By Eric Elezuo
The mark of greatness lies in the ability to point at a direction, and say this is the number of lives I have touched, impacted and given a new lease of hope. However, it is only a handful of the men of means who qualify to be dressed in this garb, and the person of Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbor, popularly known as Hosa, is the first out of a few to be so classified.
Hosa’s philanthropy speaks loud and volumes, and has become a reference point in admonition and encouragement.
Born on January 7, 1958 in Benin City, Hosa, a business magnate, investor, philanthropist and trained commercial pilot of repute, is a proud product of the Reverend Robert Amos Okunbo family, who himself is a clergyman, teacher and community leader.
Okunbo started his path to a glorious career when he enrolled at the Government Primary School in Benin City, old Bendel State, now Edo State for his elementary education. He proceeded to Federal Government College, Warri, in 1971, where he sat for West African Senior School Certificate Examination, and came out in flying colours.
As a scholar who was not confused as regards the path he wishes to follow, made his choice early in life to become a pilot. As a result, he pursued his desire by studying at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre, Zaria, Kaduna State, and became a professional commercial pilot at the age of 21. He also attended ACME School of Aeronautics, Fort Worth Texas in 1983, where he obtained an Airline Transport Pilot License.
At the age of 25 in 1983, Okunbo was made a captain. He practiced his trade as a flight captain with Intercontinental Airlines for about two years, before moving over to Okada Airlines for where he served with honours for another three years.
In 1988 and at the age of 30, he retired from piloting having recorded over a whopping 7,000 hours of flight time, and ventured into private business, a calling that further launched him into the cycle of philanthropy.
With his hands in many pies, Okunbo established Hoslyn Ventures Nigeria Ltd., a company that was involved with procurement in the Nigerian petroleum sector. Hoslyn Ventures was an indigenous oilfield service company that was responsible for the Early Production Facility (EPF) project at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 1998 and 2001.
More so, he had served in many capacities including chairmanship or directorial position on numerous company boards in Nigeria in various business sectors such as the agro-allied, petroleum, telecommunications, power, real estate and banking industries.
A man of diverse intelligence, who has investments in many businesses, Okunbo founded the following companies, which he also sits atop as chairman:
Wells San-Carlos Agro Farms Ltd., which, in March 2016, unveiled a $750 million, 9,000-hectare (22,000-acre) farm intended to “create 85,000 jobs in Edo State”.
Ocean Marine Security Ltd., an offshore asset-protection company, rendering services to major oil companies in Nigeria, including NNPC. Wikipedia reported that the company recently completed the building of the 46-kilometre (29 mi) Escravos–Warri Crude Pipeline, which was inaugurated by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.
PPP Fluid Mechanics Ltd., a marine and logistics company
Westminster Security Solutions Nigeria Ltd, a franchise of Westminster Group Plc UK, of which he is major shareholder.
Wells Group of companies, which include Wells Dredging Ltd., Wells Property Development Company Ltd., and Wells Entertainments Ltd. – through which Okunbo financed the movie Black November.
OMS Tankers Ltd., which owns Nigeria’s first marine tankers.
Hoslyn Habitat Ltd., which is a design, construction and landscaping company.
Gyro Air Ltd., operators of charter flight operations.
Okunbo is a director in the following companies:
Joint Marine Environ Guard Ltd. (JMEG)
Secure Anchorage Area Ltd. (SAA)
Digisteel Integrated Services Ltd.
Phil Nugent Nigeria Ltd.
Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd. (IEDM), which is a core investor in Ibadan and Yola Electricity Distribution Companies.
Okunbo is member of the Board of Directors of NatCom Development and Investment Ltd., which is the holding company Nigerian telecommunications giant NTEL.
In 2012, Okunbo received the Africa Titans Award from the Congress of the United States in collaboration with the African Society Summit, in recognition of “strides on behalf of Africa in the international arena.” He was honoured for being one of those “who seek to project a new and hopeful light on Africa.”
In November of the same year, the University of Benin conferred him with an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
He was granted the “Worthy Ambassador of Unity Award” as an old student of Federal Government College, Warri in March 2016.
On October 2, 2014, the Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa, gifted Okunbo “with the ‘Traditional Beads’ for being a worthy son of the ancient Kingdom.”
Hosa’s act of philanthropy is congenital as he is known to have expressed his benevolence to as many that has come his way. Testimonies have it that no one who comes in contact with him goes back without a smile on his face. He is known to be nice to a fault, and has seen quite a good number of his constituents through academics or profitable empowerment.
He is a very good man.
Okunbo is married and is blessed with numerous healthy and prolific children
Hon ‘Gboyega Salvador-Adebayo Hails Obafemi Hamzat @ 57
Chairman/CEO, Lagos State Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority, Hon. Adegboyega Salvador Adebayo, has congratulated the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Dr. Kazeem Obafemi Hamzat, who clocks 57 today.
“I just want to thank God on behalf of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat for all of his amazing efforts over the years.
“He is someone who leads the way and light up the path for all of those who follow him and I just want to appreciate the incredible changes he has made over the years in disseminating his services to the course of moving Lagos forward.
“Not only does he seamlessly adapt to address the emerging challenges from the persistent ones that we face in our society today, but he is always striving to make things better with new approaches and such unfaltering determination to support Mr Governor.
“On this day 19th of September, Hon salvador expresses his heartfelt birthday wishes to the man of great virtue through his Public Affairs Officer, Mr Oputeh Michael. And his words are “Your immense contributions to achieving a better and smarter Lagos cannot be over emphasised. Your direction, leadership vision, transparency and experience truly are second to none! You are a visionary leader and a true inspiration to me personally.
“Happy birthday to an exceptional political figure, the best Deputy Governor ever. Your leadership and direction are exactly what this generation need. You are a true technocrat per excellence and your work is truly mesmerizing.
“You are an exemplary leader for future generations who wish to follow the world of politics.
“Thank you once again!
“I’m wishing you a joyous birthday and prosperous years to come!”
Meet Bolaji Oreagba: The New Helmsman at LASTMA
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has approved the appointment of Mr. Bolaji Oreagba as new General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
A statement signed by the Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, noted that the appointment of Mr. Oreagba is geared towards the continued efficient and effective traffic management on Lagos roads and takes immediate effect.
Mr. Bolaji Oreagba, a Deputy Controller (Traffic), joined the State Public Service on the 8th December 1993 and rose through the ranks over the years to the post of the Director of Operations, LASTMA, before his present appointment as General Manager.
He holds a Master’s Degree in Transport Planning & Management and has attended several capacity-building programmes on inter-modal traffic management systems locally and internationally.
Congratulating the newly appointed General Manager, Muri-Okunola urged him to justify Governor Sanwo-Olu’s confidence in his appointment by rising up to the occasion, while bringing his wealth of experience to take the Agency to greater heights.
The Head of Service also conveyed the appreciation and gratitude of Mr. Governor to the outgoing General Manager, Engr. Olajide Oduyoye, for his commitment, dedication and meritorious service to the State.
Christian Varsity Honours Security Entrepreneur, Cynthia Gregg, with Honorary Doctorate Degree for Service to Humanity
By Oki Samson
The MD/CEO of Safety Signature Ltd., Mrs. Cynthia Gregg, has been awarded a honorary doctorate degree in Church Growth and Ministry by the Ames Christian University. The ordained Deaconess and Lecturer at the Bible College of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) was honored at the annual graduation ceremony of the International College of Ministry, Ibadan on Saturday.
Dedicating the topmost educational degree to God, the security entrepreneur and philanthropist noted: ‘This is a huge responsibility placed on me to be a blessing to humanity. It will motivate me to do more to enthrone the ideals of Christ, support for the less privileged, and of course, fashion ways to ensure safety and security which is my core line of business’ in her brief chat with the Publisher of Trek Africa Newspaper, Mr. Oki Samson.
The graceful woman, who has vast experience in security operations and business management is also the Director of a chain of SME businesses into Branding, Advertising, Hospitality, HR consultancy and Business Development. With a rich resumé comprising an Executive MBA from Commonwealth of Learning, Canada and fellowships with the Institute of Security Nigeria (ISN), Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies (AES), Nigerian Institute of Industrial Security (NIIS) and National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), National Institute of Management (NIM), International Institute of Professional Security (IIPS) and many other professional bodies.
The National Assistant General Secretary of The Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN) who also holds an Advanced Diploma certificate from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in Security Operations and Management started out as a journalist with Voice Of Nigeria (VON) before joining Nigerian Breweries Plc Lagos as a Sales Representative (All SKUs) was rose to the position of a Brand Manager (Amstel Malta) within a year of consistently exceeding her sales target.
She resigned to join the security industry in 2005 when she registered Safety Signatures Limited and secured a Category ‘A’ license to operate a private security company with its headquarter in Lagos and branches spreading to other states of the federation.