Emmanuel Njoku, a consummate Executive with exceptional entrepreneurial mindset and Chairman of Emma Njoku Foundation, a non-governmental organization which focuses on health and education has left indelible imprints on the minds and hearts of individuals and organisations.
Emmanuel Njoku recently received African Achievers Award in United Kingdom is the Managing Director of Prezzo Shed Investments Ltd, a multinational company supporting the Nigerian and African health care sectors. He also renders services in Real Estate and sits on the board of many companies in Nigeria and overseas.
Emmanuel speaks about his Foundation and Prezzo, which has contributed to health care logistics in Nigeria. Excerpts:
What has Emma Njoku Foundation done to better the lots of Nigerians?
The Foundation was set up some years back as a way of continuing the work of saving lives. If you look at the country, things have been very challenging in the past years and a lot of young people have chosen deviant lifestyle as a way of life. Some of them abuse substances here and there. There is also the issue of unemployment, and those who are able to go to school are not getting jobs. And so the Foundation was set up because I wanted to see how much more I can contribute to the wellbeing of the people as much as I am able to do to the best of my ability to provide assistance for the health care, education, and to discourage young people from substance abuse which is almost becoming a norm in our country now. That is what motivated me to set up the Foundation. Over the years, we have done a whole lot of activities, and we can say we are happy with the impact we have made in the lives of the people.
Most of the people that abuse substance in Nigeria are youth. Since your NGO is youth centered, what advice do you have for the youth?
I believe that our youth should have faith and hope irrespective of whatever reality is staring us in the face .There is still hope; there is no need to indulge in deviant activities because of the present hardship. I want the youth to believe that there is a future for them and that future is bright. They should just work harder, even though some of them who wish to work hard don’t have the platform to actualize their dreams, I want them to trust in God because I believe in the God factor. I believe that God still have the final say in the affairs of men. So our youth should trust in God and use every opportunity available to them to do good things, to make positive efforts and there will be light at the end of the tunnel. I want our youth to stay upright. At the rate at which our youth are missing the right track, if we continue in that way, it’s only a matter of time before our country will be in total chaos. So, I appeal to our young people to have faith and hope in the country and to refuse and reject every attraction to crime and criminality as a way forward .The solution is not in crime or drug abuse, the solution is to remain hopeful and to continue to look at the brighter side of life.
How broad is the Foundation, and are you collaborating with any agency of the Federal Government?
I am nationally and globally minded, so I provide support across the country. I have done activities and we are still doing activities across the country. We are working at the national level. Emma Njoku Foundation is collaborating with all the relevant agencies of government like the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Education, NDLEA, and FRSC, NEMA and all agencies of government that have something to do with humanitarian work and lifesaving activities.
Let’s talk about Prezzo, what is the focus of the company?
Prezzo is in the healthcare industry that is the core of what we do. We take pleasure in life saving activities. Our core activity is centered on lifesaving; we support the country in primary health care sector. We take pleasure in doing this, and we have done it over the years, and the country is better for it.
Has the company made any appreciable impact on cold chain equipment in Nigeria’s health sector?
We have been supporting Nigeria’s health care sector for years. We have supported the country in the Primary Health Care sector. Prezzo supports the country to make sure that vaccines that are brought into the country maintain their integrity until the last line. The question is how do we do that? We provide cold chain equipment for the country’s healthcare facilities across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria and in thousands of primary health care facilities and in tertiary health care facilities. We provide cold chain equipment to make sure that vaccines are stored in ethically right conditions, to maintain their integrity to the point of delivery. And not just vaccines, also all the medicines and medicaments that require to be stored under sensitive temperature environment are stored in our equipment. And we make sure that the equipment are functioning up-to-date. That is why we have hundreds of technicians across the country that can easily reach every health facility in any local government, village or ward at the slightest notice. That was how the country has been able to maintain a robust primary health care architecture in the last ten years. That also accounts for why Nigeria is today polio free. Before now, you must be aware that polio was ravaging this country but thanks to the leadership of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the government for the political will because if the government did not provide the enabling environment, there was no way we could have achieved what we have achieved in that sector of the economy. I pray that other sectors of the health system will also have similar success story to tell.
Challenges are bound to be everywhere. There is no sector without challenges, but the good news is that challenges provide opportunities as well. That is how I see it. We try to overcome challenges by helping the government to put the right policy in place to govern the primary health care sector and also making the Nigerian development partners to bring more support to the country in this area because this one sector that goes to the heart of the common people. As I said earlier, challenges always exist, for example funding gap. You cannot have enough funds to do all that should be done, but then, the will to get them done is there and hopefully, government will receive more support from partners and things will continue to go in the right direction.
You have just bagged African Achievers Award in UK, what does it mean to you?
For me, it’s a pat on the back being nominated for African Achievers Award and receiving the Award at the British House of Lords, I am very happy about it, the Award will definitely propel me to do more for humanity. I hope to ride on that to offer more humanitarian services to the people. I also hope that it will help me to have more collaboration for the Foundation.