General Yakubu Gowon, former head of state and honorary Fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm), has urged the academy to team up with the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in its campaign against counterfeit medicine.
This charge was contained in the former head of state’s goodwill message which was read at NAPharm investiture of new members and awards dinner, held recently at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.
Gowon, who apologised for his absence which he said was due to his tight schedule, congratulated the new inductees, saying he strongly believed that even in his absence, the academy would neither induct nor present award to anyone who was less than a giant in his own right.
“Today’s event, like those before it, marks another milestone in the eventful history of NAPharm. Usually, we talk of milestones in relation to forward movement. No one counts landmarks in reverse gear or when he is stuck in a rut,” Gowon said. “The passion for excellence that gave birth to NAPharm is the primary reason I always endeavour to honour every invitation that is extended to me by the academy.”
The honorary Fellow of the academy also posited that the pharmacy profession had developed well beyond the province of ‘dispensers’ or neighbourhood ‘chemists,’ adding that it is now more concerned with wellness in all its ramifications.
He further emphasised on what he said he considered to be the pharmacy profession’s most critical area of needful intervention – overcoming the challenge of adulteration and counterfeiting of drugs in Nigeria.
“As professionals, you must join hands with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to fight the scourge of faking medicaments, whose perpetrators are far from being chased out of the market,” he said.
The former head of state also used the opportunity to shower encomium on Prof. Julius Okojie, NAPharm 2016 Lifetime Achievement awardee.
Referring to Prof. Okojie, he said: “As a professor, you more or less already know everything there is to know in your profession. Outside of your academic and administrative calling, you have also excelled. The Lifetime Achievement Award is, therefore, just the icing on the cake of your life achievement.
“I have only this to say: This award did not come by chance. You have earned it! So it is yours to keep, to spur you into doing more, particularly for the benefits of generations coming after you.”
In attendance at the event were Chief (Pharm.) Olu Akinkugbe; Pharm Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, NAPharm president; Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, NAPharm vice president (south); Pharm Lolu Ojo, former chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP); Prof. Kemi Odukoya, former dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG); and Prof. Chinedum Babalola, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan.
Others were Prof. Fola Tayo, NAPharm general secretary; Dr Poly Emenike, chairman of Neros Pharmaceuticals Limited; Chief Emma Umenwa, managing director of Geneith Pharmaceuticals; Sir Nnamdi Obi, managing director, Embassy Pharmaceuticals Limited; Pharm. Bruno Nwankwo, former chairman, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm Lekan Asuni, former managing director, GlaxoSmithKline (Pharma); and Prof. Cecilia Igwilo, chairman, education committee of the academy.