L-R: Mrs Osinachi Kalu, gospel artiste; Mrs Ndidi Nwuneli, co-founder of LEAP Africa; Mrs Dayo Benjamins-Laniyi, media entrepreneur and Dr Stella Okoli, Emzor Group’s CEO at the thanksgiving dinner
The 2015 edition of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Annual Thanksgiving Dinner witnessed a massive turnout of pharmacists, top government functionaries, captains of industry, technocrats, politicians and professionals from all walks of life.
According to Dr Stella Okoli, Emzor Group’s chief executive officer, the colourful ceremony which held in December 2015 at City Hall in Lagos Island, was her own way of showing appreciation to God.
“When the company started, it has only one product – Emzor Paracetamol. It is a product I still refer to as the best paracetamol in the whole universe,” she enthused.
Okoli reminisced that when she returned to Nigeria from abroad, she, along with other enthusiastic pharmacists, were encouraged to go to into pharmaceutical manufacturing.
In her summation, the Emzor boss lamented that nobody warned her about how tough the terrain was until she discovered much later. Nevertheless, Okoli said that she was grateful to God for strengthening her in weathering the storm.
She added that Emzor’s story is one filled with testimonies because each year, it strives to take a giant stride.
“After a while, doctors in Nigerian hospitals started acknowledging the efficacy of Emzor Paracetamol. It is so good that everybody, including NAFDAC, testifies about its quality.
“As we thank our Almighty God, we are also celebrating complete wellness in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Very soon, we know that it will go global because Emzor Paracetamol is God’s Own Product (GOP)” she stressed.
Praising Okoli’s courage in birthing and nurturing Emzor to its present state, Pharm (Mrs) Elizabeth Awagu, special adviser to NAFDAC’s director general, described her as a wonderful, charitable, straightforward, loving, kind and God-fearing individual.
Sharing her view, Prof. Cecilia Igwilo, a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) remarked that providence had continued to bless Emzor as a company because of Okoli’s appreciative stance with God.
“She is a daughter of Zion, a child of God. She has been having this thanksgiving dinner consistently every year. People tend to neglect appreciation when things are going well, but she doesn’t.
“Remember the biblical story about the ten lepers where only one came back to show appreciation. What happened to the other nine? Let us learn to be appreciative always,” she counselled.
In his address, Dr Ernest Ndukwe, chairman of the occasion, who remarked that he was pleased with the attendees’ response to the praise and worship session of the event, said he had always admired the personality of Okoli.
“When I was asked to be the chairman of this event, I quickly accepted because of the personality of Dr Okoli. I am always impressed with the company’s policy concerning wellness which I believe was built on solid foundation.
“Besides, the calibre of people and government functionaries represented here today says a lot about the personality of Emzor’s chief executive officer, Dr Stella Okoli.”
Ndukwe, the immediate past chief executive officer of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), further disclosed that he was quite captivated with what he had just witnessed and was eager to replicate same in his household.
The ceremony equally witnessed inspiring hymns and soul-lifting songs from the duo of Frank Edward and Sinach, while Pastor J. T. Kalejaiye, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, gave an exhortation.
Among the dignitaries who also graced the ceremony were Mrs Uzoma Ezeoke, Emzor’s director; Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of APC National Leader, Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu; Mrs Bolanle Ambode, First Lady of Lagos; Pharm. (Dr) Monica Hemben Eimunjeze, NAFDAC director of registration and regulatory affairs; Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, former deputy governor of Lagos; and Dr Femi Olugbile, former chief medical director of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
Others were Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited; Pharm Ebenezer Adeleke, managing director of Living Hope Pharmacy & Stores Limited; Dr Babatunde Sowemimo, former director of Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State; Dr Emmanuel Egbogah, former special adviser to the president on petroleum matters and Dr Chimezie Anyakora, chief of party, United States Pharmacopoeia.
Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited is a wholly private indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturing group founded in 1984 by Dr Stella C. Okoli, OON. The company manufactures high quality pharmaceutical products and medical consumables. Its holding company, Emzor Chemists Limited, opened for retail business in January 1977 in Yaba, Lagos.
The rapid growth of the retail business encouraged Emzor Chemists Limited to venture into the importation and wholesale of assorted pharmaceuticals. The idea to manufacture locally came later and this was predicated on the need to develop local capability, create jobs and provide high quality pharmaceutical products and services to the Nigerian people at prices that were not only affordable but represented value.
Emzor Pharmaceutical Ind. Ltd. started pilot production in 1985. By 1988 it had become an established pharmaceutical manufacturing company especially with the introduction of Emzor Paracetamol which is today a leading brand of analgesic not only in Nigeria but across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The company’s factory is located in the Isolo industrial area of Lagos with facilities to make a wide variety of high quality pharmaceutical products that meet international standards at affordable and competitive prices. All Emzor products meet the highest international standards and are duly registered with NAFDAC.
The then secretary of Health to the Interim National Government Dr Christopher Okojie officially commissioned the company’s factory in July 1993. The company has since attracted foreign missions, scholars, and students of pharmacy, microbiology and chemistry. In April 1999, Prof. Debo Adeyemi, the Honorable Minister of Health, commissioned the factory extension.