The main hall of the Pharmacy Villa of the Lagos State Chapter, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) was filled to capacity on Thursday, during the Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the group, where new executives were elected to coordinate the affairs of the chapter for the next three years.
Leading the new crop of leaders was Pharm. Babayemi Oyekunle, who emerged as the chairman, followed by Pharm. (Mrs) Shakirat Adeosun, as vice- chairman, then Pharm. Tosin Adeyemi, elected as secretary, while Pharm. (Mrs) Ololade Oloyede, was assistant secretary.
Others were: Pharm. (Chief) Olaitan Ogunlade, treasurer; Pharm. Olusegun Kuti, financial secretary; Pharm. (Capt.) Haruna Mbaya, publicity secretary; Pharm. Stephen Onojomete, social secretary! Pharm. (Dr) Queensly Ogbeide, editor-in-chief; Pharm. (Mrs) Titilayo Onedo, unofficial member; Pharm. Modupe Bakare, unofficial member and Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, immediate past chairman.
Administering the ought of office to the new officers, the BOT Chairman, Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, urged them to be of good conduct while in office, as they must always strive to uphold the tenets of the profession in good conscience, as a guiding principle for other members of the association to follow. He advised them to always seek amicable means of resolving issues among them, for the progress of the association.
The PSN President, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, was the special guest of honour at the AGM, who congratulated the out-going executives for their wonderful performance as well as welcome the newly elected executives of the chapter, as he charged them on scaling up Pharmacy practice in the state irrespective of the challenges that may abound. He however assured them of solutions to the problems bedeviling the chapter soonest.
Appreciating all members of the association for their profound cooperation during his tenure, the immediate past chairman, Iyiola, highlighted the milestone achievements of his administration to include, entrenchment of a conducive environment for Pharmacy practice, advocacy, welfare of members and secretariat project. He mentioned how the chapter played significant roles in calling for better regulatory techniques in sanitising the practice environment in the state, though this suffered a little setback, but optimistic that a new regulatory agenda will be set by the PCN soon.
Iyiola also noted the different advocacy strides of the association under his watch including the call for the reinstatement of the suspended Consultancy cadre status for qualified pharmacists in public service of Lagos State; capacity development across all practice groups in health system and request for a standard Faculty of Pharmacy at Lagos State University in accordance with the specifications of PCN and NUC in fulfillment of Sanwo-Olu’s campaign promises to the association in 2018.
“We made relentless media advocacies during the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, the harassment of pharma wholesalers and importers by NAFDAC, on MDCN, FMC & FTH bills where we have continued to resist the shenanigans of Nigerian physicians who are hell bent on enslaving other health professionals etc”, he said.
The immediate past chairman further explained how his administration successfully established an NGO to cater for members’ welfare, and eight families of deceased financial members were settled with
N1Million each as stated in the scheme. He also noted how his leadership gave the secretariat a facelift with new structure and a digitalised operation.
According to him” We have supported and identified with a good number of our members in their time of joyous celebrations and bereavements. We instituted a registered NGO named Pharmacists Support Network to run the Life Assurance Welfare Scheme (LAWS) which is structured to bring succour to the families of departed colleagues who are our financial members. In the last three years, eight families of our departed colleagues who faithfully obliged financial responsibilities to our branch were settled with a sum of N1Million each as enshrined in the scheme initiated by our predecessor.
“Even the dwindling resources and nationwide lockdown could not deter us from completing and furnishing the secretariat in 2020. The internal structural remodeling has been undertaken in the last 18 month. This has given the building a fresh outlook, even the boy’s quarter was not left out, it has been remodeled to accommodate 2 of our staff members”, he enthused.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected chairman, Oyekunle, appreciated all members of the chapter for the confidence reposed in him to be elected as chairman, while assuring that he won’t let them down. He acknowledged the enormous task ahead of him, but solicited their support for the progress of the group.
Oyekunle particularly mentioned a special project his administration will embark upon, which is the publication of the history of the state chapter vis-a-vis that of Pharmacy practice in Lagos (and indeed Nigeria). He said the association is fortunate to still have some of its early fathers and mothers around, as well as past chairman, whose contributions will make the historical document very rich in content.
Highlighting the various challenges of the state chapter, such as policy interferences from government, societies and individuals, he said “we will try to be visible and not hold back when we have to advocate for our positions. Let us become pacesetters in our advocacy. We should not ask for our rights just because another profession or professionals asked for it. Let us begin to link our rights and privileges to the fact that we merit and deserve them”.