The Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie, has advised young pharmacists to take participation in politics seriously, saying this will pave way for them to join the ranks of policy makers in the country. Ehie, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Adokiye Uwamekénim Oyagiri, made the remarks at the just concluded Annual Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria–Young Pharmacists Group (PSN-YPG), Rivers State Chapter. Speaking at the conference, themed, “Politics and Professionalism: The Young Professional’s Plight”, the deputy speaker elucidated on the key words, politics and professionalism, noting that they share common attributes that indicate them as ways in which citizens survive, govern or are governed in the contemporary world.
According to Ehie, politics is the way citizens are governed and the processes around it, while professionalism is being part of a vocation or skill that an individual may be engaged in as a means of livelihood. “The confluence where both terms meet is in the existence, sustenance and advancement of the human race,” Ehie said, adding that “it is pertinent to know at this nominal point, that indulging in one would mean actualizing the other.”
The eminent politician stressed that professionals must realise that everyone has a role to play in improving the society, which necessitates that they do not remain in isolation. Speaking further on the theme of the event, Ehie said: “The young professional’s plight is both in the combination of politics and professionalism, as it relates to scaling the rigours around work life and participation in politics due to time, energy and resources.” He further stated that for young professionals to thrive and effect desired changes in the system in terms of policy formulations, they must first participate in the necessary processes of politicking, such as becoming a registered voter, participating in mobilisation, monitoring and other electioneering engagements.
“Although there are exclusive positions in government reserved for professionals – like the Attorney General who must be a lawyer; the Commissioner for Health, who must be a pharmacist, medical doctor or nurse etc. These can only be possible after the phase of participation. “While everyone cannot contest in elections, everyone must participate to contribute their desired quota to the system,” he emphasised.
Chairman of the event, Pharm. (Mrs) Elizabeth Bob-Manuel, retired director of pharmaceutical services, Rivers State and chairman, Board of Fellows, Rivers State. Also expressed satisfaction with the young pharmacists, as she promised to continue to extend her arms of fellowship to them. In her speech, she encouraged young pharmacists to go back to the drawing board to make plans for active participation in politics.
The Special Guest of Honour Sir (Dr) Kilo Ebeledike, also urged the youngsters to take the theme of the event personal, saying that to advance pharmacy practice in Nigeria in line with global best practices, it is imperative to join in policy making. Ebeledike said participating in politics will help the young professionals to bring expert opinions to the table as policy makers, which will ultimately help to reposition the state of pharmacy practice in the country.
In his remarks, the PSNYPG Rivers State Coordinator, Princewill Okitche, thanked all the sponsors and partners of the programme, saying that he and his team had carefully selected the theme to encourage young pharmacists to look into the direction of politics and becoming intentional about it. This, he said, has become much more expedient as a particular group of healthcare providers are now dictating what happens in the health sector due, to their political affiliations.
According to the PSN-YPG coordinator, the panelists of the event were astute leaders of the profession, who had taken progressive steps towards better participation in politics by young pharmacists. “They encouraged young pharmacists to be intentional and resilient as they pursued excellence,” he said.
He said that the event, which took different dimensions, to help address certain issues experienced in the pharmacy profession, had been enlightening with lots of accolades from senior colleagues and young pharmacists. The panel session, anchored by Pharm. Nengi Lawson, featured: Dr Adeniyi Obalolu Ojo, CEO Merit Health Care Limited; Sir Ayuba Tanko Ibrahim, retired manager of NNPC and former PENGASSAN Chairman; Prof. Cyril Usifoh, professor of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, University of Benin; Dr Daniel Orunwese, HOD Pharmacy Department, F.M.C Yenagoa.
Other dignitaries present were: Pharm. Ade Popoola, CEO Reals Pharmaceuticals; Pharm. Chima Ogbu, PSN Chairman, Rivers State; Pharm. Promise Enyi, PSN Rivers secretary; Pharm. Kingsley Obinna Amagba, CEO Kingzy pharmaceuticals; Pharm. Princewill Lekia, Rivers financial secretary; Pharm. Joseph Ebirim, PSN Rivers Publicity secretary; Pharm. Ijeomah Samuel, PSN Rivers assistant secretary; Pharm. Kesiena Abanum, Ferring Pharmaceuticals; Pharm. Steve Igala, chairman NAIP Rivers. Others were: Pharm. Godpower Umoroye, former PSNYPG Rivers Coordinator; Pharm. PraiseGod Chukwu, immediate past coordinator PSN-YPG Rivers; Pharm. Odiniya Elijah, PSN-YPG Rivers Week Director; Pharm. Ehitare Patrick, assistant secretary, PSN, Delta State Chapter; Pharm. Ikenna Mbatta, PSN Secretary, Imo State; Pharm. Oluseye Alao, Seye Alao FLM, CD & Optha Franchise, Novartis Nigeria; Sir Chesa Okereke, First Line Manager Novartis Nigeria; Pharm. Isa Mohammad, immediate past chairman PSN-YPG; Pharm. Muna Okoli, PSN-YPG South East Zonal Coordinator.