My Recollections From Sam Ohuabunwa @ 70 Years


by Engr. Cyril Ekpe – Shell PH

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa (MON, OFR, NPOM, FPSN, KSC, etc), President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria,  marked 70 years on 16 August 2020. It was a day to remember as he launched his latest book WIRED TO LEAD. I have not experienced a virtual event that lasted from 2pm – 8pm+ with the attendance of more than 500 participants including the  Leadership of Spiritual, Government, Political, Industry, Community, Families…name it. The event It was chaired by Sir Christopher Kolade (Accomplished Director of Companies & former Nigerian Ambassador to the UK) with a retinue of distinguished guest/speakers; the likes of  Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo (former leaders of Nigeria), Bishops of the Church ( Catholic/Anglican & Pentecostal), Sani Dangote (brother of Aliko of the Dangote Group), Deacon  Adebowale Robert Tade (1st Nigerian Pharmacist on the Board of Pfizer), Stella Okoli (Emzor Pharmaceuticals), Boss Mustafa (SSG of FGN), Prince Juli Adelusi Adeyuli (Juli Pharmacy), Gen Ike Nwachukwu/ Ebitu Ukiwe, Governors of Abia, Lagos, Rivers States, Nnaya Nwodo (President of Oha na Eze Ndi Igbo!),  Peter Obi & Gbenga Daniel (former Governors of Anambra & Ogun State),  Charles Soludo (Ex-CBN Governor),  Dr. ABC Orjiakor (Oil/Gas business Executive & Non-Executive Chairman of Neimeth Pharmaceuticals of which Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa is the Executive Director), Maurice Iwu (Former INEC Chairman), Godwin Omene (former DMD of Shell), Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, etc.

In his opening speech, Mazi Sam gave a testimony of how he turned back his life to Jesus Christ as a Manager in Pfizer after “deceiving himself” for many years. Thereafter, his Spiritual journey further enhanced his physical, moral & financial fortunes.

The book WIRED TO LEAD was reviewed by Prof  Pat Utomi. The book is A MUST READ for all who struggle to serve & lead a successful life (starting from self-leadership to leadership of family, community, Government & Non-Governmental Organisations). Subsequently, almost everyone who spoke gave testimonies of their inspirational encounter with Sam. One outstanding quality he displayed in Pfizer was excellent “time management ” & persuasion in convincing you to buy his product as he toured Nigeria as sales manager.

Some speakers in their views were bold enough to volunteer their support for him (Mazi) to present himself as the 2023 (South-East) Presidential Candidate to rule and  SAVE NIGERIA! The wiser speakers acknowledged the fact that Sam’s achievements were enhanced with the support of his dear wife, Stella & their amiable children. On this occasion, Stella was looking glamorous in a black/grey long gown to complement the black suit/white shirt of Sam. She still looked beautiful. While wearing a cream-color face mask to contrast Sam’s black mask.  She spoke few words & addressed him as her brother, husband, spiritual man & lover.  We were deeply moved as She sang him an emotional love song; Dim oma …mu fulu na….biko  bia kulu mu dim oma..oyoyo dim oma…(My husband who I love….please take me in your arms….you ravish my heart…my husband) as she hugged him and knelt  to thank him. Our Brother-in-law (UGONNA ISU) & Sister (daughter of Zion! ) added their testimony…(I will leave to them to repeat it in their OWN WORDS). 

A number of Religious leaders & Groups prayed for Mazi , namely the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship, Anglican Bishops, Bishop Matthew Kukah ( Catholic Bishop of Sokoto who was in transit to Kano). He added some humour when it was his time to pray. He said that, as a Catholic Priest, his prayer would be short. He told a story about Short prayers that he heard from the late Bola Ige  when he (Bola) & a few other past political leaders where held in Kirikiri prison following the military takeover of Government by a “coup d’etat”. Many (Christians, Muslims – the likes of late Abubakar Rimi etc) participated in daily prayer meetings & some non-Catholics even prayed the Rosary “because at times of distress people cling to any means to find solutions “. On this particular day, Sam Mbakwe (of blessed memory) reluctantly attended the session and quietly sat at the  rear . In order to “bring him out of his shell”, he was called upon to say the closing prayers. De Sam Onunaka Mbakwe just just walked up to the podium and prayed; “God you know our hearts and that we are not happy being here, PLEASE SEND US HOME. AMEN”. Behold, after one week the political prisoners were released to go home! Bishop Kukah the proceeded to say a short prayer for good health of mind & body for Mazi Sam,  progress on Nigerian & for an end to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

The event continued for hours even after the closing prayer was said by the Anglican Bishop of Arochukwu/Ohafia Diocese ( Rt. Revd. Johnson Onuoha).

All in all..these are are my take always…what I learned from the life of Mazi Sam Iheanyichukwu Ohuabunwa.

1. *Build Your Spiritual Foundation:*

Leaders are born (naturally) but one could “learn to lead” by serving with integrity & learning from the experiences of their interactions with other leaders. However, one needs a deep Spiritual foundation to lead with Divine wisdom & differentiate oneself from many other “worldly ” leaders. I added this prayer for him in the event group chat;

“The success of every man is in the hands of the Lord and He clothes the rulers with his Glory” – Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 10:5.

By the way, It is noteworthy that Sirach is one of the Deuterocanonical books that you find in the Catholic version of the Bible (e.g. Good News, New Jerusalem etc). One who finds time to read these 7 additional books (viz; Tobias, Judith, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, 1st & 2nd Machabees!) will definitely obtain a more pragmatic & leadership knowledge for personal growth.

2. *Enhanced Physical/Financial Growth*

– There is no age limit for coming out of ones’ “shell” & adjusting to change.  In fact, managing change is what makes us human. THE ONLY PERMANENT THING IN LIFE IS CHANGE.

For me, in particular, I will be coming out of my “Shell ” both literally & figuratively. In few weeks, we will be moving out of the Shell Residential Area after 25 years in the safe & secure environment in Nigeria & Malaysia. Also, having recently transited from “Shell” to “Self” employment, I will have to navigate my path in the “real ” but RISKY Business world  to sustain a satisfactory standard of living.

3. *Ensure Moral/Emotional Resilience:*

– Maintain a high level integrity, humility & respect for people as demonstrated by Mazi Sam. It is said that “a man is known by his patience when he is in lack and by his attitude when he has all he needs “. I feel sure that most of the guests in the event would not realise that Sam, as successful as he is, still experiences his high & low moments as a human being. What is key is for one to sustain  Faith, Hope & Love with the emotional resilience to be focused on ones goal in life (ONYE KWE CHI YA EKWE).



1. Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.

2. Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the LORD, and they study it day and night.

3. They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. THEY SUCCEED IN EVERYTHING THEY DO.

4. But evil people are not like this at all; they are like straw that the wind blows away.

5. Sinners will be condemned by God and kept apart from God’s own people.

6. The righteous are guided and protected by the LORD, but the evil are on the way to their doom.

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