BEKO – An extraordinary doctor, an ordinary Nigerian


  • Born in Abeokuta, Ogun State to the family of Oladotun and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti on August 2, 1940.
  • Studied at Coventry Technical College between 1957 and 1958 and later attended Manchester University, England from 1958 to 1963 for his medical studies.
  • Returned to Nigeria in 1963 after obtaining a degree and worked in several hospitals before he establishing his clinic. 
  • Chairman of the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Medical Association and its National Deputy Chairman.
  • His clinic destroyed in1977 by soldiers who also killed his mother. 
  • Established Nigeria’s first human right organisation, Campaign for Democracy (CD)
  • Sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995 by a military tribunal.
  • Adopted as a prisoner of conscience by the Amnesty International
  • Freed in 1998 after the death of General Sani Abacha.
  • Passed on in February 10, 2006

Phote credit – 234NEXT

Daily Independent: Last week, the statue of Beko Kuti was unveiled by Governor Babatunde Fashola at Anthony-Oke, Anthony Village Lagos. Thus that section of Anthony-Oke that was then reminiscence of an unkempt environment with unkempt trees has become a beautiful garden. Fashola said no effort made by the people, especially the youths, who render selfless services to the people and contribute to the development of the nation, would ever go unrecognised. He urged the youth to learn from the exemplary life of Beko.

“He would be remembered by millions of Nigerians as a true champion of the ordinary man,” Fashola 

Fashola is said to have referred to the Kuti family as the equivalent of what the Kennedy family is to the the USA. A privileged family that have used their privilege entirely in public service, albeit in different ways. I wonder how in must feel being the parents of Ransom, Beko and Fela Kuti! I wonder when next there will be siblings in a single nuclear family that will have such an impact on health, politics and music as the Kutis have….
…where are the Bekos in our new Nigeria?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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