Nigeria is currently in a state of mourning following the demise of Major General Aderonke Kale, the nation’s first female Major General in the Nigerian Army, at the age of 84.
The distinguished figure passed away in London, United Kingdom, on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. Ambassador E. O. Okafor, the National President of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI), confirmed the sad news, expressing profound sorrow on behalf of the national executive committee and the entire AANI community.
In a statement issued on Thursday, November 9, Okafor extended heartfelt condolences to the late Major General Kale’s family, AANI members, and the entire nation, describing her passing as an “irreparable loss.” The statement also noted that details of the burial arrangements would be communicated by the family.
The announcement emphasized the enduring legacy of Major General Aderonke Kale (rtd) mni, acknowledging her trailblazing contributions to Nigeria’s medical and military history. The national publicity secretary of AANI, Brigadier General S. K. Usman (rtd), conveyed the sentiment that Aderonke Kale’s remarkable legacy would be remembered, wishing her gentle soul eternal rest.
Aderonke Kale, born on July 31, 1939, hailed from a distinguished background, with a pharmacist father and a mother who was a teacher. She pursued medical studies at the University of Ibadan, specializing in psychiatry at the University of London.
Returning to Nigeria in 1971, Kale joined the Nigerian Army in 1972, embarking on a groundbreaking career. In 1990, she etched her name in history as the first female general and achieved another milestone in 1994 by being appointed as a Major General, becoming the first woman to attain that rank.
Her contributions to the Nigerian Army were extensive, including serving as the Director of Army Public Relations and holding the title of the first female Commander of the Nigerian Army Medical Corps. Major General Aderonke Kale retired from the Army in 1997. She was married to Professor Oladele Kale, a distinguished professor of preventive and social medicine, and was a mother of five sons, one of whom, Yemi Kale, rose to become the Statistician-General of Nigeria.
In recognition of her groundbreaking achievements, the female hall of residence at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) was named after Aderonke Kale in 2011, shortly after the introduction of female cadets into the NDA program.