Adedapo Adeniyi Shofoyeke, a 400-level pharmacy student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State recently emerged the 31st Students’ Union president of the institution. He is the first pharmacy student to ever hold such a position in the history of the institution. In this interview with Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis, Shofoyeke who is the first of five children, bares his mind on how he grew up loving Pharmacy and the battle he fought to become the first pharmacy student to attain his current status. Excerpts:
What was growing up like?
Growing up was fun and quite eventful. I attended Mayflower Junior School (1999-2005) and Mayflower Senior School (2005-2011), Ikenne-Remo for both Primary and Secondary education. My father, the late Pharm. (Prince) Kehinde Shofoyeke, managing director of Prince Eagles Pharmacy, was a pharmacist of repute in Ogun State and beyond, even in death; while my mother is a teacher. I actually had a usual childhood – played, read, was scolded and every other thing a Nigerian child from an average family went through, and would have ever gone through. Good old days! I still have fond memories of them.
Why choose Pharmacy ahead of other science courses?
Well, after my first JAMB in 2011 where I scored 184…I wished to study Medicine and Surgery at University of Lagos (UNILAG). Unfortunately I didn’t meet up with the target and was instead admitted to study Mathematics and Statistics in Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Ile-Ife (2011-2012). However, a number of events came up and I had a re-think. It was there and then that the idea of Pharmacy surfaced and my late father played a crucial role in enlightening me on the prospects of the profession. I resisted initially but then the flare sprung and that was the beginning of my odyssey in Pharmacy. I eventually gained admission into Olabisi Onabanjo University in 2012
So, do you think you took the right decision in choosing Pharmacy?
Sure! I know that I took the best option for me and I am proud to be an undergraduate in the Faculty of Pharmacy.
What makes you think you took the right decision?
Pharmacy remains a very good profession because of the high level of integrity attached to it. Besides, it blends with my spirit and perspective of helping humanity.
Assuming there was no profession like Pharmacy, what other profession would you have chosen?
I would have invented Pharmacy.
Tell us some of the memorable experiences you’ve had so far
Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve had much experience. One thing is sure, though. I have been bent and moulded to become a corporate person, with high confidence in myself and my abilities. Thanks to the dean of my faculty, Prof. Mbang Femi-Oyewo. She is such a mother who would take time to ensure that, aside academics, we learn and imbibe the culture of self-esteem and good communication skills. This has been the foundation.
What circumstances led to your election as SUG president. What was the contest like?
It was a thing of chance, calculation and opportunity. They say opportunity comes but once; however, one must be ever prepared to take up challenges and handle such opportunity when it presents itself. The terrain of OOU is quite amusing. We run a multi-campus system – you have the main campus in Ago-Iwoye, the College of Engineering in Ibogun, the College of Agriculture in Ayetoro and the College of Health Sciences/Faculty of Pharmacy in Sagamu. According to the records, OOU-SUG has had 30 presidents. I am the 31st. Interestingly, the 30 ex-presidents were all from the Ago-Iwoye Campus. However, in 2014, a student from Ibogun Campus (Ayannuga Olugbenga) contested for presidency but lost due to the fact that he was not from the main campus. The following year, he re-contested but the election didn’t hold due to issues with the university calendar. It was from there that I took the inspiration and baton. We launched a concerted campaign and, today, God has crowned our little effort with victory, an unprecedented one. The election took place on 27 January, 2016 and we were sworn-in on 5 February, 2016.
Where do you see yourself after school?
I see myself in the corporate world as a business tycoon and, later, in the business of governance.
How did the students take the news of having a pharmacy student being their new leader?
Of course, there will always be politics. While some were happy, some were infuriated. But now we are all united
Since OOU runs a multi-campus system, how do you hope to extend your administration to all?
Well, the Union allows for a vice-president and an assistant general secretary in each campus. These take correspondence in each campus. Just yesterday, we started distribution and installation in all campuses. The good work has commenced. Today, we presented a projector, a projector-screen and the accompanying gadgets to Prof. Kayode Oyesiku, Provost of OOU College of Engineering, Ibogun. This is part of the Students’ Union efforts in upgrading the standard of education in OOU – and also, in preparation for a series of accreditations coming up across our various colleges and faculties.
You dropped a hint earlier about moving into business and politics after school. Are you shunning the idea of practising pharmacy?
We have thousands of pharmacists all around the country searching for internship placements – which means that something is amiss. This wasn’t the case in the last two decades. And it sends a signal that entrepreneurship and innovation are key to survival in our evolving and somehow volatile economy. Perhaps within the next few years, Pharmacy might have overcome its present employment gridlock. But as a well-tutored person, my goals are clearly set. I will rather start a venture and promote it, alongside my late father’s production venture. However, I have not absolutely ruled out the idea of practising.
Funding is essential to the survival of any organisation. How does your administration source for fund?
We often explore our personal connections. However, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adejimi Adesanya, has been very supportive.
How do you balance academic work with the stress of running the Students’ Union office?
It has been God thus far. It is very challenging.
What is your advice to pharmacy students seeking to follow your footsteps by vying for SUG presidency?
They need to start believing that anything and everything is possible. I will be glad to see such new development.