PANS National Inaugurates Maiden National Scientific Conference

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L-R: Comr. Melody Okereke, PANS national president; Hon. Nafisat Buge, Kwara State commissioner for Youth Development; and Comr. Oluwanifesimi Agbede, PANS national vice-president.

By Melody Okereke

In a historic move, the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS) under the leadership of the Melody Okereke-led 49th National Executive Council launched its first-ever Scientific Conference and Youth Leadership Summit during its 49th PANS Annual Pharmacoposium, held recently at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State.

Themed, From Advocacy to policy making: Preparing gen-z Pharmacy students for complex roles in politics, leadership, and governance”, the conference saw the convergence of notable figures including Hon. Nafisat Buge, commissioner for Youth Development, Kwara State; Pharm. Abdulmalik Mohammed, chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Kwara State Chapter, and Dr Sa’ad Abdullahi, the acting dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Ilorin.

In his opening remarks, National President of PANS, Comr. Melody Okereke, encouraged Pharmacy students and harped on the importance of venturing into politics, leadership, and governance in order to be the change from within. He further decried the low number and representation of pharmacists in the Nigerian political landscape and charged pharmacy students not to shy away from politics.

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He said, The Pharmacy profession has witnessed a lot of advocacies in times past from our regulatory and key stakeholder bodies. Now is the time for us to transition from advocacy to policymaking if we want to influence positive changes in the country and make the change from within. As pharmacy students, these changes begin with us”.

The Keynote Speaker, Hon. Nafisat Buge, outlined various avenues through which youths can participate in governance, including voting, community engagement, digital activism, and journalism. She acknowledged the challenges faced by young people in politics, citing intimidation and underrepresentation, but urged them to persevere, drawing from her own experience as the youngest state commissioner in Nigeria.

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Dignitaries flanked by Comr. Melody Okereke and members of the 49th National Executive Council.

Pharm. Abdulmalik Mohammed echoed the sentiment, noting that the Gen-Z era presents unprecedented opportunities for political and civic engagement. He highlighted the passion of Gen-Z individuals for social causes and their proactive stance in advocating for change.

The scientific conference showcased oral research presentations from pharmacy students across different universities in the country, with Charles Dominic and Jimoh Sarat from the University of Ilorin emerging as the first prize winners. Second prize went to Quadri Aboyami and Ademola Blessing from Obafemi Awolowo University, while Naheemah Adedeji and her co-authors from the University of Ilorin secured the third prize.

Okereke expressed gratitude to Muizat Ogunmola chairperson of the Symposium Planning Committee,  Mohammed Ogunlakin vice-chairperson of the Symposium Planning Committee,  and Khairah Oyebanji, secretary of the Symposium Planning Committee, for their efforts, sacrifices, and dedication in ensuring the success of the symposium. He also appreciated Beatrice Opeyemi, head of the Scientific Conference Planning Committee and her committee members for their proactive efforts and dedication towards the success of the first-ever scientific conference.

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He noted that the inaugural event marks a significant step forward in nurturing future leaders within the Pharmacy profession and underscores the importance of youth involvement in shaping the future of governance and policy in Nigeria. The 49th PANS National Administration remains committed and resolute in championing and prioritising initiatives that will put Pharmacy students across Nigeria at the forefront of their future political pursuits.

 

 

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