ALABUKUN, The origin.

Douglas Edward-Ekpu

ALABUKUN is an indigenous brand that has persisted for 100 years in the most unlikely sector of trade for the average Nigerian: pharmacy. Alabukun powder a very popular drug in Nigeria, the world’s most populous black nation and in other West African nations. 100 years after, the brand remains one of the most resilient in Africa. Alabukun gained acceptance and wide spread use without any considerable adverts. It is cheap, easily recognizable and available in most chemist shop in Nigeria.

This popular drug is an invention of Jacob Sogboyega Odulate aka Blessed Jacob (1884-1962), a Nigerian pharmacist, inventor and entrepreneur in 1918. He was originally from Ikorodu in Lagos State but later moved to the neighbouring Ogun State. He was just 14 when he left Ikorodu, he trekked for three months before reaching Abeokuta to establish himself.

Sogboyega Odulate aka Blessed Jacob was a Nigerian pharmacist, inventor and entrepreneur. He invented Alabukun powder

The 1910s was a period of British colonialism. In spite of all the obstacles the English imperialists placed before the ‘natives’, Blessed Jacob was able to create this brand from what served as his consulting room and laboratory in Abeokuta, Ogun State, south-western Nigeria. Without any government support and facing immense obstacles from the British colonialists who controlled all the economy, Blessed Jacob managed to create a brand that has lasted a century.

Blessed Jacob also produced other brands like Alabukun mentholine, other preparations and an annual journal called Alabukun Almanac which was widely distributed in Abeokuta and eventually all over Nigeria between the 1920s and 1950s.

Alabukun Powder contains acetylsalicylic acid and caffeine as its active ingredients. A packet contains 760 mg of acetylsalicylic acid and 60 mg of caffeine making a total of 820 mg. Although many Nigerians use it as an over-the-counter drug primarily as a mild analgesic for headache and other simple infirmities, the application of Alabukun powder is actually more diverse than that. It is used for a host of ailment and these include migraine, prevention of blood clots, myocardial infarction, transluminal angioplasty, ischaemic attacks and stroke. It can also be used in the treatment, management or prevention of these conditions: toothache, sore throat and Neuralgias.

The pharmacodynamics of Alabukun powder show that it functions by preventing the production of platelet aggregation and inhibits adenosine in the body. These functions reduce pain and allows the user to breath better by stimulating the brain and the heart.

Like every drug, Alabukun powder must not be used for any of these conditions without recommendations from a medical doctor. And like order drugs too Alabukun can have side effects. The possible side effects that can result from taking Alabukun are swelling due to fluid accumulation, asthma, vomiting, nausea and vertigo.

Dr Osamuyimen (Uyi) Stewart was a top scientist and engineer at IBM and co-founded the IBM Research – Africa Lab, the newest laboratory in IBM’s global network of twelve research labs, Dr Stewart who joined IBM Research in 2005 from AT&T Labs worked with IBM Research for fourteen (14) years and rose to the position of Chief Scientist of IBM Research – Africa and later became an IBM Distinguished Engineer (DE) responsible for the Middle East and Africa.

As the co-founder of IBM Research – Africa Lab (first commercial research lab in the continent), he was responsible for defining the technical strategy for research projects, recruitment, and managing the research scientists to achieve the proper dissemination of research geared towards building a scientific reputation for IBM Research Lab -Africa, while also coordinating the research objectives and projects with IBM’s business and partners (public and private.

In 2014, Dr Stewart was made an IBM Distinguished Engineer (DE), a technical executive position recognized as one of the top technical honours in the Corporation. He left IBM in 2017 and currently is the Director of Global Development Strategy, Data & Analytics, in Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

With over 20 years of studying and working overseas, Dr Stewart has acquired tremendous experience and skills in software and services research which includes: IVR, web, multimodal, machine translation, speech interfaces, natural language processing, social and mobile computing. This has lead to Dr Stewart being recognized as an outstanding Technology Transfer Specialist.

He currently has 10 US patents issued, 30 others filed; 50 publications validated by 500+ Google Scholar citations; 55+ invited talks/guest speaker including several high-profile interviews in major international news media, etc.; 400+ articles on my pioneering work as co-founder of IBM Research – Africa Lab. He has won the IBM’s Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, IBM Research Awards and the Black Engineer of the Year Award in the USA (2014).

Dr Stewart received his doctorate in 1998 from McGill University, Canada, for his work in generative syntax (published as an “Outstanding Dissertation in Linguistics”). He got his Masters degree from the University of Cambridge in 1991 where he got elected Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society since he was an exemplary student. He got his first degree from the University of Benin, Nigeria, in 1987, where he graduated with a First Class Honors.


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