Improvement of Fellows’ Welfare, Self-Esteem, My Goal – Adagadzu

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Improvement of Fellows’ Welfare, Self-Esteem, My Goal - Adagadzu
Pharm. (Dr) Joel E.B. Adagadzu

Pharm. (Dr) Joel E.B. Adagadzu is the new chairman, Board of Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria. A member of many committees of the PSN from 1986 till date, he has served the profession in various capacities before his present position. He was the first national treasurer of Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN); national publicity secretary, PSN (1986–1989); lecturer at the West African Postgraduate School of Pharmacists (WAPCP); coordinator, BOF, FCT Chapter, among several others. In this exclusive chat with Pharmanews, he reveals the agenda of his administration towards ensuring the welfare and progress of the members of the Board. Excerpts:

 Congratulations on your emergence as the new BOF chairman. Kindly share with us what informed your decision to contest for the position.

The first time I decided to contest for the position of chairman, Board of Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria was in Ibadan, in November 2018, during the Annual Conference of the PSN. My decision to join the race then was because I had observed that most of the contestants had served the Board continuously over a long period of time.

I said to myself, “Why should a few people keep recycling themselves as executives of the BOF, despite the existence of a growing number of highly eligible and capable Fellows, who are ready and available to serve?” That year, I was persuaded to step down for the female candidate and I did. She emerged winner and is on record as the first female to occupy the position of chairman, Board of Fellows.

When I decided to contest for the second time, my decision was further informed by the situation analysis of the status of the BOF, which I had conducted way before the November 2021 Annual Conference of the PSN in Port Harcourt. It was clear that despite the laudable efforts of the past leaderships of the BOF, there were growing frustrations among Fellows who kept asking what the difference was between Fellows and those who weren’t. Many Fellows interviewed were of the opinion that the award of the Fellowship of PSN did not seem to confer any serious advantage or privileges on awardees.

Realising that I could make some difference if I became chairman, I engaged in extensive conversations and consultations with many notable Fellows nationwide, with an overwhelming endorsement. The widespread encouragement I received informed my decision to once again declare interest in contesting for the position of chairman, BOF. At the Annual General Meeting of the BOF in Port Harcourt, precisely on 3 November, 2021, I got the huge mandate of Fellows to become their chairman in a keenly contested election.

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Your predecessor brought lot of improvements to the Board through her achievements. What are the new things you and your executives will be doing to chart a new path for the Board?

Let me use this opportunity to congratulate my predecessor for her achievements. As you are aware, she is an accomplished academic with vast experience and reach. She, no doubt, performed creditably well and would have even achieved more, had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, which truncated many activities due to lengthy restrictions of movements and physical meetings.

Governance is a continuum. So we shall build on my predecessor’s achievements. The drug abuse campaign, for example, will be sustained. I can also confirm to you that my executives and I are on the same page and committed to implementing my 7-Point Agenda, as outlined in my manifesto and perhaps do much more. The strict adherence to my agenda, aimed at restoring the glamour and self-esteem of Fellows, will hopefully lead to the greater visibility of Fellows of PSN.

We intend to focus on the welfare of Fellows and to address some of the critical challenges they are facing, such as declining fortunes and resources of especially some of the more elderly ones. We shall mobilise resources outside of the annual subscription which we intend to use in carrying out programmes that will be beneficial to Fellows, and to the general public. Such programmes will include workshops and seminars on entrepreneurship, health insurance and other insurance coverage, awards of recognitions, continuation of the drug abuse campaigns and many other activities and functions that will impact on the welfare and visibility of Fellows.

We shall encourage Fellows to be actively involved in meetings, conferences and social functions, both at the state levels and at the national level, by reviewing the contents and enriching these meetings, especially the mid-year and annual general meetings. Hopefully, these will activate Fellows and make them more committed to the BOF.

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Observations have shown that some senior Fellows are no longer active, due to ageing. How would you activate such Fellows?

This is true. But it is not just the senior Fellows that are no longer active. Besides, some of these senior Fellows are not just inactive due to age but also due to declining resources or sources of income. I have found out that the businesses of many of the senior Fellows and even some not-too-senior Fellows are not performing well and could barely put meals on their tables. When you have resources, age becomes a mere factor.

We shall identify all senior Fellows in this category and mobilise our state chapters to visit them, honour them with gifts and organise social functions where they will be recognised and made to unwind. We shall also organise workshops and seminars on entrepreneurship for them to help them resuscitate their businesses. They will be encouraged to feel free to discuss some of their challenges with a view to finding solutions.

Other packages for the aging senior Fellows will include celebration of their birthdays or their special events; provision of health insurance package, and any other perceived actions that will make them active in the BOF once again.

 

Payment of annual dues has been a major challenge with some Fellows owing for some years without payment. With your new executives on Board, how would the heavy outstanding be reduced to the barest minimum?

Sadly, the poor response to the payment of annual dues cuts across both the older Fellows and the younger ones. It is a recurring issue that keeps featuring on the agenda of BOF meetings. My new executive will encourage staggered or installment payments of the annual dues as a way of achieving compliance.

We shall make personal contacts with defaulters and also encourage our state chapters to dialogue with defaulting Fellows in their states and encourage them to pay. We intend to raise and discuss the issue of default in the payment of annual dues with the leadership of the PSN with a view to addressing this problem in a manner that will not jeopardise the sanctity of the BOF.

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 It is not unlikely to have cases of critically ill Fellows. Are there provisions made for the welfare of this group of people by the Board?

Fellows will fall ill, be incapacitated or even pass on, irrespective of their ages. My new executives will implement programmes that will reduce the pains of such Fellows. We shall leverage health and other forms of insurance covers to support Fellows in these categories.

Meanwhile, existing welfare packages which are not too far-reaching will still be applied, until the insurance packages are perfected. Waivers from payment of annual dues will also be considered for some Fellows with challenges after due processes have been met. We shall encourage individual Fellows to also reach out to such colleagues where necessary and after due clearance with BOF Executive.

 

Nigerians are known to have poor maintenance culture of properties. How would the Board ensure the maintenance of the newly purchased bus for campaign against drug abuse?

I hope the BOF will not fall within the category of Nigerians with a poor maintenance culture. The Board will make appropriate budgetary provisions for the regular and proper maintenance of the bus because it will be totally unacceptable if the Board cannot maintain its very few assets ,which include the newly purchased bus for campaign against drug abuse.

 

 What is your advice to all Fellows in the New Year?

First of all, let me use this medium to wish all Fellows a happy new year 2022, full of God’s favour, in terms of wisdom, good health, improved business and work climate and security of lives and properties.

My advice to all Fellows, including the new awardees who will come on board as from February this year, is that the success of the Board is a collective responsibility of all Fellows. We expect nothing short of their full commitment if we are to restore the dignity of the Board. Every Fellow should be prepared to play an active role in the affairs of the Board.

 

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