Juli’s Commitment to Pharmacy Stirred Up my Interest in Organised Pharmacy- Amibor

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Pharm. Kingsley Amibor, national chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) has joined his voice to the torrent of tributes still pouring on the consummate collosus Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi after two weeks of national and international celebration of his 80th birthday.

Describing Juli as a rear enigma that bestrode the healthcare sector like a colossus that he truly is, Amibor revelled the uniqueness of his personality, being a man of huge intellect with an impeccable English which is second to none.

Juli's Commitment to Pharmacy Stirred Up my Interest in Organised Pharmacy- Amibor
Dr Kingsley Chiedu Amibor, AHAPN national chairman.

The AHAPN National Chairman, who narrated how he had closely observed the Pharmacy Icon since his university days as a secret admirer turned friend, said he was so astonished to discover that out of every five news reports in the print media then, about three would be about Prince Juli, either showcasing his business exploits especially as it concerned Juli Pharmacy Plc, the first indigenous Nigerian company to be quoted on the Stock Exchange, or exploits in politics, law school, Rotary Club or other endeavours.

“So I made up my mind then that someday, I too will try and serve the Pharmacy profession like Juli was doing with excellence. This was what stirred up my interest in Pharmacy unionism”, Amibor explained.

Below is the full text of his tribute to Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi: 

Pharm. Julius Adewale Adelusi-Adeluyi was born on the 2nd August, 1940 to the Royal family of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. He had his primary education in his hometown of Ado Ekiti, secondary education at Akure, Ondo State, before proceeding to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan. He had his Pharmacy Education between 1962 to 1965 at the prestigious University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. The details of his work, business and political career is in the public domain already and I will not dwell much on that here.

For me as a student studying Pharmacy at the renowned University of Benin, as far back as 1987, the name Pharm. Adelusi-Adeluyi was already ringing a bell with me and to say that I was his secret admirer was an understatement.

My admiration of the Pharmacy Icon got to a climax in 1993 when he was appointed then Minister of Health under the leadership of Chief Ernest Shonekan.  I was excited to hear of his appointment as Minister of Health, and even after he left office as Minister, I remained his silent admirer and prayed for the day that I would meet the great man that I was always reading about in the papers and watching on television regularly.

To be fair to the Prince, out of every 5 news reports in the print media then, about 3 would be about Prince Juli, either showcasing his business exploits especially as it concerned Juli Pharmacy Plc, the first indigenous Nigerian company to be quoted on the Stock Exchange, or exploits in politics, law school, Rotary Club or other endeavors. So I made up my mind then that someday, I too will try and serve the Pharmacy Profession like Juli was doing with excellence. This was what stirred up my interest in Pharmacy unionism. 

Then you want to talk about his exploits at the Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy. As pioneer President of the Academy established during the Presidency of Pharm. Olumide Akintayo FPSN, one of his earliest tasks was to address the issue of disharmony in the healthcare sector in Nigeria.

He convoked a conference of all the players in the healthcare sector including pharmacists, medical doctors, medical laboratory scientists and others to discuss the need for peace and harmony in the sector which had become characterized then by incessant strike actions, some lasting nearly 2 months and witnessed several patient deaths. 

I am glad to state that the intervention by Prince Juli and the Academy led to a truce in the healthcare sector because soon after the round table Conference, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) reached out to the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) for dialogue on the way to secure lasting peace and harmony in the sector. This happened during the tenure of Pharm. Ibrahim Ahmed Yakasai FPSN as President of PSN. About that time, I contested and won election as National Chairman of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN).

I was privileged to attend one of such peace meetings between the PSN and NMA. That relationship has since flourished and has culminated in the formation of the tripartite agreement reached recently between the leading unions in the healthcare sector namely, the PSN, NMA and the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM). 

A direct fallout from this truce was the successful negotiation for enhanced hazard allowance which has seen healthcare workers receiving payment of enhanced COVID-19 hazard allowance, of which I and other hospital and administrative pharmacists are beneficiaries. This is just happening under the watch of Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR, as President of PSN. I confess with all humility that the seed for all this was sown by Prince Juli when he convoked that peace meeting in 2017 between the various players in the healthcare sector.  

My long desire to meet with my secret Mentor was finally granted when I received a Letter from the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, appointing me a Member of their Drug Abuse Committee. I was excited by the offer and quickly accepted to serve for two reasons. One, I am always glad at any opportunity to serve and contribute to the growth and upliftment of the Pharmacy profession.

I was particularly worried by the alarming rate of Drug and Substance Abuse in Nigeria especially among the youth, so I saw an opportunity to mobilize the AHAPN Machinery to collaborate with the Academy to draw public attention to the menace and to mitigate the scourge.

A second reason why I was excited to be a part of the Academy’s Committee was because I felt it would afford me the opportunity to probably meet with this extraordinary Pharmacist and living phenomenon known as Prince Juli. And so I looked forward to the inauguration of the committee with excitement and when I finally saw him live, I spent over twenty minutes just admiring this larger than life personality that had dominated the pharmaceutical, business, political and social facets of Nigeria for decades

True to type, Prince Juli as fondly called took time to know all the committee members by name one by one, he was introduced to the man that used to attend Committee meetings all the way from Asaba, Delta State (my humble self) and thereafter at every subsequent meeting, he would always ask after the “Man from Asaba” as well as other committee members. One of the things that struck me about the Prince was his simplicity and humility which is rare for an enigma that bestrode the healthcare sector like a colossus that he truly is. He equally struck me as a man of huge intellect and his impeccable English is second to none. 

Another positive attribute he has is his dress sense even at his age, which speaks volumes of his youthful days. No colour riots or funny dress culture. At this juncture, I must give credit to our Mummy, the Prince’s Jewel of inestimable value, Princess Julia Adelusi- Adeluyi for sustaining our Mentor’s dress culture over the years. Prince Juli is a man whose integrity and sincerity of purpose has stood the test of time and is worth emulating, quite unlike many who have soiled their hands in the pursuit of filthy lucre.

The climax of my respect and awe for the Prince was during the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy organized Walk against Drug Abuse held in Lagos in 2019. It rained cats and dogs in Lagos on that day, and against all expectations, the rains did not stop the Prince from blazing the trail.

Even when some of our members made efforts to shield him from the rains with umbrellas, he would just neglect the umbrella and march on with so much determination, while some of the younger colleagues scampered for shelter from the rains by taking refuge in kiosks and neighborhood shops, not so with Prince Juli. Ironically, his age then (79 years) notwithstanding, he got to the venue of the health talk before some of us who were much younger than him, and he did not hesitate to collect the microphone and preach to the people about the dangers of Drug Abuse. The Programme turned out a huge success, because of Prince Juli’s commitment and leadership by example he demonstrated together with the current PSN President Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR and others.

It is on record that the four technical arms of PSN were formed during Prince Juli’s tenure as President of PSN. I am glad to report that today, the hospital setting has become one of the most sought after among the technical arms. From a humble beginning with less than 500 members in about 10 branches, today AHAPN boasts of close to four thousand hospital and administrative pharmacists in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. That singular action of creating the technical groups by the Prince was a turning point that gave the PSN focus and direction which the society and all pharmacists are benefiting from today, including my humble self. That I am National Chairman of AHAPN today, the credit truly goes to Prince Juli. Sir, we remain grateful to you.

The Academy under Prince Juli’s watch had started moves to revisit our Pharmacy curriculum with a view to reposition the practice to meet the challenging needs of our time through her Education Committee of which I am privileged to be a member. This project has been temporarily halted by the Corona Pandemic but knowing the dexterity of Prince Juli, I know it is a matter of time before Pharmacy education in Nigeria  is reformed in line with global best practices. 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, fellows of PSN, fellows of NAPharm, Fellows of WAPCP here present, I consider myself extremely fortunate and blessed to pay this tribute today to Prince Juli. I wish to reassure the Prince that God willing, your objectives and vision in setting up AHAPN and other technical arms of PSN shall be sustained. 

Happy birthday Pharm. (Prince) Julius Adewale Adelusi-Adeluyi OFR, mni, FPSN, FPCPharm, FNAPharm. We wish you many more years in sound health and further contributions to societal growth and development.

Dr Kingsley Chiedu Amibor PharmD, National Chairman AHAPN.

 

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