The above is the title of the address delivered at the inauguration of the new executive committee of the Ogun State branch of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) and send-off party for Pharm Femi Fafiolu, the retired State Director Of Pharmaceutical Services.
I have decided to reproduce the address here because the relevance of the topic is far beyond the confines of an executive inauguration or send-off party (or both combined). However, we will not take anything away from the importance of the unique event of the day. The ceremony was colourful and well-attended with the presence of “who-is-who” in the pharmaceutical community in Ogun State.
I was pleased to be invited as the guest speaker of the occasion that I happily referred to as a double celebration for our colleagues in Ogun State. I was delighted to see pharmacists in other areas of practice gathered to celebrate our retired DPS and to welcome the new state executive committee of the AHAPN. I did not take the invitation for granted and I want to thank the organisers, particularly my younger brother and friend, Pharm. Dele Obikoya (aka Delemycin), for finding me worthy of the honour of being the guest speaker at the event.
Below is the full address:
The topic, Sustaining Success In Professional Practice, is apt and I am enthralled by the challenge that this topic represents. You can only sustain something that is already on ground or pre-existing. It is on this note that I want to congratulate all the past and present leaders of our profession for their efforts in bringing the practice to the current level. Whatever the level of discontent that we express about the practice of Pharmacy now, we must be conscious of where we are coming from, as this will help us to chart the path forward. We owe our past and present leaders a load of gratitude for their roles and unrelenting pursuit of excellence in pharmacy practice.
I am particularly delighted that the current state PSN executive committee, led by Pharm. Lawrence Ayelabola, has a strategic focus to turn Ogun State PSN into a beacon bearer of Pharmacy in Nigeria. I pray that the Lord will empower him and his team to achieve this lofty aim and I pledge my unalloyed support, cooperation and assistance for all the laudable activities that will be involved.
The man, Fafiolu
I would like to talk briefly on the “big fish” of the day, my brother and friend, Pharm. Femi Fafiolu. I have known Femi since 1981 when he came to the then University of Ife as a “Jambite” and I was already a “Stalelite” part two student of the Faculty of Pharmacy. We enjoyed a robust relationship from that time up until when I became the president of PANS, and he was the vice president, during the 1983/84 session. He went on to become the PANS president after my tenure.
I am so happy that he has moved on powerfully and made tremendous progress in his career path, culminating in his headship of the pharmacy department of the Health Management Board and Ministry of Health in Ogun State. Femi embodies hard work and optimism and we need to thank him for bringing such joy to the office.
Dearest Femi, you have run a good race, you have fought a good fight and you have won the race as everybody can see and appreciate. The good Lord, who has supported you this far and has made you to retire from government service without blemish, will not leave you alone. With joy, we would like to welcome you to the next stage of life where every day is a weekend. Your new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are relaxation, investment and happiness return. We wish you happy retirement!
Indicators of success
I have learnt early in my career that “success in life is not measured by fortune or acclaim; a venture tried, a challenge met, a future that you embrace is successful if it makes the world a better place to live.” This statement was inscribed in the congratulatory card that I was given after my secondary education. I cannot remember now who gave me the card or the author of the statement, but the meaning remains evergreen in my memory and it has been the guide of my thoughts and actions ever since.
You cannot equate success to the quantum of cash in your hands or pocket, or the number of cars, houses or other physical possessions you have. Rather, your success will depend on the impact that you make, the legacy of your tenure and the improvements that your actions bring about. To make the world a better place to live means that you can simplify the processes for others to follow, adopt or adapt as the situation demands.
Pharmacy in Nigeria has so many pressure points and it appears as if we are being bombarded from all angles and areas of practice. The hospital (and administrative) practice is so limited by the politics of the healthcare sector where a particular group rules as emperors and leave no room for the development of others.
Other areas are equally assailed by one factor or the other that in a way makes the profession unattractive or uninteresting to many, particularly the young ones among us. Pharmacy needs strategic thinkers and success agents who can make our world a better place to live. These thinkers and agents are here among us and what we need is, according to Abraham Maslow, the awareness of our innate capabilities, and stop selling ourselves short and release the huge potentials for kinetic manifestations. In doing this, we need honesty of purpose and unity of action. I am convinced that the desired GREATER PHARMACY can be achieved in our time.
I want to congratulate the new executive committee of the Ogun State Branch of the AHAPN for your election and inauguration today. You have accepted to serve the association to the best of your ability, and I pray that God will empower you to do so. It is important that you create quality time to review what your predecessors have done and pick the key learnings that will be useful for your next steps. Do not be in a hurry to condemn any of their actions because governance is a continuum. What was not properly done before can be reworked for a better outcome.
Steps to greater heights
As I begin to conclude this little brief, let me leave you with some factors that will assist to achieve and sustain success in this environment.
Leadership is a key factor to success, and we are all leaders in our own sphere of influence. However, we have chosen some people to lead us and represent our interest and our success will depend on their dedication and skill to take the right initiatives that will nurture our profession to greatness. Therefore, it is important for the chairman and all members of the executive committee, inaugurated today, to know that all eyes are upon them.
The need for adequate knowledge about the key elements of the profession and the environment cannot be overemphasised. You are what you know as it is known; you cannot give what you do not have. It is important, therefore, for us to constantly and consistently seek to update our knowledge. We must become a subject matter expert, and this is an absolute minimum requirement.
Without professionalism ingrained in all our undertakings, we cannot achieve success as desired. There is something about professionals that can only be replicated in their kinds. A question must be asked: what is that thing that you do that only your kind can do it? Food for thought for every one of us. Let me request that we should be guided by the higher level of professionalism in our practice, going forward.
We must learn to own and defend our profession. We must occupy our space with confidence, integrity and correct packaging. We must practise the principles of the “common good” for all colleagues in an “all for one and one for all” version.
By Pharm. (Dr) Lolu Ojo, BPharm, MBA, PharmD, FPCPharm, FPSN, FNAPharm