By Chioma Umeha
The Governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode has urged pharmacists to develop drugs that will tackle the health challenges that are peculiar to tropical Africa using local resources and endowments.
Speaking during an investiture ceremony of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy ( NAPharm) the governor who was represented at the occasion by Dr. Omodele Osunkiyesi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, also commended the Academy for its organisational ability and resourcefulness which has sustained its relevance over the years.
He also noted that pharmacy’s contribution to the overall well-being of the populace cannot be overemphasized.
The Governor added that NAPharm’s drive for improving the quality of training in academic institutions and its level of commitment towards research will stand it in good stead. He therefore urged the Academy to step up its commitment and not rest on its oars.
Meanwhile, former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade has said that true professionals have a frontline role to play in finding the answers to the challenge of poor leadership performance in the country.
Kolade said that his views are based on Nigeria’s experience over the last six decades and in view of the never ending concern of the performance of leadership in many areas of life in the country.
On a night, when the NAPharm welcomed six of its distinguished members into fellowship and honoured Prof. Julius Okojie, former executive secretary of the National Universities Commission with its life time achievement award, at an investiture ceremony which took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, 2016, Kolade who congratulated the awardees, said that they have been honoured for being truly distinguished in the quality of their performance in the positions that they occupy.
“Leadership performance is a need that the nation can no longer deny or postpone. Sadly, the constitution that gives political office holders access to elections does not require them to show any evidence of performance in any previous positions of respectable responsibility.
“A true professional voluntarily commits himself to the values, standards and disciplines of his profession which are based on equity and fairness with Integrity and accountability as an inescapable imperative in the discharge of their duties,” Kolade said.
On his part, President of the Academy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi noted that pharmacy has long embraced a paradigm shift in focus, as drugs are no longer the focus and locus of the practice, patients have now assumed the centre of attention with clinical and public health pharmacy as the new order.
Furthermore, he noted that the selection exercise of awardees was a rigorous and meticulous one. “The awardees, drawn from a diverse sector that includes academia, private and public sector, possess intensively impressive profiles as well as the mindset and disposition that resonate soundly with the Academy’s mission and raison d’être. I believe that they would further enrich the quality and depth of the Academy’s interventions in society.”
The newly inducted fellows of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy include, Pharm Elijah Mohammed, Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Hajia Amina Bala-Zakari one time acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission and Olu Akanmu, Senior Vice President/ Divisional Head of Retail Banking, First City Monument Bank Plc.
The high point of the night was the conferment of a life time achievement award on Prof Okojie, who while at the helm of the NUC saw to the accreditation of new patient-driven curriculum for Pharmacy and was instrumental to the emergence of the PharmD degree in Nigerian universities.
Dr Kolade and Professor Rahamon Bello, vice chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG) were also honoured with awards.
Dr Kolade was decorated for honouring the invitation to take the keynote address; Bello was given a special recognition for situating the NAPharm Secretariat at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba.
The award ceremony witnessed an impressive turnout of distinguished pharmacists, stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector and government functionaries some of which include, Dr. Olajide Idris, Commissioner for Health, Lagos state, Professor Duro Oni, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Management Services, UNILAG, Emeritus Professor, Olu Akinkugbe, Ahmed Yakasai, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Olumide Akintayo, Immediate Past President, PSN and Alh. Abdullahi Hamza, Head, Lagos Office, National Universities Commission.
The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy brings together distinguished pharmacists across different spheres of life and helps to drive thought leadership, providing expert opinion on matters pertaining to the pharmacy profession.
In so doing, it helps to ensure that the profession remains relevant to the needs and aspirations of Nigeria.
Founded in 2014, it is the fifth such specialized Academy in Nigeria with others being the Academies of Science, Letters, Arts and Engineering respectively.