The Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria was formed in Lagos in 1965. The coming together of obstetricians and gynaecologists was considered important at that time to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to foster the bond of relationship among specialists in the field. Among the founding fathers were eminent gynaecologists such as the late Prof. O.K. Ogan, the first Nigerian obstetrician/gynaecologist, who convened the first meeting of the society; the Late Chief (Dr) M.A. Majekodunmi, the doyen of obstetrics and gynaecology in Nigeria; the late Dr. (Mrs.) E.A, Awoliyi, the only Nigerian female among them; Rev. Canon E.A.B. Adenuga; the late Professor T. Bello-Osagie; and the late Professor O. A. Ojo.
SOGON was registered in Argentina in 1965 as an affiliate of the International Federation of Gynarcology and Obstetrics (FIGO). It is important to mention that late Prof. O.K. Ogan’s presidency was suddenly terminated by the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967. SOGON was adversely affected and it took the determination of people like late Prof. T. Bello-Osagie, Dr. E.A.B. Adenuga and lateProf. O.A. Ojo, who was the first secretary-general of the society, to persuade late Chief (Dr.) Majekodunmi to take over leadership of the society. He was president from 1967 to 1974 and was served by two secretaries, late Prof. O.A. Ojo (1967-1971) and Prof. O. Akinla (1971-74), both of whom later became President of SOGON.
In 1977, the society held its first international conference in Ibadan, and for the first time in the history of FIGO, the executive board meeting was held in Africa. In 1980, the Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gyaecology was launched, with Prof. V.E. Aimakhu as the editor. The society was subsequently registered under the Land Perpetual Act. Quarterly seminars were held in various parts of the country. In 1979, late Prof.Vincent Aimakhu, Secretary-General of SOGON was elected Vice President of FIGO in Tokyo, Japan.
The second international conference of the society was held in Lagos in 1981. It was a huge success and the foundation of the National Institute of maternal Health was laid. Membership of the society as well as sector activities continued to grow.
The third international conference was held in Abuja in 1990. It was a big affair for the society and a lot of funds were attracted into the coffers of SOGON from the conference. It is important to mention Prof. W.O. Chukwudebelu’s effort in this regard as well as his commitments to the promotion of safe motherhood in Nigeria.
The fourth international conference was held in Ibadan in 1994; the fifth international conference was held in Benin City in 1998. By a decision of Council the sixthand subsequent international conference were held in Abuja in 2002, 2006 and 2010 respectively.The annual general conference is rotated round the country.
The activities of SOGON have helped tremendously in the training of specialized manpower for our country. Through Prof. V.E. Aimakhu’s dynamism and deep sense of organization, the society has set up prizes for its past presidents and other eminent members in the various colleges of medicine and midwifery schools.
Dr. Yomi Finnih was the 10th president of SOGON, who brought tremendous candour and goodwill to the society. He will be remembered for his gentlemanly and democratic approach to issues, which brought peace and consolidated growth to the society.
Professor Linus N. Ajabor, was the 11th president of the society. He took SOGON to the pinnacle of its development with the various programmes that were organized by his executive. He established the SOGON Library at the then SOGON House in Lagos with funds from Dr. Peter Odili, the Executive Governor of Rivers State. The Library was named after him and his wife “Linus and Christy Ajabor Reproductive Health Library & Resource Centre”. Professor Ajabor’s tenure also saw the establishment of the Distinguished Services Award and other Awards in honor of worthy obstetricians and gynecologists.
The tenure of Dr James Akuse– 12th president of SOGON was very productive. Indeed, it was during the tenure of Dr. Akuse that SOGON obtained its first certificate of registration from the Corporate Affairs Commission. As President of SOGON, Dr. Akuse worked extremely hard to place the issue of safe motherhood on top of policy agenda in Nigeria. Under his tenure, SOGON conducted a safe motherhood needs assessment in six states of Nigeria with support from the Macarthur Foundation. SOGON also conducted safe motherhood workshops in 10 states of Nigeria including Abuja, developed modules for capacity training on emergency obstetrics care in Nigeria, and produced a manual for the Management of HIV/AIDS in pregnancy with support from NACA. Dr. Akuse’s tenure also saw the acquisition of a property in Abuja, the development of a proposal for the Establishment of a National Institute of Reproductive Health for which a bill was prepared and presented to the National Assembly in Abuja.
The commitment of SOGON 13th president- Sir John Okaro to reduction of maternal mortality in Nigeria saw to the launch of SOGON National partnership for sustainable reduction in maternal and newborn deaths in Nigeria. During his presidency SOGON acquired a well designed academic gown made in SOGON colours of Navy blue and red with SOGON logo prominently fixed its lapel.
Chief Mrs (Dr) Tinuola Abiola-Oshodi, was the 14th president of SOGON. Her tenure witnessed much improvement in the visibility and influence of SOGON in Nigeria. The FIGO LOGIC project which provided much funding and technical support to SOGON commenced during her period of leadership.
SOGON will continue to work in the coming years to rededicate itself to the task of reducing the rate of maternal morbidity and mortality and achieving the Maternal and Reproductive Health related Strategic Development Goals in Nigeria.