Where are they Now?

DAMIAN SHO-SILVA:THE SILVERY SOLDIER

Damien-before

 

BY AKINLOLU AJE
Major-General Damian Kehinde Sho-Silva is a son of the Lagos Town Council boss, Patriarch Miguel Alexander Sho-Silva.

His father, later Mr. M. A. Sho-Silva was the first African Town Clerk of Lagos. Young Damian attended the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Primary School, sandwiched between Igbosere and Catholic Mission Street, Lagos. Damian Kehinde recalled that his parents did not encourage their children to go to school with lunch money which was why their school was not far away from home. They always went home during their lunch.
His main household chores were fetching water from the taps and sweeping the frontage of their house every morning. Of course, he detested having to carry refuse from their house to the dump, “because our equally young female playmates laughed at us as refuse-carriers”. He left Holy Trinity School in Standard Six in 1942 and proceeded to St. Gregory’s College the following January. Young Sho-Silva was a keen sportsman during his secondary school days. He left college in December 1948. He was employed by the Labour Department in 1949 and left the job in 1950.
Damien-beforeWhile at Saint Gregory’s, Sho-Silva (Senior) had dangled a carrot before him. “Pass the Cambridge School Certificate in Grade One and to Britain you will go to study”, the old man has said. However, he worked briefly at the Labour Department before proceeding to Britain for further studies. While there, he recalled, his bosses were Mr. P. C. Nwokedi, Messrs Cooke and D. H. Hawlay. Others were Dove Edwin, Izibor-Bosy, Cussings, A. B. Fashola; Labinjo and Philips.
He had struggled to master Mathematics and had also tamed the science subjects. He arrived in Britain in 1951 and was admitted to the University of St. Andrew in 1952. He spent three and a half years doing medical subjects before veering into dentistry. One man who was to join him in the class was Justice Okuribido, who changed his course at the last minute to Law.
His contemporaries -even if they did not all take the same course, but were in the college together – included Professors Solanke, Fadahunsi, Dr. Ogunyemi, Dr. Sofoluwe, Dr. Nnochiri and Professor (Mrs.) Bolanle Awe.
Damian graduated on January 9, 1959, and came back to Nigeria the following week. Having served three years in the Nigerian civil service as a dental surgeon, he was invited to join the Nigerian Army by the Director of Medical Services. That was because the expatriate officer in that post was leaving. He thus became the first Nigerian Army Dental Surgeon as a captain.
He was sent to junior officers’ course at Aldershot, United Kingdom. He attended another course in the Fort San Euston in San Antonio, Texas, in 1967 and the senior executive course at Kuru, near Jos, Northern Nigeria. In other words, he was among the first batch of executives to train there from 1979-1980. The doctor rose through the ranks – Acting Major, then Lieutenant Colonel in 1967; Colonel in 1971, Brigadier in 1977.
On the eve of his retirement from the Nigerian Army on December 30, 1984, he was promoted Major-General. His happiest day was on September 29, 1960, when he married Miss Josephine Bola Martins. They have five children – one boy and four girls. One of the children is a lawyer, another an architect, the others are doing Business Administration, Dentistry and Economics respectively.
A special assignment he undertook for the Federal Government include chairmanship of the Lagos City Council Caretaker Committee from 1972 to 1975. His second major assignment was chairmanship of the National Sports Council Caretaker Committee from 1978 to 1980. In 1984, Major General Sho-Silva was on the board of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and the University College Hospital, Ibadan standing in for the Director of Medical Services. Major-General Sho-Silva practices dentistry at his clinic, 53, Lawson Street, Lagos.

While at Saint Gregory’s, Sho-Silva (Senior) had dangled a carrot before him. “Pass the Cambridge School Certificate in Grade One and to Britain you will go to study”, the old man has said. However, he worked briefly at the Labour Department before proceeding to Britain for further studies. While there, he recalled, his bosses were Mr. P. C. Nwokedi, Messrs Cooke and D. H. Hawlay. Others were Dove Edwin, Izibor-Bosy, Cussings, A. B. Fashola; Labinjo and Philips.

He had struggled to master Mathematics and had also tamed the science subjects. He arrived in Britain in 1951 and was admitted to the University of St. Andrew in 1952. He spent three and a half years doing medical subjects before veering into dentistry. One man who was to join him in the class was Justice Okuribido, who changed his course at the last minute to Law. His contemporaries -even if they did not all take the same course, but were in the college together – included Professors Solanke, Fadahunsi, Dr. Ogunyemi, Dr. Sofoluwe, Dr. Nnochiri and Professor (Mrs.) Bolanle Awe.

Damian-afterDamian graduated on January 9, 1959, and came back to Nigeria the following week. Having served three years in the Nigerian civil service as a dental surgeon, he was invited to join the Nigerian Army by the Director of Medical Services. That was because the expatriate officer in that post was leaving. He thus became the first Nigerian Army Dental Surgeon as a captain.

He was sent to junior officers’ course at Aldershot, United Kingdom. He attended another course in the Fort San Euston in San Antonio, Texas, in 1967 and the senior executive course at Kuru, near Jos, Northern Nigeria. In other words, he was among the first batch of executives to train there from 1979-1980. The doctor rose through the ranks – Acting Major, then Lieutenant Colonel in 1967; Colonel in 1971, Brigadier in 1977.

On the eve of his retirement from the Nigerian Army on December 30, 1984, he was promoted Major-General. His happiest day was on September 29, 1960, when he married Miss Josephine Bola Martins. They have five children – one boy and four girls. One of the children is a lawyer, another an architect, the others are doing Business Administration, Dentistry and Economics respectively.

A special assignment he undertook for the Federal Government was the chairmanship of the Lagos City Council Caretaker Committee from 1972 to 1975. His second major assignment was the chairmanship of the National Sports Council Caretaker Committee from 1978 to 1980. In 1984, Major General Sho-Silva was on the board of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and the University College Hospital, Ibadan standing in for the Director of Medical Services. Major-General Sho-Silva practices dentistry at his clinic, 53, Lawson Street, Lagos.

First published Saturday, September 19, 1992

About the author

Uthman Shodipe

Uthman Ademilade Shodipe, a descendant of King Ado, the first King of Lagos, is from the Dosunmu Royal House. A student of Classical Antiquity and History of Political Thought, he studied Comparative Literature and Intellectual History of Europe 18th Century at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).