• Nana Ofori-Atta Oguntola

The Black Man's Dilemma: The story of DR Titus Odedun

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

Dr. Titus Odedun

Classic case of how the reputations of successful black men are destroyed in the UK

I was introduced by a wonderful friend to Dr. Titus Odedun.  The calibre of my friend meant I knew the people he would introduce me to would be people of high calibre as well. I spoke to Dr. Odedun on the phone prior to actually meeting him in person and he sounded kind and intelligent.

When I finally met Titus he was just as he had sounded on the phone—knowledgeable and humble. We had a lovely time over lunch with friends.

Now in this day and age you don’t actually know anyone until you have Googled them. So I did, right after lunch and what I found startled me at first then as the dust settle, irritated me.

The first four articles all focus on how he was discredited by the General Medical Council for falsifying his qualifications in order to be an expert witness for insurance claims.

As I started to derive meaning from behind the words I deduced two things:

Here was a black man of African descent no less, daring to be successful in England:

Here was a black man affecting the money purses of insurance companies and that needed to be stopped.

For a black woman in England and as a storyteller it was quite obvious what the motives were behind the story-. ‘he could potentially have cost insurers… huge amounts of money’ and the way the story was told was from just one point of view.

I wondered, ‘was there really no one at the time who could get a full and complete story or version from Titus’?  It was a single story and I am cynical of the single story or the single narrative. I know there are always two or more sides to a story and unless more than one side of the story is told then the one sided story is not a valid story.

Having met Titus in 2019, 4 years after this story was plastered all over the press I took the time to ask him about his side of the story.

From speaking with Titus, other Doctors, my personal experiences and my research into the General Medical Council I learnt the following:

Once the powers that be i.e those who believe it is not a black man’s right to be as rich as Titus was, felt threatened the campaign began to try and bring him down.  After all he is a Nigerian with thirty classic cars, country homes and properties in the heart of London. So first it was a smear campaign. ‘He is a Nigerian so he must have got his wealth from drugs’.  That led nowhere because not only does he not smoke, he has never even seen cocaine despite being a surgeon.

Then they said his qualifications were fake.  However, when shown copies of his qualifications, virtually all obtained in the UK, they changed the narrative and claimed he only paid annual subscription on his British fellowship but omitted to pay his annual dues on his American Surgical fellowship. Even this was false as he pays all dues by standing order and his bank confirmed the standing order was ‘live’ on all, except that the college had failed to claim.

Then they decided that he must be evading taxes. So they sent the inland revenue in to investigate him.  He opened up his office, staff and books to them and for three years they poked and prodded and came up with nothing.

Finally, they found a loophole. They claimed he exaggerated his experience; That he practiced in more than one area of specialty when the medical council only put in in the specialists register for one. This omits the fact he had all round training as a general surgeon and had worked as such both in UK and abroad, long before the specialist register was introduced. When the specialist register was introduced, however, The Medical Council simply inserted his name in the register under a specialty they thought fit without even asking him. It ignores the fact that The Medical Council had repeatedly entered his name in their register under the same specialism they now claim he exaggerated.

The main reason The Medical Council was set up by government is to check a doctor’s qualifications. How can the same Council that had checked Titus’s qualifications and issued his annual licence for thirty years suddenly wake up one day and claim those same qualifications they checked are now fake or “exaggerated” simply because a firm of lawyers acting for an insurance company claims this is the case? How did the Council miss this for thirty years?

In a country where only 3% of doctors are from black heritage backgrounds and the General Medical Council is 100% white and yet 70% of cases they deal with are from doctors from BAME backgrounds one cannot help but wonder about the level of fairness in such cases. In fact, Titus was not even at his hearing with the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. He had had a stomach operation and yet they simply found him guilty in absentia.

For me this is another story of how easy it is for black people in the UK - no matter how high they rise, how much they contribute or the value they add - to be brought down. There is a ceiling which society feels you must not break or exceed and when you dare to do so there will be a serious effort to bring you back down to a place where they feel in control.

Thus it is important that when we see stories like these regarding people of black heritage that we always look for the second story and never settle for a single narrative. Because their might just be a deeper truth somewhere in the midst of the noise.

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