Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa – Boardroom Octopus with an eye on the Presidential Suite
Nigerians looking to recruit a Presidential material who scores highly on every electability variables such as personal integrity, tall credentials, diversified leadership experience, knowledge of Nigeria and clarity of vision for the country, must look in the direction of Mazi Samuel Iheanyichukwu Ohuabunwa.
The pharmacist who gained national attention and prominence in the 1990s as an industrialist and Managing Director/Chief Executive of Pfizer Products (later, Neimeth International Pharmaceutical Products) Plc, rose progressively to become a boardroom octopus and policy advocacy, formulation and execution guru, philanthropist, elder statesman and now a presidential aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The 72-year-old native of Arochukwu in Abia state is an all-rounder by training, experience, vocation, induction and appointment. He is a bundle of talent, multi-skilled, proven servant leader, entrepreneur, lay minister, social worker, nation builder, writer and author. The diversity of his leadership experience at the topmost level in business and government has expanded his exposure to and knowledge of the needs and challenges of the Nigerian society, thereby placing him at a vantage position to deal with them as the President of the country.
The test of an individual’s leadership capability and capacity begins from his ability to manage his life, family, business and other private affairs. Mazi Ohuabunwa’s presidential aspiratiion could benefit immensely from the admirable way in which he managed his educational, working and business career. He read Pharmacy at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) graduating in 1976. He had his 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 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, Ohuabunwa 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.
At the home front, he has built a happy and stable family with his wife, Lady Stella Omude Ohuabunwa, five children and many grandchildren.
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. He 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). Ohuabunwa is the Immediate Past President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), and the current President of the Association of Corporate Governance Professionals of Nigeria (ACGPN) and the Convener of the NEW NIGERIA GROUP (NNG). He was actively involved in fashioning out VISION 2010 and VISION 2020 strategic documents.
Although he has not been very visible in the partisan political front, Mazi Ohuabunwa has been a loyal card-carrying member and financier of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). And, despite his 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).
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, Mazi Ohuabunwa 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.
Even though Mazi Ohuabunwa’s name may not ring a bell on the national political frontline, he has built a solid network of contacts, associates and like-minds across the country capable of supporting and sustaining his presidential aspiration. This network was built over the years through his leadership of various organizations in corporate Nigeria and agencies of government where he worked hand-in-hand with leaders from other parts of the country. These organizations and agencies included MAN where he served as Chairman and NECA of which he was President. He was also the 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). Ohuabunwa is the Immediate Past President of PSN, and the current President of ACGPN and the Convener of the NEW NIGERIA GROUP (NNG). He was actively involved in fashioning out VISION 2010 and VISION 2020 strategic documents.
The services Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa rendered on many Presidential Committees and Taskforces, including 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), and the National Political Reform Conference of 2005 also boosted his political network nationwide. But, more specifically, the nationwide consultations which he embarked on in the wake of his presidential aspiration has cemented his national outlook preparatory to presidential elections.
The credibility of an individual or leader, past, serving or prospective, can be measured in terms of recognitions, honours and acknowledgements he receives from his professional colleagues, credible institutions community and country. On this count, Mazi Ohuabunwa’s credibility is as spartan as that of any other person in the presidential race. His roll of honour is so long it cannot be reproduced here. Some of his recognitions and honours: 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).
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.
From the foregoing, it’s clear that Mazi Ohuabunwa will be one of the most preferred choices for 2023 and has, therefore made the list of the Top10 Magazine’s top 10 most electable presidential hopefuls for 2023.