Kasie Abone reports that Dr. Poly Emenike’s life is a study in doggedness, determination and a shining example of the triumph of the human spirit
Looking at the lineup of stellar men and women of power, affluence and influence who graced his 60th birthday anniversary, his first ever, one would assume albeit wrongly that his path to greatness and success was paved in gold. Leading the endless list of men of timber and influence at that august occasion were former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Anambra State governor, Chief Peter Obi, Prof. Pat Utomi of Pan Atlantic University, Coscharis Group Chairman, Dr. Cosmos Maduka, Senator Andy Uba, former Diamond Bank Group Managing Director, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, former NAFDAC DG, Dr. Paul Orhii, Catholic Bishop of Awka, Anambra State, Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, Executive Chairman of Greenlife Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Obiorah Chukwuma, traditional ruler of Umiaghwa Abraka Kingdom, His Royal Majesty AVM Lucky Ochuko Ararile (rtd), former Union Bank General Manager, Sir GRE Ozulumba and countless others.
The presence of these men belied his real life trajectory which was littered with legion of seemingly insurmountable obstacles to a bright and fulfilling future. With very poor parents and an able but unwilling uncle to cater for his education the young Emenike stubbornly refused to be dogged by his immediate environment and circumstances in his sleepy village of Nanka, in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State. He travelled through the value of shadows of difficulties breaking barriers of education, lack and want and shot himself into a life of immense wealth and comfort, a life of power and affluence, a life worthy of celebration.
And the accolades came in torrents. In his birthday wish to the celebrant, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, quoting from Genesis 6:3 said Emenike should not be in a hurry to leave this planet having worked so hard to become a shining example to humanity but should hang on for another 60 years to claim God’s promise that man should live for 120 years.
Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, described him as “a very extra ordinary person who at 60 years is packed full of successes, challenges and a rich life of what God has done.” He went on to say that he was successful because he lived his business life according to the principles espoused by Napoleon Hills in his books. “He grew his business from a meager N300 (three hundred Naira) to a multi-billion conglomerate with a world class Ota (Ogun State) factory. With only Standard Six certificate he progressed even after getting married and having children to first degree, Masters and now PHD.”
For Prof. Pat Utomi, said Poly is a living proof that “the beauty of a man is not only in his pocket but in the brain too.
“His life is a book to many young people, that you can overcome challenges. We celebrate today the triumph of human spirit in the life that Poly has lived. Luck only smiles on the prepared; the human spirit triumphed because Poly had a plan. He had vision, and he began with the end in mind. He gave the world an example of the triumph of human spirit.”
Senator Andy Uba said Emenike stood out as a beacon of hope, a reward for self-realisation and actualisation and a testament to the glory of God Almighty. “As we launch another of your books to commemorate your 60th birthday I wish that you never have writers block, that you increase from strength to strength, that the fire that burns within your guts to achieve what you have achieved never dims, that you find a willing hand to receive the baton of succession when you are ready to pass it on, that the joy and laughter spread by your philanthropy come back to you many fold and that you live many more years in good health and happiness “Wouldn’t have had a chance at success but has risen to become not only a PHD scholar, a renowned pharmacist, a successful businessman, a well-read author and a philanthropist, for me that is the greatest of all. In a country where people constantly say that children are looking for role models and reward for hard work has become a thing of the past, that striving for excellence through commitment and hard work is no longer an ambition for many, he stands out as a resurrection of the age long values which made us a strong people.”
These outpouring of testimonies were clear indications that Emenike saw beyond these seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He didn’t just visualise them, he took positive steps to achieve his heart desires. This obsessed madness took his adorable wife to find spiritual solution to her husband’s incurable madness, a step that was later to take her life in tragic but unresolved circumstances in the same church in the hands of supposed men of God.
Undaunted Emenike pursued his dream. And today, the unassuming, hugely kind-hearted and peace loving Emenike has indeed separated himself from the dregs of society where he came from to a life of power affluence and comfort.
Who is Dr. Poly Emenike?
Born at the rural sleepy town of Nanka in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Poly as he is fondly called grew up looking beyond his immediate environment to the other side of the track of life what with poverty stirring him daily on his face. He realised early on that life on the other side held better and richer promises with people there having more resources and living a happier healthier life, if only he could acquire the key to such life, education, having come face to face with opulence at his village as a child. He recalled this encounter in his first book, ‘The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Through the Seventeen Principles of Napoleon Hills’. Though he desired to acquire education, the sure route out of poverty, he couldn’t join his mates to proceed to secondary school even after passing his common entrance examination. With very poor parents who could ill afford his education and a lawyer uncle who though able but unwilling to foot his bills, young Emenike was to depart with this uncle to Onitsha in 1972 where he served as domestic hand and an office boy in his uncle’s, Barr. Humphrey Ezeoka’s, law firm where he was paid stipend which his uncle undertook to save for him. With the return of his wife and daughter from UK, he was relieved of cooking but a new assignment of sales boy for his uncle’s wife. He worked at his uncle’s law firm in the morning and sold wares for his wife at Recreation Club Onitsha in the evenings.
Not happy with his new roles, Emenike confronted his uncle about his continued stay without going to school. Seeing his friends in school uniform was a constant reminder of that missing link in his life. Restless and uncomfortable, his elder brother was to find him a new role in 1973 as an apprentice in a woolen shop in Benin City, an arrangement that was short-lived. He however returned to his uncle’s house in Onitsha. In June of 1974 he resettled for another apprenticeship in shoe business. A year after with N300 being his earnings while working in his uncles firm, he started his own business dealing on foot wears. An entrepreneur was born.
Emenike was soon to realise that this new entrepreneurship would not earn him the desired life of comfort and affluence, the type he experienced with his suppliers in Lagos. And through providence, he encountered the book ‘Success Through Mental Attitude’ by Napoleon Hill and W. Clemens Stone in 1978 and in 1980 he bought and read another book ‘Think And Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill. The two books reinforced his resolve to quit shoe business and go into international business (importation).
By age 23, Emenike pioneered import business in his Nanka community, a feat that earned him huge respect and admiration not only from youths who looked up to him as a shining example but also his entire community. Traversing countries like Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, India, Basil, Thailand, Angola, Ghana, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Indonesia among many other countries dealing on pharmaceuticals, fast moving consumer goods, tyres among others.
With these international network of businesses came tremendous successes and huge challenges. But determined to make a difference and impact his generation positively, Emenike through rugged determination, hard work and can do spirit and a strong fate in God trudged on undeterred by any setback, and they were legion. Each of these failures or setbacks were lessons that spur him on to higher heights.
Today, Emenike has grown the N300 (three hundred Naira) business into a multi-billion Naira venture with a world class ultra-modern pharmaceutical factory at Ota, Ogun State to manufacture some of these international brands locally. His company, Neros Pharma, markets over 150 NAFDAC approved high quality pharmaceutical brands. In addition, Poly has also set up other businesses including Poly Humpson West Africa Ltd (FMCGs), PHIC Ltd (Real Estate), Entrepreneurial Spirits Publishing Ltd (Publishing), Poly Emenike Foundation (Philanthropy).
One of the lessons Emenike took away from his encounter with Napoleon Hill’s book was “What the mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve.” With this lesson Emenike dusted up his books and went back to school with his mindset on obtaining a Ph.D. He confessed this much in his first publication ‘Entrepreneurial Spirits: Through the Seventeen Success Principles of Napoleon Hill’. He wrote in part “at the time it looked I would end up with only primary school educational qualification I was inspired to further my educational pursuit owing to the enormous inspirations I drew from reading Dr. Hills writings.” In 1987, at age 32, married with two children and a growing business, Emenike whose unquenchable desire to acquire education to enhance his business pursuit enrolled at Ansaar-Ur-Deen Grammar School, Surulere, Lagos. With a success in WAEC, Emenike went ahead to gain an admission into University of Lagos where he studied Business Administration graduating in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1999, Emenike went on to obtain a Master of Science Degree in Business Administration majoring in Marketing in the same university. In 2009, he began his final journey to achieve his ultimate academic goal. He gained admission into International School of Management (ISM), Paris, France, where he studied International Business Management. The programme course work took him through many campuses of the school in New York, USA and Tokyo, Japan. And so in 2014 after his thesis was approved Emenike’s dream of becoming a Ph.D became a reality.
Besides these degrees, Emenike has also acquired professional certificates in the course of time at Pan African University (Lagos Business School) and Harvard University, USA.
Soon after completion of his Ph.D, Emenike plunged himself into documenting his life’s experiences especially his practical experiences with Napoleon Hill’s writings into books to educate others on practical steps to achieve success. His first effort ‘Entrepreneurial Spirits: Through the Seventeen Success Principles of Napoleon Hill’ was launched to a stellar audience in Lagos in 2014. The book, published by Napoleon Hill Foundation is now on sale to international audience and has become a handbook to success across the world in a record time. He went ahead to publish two other books; ‘The Benefits of Adventure’ and ‘How To Alter Your Destiny to The Direction You Want’ which were launched on his birthday. Emenike’s books which have gained international acclaim, is being read in over 50 countries currently with the first two already translated into Spanish, French and Portuguese. It is also worthy of note that an international Coffee marketing company, Organo Gold use his books as part of studying material for their members.
Philanthropist Par Excellence
As an ardent follower of Napoleon Hill’s principles, Emenike’s act of charity is unprecedented. “The core objectives of his charitable works are to build capacities, empower people, alleviate poverty, strengthen institutions and generally to improve quality of life.” Several institutions, communities, organisations and individuals who have benefitted from his humanitarian gesture include University Of Lagos, where he instituted endowment to reward academic excellence in 10 professional disciplines; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, where he also instituted endowment to reward academic excellence in four departments under Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty as well as provided internet services to its Agulu campus; financially supported the establishment of Wellspring University, Benin City; sponsors football championship in Anambra State and his home town, Nanka where he built 10, 000 capacity stadium for youths development; offering of scholarships to indigent students, empowerment and mentorship programmes for Nanka, distribution of over 50, 000 free copies of his books to schools, donated plots of land in Lagos to Nanka community for civic development among many other good works.
In recognition of these outstanding acts of charity, Dr. Poly Emenike was decorated with Napoleon Hill Foundation Humanitarian Gold Medal and Plaque in Wise, USA in 2012 making history as the first person outside USA and the fourth person to be so honoured. He is also an honorary member of Board of Trustees of Napoleon Hill Foundation, representative of the foundation in the whole of Africa, sole licensee for publication, marketing and distribution of Napoleon Hill Foundation books in African certified instructor of Napoleon Hill Success Principles all over the world as well as collaborates with international authors affiliated with Napoleon Hill.
A Prophet Honoured At Home
Back home, Emenike has also received a lot of accolades as a distinguished citizen of Nigeria and illustrious son of Nanka. In 2011, Emenike was honoured by former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan with a national award of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON). Back home at Nanka, Emenike holds the distinguished title of Odenigbo Nanka in recognition of his efforts untiring efforts at development of his community. Emenike did not just succeed in business, as a family man he was a huge success. After the loss of his wife, Emenike single handedly raised his five children to become very responsible and successful in their own rights. As a lover man that he was, he has remained single but not searching long after the death of his loving wife.