…Handshake from Pharm. Atueyi, Award Plaque, Means a lot to Me, Says Award Winner, Prof. Okoye
The Managing Director, Pharmanews Ltd, and Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Pharmanews, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, on Thursday presented a cheque of N250, 000 and award plaque to the Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Nnamdi Azikwe University (UNIZIK), Professor Festus B.C. Okoye, who emerged winner of the maiden edition of the “Pharmanews Dean of the Year Award” recently.
The Award presentation ceremony was held at the corporate head office of Pharmanews, Lagos.
The Dean’s Award is the 6th Annual Award sponsored by Pharmanews Ltd, as part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility to the pharmaceutical industry. The awards organised and sponsored by Pharmanews Ltd for pharmacists and Pharmacy students are: Ifeanyi Atueyi Essay & Debating Competition, which started in 2015; Young Pharmacist Award, established in 2018; Pansite Award, introduced in 2019; Outstanding Pharmacist Award in 2020 and Pharmanews Interschool Debate Competition in 2021.
While speaking during the award presentation, Atueyi explained that the Dean’s Award was introduced as a way of recognising the efforts of deans in the faculties of Pharmacy across the country, noting that the deans are important to the faculties, just as the faculties are important to the Pharmacy profession.
“We decided to establish this award this year because of the importance of the deans in our faculties of Pharmacy. The performance of the faculty has a lot to do with the leadership, administrative and management ability of the dean. A dean who has good public relations will relate well, not only with the students and university authorities, but also with external organisations or institutions. Students remember the roles deans and lecturers played in their university days”, the Pharmanews boss said.
Atueyi also called on the deans in all the faculties to be conscious of their deeds while in office and also endeavour to leave a legacy behind. Sir Atueyi said “In establishing this award, we want the deans to be conscious of the fact that people are observing their performances and the results they are achieving while in office. A dean should endeavour to leave an indelible mark in the faculty”.
While congratulating Prof. Okoye as the winner of the award, Atueyi commended the current Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Charles Esimone, who was the pioneer dean of the university’s Faculty of Pharmacy, for laying a good foundation for the faculty.
He said “let me congratulate you, the first winner of this very keenly contested Dean’s Award and also the first faculty to win Pansite, Young Pharmacist and Dean’s awards. Your faculty is honoured today.
“It is noteworthy that the second edition of Pansite award in 2020 was won by a Pharmacy student of the Faculty of Pharmacy, UNIZIK, named Miss Izukanne Emembolu. Coincidentally, the second and third editions of Young Pharmacist Awards were won by graduates of UNIZIK namely, Frank Eze, 2019 and Daniel Eze in 2020 respectively. This means that the faculty has a record of winning the Pansite, Young Pharmacist and Dean’s Awards.
“It is also on record that UNIZIK’s Faculty of Pharmacy also produced the current Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Charles Esimone, who was the pioneer dean and the first pharmacist to occupy the exalted position of the Vice -Chancellor of the university. These awards are clear indications that he laid a good foundation for the faculty. I seize this opportunity to sincerely appreciate him for the performance of the faculty”.
Professor Okoye, in his remarks, expressed his profound appreciation to the Pharmanews publisher, for his roles in the industry and urged Pharmanews to keep the flag flying. Although he thanked Atueyi for the cash price of N250, 000 attached to the award, the award winner said he appreciated the handshake with the octogenarian and the award plaque more than anything and he will never forget the memorable moment in his lifetime.
Okoye, who pointed out that he was surprised when he got the information that he was the winner of the award, called on all and sundries not to write anybody off no matter what happens.
“As a dean, be open and accessible to your students and staff. Don’t be proud irrespective of your achievements. I am proud to say that my office is open to my students and staff of the faculty because I always want to have firsthand information about what is happening in the faculty. The staff and students in the faculty made it possible for me to win the award because they are the ones that voted and also mobilised people to vote for me ”, Prof. Okoye said.
The dean pointed out that his faculty, though still very young, has been witnessing significant growth in recent times, part of which is the recent course accreditation by the Nigerian University Commission as well as the approval and commencement of PharmD programme.
He reiterated that the faculty is working hard to introduce Pharmaceutical Grade Starch and new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) into the Nigerian Pharmaceutical market. He added that the faculty has also conceived an ideas of local synthesis of existing APIs, particularly, antimalarial drugs; stressing that some groups are already involved in planting of Artemisia annua in Anambra State, with the view of harnessing all the possible value chains therein.
To achieve some of these projects, Prof. Okoye noted that the faculty is working in partnership with the Anambra State Chapter of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists (NAIP) to establish a pilot drug manufacturing unit, as well as research labouratory which will be sited within the faculty. He also thanked the Vice- Chancellor of the university for his support toward the faculty, adding that the faculty is disposed to give the best quality education to its student so that they can be outstanding wherever they go.