The menace of fake drugs in Nigeria reached its zenith around the year 2000, when it was estimated that fake drugs constituted more than 70 per cent of the drugs in the country. Many pharmaceutical businesses closed down, while most of the foreign ones moved out of the country because they were being suffocated by fake drugs imported mainly from India and China.
Consequently, Pharmanews which depended on the patronage of the industry was very adversely affected. We started owing the printers and staff salaries and I was considering closing down the business to try another occupation. It was during this period of uncertainty and depression that I took a cheap night bus to Abuja on 22 October, 2000, to see the then Minister of Health, Dr Tim Menakaya.
On the morning of the next day, I went straight to the Ministry of Health Secretariat with a very heavily disturbed mind. While waiting to see the minister, I sat alone, in God’s presence, at the gardens outside, with some thoughts flooding my mind. Then I took my notebook and pen from my bag and started writing some prayer points, as they came to me. Below are some extracts:
“My Father, I put all my hope on you… Father, please send the people you have predestined to help me. I can no longer be in debt from today. On the Cross of Calvary, Jesus paid all my debts, took away my diseases, afflictions, poverty, lack, shame, and disgrace. I am set free from all these as a believer.
“Father, demonstrate your love, goodness and mercy on me now. Please answer my prayer. Let your purpose for my life be fulfilled. I surrender my thoughts, ambitions, plans and programmes to you… Your thoughts and plans for me are for good.
“Father, you have led me so far on this trip. Please crown it with glory. Make it a success… Holy Spirit, lead and direct me. Put words in my mouth to say the right things. Please go with me to see Dr Anabueze and the minister. Speak through me to get the desired result.
“I have taken a step of faith by coming here. I want my faith to work … Today, something new will happen to me. I will go back to Lagos glorifying You for your love, faithfulness, kindness and mercy.
“I have put in 20 years into Pharmanews and You have blessed me. I have made a name and, in later years, my Reflections have made significant impact on people. I have used it to evangelise. It is not God’s plan that I sink into debt and become a borrower instead of a lender. No! It is Satan’s plan and not God’s.
“The Word of God says that I will not borrow but instead lend to others. Satan comes with contrary ideas and lies…But God is omnipotent. He caused the children of Israel to pass through the Red Sea on dry land and caused Pharaoh and the Egyptian army to be swallowed by the Red Sea. God caused water to come out of the rock. He has raised the dead. Dry bones have been given flesh and the breath of life. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will perform His miracle in my life.
“I have put my life into Pharmanews and made significant contributions to the world of Pharmacy. I have become the best. Now, God, do you want me to try something else? You called out Abraham and asked him to go to a place you would show him. He obeyed. My Father, are you calling me out of Pharmanews? Is it your voice I am hearing?
“Holy Spirit, lead me to the right decision. Speak to me. I will listen attentively. Work out your programme for my life. Lift me out of this condition. Something is not going in the right direction and I reject this trend in Jesus’ name. Do not leave me alone mid-way so that I do not get lost. I cannot depend upon myself to succeed. I cannot do it with my carnal mind or worldly wisdom. Please take control of my plans and actions.”
Twenty years after the above supplications were made, I am glad to say that God graciously answered my prayers and arranged everything to work according to His own plans to fulfill His purpose for my life. The assumption of office by Prof. Dora Akunyili as the DG of NAFDAC in April, 2001, marked the beginning of some drastic steps to control the influx of fake drugs into the country.