider.

Channel 32: How would you rate the standard of dental training in OAU compared to other dental schools in Nigeria?

Dr Olusile: Dental students in OAU are much better both morally and academically. I’m able to tell because I examine all over the dental schools in the country except the new ones viz. UNIMAID, UNN.

Channel 32: As the president of the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA), can you tell us about the association and its activities?

Dr Olusile: The Nigerian Dental Association is the umbrella body for all practising dentists in Nigeria. We hold Annual General Meetings and a quarterly continuing education programme. The association started a long time ago yet is still in its infancy.

Channel 32: What are the plans of NDA for Dental Students ‘ Associations?

Dr Olusile: We have always worked for hand in gloves because we believe they are the association’s future. We invite and recognize students’ associations at our activities.

Channel 32: What are the challenges being faced as the NDA president?

Dr Olusile: My greatest challenge is getting members to attend our activities. Dentists are lukewarm to the association. I believe they are easily content. Before becoming the President in May 2006, only two or three state branches were functional. Now those of Osun, Edo, Lagos, and Oyo states are working fine, while those of Ondo, Ekiti, and Delta states are being put together.

Channel 32: What relationship exists between NDA and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA)?

Dr Olusile: The relationship is very cordial, though, in a way, I don’t think it’s right because they see us as affiliates. I believe it should be that of partnership.

Channel 32: What can you say about the seeming downplay of oral health as regards the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)?

Dr Olusile: The scheme does not involve dentists as much as we thought it should. The only dental care listed on the NHIS is tooth extraction.

Channel 32: What are your dreams for NDA?

Dr Olusile: I will be very happy the day we have a separate Dental Council. I dream and work towards a Nigerian Dental Associationthat everybody will be proud of.

Channel 32: Comment on Private Dental Practice in Nigeria. What are the factors militating against it, and how can they be stopped?

Dr Olusile: The establishment of a dental clinic is very expensive, but with a renewed banking system in the country, I hope the story will change. Banks run after finalists abroad that they may establish clinics for them. Part of the problems facing private practice is the lack of proper facilities vis-a-vis power supply, potable water, and so on. Also, the level of awareness of the public about oral health is very low. I’ve once seen the commissioner for health in a state who has lost the two upper central incisors. You can imagine that level of ignorance. We should work more on theimprovement of oral health awareness.

Channel 32: What advice do you have for students?

Dr Olusile: To succeed in life, you have to work hard and be resourceful, honest, and straightforward. Don’t cut corners unless you know it is legitimate (all laugh). As soon as you graduate, decide what you want to do and pursue it vigorously. Believe in yourself and let the stars be your limit.

Channel 32: It’s been nice talking with you, sir.

Dr Olusile: It’s a pleasure.

(End of Interview).

Note: Edits have been made for better readability by Oluwatobiloba Fadeyi.

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