Pharmacists Reject Mora as PCN Chairman, Threaten Nationwide Strike

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Martins Ifijeh

Pharmacists have rejected the appointment of Mr. Ahmed Tijjani Mora as chairman of the Governing Board of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN).

Opposition to Mora’s appointment is being spearheaded by President of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria (PSN), Mr. Sam Ohuabunwa, and all his predecessors, who have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the inauguration of Mora as the board chairman.

In an open letter to the president yesterday, and signed by all nine former and present presidents of the association, the pharmacists said should Mora be inaugurated, PSN would mobilise pharmacists to embark on a nationwide strike.

Signatories to the open letter are Ohuabunwa, and past presidents of PSN – Ahmed Yakassai, Olumide Akintayo, Azubike Okwor, Anthony Akhimien, O. Uwaga, Mohammed Yaro Budah, Eme Ekaite, and Philip Emafo.

They said: “The PSN observes with satisfaction a seeming tendency to appoint fit and proper persons as chairman of the PCN, which is a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health that regulates and controls pharmacy in all aspects and ramifications which therefore grounds the PCN as the template of ethics and values of the pharmacy profession.

“In the circumstance, our pedigree and heritage are determined by the moral and ethical quality of the person who is appointed chairman of the Governing Council of the PCN.

“From all the evidence adduced above, it is our view that Mora carries a heavy moral and ethical burden, which gravely damages his suitability for the sacred job of chairman of the PCN.

“We strongly enjoin the federal government to continue its tradition of consulting with the PSN as part of due diligence to ensure quality control of persons who emerge as chairman of the council.”

They called on the president to allow PCN produce three nominees through the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) from which the federal government will pick one to chair the board, adding that alternatively, Buhari can appoint any other pharmacist from the same zone with Mora.

“It may interest the president to note that the person the PSN originally recommended to the minister as chairman is Yaro Budah, who actually was nominated by the minister of health to the secretary to the federal government in a letter dated May 2018.

“In mysterious way, another letter dated October 2018 with the same reference number was written by the same minister of health to the SGF nominating Mora. Two letters nominating two different people with the same reference number signed by the same person without any reference to the previous letter.

“In the interim, we strongly enjoin the federal government to indefinitely suspend or cancel the inauguration of the PCN Governing Council with Mora as chairman for the reasons earlier stated. We believe that whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters,” they stated.

They said if Mora is inaugurated, PSN will “call on all hospital and administrative pharmacists in government hospitals, community and industrial pharmacists in the private sector to proceed on a total strike and withdrawal of their services. For the records, this might affect the logistics of production and supply of essential as well as other pharmaceutical care services and drugs to the entire health system, including the isolation centres that cater for COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.

“This will also lead to a directive to all registered pharmacists to boycott all activities of the PCN forthwith. This will include Mandatory Continued Professional Development (MCPD), registration of pharmacists and pharmaceutical premises as well as other routine statutory activities of the PCN.”

They also threatened to solicit the support of all other health workers for solidarity action to resist the imposition on the pharmacists in Nigeria that may signal an inadvertent move to destroy professional ethics and integrity.