(By Adebayo Oladejo)
It was a moment of joyous reunion, pleasant reminiscences and fitting recognitions as the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, held its 50th anniversary and alumni reunion programme.
The event which took place from 27 February to 2 March in the university campus also featured presentation of awards to selected alumni who have distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavour, as well as other individuals and corporate bodies who have contributed significantly to the development of the prestigious faculty.
The dinner and awards ceremony which was held at the Chris Ogunbanjo Hall, OAU, under the chairmanship of Pharm. Bruno Nwankwo, chairman, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), had in attendance several eminent personalities, including Prof Festus Adio Ogunbona, former chairman, PCN, and former deputy vice-chancellor (Administration), OAU; Prof G.O Onawunmi, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, OAU; Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher, Pharmanews; Pharm. Chief Bunmi Olaopa, managing director, Evans Medical Plc. and chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN); Pharm. (Alh) Adebayo Ismail Olufemi, national chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); Prof Kolawole T. Jaiyeoba, vice-chancellor, Bishop Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo; Prof Saburi Adesanya, vice-chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State; Pharm. Lekan Asuni, managing director, GSK Nigeria; and Pharm Olakunle Ekundayo, managing director, Drugfield Pharmaceuticals Limited.
Beaming with smiles, Prof Onawunmi expressed her delight at being privileged to witness such an historic occasion in her lifetime, noting that it was a great honour to be in the midst of alumni of the faculty who had become movers and shakers of Pharmacy practice in Nigeria and in Diaspora.
“We feel honoured and privileged to have our senior citizens in our midst tonight and we are also using this opportunity to appreciate their constant support and assistance in various categories to their alma mater,” she said.
Chairman of the event, Pharm. Bruno Nwankwo, observed that gone were the days when Pharmacy and pharmacists were not recognised or acknowledged in the nation, adding that the profession had fought very hard to be reckoned with in the health sector. He also used the occasion to further challenge fellow pharmacists.
“We need to know why we are in this profession because pharmacy profession is evolving as it has moved from being product-based to being patient-based and, as such, we should endeavour to practise professionally and always remember who we are and where we are coming from,” he counselled.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards in different categories to distinguished alumni of the faculty.
Prof. Irukaku Okeke was awarded in the category of “OAU Pharmacy Ambassador in Diaspora”; “Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, former minister of health and chairman, Juli Plc.,was awarded in the category of “Alumnus with Distinguished Community Practice as Pacesetter and Role Model”; while Profs. Cyprian Onyeji, Kolawole Jaiyeoba and Saburi Adesanya were awarded in the category of “OAU Pharmacy Alumni with Distinguished Academic Practice as Pacesetters/Role Models”.
In the category of “Distinguished OAU Pharmacy Alumni in Sectors of Economy Beyond Pharmacy” Pharm. (Sir) IfeanyiAtueyi;Pharm. Joseph Odumodu, DG, Standards Organisation of Nigeria; Pharm. Gbolagade Osibodu; Pharm. Olu Akanmu; Pharm. Sam Nda-Isaiah, publisher, Leadership Newspapers; and Pharm. Ayo Otuyalo were honoured with awards.
Other award recipients and their respective categories were: Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, Pharm. (Lady) Eme Ufot Ekaete and Pharm. (Sir) Samuel Agboifo (“Alumni of the Faculty Who Have Provided Leadership to the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria); Prof Festus Adio Ogunbona and Pharm. Adebayo Lamikanra (“OAU Pharmacy Alumni with Distinguished Academic Service to Alma Mater”); Pharm. Rufus Omotayo (“OAU Pharmacy Alumnus with Distinguished Practice in Hospital/Administration as Pacesetter/Role Model”); Pharm. Olakunle Ekundayo (OAU Pharmacy Alumni with Distinguished Industrial Practice as Pacesetters/Role Models); Ifeanyi Okoye and Pharm. (Chief) Bunmi Olaopa and Pharm. Charles Akinsete (“OAU Alumni with Distinguished Support to Alma Mater in Various Forms”);Pharm. Samuel Ohuabunwa and Pharm. Ayo Otuyalo (“OAU Pharmacy Alumni with Distinguished Financial Support to Alma Mater”); and Profs Olanrewaju Ogunlana, Abayomi Sofowora and AjibolaOlaniyi (“Foundation Teachers”).
Faculty of Pharmacy, OAU, was founded in 1962 as Department of Pharmacy under the Faculty of Sciences, making it the premier institution to provide pharmacy education in Nigeria. The department was upgraded to a full-fledged faculty in 1969, with four main departments: Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmacognosy, and Pharmaceutics. However, as the faculty grew in vision and status over the years, a Drug Research and Production Unit, and an additional department, Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Administration, were established to consolidate the various efforts on teaching, research and service.