Mazi Ohuabunwa: a leader of great impact

February 1, 2022 0 By Admin
By Bright Ewulu
The man Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa is a leaders’ leader who has impacted on Nigeria’s development over the years; spiralling to the President Olusegun Obasanjo years when he as President of Nigerian Economic Summit Group(NESG) ensured the group played critical roles in that government leading to Nigeria’s emergence as number one economy in Africa for the first time in its history by the Goodluck Jonathan era.
Therefore, whether you are talking about the organised private sector(OPS),roles in the public sector development or entrepreneurship, manufacturing or public administration etc Ohuabunwa has played great roles aimed at making things better. He is  apparently a thought leader whose mettle are sought across the board.
When the vision 2020 programme was being planned Ohuabunwa was sought, when in 1999  Lagos state held a summit to set up the plan on which Lagos runs till today Ohuabunwa was sought. The reason being that his leadership experience both in business, advocacy, Church, and society generally are very broad to such an extent that he is a sought of factotum.
During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown he was among a few voices   the nation relied upon to give a direction to the mass of the people and government, being the President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria(PSN).And being a pharmacist it was up his alley to discuss issues on vaccines, African remedies , nutrients  and preventive actions  people needed in-order to stay alive. Apart from the Covid-19 issue; Ohuabunwa is one of the few thought leaders and go to people in times of national confusion and challenges-as far as Nigeria is concerned.
In a recent interview Ohuabunwa made plain that he has been” actively involved in national development efforts from my days as Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Ikeja Chairman, Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Assembly (NECA) President, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Chairman etc. I was involved in fashioning out the VISION 2010 and VISION 2020 National Strategic plans. I was in the National Political Reform Conference of 2005.

“I have served in several public sector boards and task forces. I have served in a number of Presidential committees, particularly the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC), the Presidential Steering Committee on the Global Economic Crisis and the Presidential Committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P). I have played similar roles in my State.
”The truth is that I have played politics from the advisory, advocate and supportive angles, providing thought leadership and hoping that all the advice, proposals and ideas (many documented in books) would be faithfully implemented. After endlessly waiting while the overall performance of the Country continues to decline, that has motivated us to enter the ring to seek opportunity to implement what we have been advising others and which seem very difficult for them to implement. Though not actively involved in partisan or competitive politics, I am very familiar with Nigeria political terrain from Pre- Independence till date”.

Although,Mazi Ohuabunwa is now officially a presidential aspirant under the wings of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).He had initiated his political moves with the New Nigerian Group(NNG) .As he stated at the time”The NNG is a non-partisan political group, that is formed to share the VISION of a NEW NIGERIA- A Nation that will transform from a third world to a first world inhabited by happy and contented Citizens who live at peace with each other.”’
 According to him ‘NNG is being planted in the all  states of Nigeria to raise the hopes of Nigerians that that Country they have always clamoured and prayed for is not only possible but that it is imminent. ”We are sharing the message of HOPE around the Country encouraging Nigerians not to despair that SALVATION is on the way. It is gladdening to us that many Nigerians- old and particularly the young who seem to have given up on Nigeria are reviving their hope. It is a great feeling”.

”Nigeria is in deficit of LEADERS with the right competence, character & courage to lead a multi-ethnic Country to Economic Prosperity and National Cohesion. Since independence, not much effort has been made to transform Nigeria from a Country to a NATION. Many groups in Nigeria, from the North to the South, from the East to the West are hurting and it is our cardinal objective to HEAL the Wounds, unite the People in word and deed, and then instigate a massive ramp up of economic productivity that will quickly take us out of joblessness and poverty into a developed Nation with vastly improved standard of living”.

Sam Ohuabunwa is disappointed at the rate of Nigeria’s economic and social development,saying that the cause of this malady is  Deficit in leadership.Adding that this  derives from lack of a uniting vision and the inability to form a cohesive country. Only enlightened, Visionary, Self-less Competent leaders with integrity and courage can drive Nigeria to its manifest destiny as the Leader of Africa and hope of the black race,he says.

He has contended in several interview and speeches that Nigeria is potentially rich, but poor because of its  low productivity, maintaining that its  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is chronically below population growth resulting in low per capital income. This according to him is the cause Nigerians  low purchasing power and reduced consumer demand, which further depresses employment and continues the negative spiral to abject  poverty among the mass of the people. Despite this he contends that a competent leadership that understands how wealth is created can save Nigeria from this morass..

Positing that ”poor nations are not condemned to borrowing. They largely work their way out of Poverty by inviting investments (domestic and foreign). These investments create businesses & projects.  The Businesses create jobs. Jobs create wealth and wealth drives away poverty. That is what we will do if we get the opportunity, not to borrow perpetually”.

On the issues of Igbo marginalisation,he is of the view that ”It is real and evident to the blind. We had hoped that Nigeria would have forgiven the Igbo for whatever they did in the 1966- 1970 era. Indeed, there seemed to have been initial acts of forgiveness and integration that culminated in the choice of   Arc Alex Ekwueme to become vice president (VP) in 1979.
”Somehow, thereafter the animosity seemed to return with apparently greater vehemence. A couple of government policies since 1999 have been decidedly discriminatory against the South East and the Igbo and which reached its zenith in the last couple of years. It is difficult to understand why this is happening to a people who are making extraordinary sacrifices for the development of the Nation in all ramifications. The greatest area of this marginalisation is in the apparent reluctance of certain forces in Nigeria to allow the South East or the Igbo to provide the President for Nigeria.

”Since 1999, Nigeria has been applying the zoning concept in sharing and allocating political positions but now it is the turn of the South East, they are now trying to repudiate this concept. I just hope and pray that such forces will relent if they truly love the unity of this Nation. The Nigerian President of South East extraction will help to heal this Country as it will indicate full re-integration of the Igbo and the final closure of the civil war chapter.”

Mazi  Ohuabunwa read Pharmacy at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) graduating in 1976. He obtained post-graduate education in Organizational & Corporate Management at Columbia University, New York, USA and in Executive Business Management at the Lagos Business School, Lagos, Nigeria. He received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Degree from Gregory University Uturu

Mazi Sam is a fellow of several professional groups, the most prominent being Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria( FPSN), Fellow of the West African Post-graduate College of Pharmacists (FPCPharm), Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy (FNAPharm), Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (FNIM), Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing in Nigeria (FNIMN), Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (FNIPR), Fellow of the Association of Corporate Governance Professionals of Nigeria (FCGP) and Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants (FIMC)

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa joined Pfizer Products Plc in 1978 as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative and rose to become Chairman/CEO of the company and Regional Manager for Pfizer West Africa in 1993. In 1997, Sam led the Management Buy out (MBO) of Pfizer Inc shares in Pfizer Products Plc, transforming the resultant company – Neimeth International Pharmaceutical Products Plc into a medium-sized Research & Development based healthcare company. He voluntarily retired from the company in 2011 after 33 years in the industry, 18 years of which were at the CEO level.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa is an entrepreneur and investor who has been involved in founding and managing several businesses, in many of which he still serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Sam has been exceptionally involved in economic advocacy for several years. He was Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), President of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), President of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and Chairman of the Organized Private Sector (OPS). He was actively involved in fashioning out VISION 2010 and VISION 2020 strategic documents.

Despite Mazi Sam’s extensive involvement in private sector leadership and corporate management, he has also gathered a lot of experience in the Public and Governmental Sector, both at the State and Federal levels. He was Chairman of Abia Polytechnic Governing Council, Chairman of Abia State University Teaching Hospital Board and currently serves as the Chairman of the Abia Public-Private Partnership and Investment Promotion Council. At the Federal level, he had served on the boards of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Manpower Board (NMB) National Institute for Social & Economic Research (NISER) and the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI). Currently, he serves on the Boards of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).

On the political Front, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa has served on many Presidential Committees and Taskforces, the prominent ones being the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC), Presidential Steering Committee on Global Economic Crisis (PSCGES), and the Presidential Committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P). He was a member of the National Political Reform Conference of 2005.

At the Community Level, Sam is a Christian, Knight of St Christopher, National Director of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, Past President General of Nzuko Arochukwu, Chairman of Business Development and Investment Committee of the Alaigbo Development Foundation, and member of the Ime-Obi of Ohaneze Ndigbo.

Pharmacist (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa is the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), President of the Association of Corporate Governance Professionals of Nigeria (ACGPN) and the Convener of the NEW NIGERIA GROUP (NNG).

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa is a bundle of talent, multi-skilled, proven servant leader, entrepreneur, lay minister, social worker, Nation builder, writer and author. He is happily married to Lady Stella Omude Ohuabunwa with Five Children and many grandchildren. For his sacrifices and services to his Community, Profession and the Nation he has been variously honoured, particularly being one of the few living Nigerians to receive three National Honours – Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) in 2001, Officer of the order of Federal Republic (OFR) in 2011 and the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) award in 2018. Mazi Sam credits all his achievements to the Grace of God as he prepares to do more for God and Country.