Upcoming medical practitioners, entrepreneurs, and investors have been told to study the methods of a Kalabari chief and medical doctor who has emerged as a ‘Celebrity Doctor.’
The younger generation of Niger Delta people have been advised to study the concept and book titled: ‘Push Through The Wall’ to achieve success.
The call was made by the Deputy Governor of Rivers State (a professor), Ngozi Ordu, who worked under the Unilag-trained medical doctor and Commissioner of Health (1999-2003), Emi Membere-Otaji, as permanent secretary of the Ministry. She said the medical doctor-now turned entrepreneur and maritime investor is a man who never accepted defeat and who insisted that people should push through the wall in the face of any obstacle.
This was confirmed by the Rivers State Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Private Medical Practitioners (ANPMP), Joseph Oluwayi, who explained why the association crowned Membere-Otaji as the new ‘Celebrity Doctor’ for the 2023-2025 biennium.
He said that Membere-Otaji, with many other distinguished awards, was most deserving of the award.
“Biennially, every two years, we honour our own; those that have reached the zenith of their career in private practice. These are recipients that have demonstrated exemplary commitment and are topnotch model of excellence in private practice. They need to be placed on a pedestal worthy of emulation by peers and colleagues,” Oluwayi said.
The state chairman went on to say that private sector healthcare sector is where 70 per cent of the populace go. This he said is because of number of hospitals/clinics and companies with medical facilities. “Both generalists and specialists belong to us whether you own or work in a private facility.”
He also used the opportunity to make some sensitive recommendations to the FG such as need to set up a Health Bank to fund special projects, and the need to regulate the health insurance scheme better.
He urged Nigerians to be more patriotic and expect a better economy saying before the next few years, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would hit one trillion Dollars.
Olawuyi went on to testify that the highest award any practitioner can get is the one given to him/her by your peers and colleagues. This makes you undisputable primus inter pares (first among equals).
“Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji no doubt has carved a niche in the medical and the business worlds through conscientious diversification, empirically holistic healthcare, oil and gas, shipping, management, industries, etc. No wonder the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award was conferred on him.
“In the same vein, I also congratulate you on the unveiling of your book, tonight, titled: ‘Push Through the Wall.’”
Deputy Governor testifies
The Deputy Governor, Ngozi Nma Ordu, said: “I knew Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji before 1999 when we worked together in the Ministry of Health because we had worked together on some healthcare projects. I must say it is not easy to work with him.
“He however, has listening ears, which is the hallmark of leadership. If he finds that your idea is better than his, he would drop his own and take yours.
“Pass Through The Wall became the slogan of the Ministry in our time together. He always said so when there seemed to be definite obstacle many felt could not be overcome. He would insist that you push through the wall to get result. Soon, both the leadership and followership accepted this philosophy and began to apply it, and it worked. This kept everybody on their toes. To us then, the boat had to sail but everybody must not be on board.”
She said the team went nationwide with exploits and solutions. “I am proud to call him ‘My Boss’. You made us to work to be perfect, though you may not be perfect. To us, any task must be done. You never feared that I would outshine you. You were jack of all trade and master of all.”
She said his charge was that in whatever one does, one should put one’s signature on it.
“His footprint cuts across the industries. He believes that is what we owe the society. It is true because hard work does not kill, it rather pays.
“Your word was that we should keep the flag flying. I hand that charge back to you, keep the flag flying.”
The ‘Celebrity Doctor’ raises the bar
Membere-Otaji, who is also a top Kalabari chief, said the deputy governor knew much about what led to the title of the book that was about being unveiled; ‘Push Through The Wall.’
He went on: “In the Ministry of Health, we had only one rickety pick up van to serve all the health units and outreach services such as immunization, but I insisted that the task must be done, so you must Push Through The Wall.
“We accomplished a lot to the pride of the state government and commendations of the national and international health community.”
He said the book would also be unveiled in Lagos and Abuja.
“I have two national honours and had handshake with then president, Muhammadu Buhari, twice, for someone that was not in government and was not in the ruling party. The Rivers State Government equally gave me an award, the highest available in the state (DSSRS). There are many others.”
He is now the second deputy president of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA). It is the only election a president would face; others are natural progression till inauguration. It means by the next few years, the Kalabari son would be enthroned as the national president of NACCIMA to speak for the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in Nigeria.
He however seemed to play these feats down and urged the elite audience to relax to good music and good food and wine. “Its not a book launch but a celebration of the book effort. Review is not by one person, but a collection of opinions by several distinguished personalities that got the opportunity and privilege to read it ahead of today.”
He enjoined young people to study the principles of wealth creation and how money works to enable them play big in the industrial and financial sectors.
Some of the very important personalities that graced the book presentation include the immediate past president of NACCIMA, Ide John Udeagbala; Adokiye Tombomieye, John Mbata, Tony Eze, and Nabil Saleh.
Others were Soji Oni, David Adewuyi, and the monarch Joe Alagoa.