UI Edges ABU to Clinch 2023 Shalina Young Talent Award

Damilola Peace Abiona, Winner, Shalina Young Talents Award (SYTA), Season 4, displaying her award plaque.

A final year student of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan (UI), Ms Damilola Peace Abiona, has overtaken the Season 3 winner, Ms Farida Zakariya of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, to emerge the “Best Pharmacy Brain in the country” with a total of 90.29 points, to clinch the Season 4 Shalina Young Talent Award (SYTA).

The grand event which took place in Lagos recently at the Radisson Hotel saw zonal winners from seven Nigerian universities, including the University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, University of Lagos, University of Jos, University of Uyo, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, battled for the coveted prize.

The contest, which was more of a horse race had 14 Pharmacy students across the country contended for the prize for about four hours of intense competition and five rounds of the contest which include, Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ), Rapid Fire, Debate, Case Study and Viva.

The competition tagged the ‘Biggest Hunt for the Best Pharmacy Brains in Nigeria’ eventually saw Ms Abiona of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan emerged as the overall winner with a total of 90.29 points and winning a cash prize of three hundred thousand naira, while Temitope Ogunsekan of the University of Lagos with 73.9 points and Ebunoluwa Adebimpe of the University of Ibadan with 72.64 points emerged first and second runner-ups and won two hundred thousand naira and one hundred thousand naira respectively.

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L-R: Pharm. Folorunso Alaran, head, Corporate Marketing and Key Accounts, Shalina Healthcare; Arun Raj, chief operating officer, West Africa (Pharma) Business Operations; Ms Damilola Peace Abiona, overall winner, Shalina Young Talents Award (SYTA); Dr Ezekiel Akunkunmi, national chairman, Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA), and Prof. Sunday Idowu, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, at the Grand Finale and Presentation of Prizes for Shalina Young Talents Awards (SYTA) Season 4 in Lagos.

In his speech at the event, the National Chairman, Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA), Dr Ezekiel Akinkunmi, commended all the contestants for putting up a good fight and for representing their different schools well, adding that the performance of the young superstars is a testament that the future of Pharmacy is promising.

Commending Shalina Healthcare Nigeria for organising such a laudable and innovative programme, he said the company made a genuine effort in ensuring a genuine development of the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria, adding that Shalina has again raised the bar in intellectual contribution to the development of the sector in Nigeria.

“This idea of promoting the best brains among Pharmacy students in the Nigerian universities deserves the commendation and support of every stakeholder.”

Also speaking, the Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Prof. Aderonke Adepoju-Bello, hailed Shalina for the impact it is making in uplifting the knowledge of the students as well as the pharmacists in general saying “the company has done very well as it has brought unprecedented knowledge-based development by going to the universities to discover young talents in the industry. “They brought something new to the students, and the students were excited. It is my hope that they won’t relent and sustain this great initiative. And go further to expand it,” she said.

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In his welcome speech at the event, the Chief Operating Officer, West Africa (Pharma) Business Operations, Shalina Healthcare, Arun Raj, said the initiative was centred on “rewarding young talents in pharmacy practice in an unusual way. It is the biggest hunt for the best Pharmacy brains in Nigerian universities.

“We are standing on our founding principles – giving quality products at affordable prices and going beyond business to drive our purpose of making access to quality healthcare a right for every African so they can lead healthy productive lives. This is by ensuring that we are doing something different to make an impact in society, especially in the lives of our teeming consumers,” he said.

The elated Arun however promised that all the fourteen participants at the Grand Finale would be absorbed into the company after graduation if they so wish.

Speaking in the same vein, Pharm. Folorunso Alaran, head, Corporate Marketing and Key Accounts said, “the contest had indeed lived up to its aim and objectives, adding that the primary objective of the initiative was to groom and nurture the young talents and support them, saying this will, in turn, affect the industry, healthcare sector and country positively.

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At the end, the judges – Prof. (Mrs) Margret Olubunmi Afolabi, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Prof. Sunday Idowu, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Oyo State; Prof. (Mrs) Aderonke Adepoju-Bello, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos; Prof. Aliyu Muhammad Musa, Faculty of Pharmacy, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Prof. Ikechukwu Onyishi, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Nigeria, Nnsuka, Enugu State; Dr Emmanuel Edet Attih, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and Prof. Ikoni Joshua Ogaji, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Jos, Plateau State, expressed satisfaction and commended Shalina for organising the 4th edition despite the challenges in the country.

The other contestants at the 4th edition of SYTA were Onyeche Victoria Okoh, ABU; Sekinat Unekwu-Ojo Yusuf, ABU; Elubanji Obajimi, OAU; Chijindu Ugorji Caleb, UNN; ThankGod Obinna Ugama, UNIUYO; Demsun Vanessa Daniang, UNIJOS; Edaefre Se-abasi Iwoh, UNIJOS; Oluwaseun Bankole, UNILAG; Ezenwa Sandra Ifunnaya, UNN; Aniedi Precious Umoren, UNIUYO, and Oluwatosin Esther Shalom, OAU.


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