NAFDAC @ 30: Testament to Visionary Leadership

By Dr. Abubakar Jimoh

There is an agelong unresolved debate in the Social Sciences about whether Leaders are born or made but the ramifying and far-reaching impact of Leadership in the life of any organization or Institution is not in contest. There is an intricate nexus and strong correlation between a functional and formidable organization and effective, dynamic and visionary Leadership. Show me an organization and I will tell you the quality of its Leadership.

In its 30 years of existence as a Regulatory Agency, NAFDAC has providentially and reverentially thrived under the careful guide, watch and ambience of visionary, dynamic, selfless, patriotic, pragmatic and result-oriented Leadership in the genres of the pioneer Director – General, Professor Gabriel Ediale Osuide, Late Prof. Dora Akunyili, Dr. Paul Botwev Orhii, Mrs. Yetunde Oluremi Oni and Prof. Moji Christianah Adeyeye. NAFDAC’s genealogical emergence as one of the World Class Regulatory Agencies and attainment of World Health Organisation (WHO) certified Maturity Level 3 is not fortuitous but a byproduct of transformative, qualitative and phenomenal leadership. It is also an axiomatic fact that effective and qualitative leadership begets productive, achievement- oriented, loyal and dedicated followership.

NAFDAC’s three decades of painstaking, resolute, unwavering and unalloyed commitment to the promotion and protection of the health of the Nation is therefore predicated on mutually reinforcing good leadership, formidable and dedicated workforce. No gigantic edifice can stand on a quicksand and weak foundation. In retrospect, we pay obeisance and glowing tribute to the pioneering, visionary and unparalled efforts of Prof. Osuide in the establishment of NAFDAC in 1993 with the proclamation of Decree 15 of 1993 by Ibrahim Babangida administration. The popular aphorism is that a tree does not make a forest. Professor Osuide couldn’t have succeeded without the administrative sagacity and unflinching support of the pioneer Directors and Management Staff in the persons of Mr. Joseph Bankole, Mr. Usoro, Pharm. Moses Azuike, Mr. Nda Yakubu, Pharm Kayode Omotayo, Pharm. Justina Onwudinjo, Dr. Patrick Okwuraiwe, Mrs. Folashade Adebiyi, Mr. Momodu Segiru Momodu, Pharm. Hashim Ubale Yusufu. Mr. Sikiru Olowo, Mrs. Victoria Bako, Dr. Monica Eimunjeze, Barrister Kinglsey Ejiofor, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh and a host of others too numerous to mention.

We cannot forget in a hurry the messianic role played by the Late Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Olikoye Ransom Kuti in the establishment of NAFDAC despite attenuating challenges and high-wire politics in the Federal Ministry of Health. The pragmatic steps taken by his successors, Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi and Dr. Sarki Tafida to nurture the fledgling Agency remain indelible in the annals of this great organization.

The 30th anniversary of NAFDAC’s creation is an auspicious moment to fondly remember and pay tribute to the courageous, dedicated and selfless Regulatory Officers who have toiled day and night to safeguard the health of the nation and those who died on the line of duty. The personal and supreme sacrifices of these officers is the principal reason why Nigerians have continued to enjoy access to safe and efficacious medicines, wholesome food, good quality packaged water and other regulated products.

Life without NAFDAC is difficult to contemplate. Before the creation of NAFDAC, the nation was awash with preponderant circulation of counterfeit medicines, unwholesome foods, corrosive cosmetics, substandard medical devices, abuse of hazardous chemicals and absence of good quality packaged water. The near elimination of spurious medicines, water and food borne diseases today is a testament to the pivotal and omnibus role of NAFDAC in our national life.

As we celebrate NAFDAC’s 30 years of stewardship to the nation, it is apt to appreciate the support of key stakeholders in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, cosmetics and allied industries who made the Agency’s regulatory oversight function successful and rewarding. Space constraint makes it impossible to mention those captains of Industry, Trade Groups and Professional Associations whose invaluable support crystalized into making NAFDAC a great Regulatory Agency.

Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, pioneer head of Public Relations at NAFDAC recently retired as Director of Public Affairs (NAFDAC) after 30 years of meritorious service to the Nation.

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