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I’ve known Alabukun since my first period of consciousness as a young boy and it still exists till date.

My research into this wonder of a drug led me to discover that it was first produced in 1918 by Jacob Odulate.

To think that a drug this old has no advert running on any medium in this era but still has a good market share leave me speechless. This is a feat that very few local brands if any can match.

Alabukun is one of the oldest drugs in Nigeria and it is still very relevant and popular today.

Regardless the popularity of the drug, not many know about the inventor, Jacob Odulate aka Blessed Jacob, a Nigerian pharmacist, inventor and entrepreneur.

This man is the brain behind the brand that has remained relevant for almost a hundred, selling in all parts of Nigeria, Benin republic, Cameroon, Ghana and some parts of Europe.

Let me take you on a historical voyage and through the etymology of the brand and the brand maker.

Family Background

From a polygamous family of Pa Odulate, Jacob Odulate was born at Ikorodu, Lagos state in 1884. His maternal grandfather was Chief Aina Odukanmade, the first Mosene, whose father hailed from the Senlu branch of the Ranodu royal family of Imota, a town near Ikorodu.

When he was 14 years old he left his father’s house at Ikorodu to Abeokuta, Ogun State. He trekked for 3 months to reach his destination. While at Abeokuta, he met a pharmacist named Dr. Sapara under whom he got the basic knowledge of curative products.

As a young man, Jacob established his own manufacturing company called Alabukun where he produced all sort of patent drugs. His modest headquarters was at the Sapon Area, not far from where he later built his famous three-storey building in Ijemo Agbadu.

In 1918, he invented the legendary Alabukun powder which is now a hit in Africa’s most populous nation and in other West African nations.

Apart from making the drugs, the energetic Blessed Jacob also produced other brands like Alabukun mentholine, other preparations and an annual journal called Alabukun Almanac which was widely distributed in Abeokuta and eventually all over Nigeria between the 1920s and 1950s.

He died in 1962 at age 78.

The Alabukun Drug

It was in 1918 (a year of intense British colonization), on an evening at his modest but cherished “headquarters” in Sapon in Abeokuta where he had built his company headquarters which is a combination of place of work, office, consulting room and a laboratory workshop.

He managed to invent the Alabukun brand on that fateful day with the assistance of his wife and children.

While producing the Alabukun drug, Blessed Jacob got most of the ingredients he used to make the drug from Liverpool in United Kingdom.

Alabukun Powder contains acetylsalicylic acid and caffeine as its active ingredients. A packet contains 760 mg of acetylsalicylic acid and 60 mg of caffeine making a total of 820 mg.

It is used to cure a host of things, which includes migraine, toothache, sore throat, prevention of blood clots, myocardial infarction, transluminal angioplasty and ischaemic attacks.

It can also be used in the treatment, management or prevention of these conditions: toothache, sore throat and Neuralgias.

The pharmacodynamics of Alabukun powder shows that it functions by preventing the production of platelet aggregation and inhibits adenosine in the body.

These functions reduce pain and allows the user to breath better by stimulating the brain and the heart.

Its possible side effects if not properly used include: swelling due to fluid accumulation, asthma, vomiting, nausea and vertigo.

His Immediate Family

He has a loving family that believes so well in education as he gave all his children the best of education.

From the returns on his investments, he sent his children to study at Durham, Newcastle, the United States and London to qualify as educationists, medical doctors, lawyers and engineers.

One of his surviving children is Chief Mrs. Folake Solanke née Odulate who was the first female SAN in Nigeria.

In 1966, she established the first law firm by a Nigerian female at Ibadan, Oyo State and named it Alabukun Chambers in honour of her great father.


Author: Taofeek Ayeyemi