– As Ahmed replaces Mohammed
Notable stakeholders in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry have charged the incoming registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Ibrahim Babashehu Ahmed to build on the achievements of his predecessor, Pharm. (Dr) Elijah Mohammed, saying this will position the Council for greater efficiency.
Ahmed was officially announced as Mohammed’s successor on 7 April, 2022, during a special meeting of the members of the PCN Governing Council in Abuja. This is coming as Mohammed completes his second tenure of four years on 7 June 2022.
The stakeholders, who included Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi former Minister of Health and president of Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm); Dr (Mrs) Dere Awosika, chairman of Access Bank PLC; Mr. Fidelis Ayebae, managing director/chief executive officer, Fidson Healthcare PLC; Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); and Sir Anthony Akhimien, a former president of PCN, spoke at the recent “Book Launch and End Of Tenure Ceremony,” jointly organised by the technical groups in the pharma industry to celebrate Mohammed.
Speaking with Pharmanews, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi commended Mohammed for a successful tenure, while calling on Ahmed to consolidate this.
He said, “Mohammed has done well. When he came in as registrar of PCN, the pharmaceutical narrative was negative; but he came there, he saw and conquered. He has developed the PCN through the grace of God. You don’t get to an important position by wishful thinking. Mohammed has built bridge of goodwill, friendship and understanding at PCN, very cordial and cheerful. He pursued his goal vigorously. I hope and I know that his successor will follow the same good works that Mohammed has done.”
Also speaking with Pharmanews in a short interview, Dr (Mrs) Awosika, who was the event’s mother-of-the-day, pointed out that the position of the registrar is about serving the people by promoting the rules guiding the practice of Pharmacy, stating that Mohammed has done well, and should be emulated by Ahmed.
According to Awosika, “Mohammed has demonstrated capacity to serve the industry. He was straightforward. He doesn’t play any ambiguity. He was tactful, very humble and loyal and very political in his thinking; he knows how to play the game.
“Pharmacy practice in Nigeria could be better but if PCN is not there for us, it would have been a big problem; but PCN has been there for us. PCN has been able to guide the industry. We are on the right path. The incoming registrar should just march on with the good works his predecessor has already put in place. You don’t get to the top by climbing the first step, you get to the top by climbing through the steps; so we are going up.”
In his remarks, Mr Ayebae described Mohammed as a professional to the core, adding that the outgoing registrar is a good servant-leader who has added to the pharmacy profession and to Nigeria as a whole. “We are proud of him”, he said.
Ayebae further charged Ahmed to avoid anything that could destabilise the profession.
He said, “I am very definite that Mohammed’s regime created stability and established certain rules of engagement within the pharmacy profession. The ethics of the profession have now been elevated to the point where young pharmacists can just pick a book and read to know what they are supposed to do. So, all that Ahmed Babashehu needs to do is to ensure continuity.”
Continuing, Ayebae said: “Whether it is tweaking or modernising the curriculum of pharmacists in academia, or any other thing you want to talk about, Mohammed has done well. He has established some sound foundations and footnotes. All Ahmed has to do is to build on what Mohammed has done and maintain continuity without disrupting the status quo.
“Status quo is good. He should not say, ‘Oh as a new leader, let me disrupt and ruffle a few things; that is not necessary for now, because we are already in a country that is full of challenges. So, confusion should not be thrown into the profession, in the name of proving a point. There is no point to prove here for now. Instead, he should be as levelheaded as Mohammed and continue in his stead, and the profession will remember him for his contributions.”
The Fidson boss, however, lamented the current state of the pharmaceutical sector, saying the industry is in a precarious state. He said, “The situation that local pharmaceutical companies find themselves now is precarious because when the economy is struggling, one of the things that suffer is the health industry, and that is because health is the last need of human being. Hunger is the first thing human beings want to conquer before every other thing will follow. This is why the industry is currently struggling.
“There is no foreign exchange to import Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients generally. Those that are importing important drugs also hardly get the forex they require to do so. The industry is suffering and that is why the prices of pharmaceutical products are rising and healthcare is going out of the reach of ordinary man. This of course makes the pharmaceutical companies to suffer. The pharmaceutical industry is not having the best of time now.”
Also charging the incoming registrar, Pharm. Akintayo pointed out that, while Mohammed has achieved so much in his tenure, there are some grey areas that Ahmed needs to work on to reposition the PCN.
In his words, “One of the areas Mohammed has been most outstanding in his tenure is the fact that pharmacy jurisprudence has developed very greatly under his stewardship. PCN won more than 20 strategic court cases, especially in the areas of specific appropriation of the laws peculiar to PCN. Mohammed achieved a lot and made a lot of impact in the profession. And that is why it is important that his successor should consolidate those achievements. I have no doubt that Ahmed has the capacity to excel like his predecessor because they have worked together before.
“There are still many grey areas to work on. For instance, in the area of monitoring and control, we need to still do a lot more. We must sustain what Mohammed has started. We must widen the scope now. We must go after the big culprits that are bringing all sorts of nonsense into the country, all in the name of importing drugs.
“The incoming registrar should work with the best hands. In the area of pharmacy education, he must do more like never before so that we can raise a new and better generation of pharmacists. There are many things that are still need to be done, but I must say that the template is already there for the incoming registrar.”
On his part, Sir Akhimien, commended Mohammed for his successful tenure, describing him as a man of integrity who was also committed to his work. He added that he had no doubt that the incoming registrar, just like Mohammed, will also add value to the profession.