Meet Raji Aliu, a man who dropped Lautech Engineering for UI Pharmacy

Author: 
Ogunsesan Adebusola Nafisat
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In our search to look out for students who can serve as role models for the upcoming triumphants and as pride for the elders, Adh-Dhikr press has found a man worthy of this honour. Raji Aliu Akanni was recently inducted into the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria by the Faculty of Pharmacy , University of Ibadan. He was a two-term member of the Central Executive Council of Muslim Students' Society of Nigeria, University of Ibadan branch, where he served as the Chairman of Hospital Visitation Commitee. He was a one-time secretary of the Literary and Debating Society of his Faculty; once a senator at the faculty, and also an award-winning essayist and public speaker. Here is the short discourse with our correspondent, Ogunsesan Nafisat.

Adh-Dhikr Press: As salaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarokaatuhu. It's indeed a great honour to have you here. May we meet you, Sir?

Raji Aliu Akanni: Walykum Salam warahmatullah. I'm Raji Aliu Akanni, hailing from Saki Oyo state. The second son and fourth child of the family. And by the Allah's Rahma, a pharmacist.

Adh-Dhikr Press: Becoming a pharmacist is not a small journey. Therefore, we use this medium to congratulate you once again, baraka Allahu feekum. Sir, can you give us a brief history on your academic pursuit?

Raji Aliu Akanni: All praise to Allah who gave my colleagues and me a soft landing. The journey was nothing less than odyssey, it seemed unending with series of strike actions from ASUU coupled with the lockdown due to Covid-19 making the set of 2018/2019 graduate in 2021. Alhamdulillah, still.

Adh-Dhikr Press: Alhamdulillah for always and for the success of your undergraduate programme.

Raji Aliu Akanni: Thank you, I was meant to study medicine, although had no passion for it, you can easily suggest that it's what they wanted back home. Against their wish and in secrecy, I got admitted to study civil engineering in Ladoke Akintola University of technology.

Adh-Dhikr Press: Wow, you are an engineer cum pharmacist.

Raji Aliu Akanni:: No, I left engineering after my first year in Lautech. I reluctantly wrote the post UTME with persuasion from a friend. After that, my total mark was above the cut-off point and the rest became history all thanks to the standard based on merit set by the University of Ibadan.

Adh-Dhikr Press: Alhamdulillah, once again

Raji Aliu Akanni::Alhamdulillah

Adh-Dhikr Press: So Sir, why UI: passion or other influences? And what is the nature of UI Pharmacy?

Raji Aliu Akanni:: Pharmacy wasn't a way to get away from medicine. civil engineering was. Just like I said, it was a trial turn passion, everything about gaining admission into Pharmacy school was reluctance. I remembered seeing a movie till around 3:30 pm on the eve of Post-Utme day. I'll always feel lucky to have attended UI. I have tasted what schooling is in another University is. I can say UI is still the best and not only the first. As the student of this University, you don't have an option with its design, the school has to pass through you as you pass through it.

Interviewer: Thank God her products are also the best too. What is your perspective on the nature of UI pharmacy then?

Raji Aliu Akanni:: It's one of the best in the country. Sometimes, I take time to see its curriculum, it is all encompassing which brings about the "Pharmacy is hard" mantra. But, far from what the mainstream thinking is, Pharmacy is just like any other course for a student who is ready to be diligent, hard working and deny him/herself some 'campus luxuries'

Adh-Dhikr Press: Hmm, that's well said. As it is said each course with its own guidelines, what are the requirements to study pharmacy in UI? Interviewee: Just like any other science-based courses, a minimum of five (5) credits in Physics, Cemistry, Biology, English and Mathematics on a maximum of two sittings in O'level exams makes one eligible. Other criteria like distinctions in Jamb score and post UTME cut off point are determined by the school every year.

Adh-Dhikr Press: And for those that would love to cross in their second year?

Raji Aliu Akanni:Yes, this is also another option. Students from Biochemistry also can cross to Pharmacy. They would make sure they have the best grade possible in their first year. Because crossing to another department is always competitive and Pharmacy has a quota. In essence,students with the best grades would be allowed to cross to Pharmacy.

Adh-Dhikr Press: Then, it all boils down on good grade. Thank you for the response. The next questions are 'What are the interesting facts about Pharmacy and what are the moments you enjoyed most being a student of the faculty and a student of UI?'

Raji Aliu Akanni:: Let me take them one after the other. I will go with the latter first. Interesting facts! Pharmacist are professional. The number of registered Pharmacists in Nigeria today is about 22,000, which implies that the ratio of Pharmacist to the population is 1:9000. A pharmacist to 9,000 Nigerians? That's way too much. Meaning, more Pharmacists are needed.This fact points to the reality that job prospect is there for anyone who wishes to study Pharmacy.

Adh-Dhikr Press: I can't help but imagine what the situation will be like coupled with the way health professionals are moving abroad for a better life.

Raji Aliu Akanni:: The braindrain is massive, I must say. Another fact is that Pharmacists are the first contact for patients in the community and Pharmacists are custodian and highest authority on drugs. The list is endless. About the second question, the times I enjoyed most as a student of Pharmacy and of course in UI are those moments that I do things other than pharmacy-related activities. They include sports, leadership, writing and speaking. I served as HVC chairman for two consecutive years, once a secretary of the literary and debating society of my faculty, once a senator at the faculty, enjoyed swimming and won essays and public speaking contests.

Adh-Dhikr Press: Impressive. It's indeed a man of honour we have here. To who do we owe this pleasure Sir?

Raji Aliu Akanni:: Every Pharmacist is a man of honour, and as men of honour that we are, we join hands.

Adh-Dhikr Press: Despite how rigorous Pharmacy is, you were able to make impacts. Barka Allahu Feekum. Sir, how do you feel about being a Muslim Pharmacist and are there any stereotypes that exist against Muslim pharmacists?

Raji Aliu Akanni:: Basically, there are stereotypes with the word 'Muslim' on a global scale. Adding pharmacist to the word makes no difference. I don't feel less of myself as a Muslim anywhere. In fact, the first thing to do as Muslim is to establish your 'muslimness' first anywhere you are.

Interviewer: We will follow this, Sir and establish our presence anywhere we are.

Raji Aliu Akanni:: But, the issue with this is that many Muslims lack pristine knowledge of the Deen (religion). After little criticisms, they are swayed. Long story cut short, knowledge is power.

Adh-Dhikr Press: I agree with you, Knowledge is power and we must always get it. Even the Prophet (PBUH) emphasised that.

Raji Aliu Akanni: Exactly

Adh-Dhikr Press: So, what is your relationship with MSSN and how did MSSN contribute to your success story?

Raji Aliu Akanni: I served as Hospital Visitation committee chairman, for two years and never regretted a bit of time spent. MSSN UI, as a student body, has its way of bringing out the best in you and you will also enjoy the sweetness of brotherhood/sisterhood coupled with spiritual uplifting. It's an organization every Muslim student should be a part of.

Adh-Dhikr Press: We will of course let all Muslim students know that. Mr Raji, what are your plans for life after school? Anything we should expect?

Raji Aliu Akanni: Well, there are lots of aspirations that are dwindled by realities. I have a year of internship and another year of national service ahead of me, but somewhere around these Nikkah should find its way into the equation. I hope

Adh-Dhikr Press: Congratulations, we also hope we are getting an invite .. Baraka Allahu feekum again. We pray Allah turn you plans into reality. Amin.

Raji Aliu Akanni: Amin, thank you.

Adh-Dhikr Press: As we are getting to the end, what other interesting things would you like to share? And what would your advice to peers, pharmacy undergraduates and youth in general be?

Raji Aliu Akanni: My advice has always been that 'Whatever you do, do it well and do it right. For all that is worth doing at all is worth doing well.'

Adh-Dhikr Press: Wow, this is beautiful. Thank you for your time today. We sincerely appreciate the audience. It's indeed our deepest honour to have you here, Mr Raji Aliu Akanni. Congratulations once again. May Allah grant you baraka and continue to grant you the goodness of this life and hereafter.

Raji Aliu Akanni: It's my pleasure to have you interview me. Jazakumllahu khairan

Adh-Dhikr Press: Wa iyyakum.

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