Mrs. Oludotun Laja-Enwezor was born into the family of late Pa Gabriel Oluwole Laja and Mrs Emily Taiwo Laja on June 6, 1938. She attended the Girls Seminary School, Broad Street, Lagos for her Primary education after which she proceeded to St Annes School, Ibadan for her Secondary School education.
Following a brilliant performance in the Secondary School Certificate Examination, the then Government of Western Nigeria awarded her a scholarship to study in the United Kingdom after she gained admission and got admitted to Trinity College, Dublin Ireland where she completed her course of study in the Faculty of Arts and graduated with a B.A (Bachelor of Arts) Degree.
She immediately returned to Nigeria to serve her fatherland. She indicated and registered a great interest in girl-child education and was engaged as a Teacher at the St. Catherines Girls Secondary School, Owo, Western Region (now Ondo State) where she was a Classroom Teacher.
She was later posted to the Anglican Girls Secondary School, Surulere in Lagos where she equally made her marks as a committed Teacher and moulder of minds. Due to her keen interest in educating girls and women, she left the Classroom and joined a little-known private company called Johnson and Johnson Nigeria Limited.
As manufacturers of Baby/Women Products, Johnson and Johnson (Big) Limited was relatively known. But her getting on board popularised its corporate affairs and changed the fortune of that Company for the better in Nigeria. Mrs. Dotun Laja-Enwezor thus became a prominent health educator in Nigeria, as Director of Health Advisory for Johnson & Johnson (Nigeria Ltd)
She went on to pioneer health education among women by creating and implementing health service projects to reach women across the Nation, Nigeria.
She was responsible for teaching thousands of mothers about prenatal and postnatal care, doing so with limited literacy and communication media. With her staff, she traveled around Nigeria, visiting public and private maternity Clinics, with books, pamphlets and 8posters to explain the importance of proper care for mother and child. She then went on to develop a Radio programme to further talk about Baby Care.
That show featured Doctor’s reports about common health problems that affected women and children.
With quality support from Nigerian health officials, she canvassed for Schools to educate young women about personal hygiene including the proper use of sanitary pads.
With books and films provided by the Company (which she distributed and showed during these trips), she was able to buttress/enhance knowledge on the benefits and importance of personal health care for girls and women way back then. She went on to establish similar health projects in Zambia through Messrs Johnson & Johnson International (Company).
A great percentage of these women and young girls would have remained ignorant of these important aspects of their lives but for her efforts and good teachings.
On November 6, 1975, she was one of the distinguished women honoured by the Committee on Social Justice for Public Continuity and Adult Education (NAPCAE), at a ceremony observing international Women’s year at Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago, III. NAPCAE is a National non-profit organisation that includes professional adult educators and organisations in both the public and private sector.
At that time, Dr. Grace L. Hewell served as Chairperson of the Committee on Social Justice.
Other honorees at the time of Mrs Enwezor included Mrs. Betty Ford, (who was wife to the sitting president of the United States of America), her Imperial Majesty, Shahbanou Farah of Iran and former Prime Minister of India, Shrimati Indira Gandhi. All these women received awards for contributing significantly to the advancement of women, both nationally in their Countries and for promoting the same Internationally.
Mrs. Dotun Laja-Enwezor was the only Nigerian/woman from the private sector to stand for recognition and receive this prestigious international award.
Thus in 1975, Mrs Laja-Enwezor was honored with an International award to celebrate Women All Over the World to mark International Women’s Year.
Following a meritorious service in Johnson & Johnson Nigeria Limited, she retired to trade and promote business. She then established a thriving gift and herbal products Store – Demadot in Surulere, Lagos
She was married to Dr. Joe Enwezor and they were blessed with two sons – Chima and Deji.
Mrs. Dotun Laja-Enwezor is survived by her siblings – Mr Olufemi Laja, Mrs Kofoworola3 Laja-Olugbesan, her sons – Chima & Deji, their beautiful wives many grandchildren and extended family members.
May her soul rest in perfect peace. AMEN