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Tony Ezenna: Corporate Czar in prescription drug’s world

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SIR Tony Ezenna, Chairman and CEO of Orange Drugs Group is an unassuming business magnet. He is a rare breed who makes the country proud by contributing to the economic growth of the country.

He garners little publicity for a man of his status, yet possesses larger than life image. He is a firm believer in Nigeria and advocates growing the industrial sector. No nation, he believes, undermines this critical sector and makes headway.

The corporate Czar oversees the multi-billion naira indigenous conglomerate that is into pharmaceutical and household commodities, Orange Drugs. His business philosophy anchors on manufacturing quality products and offering first class services.

Even in the face of daunting economic challenges the country has faced over the years, he has remained true to his vision.

Every established organisation has a product that consumers relate with most. And when such product is mentioned, the picture of the organisation comes to mind. For Orange Drugs, it boasts of arrays of quality products, such as Boska, medik, canon extra and the popular Delta Soap, one of the most popular soaps in the country.

Tony’s teenage years was spent at his family-owned Chemist shop-Eastern Industrial Chemist. His resourcefulness in handling his father’s business at a young age demonstrated his resolve to establish himself as a shrewd businessman and an industrialist.

Leveraging on his tutelage under his father’s business, he stepped out of the family business to establish his own business and registered, Orange Drugs Limited (ODL).

Orange Drugs Limited began operations in 1988 in Owerri, Imo State; Tony later moved the office to Lagos, which according to him was to compete favorably locally and internationally.

The company which initially started by marketing and distribution of well-tested drug, commenced production aimed at boosting the Nigerian manufacturing sector and also creating jobs for the populace.

Rather than depend on importation of the materials needed for production, the patriotism in the shrewd entrepreneur and business administrator to contribute to the building of the nation’s economy made the company to source its raw materials from within the country.

The productions are carried out by Nigerians, many of whom have been trained in special skills outside the shores of the country at the company’s expense. The wide range of Orange Drugs products are now market leaders.

Its soap, noodles production factory in Onitsha, Anambra State, is the largest of such factories in Africa. The factory which was commissioned in 2012 by then President Goodluck Jonathan produces bulk goods which are completed in other smaller factories across the country.

In pursuit of its vision with meeting the challenges in the global economy, Orange Drugs Limited later diversified its line of business by the establishment of Orange Kalbe Ltd and Orange West Africa Limited leading to the formation of Orange Group. The organisation has in its establishment thousands of young Nigerians who could by now still be in the labour market. From a humble beginning, the group now has offices in various parts of the country, with branches in Ghana, Cameroon, Benin Republic, and United States of America.

The business mogul, often called ‘Orange’ by friends has been described as an incurable philanthropist. He is never tired of putting smiles on the faces of Nigerians through his plethora of philanthropic gestures. His philanthropic gestures spread from education, sports to religion.

Through his Tony Ezenna Foundation, which he set up in 2006, to ensure children of the downtrodden are not denied the benefits of education, he has provided financial assistance and scholarships to families that can’t afford to send their wards to school. The Foundation also provided financial assistance to small-scale business owners round Akokwa.

According to him, “There is nothing better that can be given to the world than good and qualitative education. The best way to curb crime in the society is by making sure that every child has access to good education. The best empowerment is good education.”

The Orange Drug boss is a man who believes that charity begins at home. He has contributed immeasurably to the development of his hometown, Akokwa. He constructed blocks of standard classrooms for Akokwa High School, St. Anthony High School and Bishop Shanaham College, Orlu.

His benevolence ameliorated the water challenge in his community, who now enjoys his pipe-borne water projects in addition to the construction of over 45-kilometre asphalt road for the community, among others.

In 2007, as means of contributing to sports development in the country, his foundation instituted and sponsored the annual Lagos Boska/LDFA Football Championship, the annual Procold

Table Tennis Championship in Nigeria. It’s today the biggest Table Tennis tournament in Nigeria sponsorships in the country and the Akokwa Unity Soccer Cup in his community.

Tony, who holds the title of Ikenga Akokwa and a recipient of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) is married to Adaeze, and they are blessed with five children.

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