By Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis
Sunday, 12 June 2015 was a historic day for Prof. (Sir) Lanre Ogunlana as friends and well-wishers joined him at the Muson Centre in Onikan, Lagos, to celebrate his 51st wedding anniversary and the launching of his new book, Reflections & Challenges of Time & Tide.
The two-in-one lavish ceremony which featured a citation on the celebrant, presentation of gifts and goodwill messages, witnessed a massive turnout of former professional colleagues, old friends, pharmacists, relatives, mentees and representatives of professional bodies such as the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).
Ogunlana, a former deputy vice chancellor of the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and past president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), married Lady (Mrs) Deremi Ogunlana, a health care worker-turned-educationist, in 1964.
Speaking at the event, Prof Akin Mabogunje, first African president of the International Geographical Union, who also doubled as the chairman of the occasion, congratulated the couple for weathering the ups and downs of marriage for over 50 years.
“At times like this, we should be dancing and having merriment of all sorts. But Lanre (celebrant) chose to launch a book instead,” Mabogunje said.
He explained further that through the book, 79-year-old Ogunlana reveals five passions that shaped his life – Family, Methodist Boys High School, Music, Philosophy and Pharmacy.
The high point of the event was the presentation of award by Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to the celebrant, for being the first indigenous dean in the institution’s faculty of pharmacy.
Presenting the award, Prof. (Mrs) Grace Onawunmi, current dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, OAU, explained that Prof. Ogunlana joined the institution at a time when many wouldn’t think of doing so, until when the indigenisation policy was pronounced.
“An eye sees not itself. You might not know the impact of what you were doing, but OAU did. It is therefore in recognition of contributions made by our foundation lecturers and alumni that we are giving you this award,” she stressed.
Praising the virtues of Ogunlana, PSN President, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, described him as an extraordinary teacher and professional.
“Let me say that Prof. Ogunlana was my teacher, and not just an ordinary one at that. As young pharmacists, we were not permitted the luxury of using archaic English. I must also add that he was one of the most dressed personalities I know. A great professional!” Akintayo enthused.
Thanking the audience for their affection, Prof Ogunlana stated that the last 51 years had been eventful for him and his wife.
“I am grateful to God for sparing the lives of Deremi and I. When we wedded, it was a short ceremony with only eight participants and we have no regret about it,” he said.
Among prominent dignitaries present at the book launch were Pharm. Azubike Okwor, immediate past president of the PSN; Pharm. Regina Ezenwa, a Fellow of the PSN and founder of Roses Ministry; Prof. Abiodun Ogundani, book reviewer and Pharm. N. A. E. Mohammed, registrar of the PCN.
The book – Reflections & Challenges of Time & Tide – chronicles the life of the author, espoused through a highly impactful career, laced with exploits about mainstreaming the unique role of Pharmacy in the contemporary society.