It was an emotional and remarkable moment for Jennifer Ukamaka Ekuma, a 500 level Pharmacy student of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Akwa-Ibom State, as she received the Pharmanews PANSite of the Year Award Plaque and a Cheque of N100,000, from the Managing Director, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi.
Speaking during the award presentation, which took place at the Pharmanews Ltd Corporate Head Office, in Mende, Maryland, Lagos, on Thursday, Atueyi expressed great delight at Ekuma’s level of contribution to healthcare space in her school and across other pharmacy schools. He congratulated her for emerging the winner of the very tough contest.
The Pharmanews boss lauded her doggedness winning the keen competing not minding the presence of more popular contestants in the race, saying she distinguished herself among peers with her involvement in several health intervention projects in her school and across other pharmacy schools.
Atueyi further stressed the need for more Pharmacy students to seek ways of providing valuable services to their schools and to continue advancing the course of public health in their various domains, with the hope to emerge next winner, adding that it would be tougher for the next winner because the standard has been raised by Ekuma as she extended information about contest to all Pharmacy schools during her campaign for votes.
Speaking on how Pharmanews commenced the Online Poll for Pharmacy students in 2019, the octogenarian disclosed that Yusuf Hassan Wada, a student of Usmanu Danfodiyo University (UDUS), Sokoto was the winner of the maiden edition, adding that Izukanne Emembolu, from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, and Martin Nwofia, from Odumewu Ojukwu University, were the second and third winners respectively.
Speaking further, he said by winning the award, she has placed her school and faculty on the map of success, while making her family, friends and well wishers proud.
“As a winner today, you have become our ambassador in Pharmanews and as a result, we are expecting you to be of good behavior and pure character. At Pharmanews, we are known for integrity and we work with integrity, so as the winner today, we expect you to act like us”, he stated.
He added that Pharmanews’ relationship with the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS) can be traced to 1979, when the journal printed its maiden edition, noting that PANS has always appreciated Pharmanews, adding that it has never missed any edition since 1979 and has never failed to send copies to PANS chapters across the country.
In her response, an excited and emotional Ekuma, disclosed that her nomination was done by a friend from another school, adding that she did not see herself winning the contest at the initial stage, considering the calibre of students she was meant to compete with.
“As soon as I got nominated, I became motivated and I decided to do everything I could to emerge the winner, using the little popularity I have garnered while carrying out several public health interventions and outreaches. I got in touch with friends across all Pharmacy schools, even as far as the southwest and private schools to blow my trumpet about what I have done in the past and the need for them to vote for me. So I am highly indebted to all my friends both in my school and other schools as well as my faculty, including my family and well-wishers,” she said.
Ekuma however promised not to disappoint the confidence reposed In her by her supporters, and also not to let down Pharmanews expectations for her, adding that she is ready to be a good ambassador of Pharmanews and project its good image wherever she goes.
Ekuma, who almost broke down in tears after receiving her award plaque and a cheque of N100,000 from the Doyen of Pharmaceutical Journalism, Sir Atueyi, said it was a big honour, which she never thought could happen. She appreciated the management of Pharmanews for the honour conferred on her.
“I also want to thank every Pharmacy student in the country who has voted for me, especially the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, and I have to tell them that I will not disappoint the confidence they have reposed in me. This award also means that I have to keep doing what I was doing in the past that gave me the opportunity to emerge winner and even do more”, she said.
While speaking, the Editor, Mr Patrick Iwelunmor, charged her to remain focused and committed by not letting down the expectations of her numerous voters and supporters, adding that she should think of an initiative to help others in the society who are not as privileged as herself.
Also speaking, the Online Editor, Mrs Temitope Obayendo, admonished Ekuma to strive more in developing her talents, as that is the secret to greatness in life. As the winner, she urged her to always comport herself as a good ambassador of Pharmanews wherever she finds herself.
Other contestants who participated in the poll and came first and second runners-up respectively were Akpus Adigizi (UNIJOS) with 28.17 per cent votes and Macdonald C. Ikaraoha (UNIZIK) with 27.38 per cent votes.
The first and second runners-up will be contacted in due time by the management of Pharmanews for their consolation prizes.