Pharm. Isaiah Etuonu Okoh.

Pharm. Isaiah Etuonu Okoh is the CEO, Gracee Pharmacy And Warren Family Pharmacy, USA.

“Poisons and medicine are often the same substance given with different intents”. – Peter Mere Latham, 19th century English Physician and Educator.

I am always learning, and one thing I especially love to learn is how other people win at life. From Pharmacists to Cake Bakers, I enjoy studying the habits of highly effective people so that I can incorporate them into my day to day schedule of life.

When my today’s guest on Ika Stallion Series (Pharm Isaiah Okoh) was nominated on this platform by one of our followers, I went to town to ask questions about his pedigree, his contributions to his profession, his community and to the larger society. At the end, my report is out!

No one can argue that he is eminently qualified to be on this platform or even occupy the highest position in the Country.

After reading and hearing from him and people around him, I believe that he represents characteristics and habits that can help any professional perform their jobs better.

Here are the 5 characteristics we can learn from him:

  1. He has a great sense of humour: He can laugh for the World! In a very stressful and demanding work environment, sometimes folks need to realize that laughter is a potent anti-stress medication that cost you nothing. By learning to see the humour side of things, you will be a much more effective worker.
  2. He is self-driven: As evidenced by the success and achievements he has recorded so far, his effort has not gone unnoticed. Just as he clearly works hard to be his best, you and I also strive to be the best professionals we can possibly be.
  3. He is very versatile: From religion, politics, medicine, business, classic music, sports, farming, ICT, real estate, medieval history to pharmacy: Isaiah Okoh is never a guy that you can pigeon hole. He is so versa!
  4. He is very classy: He has been able to maintain a good reputation for himself. How he does it? Has always been a great feat to the admiration of his friends and foes. Very trendy both in his dressing and in carriage with his magistrate’s voice to complement his total person.
  5. He exudes positivity: He does a great job engaging his patients, friends and foes in a natural and genuine way. He is Mr. Positivity. A great encourager who never up no matter the situation.

Being a great guy like Pharm Isaiah Okoh, is not always easy, and being a pharmacist is a tough job, too. Like him, we also have the privilege to be able to directly or indirectly impact the health and well-being of the members of your community on a daily basis – which is no small accomplishment.

My dear esteemed readers, enjoy the except of the online interview I had with him where he shared varied areas of interest with me.

ISS: May we meet you, Sir? Today’s Stallion: I am Isaiah Etuonu Okoh, of Ekuku Agbor in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State. I am a Pharmacist by profession and a real estate investor in the United State of America (USA). I’m currently the CEO of Gracee Pharmacy and Warren Family Pharmacy both independently owned in USA. Also the CEO of Zeep Investments LLC, a real estate firm with over 50 homes in the USA.

ISS: Tell us about your family background? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: I was born on 20th of October, 1969 into the family of Late Mr. and Mrs. John Okoh, both of Ekuku Agbor. I’m the 17th out of the 21 children in our polygamous family.

ISS: What is your upbringing like? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: My upbringing was tough. Being the 17th out of 21 children with many adopted brothers and sisters. I can tell you that my father was a very good administrator. Growing up in Ekuku Agbor then was a nightmare as there was no electricity and the only means of survival in such a large family is through Agriculture, so we went to farm from Monday to Saturdays even after schools. Still, my father made sure that will do our homework at night and I came out with a very good grade.

ISS: Any fond childhood memories? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: Yes. I could remember living with my brothers and eating from one big bowl with more than 10 brothers. When food is ready and served, someone will shout, “Isaiah bia oo, egun gbuee” which is “Isaiah come oo or hunger will kill you”. I could also remember digging rabbit holes with my brothers. How will I also forget how I want to work (job) in people’s farm. Worthy of mentioning is Mr Onyemaka (Asteady). I used to go to ‘job’ with Kurata (Mr. Ogboi) and Johnbull Eboka, since they were good and stronger than me, they always helped me whenever they are done with their own portions.

ISS: Which primary school did you attend? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: I attended Omu-Izehen Primary School, Ekuku Agbor from 1975 – 1981

ISS: Which secondary school did you attend? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: I attended Ekuku Agbor Grammar School from 1981 -1983 before I moved to Ika Grammar School between 1983 -1986.

ISS: What are your best subjects in school? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: I was very good in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. I had F9 in English Language in my first WAEC, but my brother Mr. Collins Okoh took me to Abuja and I reenrolled and made A3 in English language.

ISS: What was your first career choice? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: Pharmacy …1st, 2nd and 3rd choice. Smiles.

ISS: Why Pharmacy? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: My late mother was a midwife and I saw sometimes how some women will be in labour 3 days. I figured Medicine will tie me down and I will have to be involved in such direct time consuming patient care. But now, I am doing same thing I never imagined as the practice where I am now being direct patient care.

ISS: Tell us about your tertiary educational background Pharm Isaiah Okoh: I studied Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), though with so much pains and suffering. All through my University days I farmed tomato with Solomon my younger brother at Ekuku Agbor. with the proceed from the tomatoes farm, I started buying and producing palm oil which I took to Abuja with the help of my brother, Mr. Collins Okoh, and sold it in Gwagwalada, Karimo, Wuse, Madalla and Nyanyan markets.

Late Mr. Anyaiwe and Chief Governor Modeme supplied me with palm oil and palm fruits respectively. They were very supportive. Mrs. Nwachokor (Nne Ikenna) from Agbornta was actually the brain behind my palm oil production. My late mother (Mrs. Veronica Okoh) was all over the place taking loans from everyone who had one kobo to those that had one naira. My uncle’s wife (Catherine Izeh) will forever be remembered. She fried all the garri that was sold to raise money. On the academic part, Pharmacy was a tough course. We were 120 candidates that was admitted at the end only 59 of us graduated in 1998.

ISS: Tell us about your one-year mandatory internship programme Pharm Isaiah Okoh: In April 1999, I was privileged to be among the first batch of Intern/House Officers at the Central Hospital Agbor. It was indeed a very wonderful experience.

ISS: Tell us about NYSC experience Pharm Isaiah Okoh: My NYSC year marked a turning point in my life. I was posted to Benue State. We were 1500 Corpers sent there but 800 redeployed due to one reason or the other. I was one of the 4 pharmacists that stayed behind. I was deployed to St. Theresa Hospital in Markurdi where they rejected me but a patient in the waiting area had a WHO job and needed a Pharmacist for his Pharmacy. He accepted me and provided me a 3-bedroom flat and a Car. Life was good!

During the Service year, we were paid three thousand five hundred naira (#3,500) per month, but I found a way of making extra One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira (#120,000) per month and that was how I bought my second Car as a Corper. I was into selling of phone cards, I met a Security guard at NITEL and struck deals to be selling phone cards. At that time, one card was selling for #1850, so I would buy 4 of those cards and sold each unit for #5 and I was making a profit of #3150 profit per card and I was selling an average of 4 cards per day.

ISS: Do you have any other post graduate qualifications? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: Yes. Here in the United states, I have obtained the following qualifications:

  1. Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Certification (FPGEC). This is series of Examinations in Pharmacy, English and Pharmacy Law.
  2. Immunizing Pharmacist Certification.
  3. Certification in Diabetic Management
  4. Certification in Medication Therapy Management (MTM)

ISS: At what point does the thought of leaving the shores of Nigeria occurs to you? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: The thought of leaving the shores of Nigeria has never occurred to me because I believe that the Country still has a lot of potentials not until one my uncles who has been living in America since 1977, sent me an invitation to USA in 2000 which I gladly declined. Then in 2002, he again sent me another invitation with a caveat that I should come and that if I don’t like it, I should come back to Nigeria. That was it!

The rest as they say is history.

ISS: Now that you are there, please tell us your experiences? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: Life has been awesome after much struggle and hard work. Before I got license to practice my profession, I worked as an intern during the day and worked for Allied Services at night as a cleaner in a restaurant. After license, life has turned green; to the Glory of God.

ISS: Tell us about your working experience Pharm Isaiah Okoh: Between 2006 to 2016, I have worked with different multibillion Pharmacies before I opened my own Pharmacy in 2016.

Presently, I’m the CEO of Gracee Pharmacy, USA

CEO of Warren Family Pharmacy, USA

CEO of Zeep Investment LLC, USA.

ISS: What motivated your intervention in renovating the Police Station at Ekuku Agbor? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: Service.

After I planned to invest heavily and empower many people in Ekuku Agbor and Ika in general between 2019 and 2024, I realized that having a good security system in place in that area is one of the keys to attract other investors. This led me to remodel the Police station and I also bought them a patrol van for effective policing of that area.

ISS: What other philanthropic gestures are you into? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: It is not in my character to say this. But since you insist, it may interest you to know that I have lost count of how many persons that I have offered full scholarship to study both in Nigeria and here in America. I have been also involved in Medical outreach were I sent medical supplies to some Communities in Nigeria. I have sponsored countless number of persons to acquire skills in various trade and set them up.

ISS: What is your philosopher to giving? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: There is more happiness in giving than in receiving (Acts 20:35)

ISS: Who is your role model? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: On July 6th, 1981 my father handed me to my brother Mr. Collins Okoh to raise me. He has been my role model since then.

ISS: What Book has impacted so much on your life? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: Think and Grow Rich with Peace of Mind.

ISS: Tell us your best quote Pharm Isaiah Okoh: “Follow who know road”. – Gabriel Igbinedion

ISS: What advice do you have for Nigerians during this pandemic (COVID-19) crisis? Pharm Isaiah Okoh: As someone in the frontline, I have seen more than 20 of my close friends and associates die. My advice to Nigerians is to keep the social distancing till December and maintain personal hygiene by constantly washing their hands with soaps and cleaning it with an alcohol based hand sanitizers. They should also be encouraged to always wear their nose mask. They should try their best to explore online business as brick and mortar business increases personal contacts.

ISS: Is nice having this interview session with you. Pharm Isaiah Okoh: Thank you my brother, Ewere Okonta, you are doing a fantastic job. See you at the top.


© Ewere Okonta