The first woman to rise to the rank of Major-General in the Nigerian Army, Aderonke Kale, has died at the age of 84.
Kale’s death was confirmed by the president of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI), E. O. Okafor, in a statement on Thursday.
Okafor described her passing as an “irreparable loss” as he said the public should look forward to burial arrangements to be announced by her family.
Describing her person, a statement issued by former army spokesperson, S.K. Usman said Kale was a
trailblazer in the medical and military history of the country.
“AANI and indeed the nation will continue to remember the remarkable legacy of the iconic Major General Aderonke Kale (rtd) mni, who had been a trailblazer in Nigeria’s medical and military history. May her gentle soul continue to rest in peace, Amen,” the statement read.
The statement did not reveal the cause of her demise but said she passed away in London on Wednesday.
Kale was trained as a medical doctor at University College, which later became the University of Ibadan, and specialised in psychiatry at the University of London.
She was inspired to pursue psychiatry by Thomas Adeoye Lambo, Africa’s first professor of psychiatry.
Born on 31 July 1939, Kale worked briefly in Britain and returned to Nigeria in 1971
She rose through the ranks in the army, becoming a colonel and deputy commander of the Nigerian Army Medical Corps by 1990.
Her role was initially as chief psychiatrist to the army. Later, she became Director of the Nigerian Medical Corps and was its Chief Medical Officer until 1996.
She was promoted to Major-General in 1994 and retired from the army in 1997.
Aderonke was married to Oladele Kale, a preventive and social medicine professor, and was a mother of five sons, including Yemi Kale, former Statistician-General of Nigeria.
Mourning her death, President Bola Tinubu, via a statement by his media aide, Ajuri Ngelale described Major-General Kale as a pace-setter, adding that she epitomised courage and professionalism.
“Major-General Aderonke Kale was a pioneer in her field. She embodied the courage, professionalism, capacity, and resilience of the Nigerian woman. She thrived and conquered where many feared to tread. She was a towering figure; an inimitable role model,” Tinubu said.