The 37th annual national conference of ACPN ended recently in Benin, the Edo State capital with the election of new leaders who are to preside over the affairs of the body of community pharmacists in the next 3 years.
In the keenly contested election, Pharm. Samuel Oluwaoromipin Adekola, former national vice chairman and community pharmacist from Akure, Ondo State polled a total of 292 votes to edge out his closest rival and community pharmacist from Rivers State, Pharm. Chima Ogbu who polled a total of 288 votes.
In a post-election statement Pharm. Ogbu had cried foul, alleging that he was denied victory by what he described as ‘official conspiracy’. Whatever that statement signifies, the allegation is weighty and should not be swept under the carpet by the Adekola led-administration in other not to lay a precedent that will adversely affect future elections of the association.
As the new leader of ACPN appealed in his acceptance speech, aggrieved members need to bury their hatchets and support the new administration in moving the professional body to greater heights because any form of crack could be detrimental to ACPN and community pharmacy practice in the country.
The obvious task before the new leadership of ACPN in this regard is to urgently initiate a dispassionate inquest into the controversy with a view to ascertaining the factors that could have been responsible for the assumptions or otherwise of a possible official link with the outcome of the last election in favour of a particular candidate.
What actually set the tone for the ugly scenario that was the aftermath of the Edo election is the slant of messages streaming on social media platform hours prior to the 6th of July, 2018.
Remarks by two frontline camps that took ethnic colouration were a recipe for the kind of posturing that followed the results of that election. The argument that a section of the country continues to have an edge in the leadership of the professional body should not be seen as a mere sentiment designed to blackmail anyone in other to score cheap political point.
Instead, there is a sense in looking at it from the point of view that ACPN is a body founded in Nigeria and with membership cutting across the various ethnic blocks in the country. The Nigerian nation continues to unravel under the weight of incessant claims of marginalisation, and that should be a lesson for any group composed of the various ethnic groupings in the country irrespective of professional affiliation.
Therefore, another task before the new leadership of ACPN is to develop an electoral system that will mitigate recourse to ethnicity in the choice of future leaders of the association without damaging the process of choosing a competent hand to run the affairs of the professional body.
The task may be daunting but it is also achievable especially if the current leadership gives it a thought and more especially, muster the political will to roll it off. History beckons on the Pharm. Adekola led-ACPN in this regard.
After all, the late president Umaru Musa Yar’adua made history when in response to his Supreme Court victory during the 2007 elections controversy admitted that though he had been confirmed winner by the highest court in the land, yet, the process that brought him to power was flawed. He promised and actually initiated actions for electoral reforms in the country before his death.
The ACPN is a noble professional body that must not be allowed to carry a negative label in the conduct of its affairs. The association in the eyes of the general public represents the assemblage of enlightened members of the society whose actions and inactions are supposed to convey modern acceptable standards worthy of emulation.
There is also the need for the new ACPN leadership to as part of its agenda, carry out audit of the body’s electoral system and reform it in such a way that campaign costs are curtailed, enabling only eligible members with bright ideas propel the association to greater heights.
Just as in this and any other elections, there must be winners and losers, and what makes the difference is how losers accept defeat. Grievances should be put aside while joining hands with the new executives to move the association forward.