A Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN), Pharm. Dr. Ahmed Tijjani Mora is not your run-of-the-mill pharmacist. He was Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria. He is the incumbent National President of Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association. In this interview with John Tosin Ajiboye, the 60-year-old pharmacist explains some of the challenges he faced during his tenure as the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and the struggle to uphold the
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, especially your early days
I was born in Zaria to the family of the late Dr. Abdurrahman Mora who was an educationist and Islamic scholar. I attended Barewa College in Zaria and I obtained my WAEC certificate in 1974. I proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University where I qualified as a pharmacist in 1978. My Masters degree is in Business Administration, an MBA (full time of 24 months) in the Faculty of Administration, ABU, Zaria continuously from October 1983 to June 1985. Similarly, I received my Fellowship of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (FPC Pharm.) from the college in 2002.
I received a Doctorate degree (Ph. D) in management study from Usman Danfodiyo University. I am a member of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (mni) having been a Participant for the Senior Executive Course(SEC)(32/2010) at the National Institute for Policy& Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Nigeria.
I have also attended several workshops including International Workshop on Making Decentralisation Work: Tools for Policy Makers and Managers at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Strategic Policy Development Workshop at the Faculty of Sciences and Social Sciences, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK.
Tell us about your work experience
I cut my teeth with Grunenthal GmbH, of Germany as Pharmaceutical Representative under Pharco (Nig) Ltd, Kano, Nigeria. I later joined Kaduna State Distribution Agency (KSDA), Ltd. as Pharmaceutical Divisional Manager before I joined the Ministry of Health (MOH), Kaduna State, Nigeria as Chief Pharmacist and later as pioneer Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry. I
Worked for Ministry of Health (MOH), Kaduna State, Nigeria at the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) as the pioneer Project Manager for the AfDB/AfDf- Assisted Kaduna Health Rehabilitation Project (KHRP), Kaduna, Nigeria. I worked at Zaria Pharmaceutical Company (ZPC), Ltd, (Manufacturer of ZARINJECT disposable syringes and needles) as MD/CEO. I Worked in Zazzau Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ZPIL), (Manufacturer of generic and branded tablets and Syrups) as MD/CEO, in Zaria, Nigeria. I Worked for Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Abuja, Nigeria as Registrar/CEO.
I served as the foundation Dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kaduna State University (KASU), Main Campus from October 2012 to June 2016 and returned to the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice to continue with my part-time lecturing, but this time with supervision of M.sc (Clinical Pharmacy) and Ph.D students in addition to my lecturing of B.Pharm undergraduate students of the Faculty which I started since 1986 and I have been doing this continuously for the past thirty (30) years without pay.
Tell us your contributions to education and the field of pharmacy
I actually came from a teaching family. My late father was a prominent and popular educationist in the north who was the headmaster of the now defunct Zaria Middle School. After his retirement from the civil service, the last of which was Nigeria High Commissioner to Pakistan in 1971. He retired to Islamic scholarship by teaching children and elders alike in our neighbourhood in Zaria, the tenants of the Glorious Koran.
I have practiced in all the four major areas of Pharmacy and attained the peak in each are; a record which any other Nigerian Pharmacist in history has not broken.
In hospital pharmacy practice, I started as an intern and rose to the position of pharmacist to Director of pharmaceutical services, Kaduna State.
In industrial pharmacy practice, I started as a pharmaceutical representative with Messrs Grunenthal, GmbH of Germany and later became the MD and CEO of two Pharmaceutical Manufacturing facilities -ZPC Ltd and ZPIL in Zaria, Kaduna State.
In academic pharmacy, I started as Lecturer II at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University and later became the Dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kaduna State University (KASU), Kaduna. I have presented 65 papers at National and International Conferences in Pharmacy and related subjects. I have authored and co-authored 28 books on Pharmacy Management, Pharmacy Regulations, as well as Biographies of Distinguished Pharmacists.
In the area of wholesale and importation pharmacy practice, I served as pharmaceutical divisional manager at the now defunct Kaduna State Distribution Agency (KSDA), Ltd. Kaduna. Besides, I am the longest serving Registrar and CEO of the pharmacy regulatory body, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), having successfully completed two full terms of 8 years between 2003 to 2012.
What are the challenges you faced during your tenure as the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria?
My major challenges in the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) when I served as its Registrar and CEO includes the problematic patent medicine vendors in some states of the federation who blatantly refused to comply with the guidelines and regulations of their licenses despite appeals and entreaties. I also faced the challenge of some misguided pharmacists who were of the habits of registering more than one pharmaceutical premise in the country (otherwise known as -“register and go”). Some of them were eventually brought before the Investigation Panel and / or Disciplinary Tribunal of the Governing Council. Some pharmaceutical manufacturers were of the habit of not complying with safety measures in manufacturing, especially the components of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) to ensure safety and efficacy of the manufactured pharmaceutical products. This was more prevalent among the small scale indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Can you enumerate your major accomplishments?
I am the initiator, Project coordinator and MD/CEO of the biggest disposable syringes
manufacturing company in West Africa- the Kaduna State- owned Zaria Pharmaceutical Company (ZPC) Ltd in Zaria, Nigeria;
I was the initiator and Publisher of the two editions of the” Four Part Compendium of Minimum Standards of Practice for the Assurance of Pharmaceutical Care in Nigeria”; the first ever published book on minimum standards of practice in any healthcare profession in Nigeria’s history.
In the same vein, part of my achievements was the expansion of the regulatory and control scope in Pharmacy education and practice in Nigeria through the creation of 40 additional offices for the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) throughout Nigeria while serving as Registrar and CEO of the regulatory agency.
I initiated the construction and commissioning of the twin 250 – seat capacity lecture theatre in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria through the Intervention of the Taraba State Government of Nigeria in my capacity as the pioneer National Chairman of the Ahmadu Bello University Pharmacy Alumni Association (ABUPAA) which was the first Faculty – based Alumni Association in ABU, Zaria, Nigeria and the most organized.
Can you confidently say studying Pharmacy was a good decision for you?
Yes, Studying Pharmacy was a good decision for me.
How best do you think the issue of fake drugs and counterfeit medicine can be curbed?
This is a major problem in Africa and not only in Nigeria. Several mechanisms have been devised in the past few years to combat fake drugs and counterfeit medicine. There are existing laws to combat it but how many of these laws are enforced? Fake drugs and counterfeit medicine will continue to be a problem unless existing laws are enforced and enactment of additional laws on the control of drugs. Also by, ensuring that only qualified and registered pharmacists are allowed to deal in drugs. Another angle is that both indigenous manufacturers and importers of pharmaceutical products in Nigeria need to ensure that they only distribute their products through duly and authorized, inspected, approved, registered and licenced outlets as premises by the PCN.
Do you belong to any professional association aside the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria?
Yes, I belong to the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and had contested twice and won as ex-officio member from 1993 to 1995. I was also one of the eight PSN representatives on the Governing Council of the PCN from 1999 to 2002. Then the late Dr. Fred Adenika served as the Chairman of the Governing council of the PCN. Similarly, I am a member of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the America (NAPPSA) since September 2007 when it had its first Scientific Conference and Exposition in Houston,USA. In March 2016, I was unanimously elected as the first and only non-US based Nigerian pharmacist on the Board of NAPPSA.
I am a fellow and council member, Institute of Healthcare Management, Nigeria (FIHMN), fellow of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN) as well as the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (FPC Pharm.). In 1992, I was elected as Executive Committee Member, Commission of Administrative Pharmacists of the International Pharmaceutical federation (F.I.P) in Lyon, France. I completed my tenure in 1996 and was honoured with Africa’s most distinguished Pharmacist Executive of the year 2009 Award by the African Leadership Magazine at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, CDG Airport, Paris, France.
I am the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), Ahmadu Bello University Pharmacy Alumni Association (ABUPAA) and Foundation Chairman, West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (WAPMA).
I am a Foundation member of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the Zaria Education Development Association (ZEDA) at inception and presently member, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Association.
Secretary-General, Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA). I am currently the National President, Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association. I was unanimously elected unopposed as National President. Last but not the least I was conferred with the traditional title of “Wakilin Maganin Zazzau” by the Zazzau Emirate Council, Zaria, Nigeria.
John Tosin Ajiboye, firstname.lastname@example.org