Families, friends and professional colleagues of late Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh assembled on Thursday September 11 and Friday, September 12, 2014 to bid her farewell. The physician died on August 19, 2014, after she battled with the deadly Ebola virus she was infected with by the late Liberian, Patrick Sawyer when she attended to his case at the First Consultants Medical Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The rain of tributes that accompanied the physician and endocrinologist started pouring in on Thursday, September 11, 2014. It was the Tribute Night organised in her honour by family and friends held at Harbour Point Events Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. It was also a night the heavens blazed forth. The who is who in Nigeria whose path had crossed that of late Dr. Adadevoh took turns on the podium to eulogize her. All those who spoke extolled the rare virtues of the mother of one child.
And the next day Friday, September 12, 2014, the requiem service held at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos. Gospel readings and solemn hymns characterised proceedings which lasted for just one and a half hours after which everyone in attendance exchange greetings and moved on.
There was no ceremonial pall bearing to signify she was buried. Since she was cremated, her family had collected her ashes which they had buried at a secret location. The purpose of the Night of Tributes and requiem service was just to honour her.
Dr. Adadevoh contracted the Ebola Virus Disease and died after coming into contact with Patrick Sawyer. She died after she was said to have prevented Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian who had arrived in Lagos enroute an ECOWAS meeting in Calabar, Cross River state, Nigeria from leaving the medical centre when he showed symptoms of the virus. Her action was based on the fact that Mr. Sawyer, who later died of the disease, posed a danger to members of the Nigerian public and the participants at the ECOWAS meeting. She quarantined and treated Sawyer but unfortunately she contracted the disease which led to her death.
HER LIFE AND TIMES
Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh was born on October 27, 1956, in Lagos, Nigeria, to Professor Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh (deceased) of the Adadevoh family of Anyako Royal House, Ghana and the Crowther/Macaulay family of Lagos, Nigeria, and Deborah Regina McIntosh of the Nnamdi Azikiwe and Smith/Wilkey families of Lagos Nigeria. She was the first of four children. Her paternal grandfather, an Anlo from Anyako and a staff of the United Africa Company (UAC) was transferred from the then Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Lagos in the early 1940s where he married the daughter of Herbert Macaulay, Nigerian nationalist.
The union produced many children including Prof. Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh, a renowned Harvard University trained physician and a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, who is Ameyo’s father.
Ameyo’s mother, Deborah Regina McIntosh, is a niece of Nigeria’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Ameyo was awarded a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree by the University of Lagos in 1980, at 20. In 1993, she completed a fellowship course in Endocrinology at Hammersmith Hospital of the Imperial College in London, UK. For more than three decades, she practised as a medical doctor and for 21 of those years, she was the lead consultant physician and endocrinologist at the First Consultants Medical Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos. Ameyo married Emmanuel Afolabi Cardoso on April 26, 1986 and their union was blessed with a son, Bankole Cardoso.
HOW SHE REALLY DIED
According to one of the grieving family members, late Dr. Adadevoh got in contact with Mr. Sawyer, who was sent to the First Consultants Medical Centre in Lagos, when he collapsed a few minutes after arriving in Lagos on his way to Calabar for an ECOWAS meeting. The first impression Dr. Adadevoh had was that Mr. Sawyer was suffering from malaria but continuous tests showed he wasn’t. She had an HIV test conducted on Mr. Sawyer, which proved negative.
She then consulted senior medical practitioners who urged her to test for Ebola. The test proved positive.
Immense pressure was brought on Dr. Adadevoh by the Liberian government to release Mr. Sawyer to attend the meeting but she refused because he posed a danger to the public and had him isolated and later quarantined.
Tests conducted on Dr. Adadevoh later proved that she had contracted the disease. She later fell into a coma and despite attempts to save her, she could not survive the scourge of the disease.
TRIBUTES GALORE BANKOLE CARDOSO (son)
“My darling mother, though there is an irreplaceable void in my life, I am comforted by the fact that you are in the perfect place. I remember you telling a friend just about a month before you passed how when I was younger you told me there is no mother in heaven and how upset that made me. I came to you a few hours later to ask, “Are you sure mummy that I will not know you in heaven” and you laughed at how much I loved you. True to yourself, your response was silly boy, “He thinks he can give me wahala on this earth and then still not let me rest in heaven”. I know you are in heaven now mom and I have accepted that you are enjoying your well earned rest. I love you forever and look forward to seeing you again in heaven. May your soul rest in perfect peace.”
SOLA, LOLA, BABA AND RENI CARDOSO
“Our dear Aunty Ameyo, full of warmth. Always welcoming, graceful, energetic, encouraging, capacity to engage on any topic at any time. So caring in many ways. Loved her family and friends. Very dedicated to her profession and her patients. Never too busy to check on us despite hectic schedule. Aunty, we will miss you terribly! We will miss your voice enveloping the room. The kids will miss you swooning over them and we will indeed miss your smile, our passionate discussions, check-in calls, and above all your love and presence. Our hearts are heavy but we know that you are with The Lord resting in peace. Rest in perfect peace, Aunty.
MRS. ABIMBOLA CHIMA CARDOSO (Nee T.O.S Benson)
“A big bear hug she gave me, holding my hands very tightly. She welcomed me into warm and open embrace of The Cardoso family house hold, to have and to hold on to as her sister-in-law. We nurtured a bond that transcended from sisters-in-law to sisters in love. I loved her dearly because of the goodness of her heart, her infectious smile, listening ear, constant medical counsel and her deep caring for me. It was a most perfect relationship, we lived right next to each other, separated by a duplex wall, jointly raising our children, sharing happy holidays, slumber nights, family celebrations. The annual christmas family dinners was one of our favourite moments. We had cooking contests, took turns with the roast of the day, snapped Christmas crackers, teasing, giggling in stitches and looking forward to the many promises of life. She was the Santa Queen with good boy and good girl sacks of presents, the kids loved her so. Such was the private family life we nurtured year in year out. Your surviving mother, bless her, your aged mother-in-law, Chief Mrs. Ibilola Cardoso, your second mothers-in-law, Chief Mrs. Stella Odesanya, Chief Dr. Opral Benson, we will comfort them. Rest in peace, Ameyo, we shall surely meet again.”
Your niece, LOLADE ALAKIJA (Nee Cardoso)
“My dearest Aunty Ameyo, It’s been so hard to come to terms with your passing. How can this be, it feels so surreal, I feel you must be on holiday somewhere and you will come back to us. Aunty Ameyo, I will miss you so much. You were ever so caring, always going out of your way for me and others, giving advice where needed. I always knew I could come to you. Bankole is my brother and you were my second mom. We would laugh together and gist together and oh, you knew how to party, you were one of the cool aunties, always the last to leave the party. We lost you far too young and still with so much life in you. Aunty Ameyo, I seek comfort in knowing that you are with angels. God sent you specially to save others, you saved lives every day with your dedication to your family and patients, always going over and beyond for us. Only a few people can have the sort of selflessness you showed in your personal and professional life. I will miss you and you will forever be in my heart. May your soul rest in eternal peace.”
“I will never forget how welcoming, friendly and loving she was when I came to Nigeria with Tiwa for the first time. I was nervous about meeting so many people. However she took me under her wings and made me feel at home instantly. I did not know her well but I will miss her genuine, warm personality. May she rest in peace. Thank you.
“Aunty Ameyo – charismatic, caring, cheerful and courageous. The circumstances of your passing has been extremely difficult to deal with; not just because you are the mother of Bankole Cardoso, but also because you were such a caring and family person. You always looked out for me and gave the utmost advice and I will forever cherish that, and the time we spent together when you visited England, during the Easter of this year. As we bid farewell to you, I am comforted by the fact that you touched countless people, and helped to curb the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.” May your soul rest peacefully.
“My dearest Aunty Ameyo, I would never have expected that three weeks ago would have been the last time I would see you. The last time I would see you smile, laugh, or playfully call me your ‘husband’. My heart breaks as I’m writing this and I can’t believe you’re gone. You were my second mother. You took care of me when I was sick or needed someone else to talk to. You did your country a service and paid with your life that’s how much of a beautiful person you were. I love you so much and will miss you and I could only wish that this is a dream. Never have I lost something so hard to understand. But we can cry with hope and say goodbye with hope. Because we know goodbye is not the end. RIP, our beautiful soldier. RIP, our ever present Angel.”
PASTOR PAUL ADEFARASIN
“She was truly the epitome of the Christian in a country where not every doctor practices the hypocratic oath; she sacrificed her life for the health and safety of our country. And I certainly stand alongside all those who believe that she must get a post-humous honour and award at a very significant level from the Federal Government and every other institution that understands the importance of what she did. Her life also serves as an important note that we must deeply strengthen our health care system.’’
PROFESSOR ONYEBUCHI CHUKWU, Minister of Health
“From the testimonies of our classmates and from what I have learnt, she was certainly the true meaning of a doctor.”