Dr. Obadiah Alexander Johnson (1849-1920) was a Sierra Leonean who spent the latter part of his medical career in Lagos where he eventually became one of the foremost medical practitioners in the city. It was mainly due to his initiative that a science faculty was inaugurated at Fourah Bay College. 

He was born in 1849 at Hastings in the rural area of Sierra Leone, was educated at the C.M.S. (Church Missionary Society) Grammar School at Fourah Bay College, and in medical schools at King College, London and at Edinburgh University.

From 1887-1889, he held the post of assistant colonial surgeon in Sierra Leone. In 1888, he also served as justice of the peace in Sherbro. Moving to Lagos, he worked as assistant colonial surgeon there from 1889-1897. In August 1901, he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council in the colony of Lagos. He retired from the council in December 1913, by which time he had set up in private practice, and had become one of the most fashionable and successful medical practitioners in the city. 

Like many of his fellow countrymen who found their own homeland restricted and bereft of opportunities, Dr. Johnson had left Sierra Leone to seek better prospects in Lagos. But he did not forget his native land. From his own experiences at Fourah Bay College and probably because of the difficulties he encountered in the initial stages of his medical studies, he was acutely aware of the urgent need for a science school at Fourah Bay which would permit aspiring medical students to acquire pre-medical scientific knowledge.

When Dr. Johnson died in England in 1920, he left £5,000 to Fourah Bay College for the founding of a science chair. He also left some of his books to the college. Another Sierra Leonean, Dr. John Randle of Lagos, offered to underwrite the cost of retaining a Lagos, science master at the college for three years. 

The foundation stone of the new science school was laid by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, when he visited Sierra Leone in April 1925.The great debt which the college owed to Dr. Johnson was acknowledged and widely publicised by the principal and some of his staff.                                                                                                         


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