It was battle of the titans at the Conference Hall of the Pharmacy House, Anthony, Lagos, on Wednesday, during the second edition of the PSN Presidential Debate organised by Pharmanews Ltd and PharmaStreamTV in collaboration with PSN, as all four presidential candidates reeled out their manifestoes ahead of the forthcoming election, billed to hold at the 94th Annual National Conference, tagged “Garden City 2021”, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The debate was beamed live on several social media platforms, including Pharmanews NG and PharmaStream TV on Facebook, Pharmanews Ltd and PharmaStreamTV on Youtube . It had in attendance all four candidates, including Pharm. Tanko Ibrahim Ayuba; Pharm. (Dr) Otakho Daniel Orumwense; Pharm. (Dr) Obalolu Ojo and Prof. Cyril Usifoh.
Moderator for the debate, Pharm. Shina Opanubi of PharmaAlliance asked the aspirants questions relating to their motives for contesting as well as their objectives for PSN, inadequate internship placement and way out, sidelining of pharmacists in decision making at the Federal Government level, delay in the implementation of the Pharmacy Consultant Cadre by the Federal Government, collaboration in the health sector and Pharmacy education, issue of brain-drain in the Pharmacy profession, multiple taxations as well as unavailability of Forex to pharma manufacturers among others.
Delivering his opening statement on why he is contesting for the office of the PSN President, Pharm. Ayuba, a Fellow of PSN, one time Deputy President, PSN, North, as well as Chairman, PSN, Kaduna State, noted that as a passionate pharmacist, who has served the NEC, PSN, for six years, as well as the Council for 12 years, part of his plans is to advocate, network and plan on how to get things done, adding that whoever that want to lead a professional body like PSN must have good relationship with people and connected to the right persons for the development of the profession.
“When I become PSN president, I will consolidate on the progress on ground, sustain it and as well boost it. There are some policies and laws that have been approved in favour of PSN that have not been implemented, I will pursue them and get them implemented, and I will also strive to ensure that community pharmacies become primary healthcare centres of choice for Nigerians,” he said.
While speaking, Dr Ojo, a Fellow of PSN, who was a former national chairman, National Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP), said his foremost agenda is to move the Pharmacy profession from the height it is presently to the height it should Be, as he will deploy his wealth of experience of over 37 years of practice as a pharmacist to better-position pharmacy practice in the country. He asserted that he has acquired the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge to analyse the problems and proffer solutions to them.
“I am aware of the current challenges facing the profession and we are ready to face the challenges headlong and proffer solutions to them. My life is a life of service, and when I say service, I mean service that defines success and makes the world a better place to live. It is said that you cannot count yourself successful until you can count how many people that have become successful through you, and it is this service I want to deploy when I become the president”, he said.
On his part, Dr Orumwense, a former PSN deputy president, South, and a Fellow of PSN, said having been a foot soldier of PSN in the last 30 years, part of his plans is to consolidate the gains of the past PSN leaderships, especially to build on the success of the outgoing PSN leadership, saying as someone who knows PSN inside and outside, and as well know the challenges of all technical groups, he will map out a plan to find a solution to them, and bring on board, a leadership that will propel PSN to a greater height.
“Pharmacy Bill is very important, and whatever it takes to actualize it will be done. I want to state clearly that there is no door that cannot be opened, provided such door is closed by one person, and there is nobody that cannot be seen. So PSN under my leadership will see anybody that needed to be seen and all doors that needed to be opened will be opened for the advancement of PSN, for the benefit of Pharmacy, and for the development of the nation’s healthcare sector,” he said
While speaking, Prof. Usifoh, a Fellow of PSN, NAPharm, WAPCP, as well as former chairman, PSN, Edo State, said his vision for PSN is that of a united and progressive Pharmacy family, where pharmacists are relevant, respected, and adequately renumerated in view of their invaluable contributions to the healthcare sector, adding that pharmacists should be in the kitchen where things are being done rather than staying outside and complaining about how things are being done.
“I have been chairman, PSN, Edo State, chairman, NAPA, as well as numerous others, and I have served for over 15 years in the PSN Council, and as a governing council member, PCN, and a board member, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), where I facilitated quite a lot for Pharmacy. I believe with these few, we will do much more for Pharmacy, as we will network adequately well to do the best for Pharmacy”, he said.
Earlier in his opening speech, the Publisher, Pharmanews, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi , noted that the partnership between Pharmanews Ltd and PharmaStreamTV, which birthed the debate three years ago was a welcome development, adding that the presidential debate has become a model for other professional bodies across the country and beyond.
“PSN is the best organised professional body in the healthcare sector and in the country as other bodies, associations and groups now see us as their role model because of our professional conducts and the manner we do things. The debate is being watched across the globe and we are very happy for the support giving to us by the leadership of PSN in ensuring this programme becomes a success.”
Atueyi however charged the four contestants to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship before, during, and after the election in Rivers State, adding that the profession is fortunate to have four of its best contesting at the same time, saying the electorates who will be at the conference in Rivers State will decide who takes the leadership mantle.
In giving the vote of thanks, Pharmanews Online Editor, Mrs Temitope Obayendo, appreciated all partners including Founder of PharmaStreamTV, Pharm. Kabir Raji; Pharm. Opanubi of Pharma Alliance, for their immense contributions towards the success of the debate. She profoundly thanked the PSN President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, and National Secretary, Pharm. Gbenga Falabi, for the provision of a conducive hall and other logistics used for the programme.
She also recognised all participants who have come from far and near, to attend the debate, wishing them hitch free journey back to their various destinations.
Other stakeholders in attendance at the Presidential Debate include; Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria, (AHAPN), Lagos State Chapter, Pharm. (Dr) Titilayo Onedo; AHAPN National Chairman, Pharm. Olabode Ogunjemiyo, ably represented by Pharm. Zainab Alabi; Pharm. Babayemi Oyekunle, who represented the chairman, PSN, Lagos State, Pharm. Iyiola Gbolagade; Pharm. Ade Popoola, former chairman, PSN- BOF, among others.