Sam Ohuabunwa

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Samuel Iheanyichukwu Ohuabunwa is a Nigerian businessman and former managing director and chairman of Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc, formerly Pfizer Products Plc. As MD and chairman of Pfizer, he led a so called management buyout of Pfizer, turning it into Neimeth International.

Ohuabunwa as the managing director of Pfizer products was at the helm of the firm when it undertook a controversial Provan drug test in Kano in 1996. In 2008, though, he was not detained, a Kano high court judge granted him bail in relation to charges brought against Pfizer in a protracted legal battle.


Ohuabunwa initially wanted to study medicine but the onset of the Nigerian Civil war and the fours years of crisis and bloodshed that ensued, Ohuabunwa noticed he had wasted about 4 years and decided to look for a shorter course for studies. In 1972, he enrolled at the University of Ife to study pharmacy, a course which was closer to his original intention. In 1978, he joined Pfizer Products Plc as a pharmaceutical sales representatives with duties to promote products in doctors, health care professionals and pharmacists offices and stores in the old Bendel State and Ondo State. Then Pfizer was affiliated to Pfizer International, a multinational group with strong emphasis on research and development of new drugs.


At Pfizer, Ohuabunwa was made an area sales manager of the firm in 1980 and rose to become a national sales manger after a stint at the Eastern division. While working in the Eastern division, he expanded Pfizer's approved distributorship thereby increasing the opportunity for sales. In 1990, he was invited to join the board of the company after becoming the firm's marketing manager and after success in the sales division through different means including increased supervision of sales personnel.

In June 1993, he was appointed the managing director of Pfizer and immediately had to face the challenge of managing the firm in the aftermath of the June 12 political crisis. He was also concerned about divestment talk from the main shareholder, Pfizer International whose global strategy of marketing new drugs before their patents run out was not in sync with the Nigerian market that was heavily geared towards popular but older products. In 1997, the multinational Pfizer decided to divest 60% of its interest in the Nigerian company. Ohuabunwa with the help of Diamond Bank was able to secure financing to the tune of 270 million to purchase Pfize International's share of the local company. The purchased shares were unloaded to the management, employees and some external investors for purchase. However, the new company called Niemeth still maintained a relationship with Pfizer by producing their products and marketing their newer products in the Nigerian market, it also had the opportunity to become more adventurous and seek out other non Pfizer products and become more centered into delivering products for the Nigerian and African market instead of following global patterns.

Later career

Ohuabunwa as written a book on social justice and empowerment; in 2005, he was a member of the National Political Reform Conference and during the time spoke on his themes of social justice and well as a desire for more private sector led control of the economy. He also founded an eponymous foundation on economic empowerment.

Ohuabunwa as served as the president of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, Business CLub, Ikeja and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

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