It was a moment of thunderous ovation at the main auditorium of the Dora Akunyili College of Pharmacy, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, as the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students, (PANS), presented an Award of Honour to the Publisher, Pharmanews, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, for his immense contributions in mentoring the young ones, aspiring to be future pharmacists.
They also appreciated him for the sponsorship of the second edition of the Pharmanews Inter-School Debate and Quiz Competition, held during the 47th Convention of the PANS, at the IUO, Edo State.
The event which had over 15 Pharmacy schools and about 300 Pharmacy students across the country in attendance also featured a keenly contested debate and quiz competition, which saw the competing schools slugging it out to win the coveted prize.
Speaking at the event which doubled as a moment of joyous reunion, pleasant reminiscences and fitting recognitions for the students, the National President, PANS, Christian Oluchukwu Ughagwu, noted that the rationale behind the debate and quiz competition during the national convention was to equip students with the knowledge of the roles of pharmacists, in order for them to enlighten the masses on the importance of pharmacists in the health sector as well as their accessibility.
According to Ughagwu, the quality of healthcare in Nigeria has to be improved and this has to be done through innovative thinking platforms such as debate and quiz competitions, so as to propel the students for better careers in Pharmacy.
He added that this year’s event was unique as it recorded the highest number of participants. “Students don’t usually show much interest in a competition of this nature, in fact, we had to use this hall because we don’t expect this kind of turnout, but I don’t know what is so special in this year’s own, maybe because Pharmanews added colour to it. The attendance was mind-blowing as the number of students that participated exceeded our expectation, so I hope this relationship continues unhindered.
He continued, “For the Publisher of Pharmanews, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, if I begin to talk about him, there won’t be enough time to do so. He is a unique person who gives priority to anything that concerns the younger ones, a quality that is rare among his peers. At his age, he is always supportive, welcoming and accessible. He is always ready to listen, so we pray we have more people like him,” he said.
The contest, tagged, “Fist of Words”, featured for one day out of the five-day convention, precisely the third day. It had eight schools for the debate, including Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU); Olabisi Onabanjo University, (OOU); University of Nigeria, Nsuka, (UNN); the University of Benin, (UNIBEN); Niger-Delta University, (NDU); Uthman Danfodiyo University, (UDUS); the University of Jos, (UNIJOS); Nnamdi Azikiwe University, (UNIZIK); while 12 schools participated in the quiz competition.
According to the Chairman, Pharmanews Inter-School Debate and Quiz Competition, Augustine Ezeodimegwu, the first round of the debate afforded speakers from the participating schools five minutes each, while the chief speakers had an additional minute to summarise their points.
He further disclosed that about 12 schools participated in the quiz competition, adding that at the end of the keenly contested competition, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), came first with 14 points; University of Benin (UNIBEN), came second with 11 points, while Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT), came third with 10 points.
For the debate competition which was fashioned after the British Parliamentary Style of debate, the topics were as follows: “Doctors Make Better CMDs of Hospitals, Not Pharmacists” for the first round of the debate, while the second round had the notion, “Should Permanent Voters Card Be Made A Requirement for Licensed Pharmacists to Practice”.
Ezeodimegwu disclosed that, for the first round, the schools were divided into two groups in order to allow the adjudicators to assess their performances objectively, adding that at the end of the first round, four schools, which included the University of Nigeria (UNN); Uthman Danfodiyo University (UDUS); University of Benin (UNIBEN), and University of Jos (UNIJOS), made it to the second round.
According to the Debate Umpire, the finals of the competition pitched the University of Nigeria (UNN), and Uthman Danfodiyo University (UDUS), against the University of Benin (UNIBEN), and the University of Jos (UNIJOS).
At the end of the sessions, the judges, declared UNIJOS as the winner of the debate competition, having garnered the highest points; as UNIBEN came second, while UDUS and UNN emerged third and fourth respectively.
Meanwhile, the award for the best speaker went to UNIJOS with 86 points and second position to UDUS.
Addressing the students after receiving the award presented to him by the student body, Pharm (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited, who was represented by Mr Adebayo Oladejo, senior reporter, Pharmanews praised PANS for honouring him at the event, adding that the competition has come to stay.
According to him, even though he was not physically present, he was happy that the second edition of the event was able to hold, despite the ongoing ASUU strike which has paralysed the activities of Universities across the nation for the past six months.
Speaking further, Atueyi noted that he was grateful to PANS for the great honour done to Pharmanews last year at the University of Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, where the competition started.
“I wish to thank the president and his team for their effort to organise this competition this year, and I also appreciate the academic staff, especially the dean of the faculty, for their support. Some pharmaceutical companies supported the programme in various ways, so we really appreciate their unending love and support,” he said.