-As UNN Pharmacy Faculty Marks Golden Jubilee
The contributions of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to the development of sound men and institutions in Nigeria and beyond were brought to the fore as the alumni association of the faculty celebrated its golden jubilee.
The four-day event which took place from 31 March to 3 April, 2022, provided an opportunity for old friends and acquaintances, bonded by the fire of intellectual zest and success stories, to come together once again and rekindle past but memorable experiences.
Recounting her admission into the university in 1971, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said she was inspired to pursue her scholastic dreams at Nsukka, even though it was very cumbersome leaving the ancient city of Ibadan where she resided to chase a dream in the eastern hinterland.
“Leaving my Western State capital home (Ibadan) to the East just after the war was very challenging but the “can do” attitude and thirst for education, being the first to go to the university, overcame my fears. We left Ibadan around 6 or 7 am in the morning and arrived at Nsukka around 4 pm. The journey was tortuous because of the ravages of the war – gullies on the road, bridges that are now iron plates over the water where you must alight from the vehicle for the driver to get the vehicle to the other side to reduce the weight. I arrived with all hopes that I will get a great education. Yes, I did”, she said.
On how her teachers inculcated the principles of hard work, dedication to studies and the culture of excellence into her, Professor Adeyeye added: “They made sure that we got the best. I couldn’t remember a teacher missing a class. They challenged us to be the best; there was discipline and integrity in exam processing. If there was an infraction, the student was punished and other students would know to serve as a deterrent. What did I learn? That you can be firm as a teacher or supervisor and that deterrent must be set to have quality.”
President of the UNN Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Alumni Association, Sir Ike Onyechi, while eulogising the faculty for nurturing great men and women who have continued to make invaluable contributions in Nigeria, especially in the health sector, amplified the importance of growing people in any society.
“An ancient Chinese proverb says, “If you want one year prosperity, grow grains. If you want ten years prosperity, grow trees. If you want hundred years prosperity, grow people.” Our gathering today besides its slant basically to make plans on how to keep growing people by growing our faculty”, he said.
In keeping up with their avowed culture of excellence, Onyechi stated that the alumni association modelling its endowment fund after the Harvard example. He said: “Borrowing from the Harvard example, we have settled for the formation of an Alumni Foundation, as a vehicle for promoting an ENDOWMENT FUND, to create a long lasting financial legacy for our faculty. This is necessary because in Nigeria today, there are significant gaps in the funds available to universities. Government budgets are totally insufficient, and this generates an ever-increasing pressure on students (and their families) as the only viable source of funding. This vicious cycle continues to perpetuate frustration and resignation. This is where an endowment fund becomes a significant game changer.”
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Professor Charles Arizechukwu Igwe, thanked the alumni association for sparing time to reconnect with their alma mater and for deeming it fit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. “It gives me great pleasure this day, to witness this epoch-making event, that has drawn great and respected alumni of the University of Nigeria, from far and near, back to the lion’s den, where you were groomed. East or West, they say, home always remains the best. As Vice-Chancellor of this great university, I feel greatly excited, encouraged and honoured that you could set aside your numerous engagements and tight schedules as distinguished pharmacists, to come and celebrate your faculty in this her 50 years of golden existence”, he said.
Concluding, Professor Igwe gave a descriptive summary of the reputation of the UNN Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences: “The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences has really distinguished herself in a very outstanding way. This is a faculty that has produced about 6 Vice- Chancellors – The Udeala, the Akubues, the Adikwus, the Okores, the Esimones and just very recently, the Akahs; a faculty that has two of her staff as current UNN Governing Council members; a faculty that has produced two NAFDAC Directors General. Her products are dazzling in their respective areas of practice, winning laurels, every now and then”.