Agunu Raised UNILORIN Pharmacy Faculty from Obscurity, Says Sub-Dean

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  • As PSN, PCN, PANS, Others Mourn Late Dean

Dr Mohammed Amali, sub-dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), has described the death of Prof. Abdulkarim Agunu, erstwhile dean of the school, as a great loss to not just the institution but the pharmacy profession in general.

It would be recalled that the amiable dean passed on at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UIT) on Sunday, 15 July 2018.

Reacting to the news, Amali disclosed that the entire university had been thrown into mourning and the mood was despondent, particularly in the faculty where his impact had been most felt.

Professor of Pharmacy
Prof. Abdulkarim Agunu

“Prof. Agunu took his work seriously. His affable and friendly nature endeared him to everyone both within and outside the faculty and he will definitely be sorely missed. A professional to the core, he elevated the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in UNILORIN from obscurity to the current position we occupy in pharmaceutical communities.

“It is this tenacity and drive which led to the full accreditation of the Faculty in 2017 and institution of the Pharm.D programme by the University of Ilorin in the same year. He spent his last moments working assiduously towards the development of staff as he was to chair the faculty promotions exercise before his sudden and untimely demise. Personally he was a mentor and a friend and the pain we feel at this time is indescribable,” Amali lamented.

In a similar vein, Pharm. N.A.E Mohammed, registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has described Agunu’s death as saddening.

“When I first heard it was stroke, we concluded that he would soon snap out of it. Unfortunately, he didn’t. It is indeed sad,” he said.

Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) also stated that Agunu’s death was a personal loss to him, as the two of them were together as at March.

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“On behalf of all Nigerian pharmacists, I write to console his immediate family, Kwara State pharmacists and other pharmacists in the country for this great loss of an excellent and complete gentleman,” he said.

Bemoaning the loss, Prof. Mbang Femi-Oyewo, former dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo Univeristy (OOU), described Agunu as a great scholar, for whom she had utmost respect.

“I actually thought of calling him before I heard the sad news. His death also calls for a sober reflection. Many of us pharmacists in academia hardly consider taking a break from our arduous task until it is late. I am sad,” she stated.

In a related development, Quadri Omotesho, president, UNILORIN chapter of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS), has announced that the remains of Late Prof. Agunu has been buried at the Ilorin Cemetary, according to Islamic rites.

Born 51 years ago, Agunu had his primary and secondary school education in his hometown in Auchi, Edo State.

He had his A Levels at Maiduguri in present-day Borno State and got admission into Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in 1985. He graduated in 1989 and proceeded to Maiduguri Specialist Hospital, Borno State for his internship. On completion, he stayed to work briefly as a community pharmacist before joining the faculty in 1994.

When asked about his only regret in life in his last interview with Pharmanews, Agunu was quoted as saying:

“Life has taught me that challenges are what bring out the best in every personality. Regret is certainly not one of them. There was a time I got worried about my work here (UNILORIN). It also coincided with the day my vice chancellor personally sent for me.

“He looked me straight in the eyes and said ‘Look, I have no regret appointing you. You have totally transformed the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in my school.’ I was impressed because when I got here (UNILORIN) initially, I was jittery. If you continue to do good, people will appreciate you. Having been on the job for four years, I can conveniently say that is all the encouragement I need.”

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Until his death, Agunu was a member of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), National Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA), Nigerian Society of Pharmacognosy (NSP) and Society for Medicinal Plants and Natural Products Research.

He is survived by his wife and children.

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