In recognition of his contributions to pharmacy profession and continued support to pharmacy schools in the country, the recently launched National Essay and Debate Competition has been named after Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited.
The maiden edition of the event, organised under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS) in partnership with Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin (UNIBEN), was held at the Old Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Pharmacy, UNIBEN, Edo State.
The competition, which witnessed a huge turnout of pharmacy students, was slated for participants from the University of Benin (host); OlabisiOnabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State; and Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State. However,the representative of Igbinedion University arrived late and, therefore, could not participate in the debate.
Explaining the rationale behind the honour accorded the Pharmanews boss, Samuel Lena, president, PANS UNIBEN, explained that it was the association’s way of appreciating Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi for his contributions to the progress of pharmacy profession in Nigeria and beyond.
Lena further hinted that the competition was already working on modalities to ensure the annual event rotated across pharmacy schools in the country, even though the idea originated from UNIBEN.
“We want it to move across all institutions where Pharmacy is being studied because Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi himself is a man for all,” he remarked.
The actual debate contest, which centred on two topics, “Our Worst Fear, Government or The People?” and “Resolving the Problem of Militancy in Nigeria: Is Amnesty the Way Forward?”, saw Ganiyat Atinuke Alaraba of OlabisiOnabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye emerging the best speaker.
Beaming with smiles, Alaraba disclosed that the competition had boosted her self-confidence, adding that Pharm. Ifeanyi Atueyi had always been a source of inspiration to her.
“I am always proud of him because the first time I heard that the publisher of Pharmanews is a pharmacist, I was surprised. Aside the uniqueness of the journal and its popularity, Pharm. Atueyi continually gives people like me hope that Pharmacy is not all about what you learnt in school but a vision born out of passion,” she said.
Speaking in the same vein, Toyosi Odusanya, a 500-level student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, whose school came second in the debate, described Sir Atueyi as a versatile motivator and mentor.
“Even though I have never had the opportunity to meet him in person, the Pharmanews journal and several of his books have been quite motivational to me. It got me thinking that if someone who graduated as a pharmacist can do well in the world of journalism, the sky is the starting point for people like us who still see him as a mentor,” he noted.
Odusanya further suggested that for future editions of the competition, the judges should be picked from other institutions other than the host school to add more credibility to the event.
Shortly before the debate winners were announced, a list of the top ten winners of the essay writing competition was read out.
According to the organisers, a total of 50 entries were submitted by Pharmacy students from the 15 participating schools. Two of the 10 winners were announced joint winners after clinching first position. They were Onuwabagbe Lisa, University of Benin with 36.5 points and Igodo Uzo also from the University of Benin with 36.5. Others were Agboola Samuel Olakunle from the University of Ibadan, second position, with 35.5 points; Robo, University of Benin, third position, with 35 points.
While presenting the prizes to the winners, Mr Adebayo Folorunso-Francis, who represented Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi at the event, commended the organisers of the competition for a job well done, adding that aside developing the students academically, the competition would also foster unity among pharmacy schools across the nation.
The sums of N60,000 and N40,000, courtesy of Greenlife Pharmaceuticals, were presented to the winner and runner-up of the debate competition respectively, while winners of the essay writing competition were equally rewarded.
Other dignitaries at the event include Dr Patrick Igbinaduwa, senior lecturer, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Benin; and Pharm. Ayo Akinsola, sales manager, Institutions, Shalina Healthcare Nigeria Limited.