Pharm Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf: An Exceptional Public Servant and Humanitarian
By Goke Ilesanmi
It is indeed not an exaggeration to say that due to her exceptional public service, rare intelligence, empowerment drive, political ingenuity, linguistic proficiency, oratorical distinction, marital integrity and professional accomplishments as a renowned pharmacist, Ayi Kwei Armah, the celebrated Ghanaian author of the satirical novel “The Beautyful Ones Are not Yet Born” will now be compelled to write another book entitled “The Beautyful Ones Are Born NOW”.
Armah will not write this book because of her physical beauty as the beauty Armah refers to in his book is not physical but moral. “The Beautyful Ones Are not Yet Born” identifies corruption as the bane of a typical African society and reveals moral decadence in every segment of the society. Armah especially beams his searchlight of condemnation on politicians who abuse public office. He stresses that besides political office holders, housewives, civil servants, entrepreneurs and others equally indulge in corrupt practices. Given the pervasive nature of corruption, the author concludes that the credible people regarded as morally beautiful ones are not yet born.
Let me reiterate that with the exemplary attributes of the person in focus in this feature, Armah can now heave a sigh of relief that one of such morally- beautiful people he desires is born at last. Indeed, Armah will be more willing to write the book on her because apart from moral beauty, she is by all standards a magnificent prototype of outstanding beauty and sartorial elegance. For her, physical beauty reinforces moral beauty.
She works all her life to make great societal impacts. Yet she wears invisible dark glasses of humility to avoid being recognised and applauded. She is a woman of distinction and diligence who is always sitting when others are sleeping; standing when they are sitting; outstanding when they are standing. She stands out when others are outstanding; even when others try to stand out, she ensures she becomes the standard with which their stand-out is measured.
Her name is PHARM (MRS) UZAMAT AKINBILE-YUSSUF, Lagos State Honourable Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment.
This passionate liberator has been rightly nicknamed “MOREMI” after the legendary late Queen Moremi of the Ancient Ife Kingdom, by her political constituency of Agbado Oke-Odo/Alimosho in recognition of her heroic qualities of self-sacrifice for socio-economic emancipation of the people; humility despite royal lineage; strong commitment to the social contract with various stakeholders; marital integrity; operational agility and commendable cordiality.
COMMON PRACTICE AND GENESIS
It is common practice for us in this part of the world to celebrate exceptional people after their death. To me, it is better to appreciate people when they are still alive so as to motivate them. This explains why I am writing this piece on her.
It is interesting that we got to know each some years ago before she became a commissioner. The first time we met, I was extremely impressed with her rare empowerment and humanitarian activities that I was compelled to commend her efforts three different weeks in my weekly EMPOWERMENT CLINIC column in “The Nation” newspaper.
In what I regard as divine compensation for this rare philanthropist, she was later appointed Honourable Commissioner for Youth and Social Development by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in 2015. For those who want to know this pacesetter well, let us embark on a voyage of full identity discovery together, please.
This admirable humanitarian was born to the Late Pa Jubril Oriola Kadiri and the Late Madam Sidiquat Oyinlola Kadiri of the renewed family of Iboriaran Omo Oba Moyegeso of Ijebu-Ode, more than four decades ago.
She attended Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Ile-Ife, Osun State between 1980 and 1986, and later proceeded to Seventh Day Adventist Grammar School, also at Ile-Ife for her post-primary education between 1987 and 1992. Thereafter, she gained admission into the University of Lagos, where she bagged a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2006.
Having got the required quality business management experience and skills from her mother who had been running a highly successful business then at Ile-Ife, she decided to venture into entrepreneurship. Her business management experience and skills reinforced by strong determination, exceptional perseverance and clear vision led to her ability to successfully run companies like Musaroq Nigeria Limited; Beta Silver Crown Ltd and Musaroq Pharmaceutical among others.
PASSION FOR HUMANITY AND SERVICE
In spite of her royal and noble lineage, this kind-hearted Princess and successful entrepreneur is very conscious of her environment, especially regarding the need to better the lot of the underprivileged in the society. In addition to embarking on laudable philanthropic initiatives, this great grassroots mobiliser and benefactor equally decided to go into politics as an exemplary political catalyst to effect a massive societal change.
It is therefore not surprising that she demonstrated enviable leadership and political responsibility in her official capacity as the Supervisory Councillor in charge of Agriculture, Rural and Social Development in Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) between 2012 and 2014, by empowering CDAs, Sportsmen/women, etc.
This go-getter was variously commended for successful execution of various developmental projects like road-grading, rehabilitation of public pipe-borne-water facilities, construction of culverts, etc. She equally empowered many underprivileged people, especially the youth, through her personal empowerment and training initiative christened “The Goodwill Project”, giving out computers, printing machines, grinding machines, cash, etc.
ACHIEVEMENTS AS YOUTH AND SOCIAL DEVT COMMISSIONER
On 19th October, 2015, this social advocate and effective motivator was appointed Commissioner and deployed to the Ministry of Youth and Social Development. Many stakeholders lauded this appointment as a perfect one and a great opportunity for her to further express her strong passion for massive human empowerment and social development on a larger scale.
Expectedly, upon her assumption of duty as a Commissioner in October 2015, this energetic self-starter immediately hit the ground running based on the previous quality experience. She made significant impacts through conception and execution of many laudable projects that enhanced the overall capacity of the teeming youth and bettered the lot of the numerous underprivileged people in Lagos State.
One of such projects was innovatively christened the Ibile Youth Academy (IYA), aimed at instilling in the youth, the multipronged virtues of effective leadership, responsible citizenship and sincere volunteerism for their personal enhancement as well as state and national development.
The inaugural training programmes of the academy were held for about 500 youthful participants in five divisions of Epe, Ikeja, Lagos, Badagry and Ikorodu between Monday, 6th and Friday, 10th March, 2017. The highpoint of the intellectual empowerment project was the eventual selection of the most outstanding participant as the State Ambassador for 2017. Apart from this project, this industrious woman had in partnership with international organisations like USAID, UNFPA, EU, UN, etc, equally embarked on regular sensitisation and screening of youths to stem the onslaught of HIV/AIDs and other diseases.
This human rights champion ensured stringent enforcement of the Lagos State Child Rights Law and facilitated publication of the Lagos State Child Safeguarding Policy. Many violators of the children’s rights were made to face the full weight of the law through relentless efforts of this social advocate.
She practically encouraged and involved the Lagos State Children Parliament and Youth Parliament in the course of championing their cause.
What’s more, through the construction of Rehabilitation and Vocation Training Centres, this great performer was able to rehabilitate, vocationally empower and re-integrate many drug-addicts and other destitute people into the society. The operational effectiveness of the Okobaba Resettlement Centre accommodating about 2000 beggars and destitute people also underscores the giant strides of this influential and charismatic leader in the former ministry.
This compassionate public officer equally facilitated State Government’s empowerment of 500 Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) in Lagos State. They were given grants, mobility aids, one Hyundai 12-Seater Minibus, one Hyundai 30-seater Bus, 500 White Canes, one Index Express Embosser with Duxbury Braille Translation Software for the Blind, 10 Accessible Desktop Computers and 20 Tactile Metric Sets. A sum of N100,000 was also given to each of the 323 beneficiaries of the State Disability Employment Fund to enhance their financial capacity.
She also made a case for the employment of 250 People living with disabilities from across 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas in Lagos State. This loving mother equally offered Motherless Babies Homes, Correctional Homes, etc., massive support by providing basic needs in her official capacity as Youth and Social Development Commissioner.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN THE CURRENT MINISTRY
It is a truism that nothing succeeds like success. That is, achievement of success in one area readily leads to another one. Given her outstanding achievements in the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Governor Ambode effected strategic cabinet redeployment as an effective leader in January 2018.
This woman with a Midas touch was therefore redeployed to the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment. Expectedly, she hit the ground running and it has also been torrents of achievements since she assumed office.
On February 5, 2018, she registered fifty successful candidates for a six-month training programme under the Sustainable Development Programme with Ruff n Tumble (Betti-O School of Fashion). The interesting thing is that these 50 candidates graduated on July 30, 2018 and necessary starter-packs, including industrial machines and other tools were given to them.
Also on March 20, 2018, she registered another 50 candidates for the six-month training programme under the Sustainable Development with Ruff n Tumble (Betti-O School of Fashion). This proactive commissioner equally organised the ministry’s second edition of BREAKFAST ROUNDTABLE in March 2018 to meet with prospective employers and discuss planned activities of the ministry for the 2018 Graduate Internship Programme.
This exceptional technocrat facilitated Lagos State Government’s sponsorship of 15 Lagos-based Techpreneurs and Start-ups to an international ICT Summit held between April 23 and 26, 2018 in Washington, DC, United States of America. This effort is alignment with the mandate of the ministry under the Yaba ICT Hub Programme.
She has equally facilitated the approval of N492, 798, 560.90 loans from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund for disbursement to 1,753 beneficiaries. On Friday, June 29, 2018, this woman organised an eight-week capacity-building workshop for Tradesmen and Artisans in partnership with the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB). The participants were equipped with tools after the training.
She organised a mentoring seminar on Youth Entrepreneurship with the theme, “Learn a Skill, Earn a Living” held at the Staff Clinical Hall, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja on July 5, 2018. This great leader equally organised a “Mindset Re-orientation, Leadership and Employability Skills” programme for the unemployed youths in Lagos State between Tuesday, July 10 and Saturday, July 14, 2018. Out of compassion, she allowed about 1,200 participants to attend the programme originally planned for 500 participants.
This successful entrepreneur equally organised Technical Workshop on Lagos State Non-oil Export Development Programme with the theme “MSME As a Catalyst for Export Development” on July 17, 2018. She also organised a two-day Strategic Workshop held on Tuesday, July 25 and Wednesday, July 26, 2018 in partnership with the Hudson Group. The workshop focused on various business processes and how they could be effective if properly implemented to optimise productivity.
Given the multiplicity of great achievements by this exceptional high flier, she has bagged many awards. A few among the many recent ones are:
Honorary Doctor of Social Works Award by the Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASOW) in 2017.
Foundation for Young Leaders Merit Award bagged on 21st October, 2017.
Invaluable Service to Mankind Award by the Inner Wheel District, all Nigeria on 23rd July, 2017.
Fabulous Innovative Achievers Award (Innovative Achievers Award 2016).
The Award of Amazons of Lagos State Commissioner of the Year.
Alimosho Man of the Year Award 2015 by Women Development in 2015.
This great role model is happily married to a responsible man and the union is blessed with beautiful children.