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On appointments of Board Chairmen of Pharmacists Council

AdvertisementThe negative treatment to most pharmacists appointed into leadership positions by the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)is no longer news. What is news is taking this hatred so far as to challenge the authority of President Muhammadu Buhari in his constitutional right of appointing a Chairman of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) recently by the leadership of the PSN.

The PSN leadership, in a bizarre display of arrogance and unheard of public service regulation, is demanding that the newly appointed Board Chairman of PCN, Prof. Ahmed Tijjani Mora, should apologize to it before any inauguration takes place. Unfortunately, the Federal Ministry of Health is paying attention to the Society when the latter has no say by the Law establishing the PCN (LFN No 17 of 2004 )that any entity other than the President has a say on who is appointed the Chairman of the PCN.

It could be recalled that, in December, 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo, a southerner, appointed the late Dr. Fred Adenika from Ondo State, as the Chairman of the PCN after many years without a Governing Council. No one complained.

Dr. Adenika completed his three (3) year tenure in December, 2002. The same President Obasanjo appointed Prof. Festus Adio Ogunbona from Ogun State as the Chairman of the PCN in August, 2003, and no one complained. Prof. Ogunbona completed his three (3) year tenure in August, 2006 and was re-appointed for a second and final tenure in August 2006,and no one complained. The Council was dissolved in November, 2007 by the then newly elected President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yara’dua, of blessed memory.

President Yar’adua, a northerner, appointed Prof. Elijah N. Sokomba, from Niger State as the Chairman of the PCN in July,2009,thus making Prof. Sokomba the first Northerner to ever head any of the past and present pharmacy regulatory agencies (1927 to 2009)as Chairman; and there were complaints by the southern-dominated PSN leadership.

The PSN dragged the Hon Minister of Health, the Hon Minister of Justice and the PCN to court over this, and as expected, lost and the Society did not appeal. Prof.Sokomba, along with the then Registrar, a fellow Northerner, Pharm Ahmed Tijjani Mora were both subjected to all manners of humiliation and bad publicity by the then President of the PSN, Pharm Azubike Okwor (who hails from Enugu State),other leaders of the PSN and their agents simply for the Chairman and Register being pharmacists of Northern extraction. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a southerner, dissolved the Council in November, 2011, and in 2013, Pharm Bruno Nwankwo, from Anambra State was appointed Chairman of the PCN, and no one complained.

President Muhammadu Buhari, dissolved the Council in June,2015 and in April,2019, appointed Prof. Ahmed Tijjani Mora, from Kaduna State as the Chairman of the PCN, and the 22nd person to Chair past and present pharmacy regulatory agencies, as well as the second Northerner, and the PSN kicked and complained. It would be recalled that Prof Mora served as the Registrar and CEO of the PCN for eight (8)years from 2003 to 2012 and was, along with the first northerner to serve as the Chairman of the PCN, Prof. Sokomba subjected to all manners of persecution by the southern-dominated leadership of the PSN from 2009 when the latter was appointed Chairman, to date, even after Prof. Mora had left the post of Registrar after serving his two terms.

The premise of the PSN’s opposition to Prof Mora’s appointment as the new Chairman of the PCN Governing Council by President Muhammadu Buhari was that Prof Mora had ‘wronged’ the PSN and that he (Prof. Mora)must apologize to the PSN before the Society “allows” the FMH to inaugurate the PCN Governing Council.

During the time Prof. Sokomba was appointed Chairman, it was a different reason, which was that both the Chairman, Prof. Sokomba, and the Registrar, Prof Mora were all northerners. The PSN leadership failed to raise the fact that for sixty-six (66) years as of 2009,both the past Chairmen and Registrars of the various pharmacy regulatory agencies were all from the Southern part of the country.

The distribution of the Chairmen of the various past and present pharmacy regulatory agencies from 1927 to date (Board of Medical Examiners (1927-1936);Pharmacy Board of Nigeria (1936-1964);Pharmacists Board of Nigeria (1964-1992) and Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN)(1992-date) is as follows: British Colonial Administration,07; Southern Nigeria,13; Northern Nigeria 02 (Sokomba and Mora) This is the position now and the FMH has not inaugurated the now 71-member PCN Governing Council despite presidential approval and directive.

It is also imperative to note that, the Board has been dissolved since June, 2015. Why did the PSN leadership not complain and/or make effort to remind the government on the importance of the PCN Board which has been non-existing for nearly 4 years? My take and my personal opinion; PSN should know that enough of these partisan and skewed objections on this appointment which affects the entire Nigerian pharmacists and the pharmacy profession in Nigeria as a whole.

PSN should be a mother to all practicing pharmacists in Nigeria and not just to certain group of people. Moreover, PSN is not writing a good script for us the young generation pharmacists and the future custodians of the Society. Khalid Garba Mohammed, B.Pharm., M.Sc.(ABU) PhD Student, University of Milan, Italy

Source: Daily Trust

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