In fulfilment of his promise, Dr Samuel Ugwumba, former president, Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS) has officially joined the race to become a lawmaker
representing Isiala Ngwa North Constituency at the Abia State House of Assembly.
Ugwumba, who bagged a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the University of Benin (UNIBEN) disclosed that the move is a fulfillment of his long-cherished aspiration, which he revealed to Pharmanews during an interview as PANS president in 2015.
“Living intentionally is primarily a matter of vision and vision is the hidden factor responsible for our choice making. We make choices every day and our society is shaped by our individual choices.
“Every society, right from the time of creation, has always had its own form of Goliath. Using Nigeria as a case study, everyone knows that our own Goliath is a dearth of leaders at all levels of our national lives,” he said.
According to him, what we have in excess in Nigeria is an abundance of rulers – classical maladministrators, inefficient managers of men and materials, thoughtless occupiers of positions, and people who don’t have the interest of the masses at heart.
Ugwumba who originally wanted to study Aeronautics Engineering before opting for Pharmacy explained that his decision to veer into politics was not something out of the blues since he had always entertained the idea of going into public service for the good of his people.
“But I will state quite frankly that the growing weight of hopelessness and unabated impoverishment is basically the reason why I did not need to wait any longer. It is the home truth that one doesn’t give what one doesn’t have.
“Nigerian rulers do not have what it takes to put smiles on the faces of our people. They neither have the capacity nor competence needed to manage our human and material resources,” he emphasised.
It would be recalled that the 2014 winner of Chief (Sir) E.A. Osadolor Merit Award for Excellence in Leadership once told Pharmanews during the inaugural edition of Sir Atueyi Essay and Debate Competition held at UNIBEN that his eye was set on representing his people at Abia State House of Assembly in five years’ time.
In the said interview, Ugwumba noted that having excelled in various key positions in PANS, SUG and JCI UNIBEN that culminated in his emergence as PANS President, he would definitely continue with rendering altruistic service to his people after graduation.
“People should look out for my campaign posters in 2019 for Abia State House of Assembly, where, with God’s help, we will be making laws that will turn around the fortunes of my state and by extension, the Nigerian society. I plan not to stop there as I believe so much that I will be the first pharmacist and Igbo man to be elected as Nigeria’s president,” he said.
On how he fell in love with politics, Ugwumba credited a certain Ugochukwu Youngbill Unachukwu who was then a member of UNIBEN Students Union Government (SUG) parliament, adding that sharing same hostel space brought them together.
“We became very close. He used to take me to some of his political meetings and I believe that was when my interest in politics was kindled. Consequently, I became a parliamentarian in my faculty – PANS Congress – after which I went up to SUG Parliament.
“I had the desire to run for SUG Presidency but was unduly disqualified, courtesy of the ethnocentric politics embedded in the system which seemingly favours people with Bini ancestry. So all the ideas I had birthed during my SUG involvements were test-run when the pharmacy students gave me the mandate to become their president,” he said.
Explaining his reason for seeking to be a lawmaker, the pharmacist disclosed that he hopes to use his influence to better the lot of Pharmacy.
While describing the practice as a beautiful profession, the 2016 UNIBEN Pharmacy graduate declared that it is unfortunate that it is largely confined in Nigeria because it has continued to be pummeled from all fronts due largely to pharmacists’ apathy to weightier matters like politics.
“A beautiful profession has been battered by our inability to add the most essential positioning power of politics. Instead, the dream of many pharmacists, both old and young, is to become the PSN President or be among the PSN national machinery to continue to lord it over their colleagues and engage in endless banalities.
“If only Nigerian pharmacists could see the harm we have done to ourselves by our shocking inability to rise above internal pharma-politics and deploy our expertise in service to our communities, states and Nigeria at large, we would be halfway close to our solutions,” he reiterated.
Shedding light on the challenges ahead, the former PANS president explained that the job of a legislator is three-fold, namely lawmaking, effective constituency representation, and oversight functions.
In contesting for the House of Assembly ticket for his constituency, Ugwumba pledged to ensure adequate representation of his people at the state level, look into the spirit and letters of the numerous laws with a view to renegotiating those that don’t tally with current realities, while instituting those that can help drive the engine of development faster.
“Morever, as someone who wants to become president of Nigeria in 2034, I felt that the best place to begin my political journey is the House of Assembly so that I can effectively serve my people, build my political testimonial and have a platform to sell my ideas for a better Nigeria.
“Also, being in the House will afford me the rarest opportunities to serve as the voice of conscience to other political leaders who might have joined politics with the sole purpose of enriching themselves to the detriment of the people,” he remarked.
Ugwumba’s past leadership antecedent included being a past president of Junior Chamber International (JCI), UNIBEN Chapter; project director, Anti-Drug Misuse And Abuse Programme (ADMAP); project director, Rescue The Environment Programme (RESTEP); past president, PANS (UNIBEN Chapter); Initiator, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi National Essay and Debating Competitions for Pharmacy Students and past public relations officer, PANS UNIBEN Chapter.
Others were constituency leader: PANS Supreme Congress, UNIBEN (2011); assistant editor, Pharmaworld Health Magazine of Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS), UNIBEN (2012-2013); secretary, House Committee on Students’ Hostel Matters, Students’ Union Parliament (SUG), UNIBEN (2011-2012); member, Editorial Committee of The Parrot; member, The Compass Magazines of Students’ Union Government, UNIBEN (2011-2012) and secretary general, National Association of Abia State Students, UNIBEN Chapter (2010).
Some of his honours and awards include Dean/Faculty Board of Studies’ Letter of Commendation for Transformational Leadership (2015); Agbami Medical And Engineering Professionals Scholarship Award (2011-2015); Chief (Sir) E.A. Osadolor Merit Award for Excellence in Leadership (2014) and Overall Best Graduating Student’s Prize, Standard Comprehensive High school, Aba (2006).