Sikiru Akinola takes readers on the journey of Okeho-born Neuroscientist, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, who clocked 47 today.
Since his returned to Nigeria in 1999, Muyiwa Gbadegesin (Ph.D) has worked as a senior special assistant to former governors of Lagos State; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (1999 – 2007) and Babatunde Fashola (2007 – 2015). In the year 2012, he became commissioner of health and later deputy chief of staff to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State.
His Early Life
“I was born in 1970 in Okeho, headquarters of Kajola Local Government area of Oyo State, Nigeria. Since then, I lived in a variety of places including Ibadan, Ile-Ife, Madison, Wisconsin and Lagos, Nigeria. In Madison I attended Shorewood Hills Elementary School which at the time was an international school filled with kids from all over the world, most of whom were in Madison because their parents, like mine, were studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“In Ile-Ife I attended Moremi High School on the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), regularly ranked as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. I was always small for my age and very quietly assumed the role of the class nerd. I won a lot of academic prizes every year and finished top of the class. I was also the Health Prefect.
How He Hated Medicine, Loved Computer Science
“I was admitted to study medicine at the Obafemi Awolowo University when I was 16 years old. I hated medicine. My real preference was Computer Science but eventually I transferred out of OAU to study Biology at Howard University in Washington, DC.
“At Howard University, Washington, I joined a team of scientists headed by Dr Michael Blakey at the African Burial Ground Project at Cobb Laboratory in the Anthropology Department. Our mission was to reconstruct and study 400 skeletal remains of the first African slaves taken to the new world. The African Burial Ground was discovered in lower Manhattan during the early stages of a construction project. This was a major architectural find at the time and I learnt a lot working there.
“At Howard, I was also a student reporter for the Hilltop Campus Newspaper, and got to interview Professor Wole Soyinka, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature. I also wrote for Janus, the student literary magazine.
“After Howard University, I got a doctorate degree in Neuroscience from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, a famed Jesuit Institution. My studies at Georgetown focused on the neural mechanisms underlying learning, memory and consciousness. During my research, I mastered many techniques including patch clamp electrophysiology, molecular genetics, cell biology, pharmacology and informatics. I had great teachers and mentors here including Professors Carol Colton, Stefano Vicini, Barry Wolfe and Karen Gale.
“During my time at Georgetown, I also became involved in Nigeria’s pro-democracy struggle with organizations like Egbe Omo Yoruba (an umbrella group for Yoruba descendants in diaspora). As a member of this organization, I and Hafsat Abiola-Costello organized a three day Moremi Youth Festival to encourage young Nigerians of Yoruba descent to become more aware of their heritage.
Apart from being a neuroscientist, technocrat and writer, the father of ‘teenage sons’, loves books, technology, film and music and “I wake up every day hoping to change the world in some small way.”
His Areas of Interest
“Exploring the world: by reading anything I can get my hands on. I love books. In particular I like autobiographies, history, strategy, politics.
“Changing the world: through targeted projects and interventions. I believe strongly in using the power of your imagination to change the world. In doing this, I believe that technology is our most powerful tool. I believe that technology is the hand of God in the affairs of man. This is the true meaning of innovation. You can see some of my adventures in innovation in the Projects section of this website. I am excited at what is possible with the breathtaking pace of technological developments.
”Arts and Culture: I like music, film, theatre and dance. By the way, I publish comic books.
“Philosophy, Politics, Governance: practical theories, policies and initiatives to unlock our individual and collective potential. You can consider these to be road maps to \’life more abundant\’.
“Science & Technology: Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Robotics- blueprints of the machine age and emergence of the cybernetic human. These also form my immediate field of study.
”Personal Development: how to take advantage of the explosion of freely available information to develop ourselves exponentially.
“Entrepreneurship: how to setup and run a business efficiently and profitably in the modern age.
Affiliations & Disclosures
Muyiwa, who is of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, revealed why he started www.technokrat.com.
“I started this website to share my stream of consciousness. I hope that my ideas, random thoughts, rants and things I have learnt about the world which might be useful to you. At the very least I hope that it will spark a conversation that may lead to wonderful new projects.
“I also hope to use this site to organize my knowledge, keep track of what I’m learning and to help me make sense of the world. Yes and also to launch my secret plan for global domination.
Nicknamed ‘Iron Lion’, he likes amala and ewedu.