Dental Surgeon, Gender Advocate and Social Welfare Leader
Dr. Johnson comes from a lineage of educators, activists and political leaders in Nigeria. Born to a wealthy lawyer, Alfred Latunde Johnson and Mother Harriet Susan Johnson(nee Crowther Nichol) on Lagos Island, Dr. Johnson was the last of six children.
Her maternal Great-great-grandfather was the notable Bishop of Western Equatorial Africa; Bishop Samuel Ajayi-Crowther [ Captured into slavery at age 12, he was recused from slave dealers and taken to Sierra Leone. He was the author of the first Yoruba dictionary and translated the bible into the Yoruba Language.]Dr. Johnson’s Great-grand-uncle – Herbert Macaulay,(grandson of Ajayi Crowther) – was another prominent figure in Nigerian history. He was the founder of the first Nigerian political party and actively opposed british rule in Nigeria.
Dr. Johnson was educated at CMS Grammar School in Lagos and qualified as a Dental Surgeon at Royal College of surgeons, England and Glasgow in London. She was the first female orthodontist in Nigeria.
Following in her relative’s footsteps, Dr Johnson was active in political and community development. She was the founder of the International Women society in Nigerian, was the Federal Minister for social development and Culture (1983), Chief Consultant at the Federal Ministry of Health, National Vice President of the Nigerian Dental Association and sat on various boards including being on the Board of trustees for the Nigerian Olympic Committee.
She was given several traditional titles “Yeye Rise of Akure” , “Yeye Oba of Ijesha Isu Ekiti” and “Yeye Ilu of Lagos” . In 1990, Dr.Johnson was conferred with a special commendation award by Lagos State Government and Knight Official of the Humane Order of African Redemption, Republic of Liberia.
Dr. Simisola Johnson was also known as a frejon lover (a Nigerian pudding/desert that has its origins from the descendants of returnees from Brazil to Nigeria after the abolition of slavery) and hosted a breakfast party once a year for many years that centered around frejon.