His Royal Majesty, Prof. Paul Olisa Ojeh, is arguably the most popular and respected name in the world of natural medicine in Nigeria today. From Delta State, the hugely controversial entrepreneur spent over an hour with the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine, AZUH ARINZE, on Thursday, July 14, 2011, where they examined a lot of issues. The meeting was at his office on Ijaiye Road, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos. Excerpts…
What has been happening to you?
So many beautiful things.
Can you share some of these beautiful things with us?
They are so many. 14 of our drugs won the best drugs award in the world from the Direct Marketing Institute headed by Mrs. Priscilla Kuye, the former NBA (Nigerian Bar Association) chairman. The other members of her team are professors and they said 14 of my drugs won the best award. I beat all the pharmaceutical companies in the world hands down. So many good things. In the process, I became a king. I sat down here, they came to make me a king. I didn’t make myself a king. My father is alive, so I cannot take any title. The Islamic Council came and said you are now the new King An Najashi Es Salam and it was presented by Dr. Lateef Adegbite, Secretary General of the Islamic Council, because the Sultan could not come down, and said you are now Justice for Peace. That’s their flag, that’s their jacket (pointing to them beside his seat), and so many other awards.
So, how do you feel about all these things?
To God be the glory, as they say in films.
What do you think made all these things possible?
God! God! I was called for this work. I’m not a native doctor, I went to school. I studied Medicine. Then, I branched into natural medicine.
You have won dozens of awards so far, what other award would you want to win?
I don’t even know the number of awards I have won. You can see them all over the place, from downstairs to upstairs; everywhere…
(Interruption) – We can see all that. Which other award would you like to win?
It’s the negligence of the Federal Government that says that awardees must be recognized by the local governments. That’s an insult. A very big insult. While they were doing that, I won the United Nations award. Crooks, thieves are the ones who go to the local government chairmen and say oya, recommend us. It should not be that way. It must be on merit. I’ve spent over 35 years working on this (natural medicine) and you are asking me to go and beg my local government chairman to recommend me. That’s an insult and that I will never do (voice rises).
In spite of all the good things you’ve enumerated, we heard that you are currently in court with the Lagos State Government. You accused them of trespassing on your land, very close to Pen Cinema in Agege, what is the state of the matter now?
I’ve won them three times. I shouldn’t have sued Fashola (the Governor) but because he’s a man I admire so much. He’s one of the few persons who went out of this country and then came back and started doing what he’s doing now. Leave all the clowns we have that say they are governors or whatever. It’s only Fashola! He has done so much; I encouraged him personally. I told people to vote for Fashola. I did so much for him. But for LAWMA (Lagos State Waste Management Authority), agbe po (waste carriers); do you know what is agbe po? People wey dey carry shit (general laughter). Don’t delete it o! Because that’s what they are. What is their business with land? They are to carry ‘dirty’ and ‘shit’. And now they went to my land, they broke my fence and started erecting their own fence, in a place where they should not even be. They said they want to relocate me to another place. Along the road (where his land is), a very busy place that only banks and industries are, agbe pos now want to take over the place. I’ve told them that I will not allow that; that I will fight to claim my right. I spent millions to buy the place, and then to put the place in order, and now agbe pos want to come and take it away from me. That’s terrible. You see, if they could do it to me, High Royal Majesty, JP and all…They’ve done it to so many others, millions of people in Lagos. Those are the people I’m fighting for. I could have gone to their office or I will invite them to come to my office, we settle! But what of those they did it to. I’m a defender of the defenseless. What will happen to those people? The Lagos State Government should investigate what has gone wrong in the name of Fashola; Fashola is a lawyer, he’s a SAN and he’s a decent man. This should not bring his name down. And that’s what they are doing, all the officials in Lagos State. And I refuse to fall into that category. May be they didn’t know who they were dealing with when they did it. They didn’t know and that’s what I want to tell them.
Have they retraced their steps, have they returned the property to you?
I’ve won them three times in court. I even joined Fashola in the suit. He’s the Governor of the state. I joined him in the suit, the Attorney General, and LAWMA. The last time I went to the court, they didn’t appear. Twice now, they’ve not appeared. Initially, they will come, show appearance and run away. The last time, for the first time, my lawyer begged me and said come to court, and I went. They didn’t come, they didn’t show appearance.
Besides your battle with LAWMA, we also heard about your alleged spiritual attacks, assassination attempts and so on. Can you tell us about them and maybe how you feel about all these things?
Oh, beautiful! The Lord is good.
Tell us how God waded into all that and the miracles He did in your life.
In 2006, they said they had diabetes, not me. And that my sugar level was 810mg, the highest any doctor has ever seen. The machine couldn’t read more than that. I was in Dr. Deji Morenikeji’s hospital. Triumph Hospital. Unity Street, off Toyin, Ikeja, Lagos. I was in coma for five days. I came out! Then, they did another thing again. My right leg was paralyzed. For six months, I didn’t see sunlight. I was on my bed. My wife (Janet) will carry me from bed to toilet, toilet to bed. I later told her to stop, go and buy bed pan. I ate, did everything on bed pan. You are in my office now; didn’t you see me climbing the staircase? To God be the glory. There’s nothing they’ve not done to kill me. Assassins, all! At times they will ‘wage’ me on the road, but they will not see me.
Why do you think they want to kill you?
So many people have reasons to w ant to get rid of me; pharmaceutical industries, native doctors, so many…
They said an Igbo man has come to Lagos to come and claim Lagos.
So, how do you go about all these battles that the Lord is protecting you from?
Many of them are dying and many more will still die…You see, the type of pastors we have now are crooks. They know where they go and carry their powers and then people just go there based on faith. They get results. But the majority of them are thieves, proper thieves and that is why God is raising people like us to do His work. You know I established a College of Medicine for people to be trained to become doctors of the future? Doctors are there, medical doctors are there, microbiologists, all are there, learning. Well trained. They are all there learning a new form of medicine. But they want to kill me. They feel I’m an obstacle to them. I’m not an obstacle to anybody. Everybody can learn.
People say one of the reasons you have too many enemies is because of your love for controversies?
I’m not involved in controversies or like controversies. It is because liars are everywhere and fear to be exposed. Ninety nine percent of all those who call themselves doctors are fake. Fake! Fake! Fake! Three times I repeated it. Some of them never went to secondary school. But they call themselves doctors. What manner of doctors are those?
One other thing they complain about is that you talk too much…
I will not stop! Do you know why I will not stop? For the sake of humanity; I must talk. I will keep talking until the owner of life says return home. And it’s not tomorrow. I’m not returning tomorrow.
You are not scared of death?
Me? Scared of death? For where!
God has been so nice to you, what more do you want from Him?
He should let me do the work He sent me to come and do.
What would you say is your greatest achievement?
The legacy He has given to me. Because at times when I check the drugs that I manufacture, I wonder how I just sit down on my chair and know how to fix or to mix those drugs. I thank God for the faithful workers He has given to me to work with me. Then, I thank God for my wife. Those three things.
How about targets that you set for yourself but have not been able to achieve?
I’ve achieved much. So much! They said malaria is a killer, tuberculosis is a killer, I have drugs for them. I’ve used them (drugs) over the years and they work. So, how can someone come and tell them that those things are killers when I know that in two days’ time, a man who has malaria is back to his office? The man who has tuberculosis is back in one week or two weeks.
So, how come that in spite of how popular you and your drugs are, some people still doubt the efficacy?
Greed! Greed by the ministries of health, federal and states. There’s a woman in the Lagos State Ministry of Health who said over her dead body will I get anything I’m looking for there. I own the best medical library in the world. The best! My friend, Prof. Okonkwo, came from Nsukka and said he’s never seen anything like this. It’s a reference library. It’s my money, personal money. I train doctors of the future with the best materials you can think of. It’s my personal money. I own a fantastic pharmaceutical industry. It’s my money, personal money. I own the best cosmetics industry you can think of. It’s my personal money. No bank has ever given me one kobo. You see, the banks are very funny. But when you talk they will say Sanusi. I dont know whether Sanusi is the one doing it or someone else is doing it. A bank in the US wanted to give me N15 billion to put into my business, based on my partner who both of us wrote that we will take charge of the money, knowing full well what I stand for. They are not interested. Rather what they are interested in is to frustrate me. My antagonists said we will drive you out of Lagos. I said good, drive me, let me see you people. All of you will die before you drive me. Do they know what it means for N15 billion to enter Nigeria? No! They are not interested in such things. Even the Federal Government is not interested. All they are interested in is the oil.
Having attained this measure of success, what will you describe as the secret of success?
Before I tell you the secret of success, I want to tell you what our Nigerian banks represent. I think you’ve been to my house? (Yes!). Good! They valued my property at N250 million. And then the bank I went to in the US mentioned the bank they wanted here. They wanted Zenith Bank and Citi Bank. These banks, most of them are tribal banks. If you are not Yoruba, if you are not Igbo, if you are not Hausa, you will not get anything. I went to them. Do you know what they did to me? They came and valued my house at N250 million and they said they will give me N10 million. And then I said what is N10 million? That I had; if not because churches were taking my money anyhow. I was spending millions and millions on churches, N10 million, N20 million…If not because of that, I won’t go to them. Then, I said, N10 million will not carry me for what I want to do, you people should give me more money so that I can buy raw materials, so that I can pay workers and do a lot of things with it. Whosaai! They are not interested. They want my house, and you know these bank managers, the next thing they will do is to claim my house. And one of them will buy it or somebody who initiated it will buy it or somebody who initiated it will buy it and then they will push me into the street. That’s what they do. When you talk they will say it’s Sanusi’s policy. Then, I’m using this opportunity to call for partnership for Iris. Iris is a brand name.
Why are you calling for partnership?
Since the Federal Government is not interested; malaria, tuberculosis, they are not interested; because the Minister of Health does not like me. He says I’m a noise maker. All of them say I’m a noise maker. Even before him, others had said so. That’s what all of them are saying. That I’m not strong, but they don’t seem to realize that Lisamos (one of his drugs) alone is enough to raise trillions of dollars for the Federal Government.
If a partner comes now, what are you willing to concede to him?
They cannot overtake me.
Meaning you will still want to retain about 51 percent?
I will retain 60 percent and give them 40 percent so that they cannot buy me out (general laughter).
How much exactly would you be needing from these partners?
Do you know that in two, three years, they will recover the money? And they will now start enjoying the profit. I won’t give them that much or they will buy me out. You don’t know what is business? I studied Business Administration.
Back to the issue of success. What is the secret?
Beautiful! After God, what else?
Your personal endeavour.
What do you mean by that?
You came here early and you met me. As a king and with what I have, I struggle to come out of bed to be here so that I can attend to my patients or my clients. But I must. If you don’t put that into consideration, ah, you won’t make it.
What are the other secrets?
I’ve told you: God and your own personal endeavour.
Most people now claim to be into your line of business, including carpenters. As a professional, how do you feel when you see some of these charlatans masquerading as doctors?
It’s up to the television people who are promoting them. There’s a television owner, I don’t want to mention his name, he called me and said what is that crook doing on TV? Today, that crook is on his television. He is his doctor; he talks on his television station. He’s an albino. They are part and parcel of those who want to kill me. So, what do you want me to do?
Don’t you people have an association?
They can’t do anything. All of them come from the same tribe. So, what are you going to do? Tribal affiliation is constant and the order of the day.
Lastly, why is everybody either talking about you or quarreling with you in natural medicine?
Because they are afraid of me. They are all afraid of me.
Why are they afraid of you?
Because they know that the thing they mix doesn’t work. 14 of my products won international awards and they gave the criteria, how my drugs won those awards. Let any of them try it. They know! The truth of the matter is, awa ni o!
NB: First published August 2011