On Wednesday, 1 May, I was in Omor town, an agrarian community in Ayamelum Local Government of Anambra State to cover a health outreach programme organised by the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) as part of activities to mark its 22nd annual national conference.
That event was quite remarkable because it was a great demonstration of corporate social responsibility. The NAIP team, comprising pharmacists, doctors and nurses conducted health screening, treated and gave out medicines to hundreds of people of the community, who came out in droves to be part of the programme. Children of the town were dewormed and there was a health talk in the local language to educate the community people about how to better take care of their health.
As a journalist, I like covering events like this that directly touch the lives of the ordinary people. I therefore found covering the event soul-stirring when I learnt that Omor Town is arguably one of the largest communities in Anambra State, both in population and landmass, yet is seriously lacking in healthcare services as it has no single primary healthcare centre or a general hospital.
What was also more remarkable for me was that the coverage of the event gave me the opportunity to meet Igwe Oranu Chris Chidume, Eze Ana-Ukwu Eze-Igulube of Omor, a friendly but fabulous traditional ruler. I have met a few traditional rulers but I must say that this king is an epitome of elegance in all ramifications. You could see that this is a sophisticated traditional ruler, yet his commitment to keeping to the traditional ethos was without doubt and was with great panache.
On arrival in Omor Town for the health outreach programme, I accompanied the NAIP team to pay the Igwe a courtesy visit and I was first struck by the magnificence of the palace. It was such a marvel because it was tastefully constructed and furnished. But when the king came out to receive us I understand why the palace was so impressive as the palace was a reflection of the man.
I was however more impressed because not only was the Igwe quite welcoming, he personally led the NAIP team to Amikiwe Primary School, Omor, venue of the health programme and asked his subjects to go round and ensure people in the town came out to be part of the programme.
The Igwe knew what NAIP had come to offer the people of the town and wanted everyone in the community to get the benefit. That singular action ensured the success of the programme, as people in the community came out in their hundreds and the NAIP team worked the whole day to take care of them.
I interviewed the Igwe thereafter and he not only praised the NAIP for bringing the health outreach programme to Omor but urged other professional bodies and organisations to follow the footsteps of the industrial pharmacists by organising such programmes.
To show his appreciation, the Igwe hosted the NAIP team to a lavish dinner in his palace and his queen personally served and ensured all those who came to help the people of Omor have a taste of his hospitality.
I learnt that this was not the first time Igwe Chidume would be throwing the doors of his palace open to pharmacists. He had, in fact, in 2018, honoured the immediate past president of PSN, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai with a chieftaincy title, during an elaborate ceremony to show his love for Pharmacy.
I am happy to find out that pharmacists are reciprocating the affection by planning to have an outlet in the town to take care of the drug needs of Omor community.
Igwe Chidume is an industrial giant as the chairman of the Krisoral Group, but he is an amiable traditional ruler who wants the best healthcare for his people. It was an honour to know this king who loves Pharmacy and pharmacists.