Celebrating an Extraordinary Journey: Mrs. Agnes Makanjuola Dada at 80

By Zion Rufus

Hearty cheers to Mrs. Agnes Makanjuola Dada, an exceptional woman marking eight splendid decades of grace, service, and enduring love.

Her life story embodies a wealth of virtue, character, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of others. Her sweet calm and selfless nature have left an indelible mark on everyone she has encountered, making her an exceptional leader, a compassionate caregiver, and an inspiration to all. 

In the quaint town of Ijan-Ekiti, 80 years ago, Mrs. Agnes Makanjuola Dada (nee Ajayi) graced the world with her presence, born into the family of late Pa Nathaniel Falomo Ajayi and late Madam Lydia Awotomola Ajayi of Ibeji Street. Little did the town know that this birth would mark the beginning of a life characterized by unwavering dedication, exceptional leadership, and selfless commitment.

Her educational journey commenced at St. James Catholic School, Ijan-Ekiti, and St. Bernard’s Catholic School, Ile-Ife. Later, she continued her post-primary education at St. Louis Secondary Modern School, Ado-Ekiti. Undeterred by challenges, Mrs. A.M. Dada ventured into nursing, attending the Maria Assumpta Hospital Midwife Training School and furthering her studies in the United Kingdom at Ancoats General Hospital, Manchester. Her dedication resulted in the acquisition of her S.R.N. and S.C.M certificates, solidifying her foundation in the nursing profession.

There was a significant event that hall- marked the leadership acumen and humanitarian sagacity of Mrs Agnes Makanjuola Dada while at Ancoats General Hospital , Manchester as a Nurse in training. An unforgettable fire- outbreak took place at  the prestigious hospital leaving in its trail pandemonium, cries and anguish. But the brave and bold young black African student nurse, then Agnes Makanjuola Ajayi braved the odds and looming inferno to rescue almost all the in- patients in the most affected section of the ward where the miraculous fire emanated to the great astonishment and amazement of the hospital management and British authorities. 

This singular act of bravery, boldness and humanitarian responsibility earned young Miss Agnes Makanjuola Ajayi a global media headlines the following day of the fire incident in all notable news media in Europe and America with her photographs boldly and generously splashed on the  front pages of major international print newspapers and magazines as a celebrity.

Returning to Nigeria in 1968 following her outstanding feat which made global news headlines was heroic. Her return back to Nigeria upon the completion of the training programme was hall- marked and heralded by carnival, festivities and celebration of gallantry by her proud native community and indeed the entire Ondo state in the South West part of Nigeria as then was. There were beating drums, jubilation and celebration by the whole community which declared a community holiday to welcome their daughter, a heroine of the British Order back home. 

This unique heroic deed no doubt sets the Octogenarian celebrity apart amongst her peers right at the beginning of her career sojourn.

Upon return and finally settling down, Mrs. A.M. Dada joined the services of her alma mater, offering her expertise as a Staff Nurse/Midwife. Her ascent within the healthcare domain was nothing short of exceptional, culminating in her retirement as Chief Matron in December 1996.

Yet, retirement marked not the end but a new chapter of service for Mrs. A.M. Dada. She delved into various areas of service, contributing her skills and passion to organizations such as the Board of Governors of Mary Immaculate Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti, and Ijanmodu Comprehensive High School, Ijan-Ekiti. Her involvement with the Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN) was noteworthy, serving as Secretary and later Vice Chairman of the Ondo-Ekiti State branch. Her commitment extended to various commendations, including becoming the first Nigerian laywoman to rise to the post of Matron at Maria Assumpta Hospital, Ado-Ekiti.

Beyond professional achievements, Mrs. A.M. Dada excelled in church activities, showcasing her unwavering faith and dedication. As a member of the St. Gertrude Society, choir participant, and pioneer member of the Christ the King’s Cathedral in Ado-Ekiti, she exemplified the values of faith and community.

Her marital union with the late Mr. David Folorunso Dada, is blessed with promising children.

Mrs. A.M. Dada’s life journey embodies a legacy of excellence, resilience, and selflessness, earning her numerous awards and accolades, including the Ijan Progressive Union Merit Award in 1999 and recognition as an Excellent Catholic Image Maker and Pride of Catholic Women by C.W.O. of C.K.C. Ado-Ekiti in 2008.

As Mrs. Agnes Makanjuola Dada reaches the significant milestone of 80 years, her journey remains an inspiration—a narrative of compassion, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to the growth and well-being of others. Her story is a celebration of a life well-lived, and her impact continues to resonate in the hearts of those she has touched over the decades.


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