Alumni Services

Samuel Manuwa (1903-1976)

Pioneering Nigerian surgeon, Inspector General of Medical Services, and former Chief Medical Adviser to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Samuel Manuwa

Oloye Sir Samuel Manuwa was born to the family of the Reverend Benjamin Manuwa, Christian minister who was himself the son of Oba Kuheyin, the king of Itebu. His mother was Matilda Aderinsola Manuwa, nee Thomas, from Ondo town.

He attended the Church Missionary School, Lagos, and King's College, Lagos, completing his studies in 1921. He then proceeded to study at the University of Edinburgh, where he received a bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Medicine in 1926. He graduated with several awards, winning every prize available in the medical school, including the Robert Wilson Memorial Prize in Chemistry and the Welcome Prize in Medicine. He later went to study in Liverpool, and completed a course on Tropical Medicine.


Samuel became a medical doctor in 1926, and on returning to Nigeria the following year, he joined the colonial medical services as a medical officer. He subsequently became a specialist surgeon, gaining great acclaim for his skill. Though he received various offers for administrative positions early on, he continued his surgical work for more than 18 years. While practising as a surgeon, he even invented an excision knife to treat tropical ulcers.

In 1948, Samuel finally accepted an administrative position when he became the deputy director of medical services. In 1951, he was made the first Nigerian director of medical services and subsequently the Inspector General. In 1954, he became fully involved with the Nigerian public service when he was appointed the Chief Medical Adviser to the federal government of Nigeria. He later went on to become a member of the Privy Council of the Federation of Nigeria, President of the Association of Surgeons and Physicians in West Africa, and the first Nigerian Commissioner of the Federal Public Service Commission.

While Inspector General of Medical Services, he worked tirelessly for the establishment of a University Teaching Hospital in the country, resulting in the creation of University College Hospital, Ibadan.

He also served as the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of the University Council of the University of Ibadan for very many years and was a guiding hand in developing UCH into the centre of excellence it is today. Samuel served as a Nigerian aristocrat, too, holding the chieftaincy title of the Obadugba on the Ondo clan, the Olowa Luwagboye of the Ijebu clan and the Iyasere of the Iteba lineage, all in the Southwest Region of Nigeria.

Sir Samuel Layinka Ayodeji Manuwa died in 1976 at the age of 73.

Additional sources

The Dawn Commission