By Issa Aremu
The 2009 celebrated quotable words of US President Barack Obama in Ghana according to which “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions,” is almost becoming a cliche. Indeed US President reechoed the received wisdom during his historic AU address at Mandela Hall of African Union Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 28, 2015 with a resounding applause. It’s time Africa interrogated some received wisdoms.
Certainly Africa is better off without strong men defined as sit-tight dictators (read; Robert Mugabes) or corrupt brutes (read; Mobutu Sese Seko!). However strong men of character like Nelson Mandela and strong women who put their lives on the line to save others such as the late Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh are indispensable for the growth and development of the continent. Prince Adelusi Adeluyi mni, a globally acclaimed Nigerian pharmacist and former Minister for Health and Social services turned 80 Sunday 2nd of August. His life and times have shown that strong men and women with positive values and strong institutions are not mutually exclusive.
Indeed Africa is endowed with strong men of character building enduring institutions. The man of many firsts, Prince Adelusi is the proprietor of Juli Pharmacy the first indigenously quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He was among the first generation of pharmacy students of University of Ife. He became the first district governor of Rotary International, in Nigeria, a cause he commendably championed with commendation from the President of Rotary International. He was reported to be a governor of the best run district in the Rotary world in the year. His installation was witnessed by the then Head of State, Alhaji Shehu Shagari who was represented by Vice President Alex Ekwueme. Interestingly he was a product of functioning public schools of a functioning Federal Republic of Nigeria. “He attended Aquinas College, Akure, for secondary education and studied pharmacy at university of Ife”.Prince Adelusi Adeluyi has always been an organization/institution man. He was not just a “bookworm” in the university but an activist student. He was once the Parmaceutical Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PANS President. He was also an elected Vice President of the National Union of Nigerian students (NUNS) in charge of international affairs and later emerged as a global students activist elected as as the Secretary for Africa of the world student body. At tender age he became an African youth ambassador leading delegation of students to many African countries including Nigeria. The then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon reportedly acknowledged the youthful leadership role of the Prince with a special letter of thanks and commendation for his significant contribution to world.
After a successful carrier with the multinational Pfizer he championed the cause of national development to set up his own company; Juli Pharmacy. He was also a former chairman of the Nigerian-American chamber of commerce. For the members of the National Institute (mnis), Prince at 80 is a celebration of the progress and development of Alumni Association of the National Institute, AANI. He was a participant of Senior Executive Course 12 of 1990, same SEC mate with Major General Lawrence Onoja (rtd), the immediate past President of AANI. He was among the first to serve as elected Secretary General of AANI (1994-1999) as well as elected former President of AANI (1999-2003).
As an elected Two-term Secretary-General of the Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy & Strategy Studies, AANI (2013 – 2017);(AANI), I bear witness that his tenures witnessed remarkable achievements of AANI towards a Better Society.Other national organizations Adelusi had added significant value included “the Odua Group, Nigeria American Chamber of Commerce, National Council for Population and Environmental Activities and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies. He is a fellow of a number of prestigious organisations such as Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Institute of Directors, and National Institute of Management of Nigeria, among others. He is an Officer the Federal Republic (OFR) and an Alumnus (mni) as well as a member of the Governing Board of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies”. He is also a lawyer having read law after being an accomplished pharmacist.
A statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Mr Femi Adesina said President Buhari personally signed the letter he sent to Adelusi- Adeluyi.
President Muhammadu Buhari rightly wished the former Minister of Health and Social Services, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, a happy 80th birthday anniversary. According to him, Adelusi-Adeluyi is an accomplished pharmacist, lawyer and boardroom player.Excerpts from the letter are Presidential words to keep: “Your life is one signposted by many achievements, which undoubtedly inspire the younger generation to noble ideals.
“Your imprints are clearly left on the sands of time, and these include: Founder and Chairman of Juli Plc, first indigenous company quoted on the Nigeria Stock Exchange; former Minister of Health; past Chairman of Oodua Investment Ltd; Distinguished Fellow, Institute of Directors; Fellow, Institute of Management; Fellow, West Africa Post Graduate College; and pioneer President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy.” You received national awards of MFR in 1986 and OFR in 2002. “At 80, as you are celebrated by family, friends, associates and professional colleagues from far and near, I wish you longer life, greater strength, and more salutary impact on our country, and across all walks of life.”
As the Prince matches in good spirit towards 80, I join hundreds of other Members of the National Instiute, Kuru Jos to salute an African entrepreneur, leader, statesman, activist and global citizen as well as a mentor at 80.
Issa Aremu mni