”A NATION THAT NEGLECTS ITS CHILDREN IS DESTROYING ITS FUTURE” – FELIX OHIWEREI
ELDER FELIX OHIWEREI –THE BOARDROOM GURU & GOD PLEASER: ‘’We are talking about change in Nigeria, but the first and most important change we need is a change of heart. ‘’Take away the carnal aspect of our lives, take away the heart of stone and replace it with the heart of flesh, one that looks up to God, that seeks to please Him, knowing that He is the Creator, the only one who can guide us and that all good things come from Him’’. – ELDER FELIX OHIWEREI
It was a great poet, Henry Longfellow who submitted that: ‘’The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night’’ This is one of the secrets of successful people. At inception, one of the interesting features we promised to highly are stories of highly successful personalities. This is with a view to encouraging the younger generation to be committed to fulfilling their goals in life and finish well. So far, we have published the intimidating credentials of late Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, a former United Nations Under Secretary-General and have also published the very daunting credentials of a teacher of teachers and professor of professors, Prof. Akin Mabogunje, an outstanding scholar of repute.
ELDER FELIX OMOIKHOJE AIZOBEOJE OHIWEREI: Today, we go to the boardroom to pick ELDER FELIX OMOIKHOJE AIZOBEOJE OHIWEREI, who by all standards belongs to the group of immensely successful, but extremely humble personalities in Nigeria today. In all situations, hard work, prayers and a bit of luck are ingredients for success. Felix Ohiwerei hails from Uzebba in Owan Local Government of Edo State. He arrived in this world on 18th January 1937.
- David’s School, Avbiosi New Site; Government School, Owerri;
- Government Secondary School, Owerri;
- Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan and
- University College, Ibadan (now University of Ibadan). From where he graduated in 1961, when the institution was the University College, Ibadan with special affiliation to the University of London.
- Teacher for 9 months. Elder Ohiwerei taught for nine months
- Joined Nigerian Breweries in April 1962 as Manager-In-Training.
- Promoted to the position of Field Sales Manager and in that capacity he served in the West and Mid-West and
- Returned to Lagos in 1965 as Promotions Manager.
- In 1966 he was sent on attachment to Elida Gibbs (a Unilever Company in the UK).
- He returned to Lagos after eighteen months to assume the position of Star Product Manager.
- Became Marketing Manager in 1974,
- Held the positions of Lager Product Group Manager and General Brands Manager.
- Appointed to the Board of NB Plc in 1977 as Marketing Director,
- In 1982 was seconded to UAC Foods Division as General Manager.
- In June 1986, he went to UAC International, London (a Unilever Company) as a Senior Manager in Nominated African Territories Regional Management.
- Was appointed Deputy Chairman/Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc in 1987,
- Became Chairman/Managing Director in June 1989 and
- Appointed Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the company in 1997.
- He retired from the service of Nigerian Breweries in June 1999
- Was appointed Non-Executive Chairman of the company in July 1999
- Retired from the Board in December 2007
- He was also Chairman Unilever Nigeria Plc from January 1998 to December 2007.
- He was also a Director of Shell Closed Pension Fund Administrator until April 2009.
CURRENT APPOINTMENTS — He is Chairman, of the following companies
- Coates Brothers (West Africa) Limited,
- Jubilee Life Mortgage Bank,
- Asset & Resource Management Company Ltd,
- Bankers Warehouse Limited,
- e-Tranzact International Limited,
- World Dove Media Plc;
- Chairman, Friendship Bible Fellowship,
- National Director, Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship International,
- Chairman, Ashford & McGuire
- Fidson Healthcare Limited.
- He was a Member, Heineken Africa Advisory Council; Member,
- Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of Council, University of Ibadan – 2000-2004.
- In December 2003 he was appointed Chairman, Governing Council of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission for a period of four years.
- He was also Chairman, Board of Trustees of Redeemer’s University for seven years.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS & HONOURARY DEGREES
- Fellow, Nigerian Marketing Association;
- Fellow, Geography Society of Nigeria; Fellow, Institute of Directors;
- Fellow, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria.
- He holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree (LL.D) from the University of Ibadan.
- He is also a recipient of the Zik’s Prize in Leadership Award,
- Recipient of the Order of Orange Nassau by the Queen of the Netherlands and
- Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR)
- He is a recipient of the Zik’s Prize in Leadership Award.
- The Order of Orange Nassau by the Queen of the Netherlands.
BELIEFS: HOW NIGERIA COULD BE GREAT: In an interview with the Guardian Newspapers when he turned 80 years old, Elder Ohiwerei stated that: ‘’We are talking about change in Nigeria, but the first and most important change we need is a change of heart. ‘’Take away the carnal aspect of our lives, take away the heart of stone and replace it with the heart of flesh, one that looks up to God, that seeks to please Him, knowing that He is the Creator, the only one who can guide us and that all good things come from Him. ‘’When we develop that kind of heart, our value system will change again and the Holy Spirit will be our guide. ‘’You will have chaos and crises when you take God out of a situation and put man in His place, as we are going through in Nigeria today’’
Ohiwerei is deeply committed to the agenda of God; and it is said that nobody who leaves his time to serve God would go empty. Ohiwerei and his wife, Mama Janet Ohiwerei serve God with passion. Elder Ohiwerei is always on the entourage of Pastor E.A. Adeboye on some outreach programmes, particularly ‘Let’s Go A Fishing’ His wife Mummy Janet Ohiwerei serves the Lord as a member of the Choir of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Pastor Adeboye, at the 80th birthday ceremony of Elder Ohiwerei stated in part: He asserted, in the publication under reference that: ‘’There is so much to be done in the Kingdom of God. A man of God said to me something that made me realize that once you achieve a milestone, there is a higher one waiting for you. ‘’When we were discussing his achievements, he said to me that he hadn’t even started yet.’’ This is one of the foremost reasons for his success.’’ Elder Ohiwerei has stated that: ‘’‘My greatest desire now is to please God in every area of my life’’
PRIVATE LIFE: Going into the private life of Elder Felix Ohiwerei will teach several people the much-desired lessons they should learn about parenting. This comes under our social development campaign on family values. A true life narration by Elder Felix Ohiwerei is a must read by parents generally. Elder Ohirewei’e experiences on raising a family is published below:
PROMOTING FAMILY VALUES.
A NATION THAT NEGLECTS ITS CHILDREN IS DESTROYING ITS FUTURE – FELIX OHIWEREI
‘’And one of the children answered, saying: ‘’Daddy, if you spend more time at home, he will know you and will allow you to carry him. ‘’The key fell from my hand and I just sank into the nearest chair. I was then in my mid-30s, fortunately. I couldn’t go out again that day. That taught me that I needed to spend time with them, that they needed me at home – Elder Felix Ohiwerei
What many of us are doing is unconsciously breeding a generation that is left in the hands of houseboys and house girls most of the time, in the hands of teachers part of the time and in the hands of their parents very little of the time. Who is best placed to bring up a child, if not the parents? So, we have to go back to basics. Parents must have time for their family and bring up the children the way they should go. But do parents, these days actually know which way they should go or the right things?
If they are taught the way they should go, the way and fear of the Lord, right from childhood, then we will produce a good society and good leaders, who would work according to the principle of God. You either leave your children in the hands of nannies and cooks and they develop nanny and cook mentality, or you spend time with them and bring them up the way they should go. The problem with man is that man tries to do things his own way; man likes to strive, to put in efforts. But God has always given man a simple and better way. He says we should first seek his kingdom and righteousness and every other thing will be added unto us.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE – HOW CHILDREN EMBARRASSED THEIR FATHER:
I know, having gone through it myself, that you can combine both. That was one of the challenges I had when I was growing up in the early working days, that is, balancing the needs of my family and work. God, in His own wonderful and mysterious way, helped me very early in life to realize that my family needed me. As a young man, one day I came back from work, went to have a bath, changed my clothes, picked up the car key and was about to go to the Island Club that day to meet some friends.
As I was passing through the sitting room, I tried to carry the baby, but he won’t allow me carry him. I tried the first time, the second time and the third time, but he won’t allow me touch him. I said, ‘what’s wrong with you?’
And one of the children answered, saying: ‘’Daddy, if you spend more time at home, he will know you and will allow you to carry him. ‘’The key fell from my hand and I just sank into the nearest chair. I was then in my mid-30s, fortunately. I couldn’t go out again that day.That taught me that I needed to spend time with them, that they needed me at home. I was leaving everything to my wife then, but I now found that my presence was needed.
I then made up my mind that I would take them to school in the morning, pick them from school at lunch time, have lunch with them and go back to work (of course, the school was not too far from home). It taught me a lesson and taught them how to eat.
Then I got to know a lot of what was happening in their school. My mind had been telling me about this, ‘go to their school and know what is happening,’ and I would say, ‘no, no, you can do that.’ But that experience changed my life and brought me close to my family. And it is never too late for any parent, no matter how old, to get closer to the children or even grandchildren. So, talk about being busy, it is not a reason at all. If we don’t take care of our families, society is going to decay more and more. We must pay attention to our families, to our children. Any nation that neglects its children is destroying its future. That is a fact of life. — (Credit: Guardian on Saturday)
MENTORING: Elder Ohiwerei was mentored by his biological father. But he has other mentors and helpers of destiny that have been positioned at strategic points in his journey through Planet Earth. Ohiwerei’s father, a Catechist was credited with a very strong character and was also a strict disciplinarian. He imbibed his father’s disposition to life. In his career that blossomed. In his boardroom career, those who impacted him positively are: Dr. C.E. Abebe, Dr. Michael Omolayole and Mr. Akintola Williams; all of these are considered ‘’achievers and men of integrity’’ Ohiwerei was challenged by Pastor Adeboye’s humility, lifestyle and unimpeachable character.
Daddy G.O, as Pastor Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide is fondly called is Elder Ohiwerei’s role model. At the age of 82 years, Elder Ohiwerei serves God with passion alongside his dear wife, Elder Mrs Janet Ohiwerei who at about 80 years is a member of RCCG Choir. So, why wouldn’t the family be blessed? Elder Ohiwerei and Baba Elder (Prof) Fola Aboaba, a retired professor of Agricultural-Engineering who was the Foundation Dean of Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan (1976 – 1982); are also together, serving in God’s vineyard with incredible energy. Baba Aboaba is also over 80 years old. And both serve as Members of the Board of Trustees of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
CHILDREN – WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS? So young children, who are your mentors and who do you look up to? Do you know everybody passing through this world has at least one helper of destiny place along your earthly route that should lead you into your destiny? Are you contented or you wish to move on in life? If so, then abandon those bad gangs and associations you belong to. Why are you in that club that makes your actions very criminal in nature? And parents, let it not be socials every weekend, and the latest clothes and trinkets, such that you don’t spare enough time to attend to your children. We are in a jet age when children at impressionable ages could be misled by peer groups. Do you even know your children’s friends and teachers?
ROLE MODELS: Children, if you want to be like these blessed Nigerians, then behave like them and trust in the Lord Who is always able. For Elders Ohiwerei, Fola Aboaba and S.M Olakunrin to serve the Lord passionately as they are doing means there is something in that Being that you might not have experienced. Thy are enjoying great grace because of their total submission to Jesus Christ. And God’s grace is not the exclusive preserve of one person. You could decide to outshine Pastor Adeboye, Archbishop Akinola, Pastor William Kumuyi, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Prelate Emeritus Sunday Mbang before God.
PLA FOR GREATNESS: They will be proud to pass the mantle to you as may be divinely approved. You have the right that these great men have to access the Throne of Grace But not with filthy garments. So, if you want to be like these great Nigeria’s please read about how they succeeded by holding on to Christ; then work hard and pray. Avoid evil company. You can be greater than Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Balewa. But you must work towards that because nothing comes easy. Even people who rob plan for their operations. But don’t join them. Plan the positive way. Why don’t you copy examples of successful people who toiled day and night to be successful instead of looking for cheap money or yahoo-yahoo? If your design is to make money quick, then you might go to jail quick and never finish well and could injure the future of your children when they eventually grow up. You probably will not locate successful people who will take pride in consumption of hard drugs. If it is good, important personalities will do it openly. Remember, you should never fall into the hands of evil people who could manipulate you to do their bidding and this could be disastrous.
THE SATURDAY ELECTIONS: You could start with the general elections holding in Nigeria on Saturday. Cast your votes for your preferences. Refuse to be bribed because those bribes are poisonous and could injure your future. Whoever bribes you doesn’t mean well. She/he will deduct expenses committed into elections from the purse of government whenever he/she gets into office, if elected. Don’t accept to be a political thug. That person who wishes to employ you also has children in his/her home. There is indeed no free meal. This is the time to show that people are the true components of governance.
PRAY!: Finally, as we go to the polls for the Federal Elections, please pray for Nigeria, pray for people in positions of authority as commanded by the Lord to Whom all power belongs. If you refuse to pray for this great nation and people in positions of authority, you would bear the brunt of all actions they take that could be negative. God controls the hearts of me and WHEREVER GOD IS NOT ALLOWED TO RULE; HE OVERRULES.
Pray for crisis-free elections and that God’s will may be done.
May the Good Lord bless Nigeria His beloved nation.