- Urges pharmacists to embrace dialogue
President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Professor Cyril Usifoh, has called on pharmacists to join hands together in unity, as they continue to chart an illustrious course for their profession by impacting positively on the society, in the areas of patient care and the availability of quality medicines.
The ambience at the prestigious Transcorp Hilton Abuja was full of verve and geniality on Thursday night, as the Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry of the University of Benin, officially mounted the saddle of leadership of the apex pharmaceutical body in Nigeria, amidst accolades and encomiums from friends, colleagues and well-wishers.
“If we want a united and progressive pharmaspace where pharmacists are increasingly relevant and respected for their invaluable contributions, then we need to work as a family. Let us strengthen the bond of unity, as men of honour”, he said.
Prof. Usifoh also called for reconciliation, adding that his administration would prioritise the culture of listening more and doing the right things.
“We should reconcile, knowing you may be right today and wrong tomorrow. We must forget our ‘carry overs’, especially those of anger and bitterness. I encourage all pharmacists to embrace genuine dialogue, listen to each other and forgive one another, despite our differences. In this dispensation, we will always listen and act appropriately. Of all the skills of leadership, listening in the most valuable”, he added.
Declaring the ceremony open, Chairman of the Inauguration and Investiture Planning Committee, Pharm. Joke Bakare, thanked all invited guests for finding time, out of their busy schedules, to grace the occasion. She thanked the new PSN President for reposing so much confidence in her and her team to successfully organise the event.
“We are looking forward to having the most formidable and united Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria with the inauguration of our indefatigable President, Pharm. Professor Cyril Usifoh”, she enthused.
She also acknowledged the presence of special guests, including the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunibe Mamora, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Minister of Mines and Steel, Mr Lekan Adegbite, among others.
Delivering the keynote address, titled : “Igniting our Society: Connecting the Dots”, the Vice- Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Lilian Salami, said the new President of the PSN has made the university community proud while extoling the significant contributions of pharmacists in national development:
“My joy is extreme for many reasons. First, is the fact that the new President of the PSN, Usifoh, is a senior and distinguished Professor of the University of Benin, who has been a source of pride not only to the University of Benin but also to the Pharmacy profession and indeed Nigeria. I congratulate him”.
“Pharmacists are the experts in drugs. They discover them, manufacture them and are the repository of knowledge on how they should be handled and used. Pharmacists counsel on the adverse effects of drugs and play clinical interventional roles that bring huge positive outcomes to patient treatment. Pharmacists are not just the custodians and fabricators of drugs. They are also great administrators. A nation is as strong as its medicine security. In many ways, pharmacists secure their nations and contribute to developing the economy”, she said.
Bemoaning the precarious state of national life in Nigeria, Professor Salami offered suggestions on how the country can wriggle out of its numerous debilitating challenges.
“Our dear country has fallen short of its attainment, despite the resources, both human and material available to it. We are all familiar with the numerous problems confronting us today as a nation. I wish to state however, that we can positively arrest the situation, if we ignite and dot the positive values in our society through conscientious, dedicated and patriotic reorientation of the values in our society”, she said.
The high point of the event was the transfer of the leadership medal by the immediate past PSN President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa to Professor Usifoh. The moment was animated with contagious laughter and conviviality when Ohuabunwa, in his usual sense of humour, said he was handing over happily and eagerly to Professor Usifoh, whom he described as a worthy successor full of the passion to succeed. He however revealed a secret that sent the entire Congress Hall into a frenzy of laughter:
“I am handing over to Professor Usifoh and I am not reluctant to do so because I believe in his capacity to deliver. There were some past leaders who were reluctant to hand over to their successors just as Yakasai was reluctant to hand over to me”.
Meanwhile, a total of 112 new fellows were inducted into the PSN. Notable among them were the immediate past national chairman of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, IG Anukwu, Professor Ray Ozuola and Professor Henri Okeri, both distinguished professors of the University of Benin as well as Pharm. Kingsley Amibor, ex-officio of the PSN national.