Former NAPPSA President Launches Book, Raises Fund for Association’s Endowment

 The former president of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA), the foremost Nigerian diaspora professional group, Dr Anthony Ikeme, has launched a book, a collection of poems he titled Encumbered We Stand Akimbo on Nigeria’s past and current social situation. 

The launch event coincides with Ikeme’s 51st birthday celebrations. In addition to celebrating his literary achievements, Ikeme used the occasion to appeal for donations to the NAPPSA Endowment Fund, which he chairs. According to him, “The fund is crucial for sustaining the association’s impactful programmes and ensuring its long-term viability.” He emphasized the importance of members’ support in advancing the association’s mission, highlighting recent initiatives and future goals that the endowment will help to achieve.

NAPPSA remains very passionate about helping to transform the healthcare system in Nigeria. The association has continued to collaborate with pharmaceutical associations and professionals in the country, such as the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP), in the exchange of ideas and knowledge transfer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it collaborated with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the fight against the deadly virus, donating coronavirus pandemic diagnostics, PPEs, and other medical consumables.

The association established a scholarship scheme to help pharmaceutical professionals and medical scientists in Nigeria attain further trainings in their fields as well as interested Nigerians willing to pursue a career in medical sciences or pharmaceuticals.   

“Celebrating my birthday with all of you is truly special, and launching my poetry collection is a dream come true. But beyond personal celebrations, I am deeply committed to the growth and success of NAPPSA.” 

‘Encumbered We Stand Akimbo’ is a beautiful anthology of poems conceived during the military rule in Nigeria, which was inspired, according to Ikeme, by the frustration and disappointment in Nigeria’s aborted nationhood, and the apparent inability to get the nation back on track to greatness. “In my homeland then and even now, encumbrance comes in various forms, but its ultimate result is impediment to progress, growth and development. And my people, in helpless consternation, stand Akimbo.”

Speaking further about the poem, Ikeme said akimbo has multiple etymologies and is prone to multiple interpretations. For some, it is a stance of frustration and resignation to one’s fate, especially when accompanied by scowls of anger or flashes of contempt. “A lot of people have become so crippled by a lack of hope that they have passively resigned to taking every assault as it is unleashed on their wellbeing, without a murmur of protest. They have become numb to feeling and are thus mere onlookers in the baffling process of liquidation and psychological onslaught going on in the society. Such people stand akimbo in confoundment, in submission to fate.” 

But akimbo is also a power posture that depicts defiance and intense focus on finding a solution to a problem. “Many are thinking, searching for, and proffering solutions to the problems of the Nigerian society. They are protesting and challenging the emblems and harbingers of encumbrance. Akimbo therefore – in this sense – is an active symbol of resistance.”

It was a memorable 2-in-1 event filled with literary elegance and community spirit. Friends, family, and association members gathered to honour Ikeme and to celebrate his remarkable contribution to both the literary world and the community served by NAPPSA.

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