By Olufemi Salako
In the countdown to the end of the tenure of Dr Kelong Alkali as the National Chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), the topic of who succeeds him has begun to form the agenda for discussion among ACPN members and stakeholders.
Alkali has piloted the affairs of ACPN since 2015 when he emerged as the leader at the ACPN National Conference held in Akure, Ondo State capital. Since then, he has kept the ball rolling with laudable achievements to his credit. Now that it is almost time to go, succession is on the lips of community pharmacists.
Who succeeds Alkali? His vice, Pharmacist Samuel Adekola, has emerged as the frontrunner in the succession bid.
Adekola is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of His Grace Pharmacy with subsidiaries like NEKO Healer Pharmacy.
A prominent figure in ACPN, the aspirant for the office of National Chairman is a force to reckon with and a formidable unionist. Before his emergence as the National Vice Chairman of ACPN, he had held several leadership offices within and outside the pharmaceutical industry.
Upon his graduation and completion of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Adekola began a robust career as a pharmacist in Akure.
He would later become the Vice Chairman, Ondo State branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) till 2009 when he was elected as the State Chairman of PSN, a position he occupied for six years (two terms)
As a testimony to his doggedness in unionism and zeal for protecting the interest of others, Adekola was elected the Chairman of APBN, Ondo State branch from 2014 to 2016.
His antecedents stand him out as the choice to take on the mantle from Alkali as ACPN goes to the polls later this year.
It is on record that it was during Adekola’s tenure that the PSN in Ondo State gained national prominence.
History and of course posterity will never forget Adekola for championing the process that midwived the Sunshine Cooperative Pharmacist (CoPharm) in Ondo State.
“There was a cooperative pharmacist in Ondo State before I joined, it wasn’t fundamental but when I came I brought dynamism into it. I set up the company and, to the glory of God, that company has become important today. We have products that bear the logo of Ondo State, the names and identity of the state in circulation all over Nigeria and these are products that one can trust; from anti-malaria to anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive drugs. If I could do this at the state level, I strongly believe I can also go up to the national level and do it in a better and bigger way,” Adekola said.
On his contributions as the National Vice Chairman of ACPN, the notable pharmacist thanked Alkali who he said gave him the opportunity to not only share his vision but also drive it.
“The National Chairman made me the Chairman of the Private and Business Committee of the association and through that we have been able to evolve the network which we call ACPN Nexus which is now a collaborative centre for community pharmacists. As at the last count, we have over 600 pharmacies across Nigeria in that network. With all of these achievements, history, and credentials, I believe I have an history and the wherewithal to serve as the National Chairman of ACPN.”
To Adekola, leadership is a stewardship, not to men nor the people but to God, a philosophy that informs why it must be done with all sincerity. He believes whosoever is coming to serve in such exalted position of the National Chairman of ACPN must be one who puts God first and sees the office as another way to serve God.
As the election draws nearer, observers say delegates would embrace this jewel full of ideas to take ACPN to the next level
*Salako, a public affairs commentator, lives in Akure