Pharm (Dr) Lolu Ojo is the founder and managing director/chief executive director of Merit Healthcare Limited, which has been in operation since 2005. A presidential aspirant of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), he has served the Society in various other capacities. He is presently chairman, Research, Documentation and Industry Liaison Committee of the PSN; as well as director of organisation, Action Programme on COVID-19 Pandemic, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm). He was also chairman, PSN Conference Planning Committee (2008 and 2017); chairman, PSN National Drug Distribution Committee (2014–2015); as well as having been national chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP), from 2009 to 2013. An active member of various professional groups, Ojo is Fellow of Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy; Fellow, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and Fellow, Courier, and Logistics Management Institute.
In this brief chat with Pharmanews, Ojo reveals his vision and agenda for Nigerian pharmacists, if elected as next PSN president. Excerpts:
You are a prominent pharmacist who has played significant roles in the development of the pharmacy profession in the country. Having chaired several PSN committees and groups, why are you specifically interested in the presidency of the Society?
I have served Pharmacy in all of my adult life, beginning from the university to date. In the process, I have acquired knowledge, experience and expertise to build a greater Pharmacy in Nigeria. I hold a strong belief that we can change the narrative for our profession with the right combination of knowledge, skills and competence at my command.
You contested in the last PSN presidential election in 2018. Can you mention likely factors that prevented your emergence as president then, and what are your chances of winning now?
Yes, it is true that I contested the 2018 election and the basis for winning or losing belongs to our past and history. My conviction is that the road to success is constantly under construction. We are here now as part of the construction process. We have a brighter chance to win this time and we will do our best to get it.
The vision is for an appointed time and we believe this our time. However, this is not a compulsive pursuit. We will get there, if it is the will God.
What are your goals for the PSN?
We will turn PSN into a Society that cares for its members; that impacts the lives and practice of members positively; that adds value to the community; that will make Pharmacy in Nigeria to stand tall in the comity of nations
The outgoing president of PSN succeeded in securing the consultant cadre for pharmacists but has not been able to prevail upon the presidency to sign the Pharmacy Bill into law. On your emergence as the PSN president, how would you make this long-awaited desire of pharmacists come to fruition?
Leadership is a continuum. We will ensure that the consultant cadre is implemented in all national and state public hospitals. We will do much more to make the practice conducive and comfortable for colleagues. On the Pharmacy Bill, it’s all about advocacy and lobbying. We will pursue the signing of the bill into law with vigour and the arsenals at our disposal.
It has been observed that pharmacists are often absent when major decisions are taken in the health sector. How do you hope to bridge this lacuna in legislative process?
The right placement is necessary to get things done. We will leverage our network of mentors, friends and stakeholders to ensure that Pharmacy is there in the right places and at the right time.