No doubt, one third of the global community operates democratic system of government. Democracy vests enormous powers on the larger populace to elect their leaders in order to avoid autocracy where few or single individual impose themselves as leaders to the detriment of the masses. Indeed, democracy is beneficial. It’s in democratic rule that an individual who may not have intellectual and physical aptitude to challenge his or her leader, can have the guts to look straight into the eyes of a leader and express his or her feelings without minding the consequences. It is in line with this that as an academic, politician and public affairs analyst with special interest in good governance in Africa and Nigeria in particular, that I write this article. It’s on the appointment of the current acting Director General of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Monica Hemben Eimunjeze.
Of course, many public affairs analysts may be wondering why I am concerned about who becomes the substantive DG of NAFDAC. Indeed, they may sound correct, however like earlier stated, we are in a democratic governance in Nigeria. The freedom of information had long been passed into law by the Nigeria National Assembly, and it gives me the impetus to express my opinions on any public issue without any fear or favour. Therefore, I have all the right to interrogate who becomes the next director general of NAFDAC as the tenure of Professor Christiana Adeyeye has ended. A position as sensitive as DG NAFDAC should not be given to just anyone based on political, tribal or religious sentiment. It should be based on merit and professionalism; one with intellectual capacity and vast in the field of drugs, food, beverages and administration.
So, I want to be emphatic as a patriotic citizen of Nigeria to let those who are already mounting pressure on the presidency to confirm Dr. Monica Hemben Eimunjeze as substantive DG NAFDAC to slow down. The scheming appears sycophantic because, if not in this period when the outgoing DG Prof. Adeyeye stepped down after her tenure, and handed over the mantle of leadership to her as the most senior director in the organisation, has anyone, parading her name to be confirmed as substantive DG NAFDAC, ever heard anything about her? It’s unfortunate that some gullible Nigerians who do not know their left from right allow themselves to be used as tools for destruction and manipulation. The fact that Mrs Adeyeye, the DG NAFDAC, who just completed her tenure, decided to hand over to Dr. Eimunjeze as the most senior director in NAFDAC, does not justify her being confirmed as DG NAFDAC.
Besides, there are other senior directors in NAFDAC like herself with enviable pedigree that can as well pilot the activities of NAFDAC as DG. Evidence shows that some of them are professors with versatile knowledge in drugs, foods beverages and administrations. So, I urge all those operating in the name of pressure groups, calling on the presidency to confirm Dr Eimunjenze as substantive DG NAFDAC to first and foremost do their research about the organisation, as that will help them to know the importance of appointing a NAFDAC DG.
However it’s necessary to ask Dr. Eimunjeze some pertinent questions. Ma, from findings, there is no doubt that you possess all the qualities to even serve in American cabinet talk less of working in Nigeria as director general of NAFDAC. Nevertheless, we Nigerians, especially technocrats and public affairs analyst, cannot be carried away in view of the highly corrupt system that’s existing in Africa and especially in Nigeria.
Therefore, Nigeria cannot be intimidated by your credentials which by all standard portray you as a technocrat of high repute. Late Professor Dora Akunyili, as a fearless lioness, redefined leadership in NAFDAC and even in Nigeria. She went all out to step on the toes of so-called powerful people who were feeding fat from fake drugs while millions of Nigerians were killed by their illicit trade.
So, as the next likely substantive director general of NAFDAC, what will you do to bring back the golden era of Professor Akunyili and even surpass her achievements? I also want you to tell Nigerians your policy thrust and operations, principally by ensuring that NAFDAC’s policies and operations get to every nook and cranny of Nigeria? I can go on and on, however, I want you to speak on these two questions because, Nigerians, who familiar with the policies and operations of late Professor Akunyili, know that since her exit in 2007, NAFDAC has never got it right. The agency is now like a toothlessness bulldog that can bark but cannot bite, it has been unable to effectively tackle the menace of fake drugs, contaminated foods and expired beverages. So, I don’t want you to be carried away by those calling on the presidency to confirm you as substantive DG of NAFDAC. I want you to formulate policies that can help to eradicate fake drugs from Nigeria.
For a fact, the acting DG NAFDAC possesses intimidating credentials. She has the requisite intellectual, and administrative acumen as well as sound character to pilot the affairs of NAFDAC as a substantive DG. Ma, I am aware that you are a product of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria where you bagged a degree in pharmacy and Mercer University Atlanta Georgia and Purdue University, USA to obtain Masters and doctorate degrees in biotechnology innovation and regulatory science.
However, since we are in a democracy, I believe equity, fairness, capability and merit will be the guiding principles in appointing the next DG of NAFDAC. Again, record shows that since its establishment, apart from Dr. Paul Orhi, no core northerner has headed NAFDAC. Though, the main consideration should be merit, I still believe we should consider our brother from the core North as the next DG of NAFDAC even as all indications of who becomes the next NAFDAC DG point at Dr. Monica Hemben Eimunjeze.
Dr. Dantoro, a public affairs analyst, university don, and grassroots politician writes from Sokoto, Sokoto state