The 88th PSN conference and the burden of leadership


The 88th edition of the Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) tagged ‘Unity 2015’ was held in Abuja, the seat of the Nigerian government, from 9 to 13 November.

Although the conference, which had the theme, ‘Advancing Pharmacy Through Strategic Workforce Development in Practice Settings’ has come and gone, its highlights and impacts will continue to be remembered in years to come by pharmacists and other participants.

While there were a few noticeable hitches in the organisation of the conference, the PSN and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) must be commended for organising a notable and memorable conference.

A veritable testament to the laudable efforts of the PSN was the impressive turnout of participants at the event. Despite anxiety over insecurity, hundreds of pharmacists from all over the country were in Abuja to add colour to the annual gathering.

The PSN equally deserves big kudos for ensuring maximum participation at the opening ceremony and the plenary sessions, as well as providing adequate security for participants.

The keynote speaker, eminent clinical pharmacy professor, (Pharm.) Azuka Oparah, adequately articulated and amplified the theme of the conference by presenting a thought-provoking paper that has provided fresh insights on new strategies to further deepen workforce development in Pharmacy. Other speakers who handled the sub-themes must equally be lauded for their educative presentations.

The PSN must also be commended for introducing the Evergreen Award for Pharmacy Legends, the maiden edition of which was won by Pharm. (Prince) Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi; so also was the award to the best graduating student, which was won by Pharm. Nkiruka Ozioma Ibeanu, from the University of Nigeria. These recognitions are momentous and well-deserved.

It must however be pointed that the 2015 PSN conference also revealed certain areas that should be improved upon in the organization of subsequent conferences. First is the need to standardise the security arrangement to ensure that security procedure does not hinder the smooth organisation of the conference. While the heavy presence of security agents was commendable and their conduct laudable, it is expedient to improve on the security arrangement to make them do their work with ease without being high-handed or overbearing to the extent of taking the excitement out of the conference.

This is necessary to ensure that exhibitors who have become crucial partners of the PSN and important stakeholders at the conference are able to do their business without undue intimidation.

One of the most significant highlights of the just concluded conference was the transition process that resulted in the emergence of a new leadership for the Society. We commend the PSN for this feat, just as we congratulate the new executives and wish them a successful tenure.

While we laud the emergence of new leadership for the PSN during the conference, we call on the Society to improve on its electioneering processes by engaging relevant stakeholders in the formulation of acceptable guidelines for the election and the criteria for determining candidates’ eligibility. This will help to prevent a recurrence of the bickering that preceded the last election and the rancour that tainted its eventual outcome.

Criteria for eligibility of candidates must be established before the elections to provide a level playing ground for everyone. As men of honour, let us put the past behind us and march forward to advance the cause of Pharmacy and leave a noble legacy for generations after us.