The atmosphere at the Pharmacy Villa, Ojota, Lagos, was recently agog with excitement as Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Olubunmi Paul-Ozieh was announced new chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State.
The announcement came as she emerged victorious in the chairmanship election conducted at this year’s Annual General Meeting of the association.
Aunty Abiola, as she is fondly called,was until her election, vice-chairman under the administration of the immediate past chairman, Pharm. Aminu Yinka Abdulsalam. Prior to that, she was the secretary of the association under the administration of Pharm. Anieh Felix Anieh.
A 1986 graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University with a master’s degree in Pharmacology and another in Business Administration, Pharm. Paul-Ozieh has been in community service for 12 years, out of the 29 years she has spent practising Pharmacy. She recently completed her West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), examinations.
Beaming with smiles,the new chairman disclosed to journalists that her emergence was an act of God, adding that it was a call to responsibility and a challenge which required much sacrifice in order to consolidate on the achievements of the previous administration and move the association to the next level.
Speaking further, Pharm. Paul-Ozieh, who is also the chief executive officer of High Rock Pharmacy, Ifako-Ijaiye, explained that even though she was part of the outgoing administration, there were still some thorny issues to be tackled from the point the outgoing administration stopped. She listed the issues to include the Mobile Authentication Service, illegal pharmaceutical premises, and membership mobilisation.
Also speaking at the event, the outgoing chairman, Pharm. Aminu Yinka Abdulsalam, encouraged the newly elected executive members to brace up, stressing that the task ahead of them was an uphill one, requiring full time commitment.
While calling on community pharmacists across the state to give the new executives maximum support and cooperation, Pharm, Abdusalam equally pledged his continued support.
“Even though the journey started three years ago, I thank God it is ending today and I want to assure you that even though I will be leaving the boardroom of power of the ACPN, I will not be too far from the corridor, as I will continue to play my part actively,” he said.
The outgoing ACPN boss also took time to recognise the contributions of some eminent personalities, whom he described as pillars and sources of inspiration to the association. The list includes President of the PSN, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo; Chairman, Board of Trusties of ACPN, Pharm. Deji Osinoiki; and Chairman, PSN, Lagos, Pharm. Gbenga Olubowale.
Speaking further, Aminu noted that the year under review was full of challenges for the association, adding that more challenges were still ahead for the incoming administration.
“The challenges are enormous because pharmacists are cynosures in the health care landscape; but I do not see the challenges as insurmountable if we are working together as formidable force.”
Regarding membership strength, the outgoing ACPN boss lamented that while over 800 members paid their various dues and registered with the PCN in 2012, the numbers of financial members reduced to 779 in 2013 and 749 in 2014, noting that the dwindling membership strength calls for concern.
Abdusalam also used the opportunity to urge the federal government to be wary of encouraging foreign investments in the pharmaceutical industry, saying such move could frustrate the goals of the National Drug Policy and preventself-sufficiency, service delivery and professionalism in the local pharmaceutical industry.
“Ineffective drug administration and control, high dependence on foreign sources for finished drug products and the lack of political will to provide safe and good quality medicines to meet the health needs of Nigerians are key challenges we are facing in the pharmaceutical sector; therefore we have to critically evaluate and consult widely before we jump at any form of transformation coming to pharmacy practice, if only to avoid liberalisation of our profession,” he advised.
Other members of the newly elected executive members are, Pharm. Olabanji Benedict Obideyi, vice-chairman; Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, secretary; Pharm. Moyosore Michael Ademola, assistant secretary; Pharm. Ismail Kola Sunmonu, treasurer; Pharm. Ambrose Sunday Ezeh, financial secretary; Pharm. Obiageri Ethel Ikwu, public relations officer; and Pharm. Timehin Ogungbe, editor-in-chief.