Why PSN Should Honour Pharmacists Excelling in Other Fields – Akhimien

Pharm.(Shihan) Victor Akhimien

Pharm.(Shihan) Victor Akhimien is a multi-talented pharmacist who has traversed different career terrains, aside from running a community pharmacy. An accomplished pianist, painter, martial artist and life coach, he believes the pharmacy leadership in Nigeria should honour pharmacists who are making the profession proud with outstanding achievements in other fields. In this exclusive chat with Pharmanews, he shares the story of his versatility and how he has managed to succeed, despite the odds. Exerpts:


I am Pharmacist (Shihan) Victor Akhimien, aka Vicamen. I have a seventh degree black belt in karate. I studied Pharmacy as a first degree at the University of Benin, with special interest in Clinical Pharmacy. I did my master’s degree at the Lagos State University. I also did some top management courses at the Lagos Business School.

I am a very wide reader across different subjects like marketing and sales, business development, fitness, self-defence and music.


Roots of versatility

I grew up in the ghettos of Ajegunle, where we were managing ourselves. We were seven children, living in two rooms.

I had a very humble beginning. My father rode a Volkswagen Beetle and worked with the Ibrus. Growing up was not easy but we were able to cope. Incidentally, my father also trained the former PSN President, Pharm. (Sir) Anthony Akhimien.

The versatility which I am known for today actually started from those little beginnings. I joined the choir while in Primary 3 and joined taekwondo training in secondary school. Those things built my interest in believing in myself.

When my father lost his job towards the end of my secondary school days, my mother started petty trading while all of us started looking inwards for survival. It was under my mother that I learnt how to sew cloth. I am a fashionista today.

Due to the difficulties we faced as a result of my father’s loss of job, I resorted to the creative use of my talents to make ends meet. I took my fine art seriously and eventually became a good painter, making portraits for people and getting paid.

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My father did not like the idea but I found a way to hide and do the painting. He believed that art would distract me but unknown to him, the comprehension abilities of children are not always the same. Some learn faster through writing, while others prefer drawing. I was so good at Fine Arts that I had A1 in WAEC final exams.


Life in the university

While in the university, I joined the Anglican Church and became a choirmaster. I built the choir from a seven-member choir to a 180-member one.

I did portraits for people and got paid, while also working as a cartoonist for various media organisations, including The Sun, Prime People and Vintage People. I also did some cartoon jobs for Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi in two of his books.

At the University of Benin, the then dean of the pharmacy faculty, Professor Hugbo, called me to his office and warned me not to fail any course, knowing that I was almost everywhere on campus, doing karate, painting, playing keyboard and drawing cartoons. He marvelled that I could combine all these things with my academics.

When the results were released, he was one of the most shocked persons when he discovered that I came out in flying colours. He was so happy about it that he gave me a special recommendation letter, popularly known as “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”. I still have that letter to date.


Career exploits

I strongly believe that the more unique your field of interest is, the better it is for you. During my NYSC, I worked with Nigeria Airways and lived in their quarters. But life in that place was very boring for me.

I later got a job as a pianist at Omega Bank. My job was to play piano in the banking hall to entertain customers. I also played piano for other churches like TREM.

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After my service year, I got a job at Mopson Pharmaceuticals, as sales representative. I also worked at Fidson Pharmaceuticals, where my talent was recognised as I always played the piano during the company’s morning devotion. I was later transferred to Maiduguri where I opened a new market for them.

From Fidson, I also worked in a couple of pharmaceutical companies, before I joined Globacom. When I met Dr Mike Adenuga, he was happy to see me because of the diversity of my skills, as indicated in my CV.

I always tell young people that their CVs should not just be about educational qualifications alone. It should include skills and capabilities. The more interesting your CV is, the more employers want to talk with you. Most employers are looking for skills and leadership ability.

I was in Globacom for seven years. Within those seven years, I became acting director, Sales. From Globacom, I went to Airtel, where I became head, Corporate Sales. I was elevated to Regional Business head. After Airtel, I joined Next Generation Business Solutions, where I am now. I am partnering with them to see how we can bring business solutions to Nigeria.

I also have my own business, Vicamen Group. The group consists of a pharmacy, a sales force consult, a telecoms consult, a fitness centre, and an acting academy (Vicamen Foundation), where I partner with others to help talents grow and Vicamen Academy, where I teach martial arts. I have received support from many organisations, like Alpha Pharmacy.


Playing the mentor role

I was recently invited to deliver a talk to students of a secondary school as part of the school management’s yearly programme for their students. As a pharmacist, they would have been expecting me to focus on how to be a pharmacist but when I came on stage, I taught them how to be a pharmacist, how to be an artist, how to be a musician and how to be a sportsman. I also taught them how to be an entrepreneur. They were so happy with my presentations.

In the Final Analysis

While many of them responded to my question on what they wanted to be, by mentioning careers like acting, dancing and sports, their headmaster interjected by telling them to mention better careers. It was at that juncture that I changed that impression that some careers are not good enough.

There is no bad or less important career. What matters most is what one can make out of any career through hard work and dedication and, most importantly, through the tutelage of a good master. Great masters are not found in the classroom but on the field.


Charge to PSN

Ambassadors of  pharmaceutical practice in other fields should be honoured by the PSN. I am the only pharmacist in Nigeria that is a grandmaster in martial arts. Professor Usifoh was my lecturer in University of Benin. I believe that the PSN should recognise pharmacists like us who are doing well in other fields. I believe that honouring us will encourage a lot of pharmacists like me who are hiding to come out.

I expect that, by now, pharmaceutical companies should engage me for consultancy in sales and telecoms because of my vast knowledge in those areas. Sales is 20 per cent knowledge and 80 per cent attitude. Attitude is not taught in the classroom. If the PSN can recognise what I do, it will open the way for a new breed of pharmacists.

One of the guys that played at my concert is a pharmacist. He was shocked to discover that I am also a pharmacist. Funke Akindele is a lawyer who is doing great things in the movie industry and is now a gubernatorial candidate. We should encourage our own. The shortcut to leadership is pharmacists who are grounded in all ramifications.


  1. Good work Pharm Akhimien. You’ve always been great right from Uniben where I first met you. You know you made some campaigns poster for me when I was contesting in PANS. You are good at your game keep it up bro.


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