By Dr (Pharm.) Lolu Ojo
If there is a man who has personalised excellence in Nigeria, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi is the man. A foremost pharmacist and barrister-at-law, the amiable Prince of Ado-Ekiti is the founder and chairman of the first indigenous company to be quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Juli Pharmacy Plc.
Prince Juli is a devout Catholic. He is married to Princess Julia and they are blessed with grown up children, one of whom is a pharmacist. At 75, Prince Juli has seen it all and the milestone age was first celebrated by no less a person than the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammed Buhari. The testimony of President Buhari is significant, considering the fact that the prince is not a politician or a moneybag who sponsors elections; nor is he a contractor or a person seeking favours in the corridors of power. We can, therefore, safely assume that the motivation of the president is to appreciate excellence in a man who has devoted his life to the service of humanity.
Truly, the story of this Icon of Pharmacy can be wrapped up in one word: Excellence. He has lived his life for the community, people and the profession. He has conquered his environment and risen above the ordinary level. Prince has received blessing from all angles (from the physical to the spiritual) and he has been a blessing to numerous others. His choices are always influenced by the factors that will bring the best to the majority of the people. He has sacrificed himself for his beliefs and convictions. The story will be told now and again of a Nigerian who has lived above his polluted environment and achieved excellence in:
Prince Juli finished his secondary education a year earlier than his mates at Aquinas College, Akure and passed in Grade One with five distinctions. He won double scholarships from the Western Region and Federal Government for his Advanced Level education.
In 1965, he graduated from the then University of Ife as a pharmacist, the first of its kind in the annals of pharmacy education in Nigeria. Twenty two years after this unique achievement, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, at the age of 47, walked out of the Law School with the overall best student prize in 1987.
He has shown, quite convincingly, that a pharmacist can hold his head very high at all times and that he is not limited by his choice of career. Today, there are many other pharmacists who have followed the Prince to excel and acquire degrees in other disciplines not related to Pharmacy. The Prince is a prolific writer and consummate reader; he has to his credit, over 40 publications in health and pharmacy, law and education.
Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi started very early to exhibit his leadership capabilities. He was the President of the Pharmacy Students Association at the University of Ife and the Vice President of the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) in charge of International Affairs. He moved on to become the Secretary for Africa of the World Student Movement in the 60s. In this capacity, he led a delegation of students to Africa including a visit to the then Head of State, General Yakubu, Gowon during the civil war.
He served as the secretary and president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) at different times. His tenure was characterised by so many innovations that have made the PSN the best organised and certainly one of the most respected professional associations in Nigeria. He composed the Pharmacy Anthem which we proudly sing at our events and conferences today.
Prince is the founding secretary-general of the West African Pharmaceutical Federation (now West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists). He is the founding president of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm), an organisation providing thought and opinion leadership for the profession of Pharmacy. He also served as the Minister for Health and Social Services of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is the first and only pharmacist to be honoured with such responsibility.
Prince has served and is still serving the community in various leadership positions, so numerous to recount fully here. He was the first district governor of Rotary Club in Nigeria (His installation was graced by the then president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who was represented by the vice-president, Dr Alex Ekwueme). His unequalled and unprecedented service and drive led to the creation of another district (District 912) in 1984.
As a lawyer, he attends court regularly as amicus curiae and renders pro-bono services to the needy through his law chambers. He has served his immediate community as the president of Ekitiparapo, a group of leaders in Ekiti State. He has graced so many events and occasions as chairman or guest speaker. He holds court in his office offering succour to the high, the mighty and the ordinary people across the political, religious, professional, ethnic, and class divides.
He is a very versatile multi-linguist, who fluently speaks Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, French, Spanish, and German, to mention a few. Prince Juli is a songster, actor and painter. He is a past president, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce; past president, Alumni Association of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (AANIPSS); past chairman, National Council for Population and Environmental Activities; past chairman, Odu’a Investment Limited.
He has served on the Board of so many companies and corporations, including, National Council for Intergovernmental Relations, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Nigerian Institute of Management, University of Ibadan Governing Board, etc. Currently, he is a director of the MTN foundation.
Career and Entrepreneurship
In 1968, the Prince was offered an automatic employment by Pfizer and deployed to Lagos office as an Assistant General Manager. Three years later, he established Juli Pharmacy (Nigeria) Limited which later made history as the first indigenous company to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The company transformed to Juli PLC which won the President’s Merit Award of the NSE in 1997 and 2004.
In public places, you will see the Prince decked in immaculate white apparel. Physically, he looks much younger than his age. I have asked him repeatedly to give me the ‘ajidewe’ (elixir of youth) that he is using. He told me that it is about contentment. He has a philosophy which is captioned in his often repeated Yoruba phrase: ‘Mi o yo, sugbon ebi o pa mi’ (I am not full, but I am not hungry). With this principle, he approaches life with equanimity. He does not chase after material accumulation and you will not find him in the company of corrupt individuals.
However, beneath the shining white apparel is a load of worries. Worries that have nothing to do with his person, family or specific needs. He is worried that Nigeria is still poor despite the vast resources in her possession. He is worried about the abject and pervasive poverty in the land. He is worried about the youth who are wasting away without jobs and assurance of tomorrow. More importantly, he is worried about the parlous state of the pharmacy profession. He wonders why after all that has been done, Pharmacy is still defined and described in terms that are not enviable. He is worried that organised drug distribution remains a mirage and that the government and the people empowered with the position of trust are not doing enough to make the profession to serve the people.
He has vowed not to stop his activism until some of these points of reservations are adequately addressed. This is one principle that motivated his working tirelessly for the establishment of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy.
What then can we do to celebrate this man of excellence? No amount of material gift can satiate his appetite for goodness. We need to imbibe his principle of the good of the larger community. We must make Nigeria to work. This task is for everybody and should be done by all of us agreeing to be excellent at the basics. We are lucky to have a president who has shown his preparedness to repair the country’s wheel of progress. He must be supported by all and sundry.
At the Pharmacy level, I hereby call on all disciples of the Prince not to rest on their oars and not to be satisfied with their personal successes. Pharmacy is still in the doldrums. We owe it as a responsibility to our people and to the Prince to change the status quo. This charge also applies to the holders of leadership positions in critical institutions like the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria. Excellent service will be the appropriate toast to the MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, the MENTOR-GENERAL of the pharmacy profession, My Lord Pharmaceutical, Prince Julius Adewale Adelusi-Adeluyi, who recently celebrated his 75th birthday.