-As CPFN national fellowship holds in Umuahia
Prof. Chinedum Babalola, vice chancellor, Chrisland University, Ogun State, has admonished young pharmacists and prospective students considering a career in academia to learn to make patience a watchword.
While sharing her life experiences during the gathering of members of Christian Pharmacists Fellowship of Nigeria (CPFN), at the just concluded 90th Annual National PSN Conference, held at International Conference Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Babalola explained that academia pays in the long run for those who can be patient enough to reap the fruits of their efforts.
According to the former dean of Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, her academic career in the last decade had experienced a massive boost in every area.
“Shortly after my PhD at Ile-Ife, I moved down to University of Ibadan as a senior lecturer. Right from the moment I got to Ibadan in 1998, God started opening doors of opportunities for me.
Babalola remarked that, through divine providence, she was promoted to an associate professor in 2003 and full professor in 2006. That promotion, she said, made her to become the first female pharmacy professor at the University of Ibadan and the first female professor to give an inaugural lecture from the Faculty of Pharmacy in 2011.
The Chrisland VC stated that she had been head, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry on two occasions (2003-2005 and 2012–2013 respectively). Between 2005 and 2010, she was the director, General Studies Programme (GSP) Unit, University of Ibadan.
She was also the first female Head of Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry twice (2003-2005 and 2012 – 2013) and lifted the infrastructure and standard of the department. Between 2013 and 2017, Babalola served two tenures as the seventh Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan; and again, the first female to occupy the distinguished position.
“I was also privileged to travel abroad. You see why I mentioned earlier that academia pays if we are patient enough? When you ask any academic pharmacist today, they will tell you that what they earn now is quite encouraging unlike in the past,” she said.
On how she struggled with being called a masculine name ‘Chinedum,’ Babalola joked that at first she was not conscious of the peculiarity of the name, until she came in contact with boys bearing same name.
“At first, I was shy and did not like the name. However, as I grew older, I began to cherish it. That was because I discovered that Chinedu (which is the variant common with boys) means ‘God leads’, while ‘Chinedum’ means ‘God leads me.’
“That was how I personalised and started adoring the name. Today, that name is a constant reminder of what God is doing in my life,” she stressed.
During the time of exhortation, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited, prayed for Babalola, noting that her testimony called for sober reflection among today’s Christians.
“As she said, Chinedu is a common name, while Chinedum is more personal. Which one are you? God has a mission for us all. The truth remains that if He is not leading you, your life will have no direction
“Therefore you need to check yourself to be sure you are not running another person’s assignment,” he admonished.
Others in attendance at the event were Sir Ike Onyechi, national president, CPFN; Dr. Austin Ighorodje, CPFN treasurer; Pharm. Ngozi Okoronkwo, national secretary; Pharm. Adeshina Opanubi, secretary, Lagos CPFN and Prof. Cecilia Igwilo, Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN).
Christian Pharmacist Fellowship of Nigeria (CPFN) is a non-profit, non-governmental, non-denominational fellowship group comprising pharmacists across the country and in diaspora.
Its vision is to facilitate, encourage and empower pharmacists as well as prospective pharmacists to reach out to souls with a view to prepare them for the coming of Jesus Christ through regular meetings, seminars, convention, outreaches, publications and prayers.