The Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS) Inaugurates her First-Ever Physical Youth Leadership Summit

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Last month, between 16th and 19th of April 2024, the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS) under the leadership of the Melody Okereke-led 49th National Executive Council launched its first-ever Physical Youth Leadership Summit during its 49th PANS Annual Pharmacoposium, which held at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State.

Themed “Navigating the Gen-Z Era: Youth Involvement in Politics, Leadership, and Governance”, the summit saw the convergence of notable figures including Hon. Usman Lade (Kwara State Commissioner for Water Resources), Hon. Aileru Mukail (SA to the Governor of Kwara State on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control), Hon. Salami Wasiu Onidugbe (SA to the Governor of Kwara State on Students Affairs), Comr. Joseph Ologundudu (President, University of Ilorin Student Union) Comr. Samuel Tobilola (President, University of Ibadan Student Union), Comr. Khadijah Jimoh (National President, Nigerian Universities Nursing Students’ Association), Comr. Adedotun Heritage (National President, National Union of Mass Communication Students), Comr. Shola Obadun (National President, Nigeria Association of Physiotherapy Students), and Comr. Afolayan Ayomide (National President, Nigerian Association of Veterinary Medical Students).

According to the PANS National President in his opening remarks, Comr. Melody Okereke stressed that “One of the many setbacks hindering the involvement of youths in politics and governance is the ideology that politics is a dirty game. This ideology is a major reason why many potential youths who can drive positive changes in the society shy away from venturing into mainstream politics and governance. The youths of our generation (Gen-Z) must rise up to challenge and change the status quo.”

Hon. Usman Lade (Kwara State Commissioner for Water Resources) during his interaction with aspiring youth politicians demystified the concept of godfatherism. He added that politics is local and that having a successful career in mainstream politics is not hinged on godfatherism, citing his political journey as an example.

Comr. Melody Okereke (National President, Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students) delivering his welcome address at the Youth Leadership Summit.

Hon. Aileru Mukail (SA to the Governor of Kwara State on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control) further corroborated the sentiment that his appointment by the Kwara State Governor was not hinged on godfatherism as he has no pre-existing family or professional relationship with politicians in the state. He iterated that his appointment was borne on merit and his previous community engagements and impact in the state.

Hon. Salami Wasiu Onidugbe (SA to the Governor of Kwara State on Students Affairs) also echoed this sentiment by revealing that his appointment was based on merit and advocacy in the student populace in the state, citing his previous leadership positions as an SUG President amongst others and his immense impact within the Kwara State student community.

Cross section of youth delegates at the summit.

During the interactive sessions, the National Presidents of the different student associations in Nigeria shared insights on their personal political journeys and lessons learnt with aspiring student politicians and leaders. Comr. Adedotun Heritage, National President, National Union of Mass Communication Students (NUMACS) encouraged youths to prepare for and embrace failure as it is a catalyst for growth. He cited an example of how he lost several elections from the local to state level but still persevered and emerged as the National President.

Also, Comr. Samuel Tobilola (President, University of Ibadan Student Union) iterated that leadership is sacrifice itself and that youth leaders must be ready to serve and not see leadership positions as a forefront to achieve personal interests. Comr. Khadijah Jimoh, National President, Nigerian Universities Nursing Students’ Association (NUNSA), shared her struggles and challenges as a female venturing into politics but encouraged young people -especially young women- to persevere and change the status quo. Comr. Shola Obadun, National President, Nigeria Association of Physiotherapy Students (NAPS) further decried the perception amongst young people that politics is a dirty game and harped on the importance of good and effective mentorship from leaders with an excellent and verifiable track record. Comr. Afolayan Ayomide, National President, Nigerian Association of Veterinary Medical Students (NAVMS) likewise encouraged aspiring youth politicians and leaders to imbibe the spirit of excellence and sacrifice as leadership is a service to the people.

L-R: Comr. Samuel Tobiloba (University of Ibadan SU President), Comr. Adeodotun Heritage (National President, NUMACS), Comr. Melody Okereke (National President, PANS), Comr. Khadijah Jimoh (National President, NUNSA), Comr. Shola Obadun (National President, NAPS), Comr. Afolayan Ayomide (National President, NAVMS).

Comr. Melody Okereke expressed gratitude to Queen Kolawole Oladoyin, Head of the Leadership Summit Planning Committee and her committee members for their proactive efforts and dedication towards the success of the first-ever physical youth leadership summit.

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