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
Glamour, Glitz, Gifts Galore As Healthgarde Celebrates 30 Years Anniversary, Produces New Star of Africa
By Eric Elezuo
It was a distinct show of excellence, glamour and reward for achievement as a crowd of multilevel marketers attached to leading healthcare group, Healthgarde International, gathered to celebrate 30 years of wellness, empowerment and creation of happiness.
It was more of a gathering of champions, headliners and Nigerians, who has distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavours, having made the choice of partnering with the leading brand, Healthgarde.
Healthgarde International is a global firm proudly founded and run by African women for Africa, under the leadership of Nneka Nwarueze.
The grand hall of Highpoint Event Centre in the heart of Agidingbi GRA in Ikeja, was a beehive of activities as early as 10am on D-day with members and their families and friends already seated and networking in earnest just as the event anchor, Hyenana Comedian, Kick-started proceedings with the invitation of the chief host and Chief Executive Officer, Healthgarde International, Mrs Nneka Nwarueze.
In her opening remarks, Nwarueze went down memorylane to trace the developmental strides of the brand since its days as Swissgarde to the present, noting that in 30 years of existence, lives have been affected and destinies either changed or reversed for the very best.
She acknowledged that just like many distinguished brands, the journey of 30 years has been ‘rough, tough and challenging’, noting that as organizers, they are not breaking even byt sustained by the that gesture to ensure that thousands of members are well taken care of, and not told stories.
“We have an active base of over 12,000 distributors in Nigeria and in Southern Africa, over 20,000 of them. My experience in this business is over 30 years since Swissgarde. Our business network and networth is spread across the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ghana, Uganda, Botswana, and is still growing.
“Today, we are happy to celebrate our top achievers whose dedicated efforts continue to give our high-quality health products increasing market share. We also introduced into the global market today our new offering – the Healthgarde Relax Tea, which everyone here today received as gift in their souvenir bags. It is rich in antioxidants and boosts the immune system,” Nwarueze said.
She further encouraged the networkers never to relent as the business has consistently paid off for them, and proved to be a mainstay in today’s Nigeria’s economy.
“Our gathering today is to unleash the reward system for those who have done so well in the year under review,” she added.
Among an array of winners from various categories on the day was the Mrs. Benita Okonkwo, who emerged as the Star of Africa, coasting to victory as the member that made the best overall impact in the year under review.
Benita Okonkwo led the array of over 20 winners in different categories. She emerged a double winner as Business Leader of the Year and Star of Africa as the Lagos convention of wellness and gathering of multilevel marketing giants held.
Okonkwo who was obviously, but pleasantly surprised at her double win, had trumped the sales earnings and figures of every other Healthgarde consultant (as the firm’s salespersons are titled) within and outside Nigeria. Her crowning as ‘Star of Africa’ was done with pomp and pageantry with a blast of fireworks and confetti.
Other major award categories included Entrepreneur, Depot, Rising Star, Social Media Star, Staff, Top Performers and Recruiters of the Year, not to mention the series of lucky draw winners that spliced and spiced up the convention.
Other major winners on the day include Charity Ikedife, who emerged as the Staff of the Year, Oluwaseyi Funmi Hannah as Social Media Star, Bolanle Aina as Rising Star of the Year and Fatima Yusuf as Entrepreneur of the Year.
In an moment of excitement, so many women testified of how their multilevel marketing of Healthgarde products had upped their fortunes and mental wellness. Among them were Juliana Idakpo, Baba Ijebu and another, who used to hawk fairly used cloths (okirika). They won the awards as uplines and carted away several prizes including microwave ovens, refrigerator, washing machine, gas cooker, and flask.
Also at the event as its live wire, South Africa-based Chief Operating Officer, Healthgarde International, Lovelyn Bassey, explained: “Our products have deepened the global market and we are proud of the thousands of women who, despite growing economic hardships, spousal job losses, etc have been empowered to boost the wellness of Nigerians as well as create wealth to support their homes.”
The event was not without the spices that give every gathering the leverage that makes top notch as Dancerapy, a motivational dance led the audience into a dance choreography that was magnificent to behold.
Also, a special adviser to the Miniter of the Interior, Tunji-Ojo, was also on hand to give the guests a charge that inspired them into rooting for Healthgarde as a brand.
Responding separately to Point-blank.ng, both Mrs Nwarueze and Bassey called on the Federal government to give attention to multilevel marketing as it has proved to be reliable and rewarding.
“This is not ponzi scheme or what people know as MMM. It is a business venture that has stood the test of time, and been putting smiles on the lips of families. It is a Nigerian thing, and deserves the attention and support to the government to take it to greater heights,” the CEO and COO said separately.
Healthgarde, a first class health multilevel marketing organization, in 2020 stood on its own, away from Swissgarde. In those four years, the brand has held a reward for excellence gathering where the year is reviewed, and members made to smile home with mouthwatering prizes.
Fidelity Bank Extends Employment Contract of Its CEO, Onyeali-Ikpe, by Two Years
Fidelity Bank Plc has announced its Board of Directors’ decision to extend the employment contract of its GMD/CEO, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, from 2024 to 2026.
This was contained in the company’s notice to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), according to Nairametrics.
The statement signed by Ezinwa Unuigboje, the Company Secretary noted that the decision was taken at the Board meeting on February 12, 2024.
It added that the extension is in furtherance of the Bank’s strategic objectives and premised on Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s sterling performance since the assumption of office on January 1, 2021.
The statement reads:
“Fidelity Bank Plc (the Bank) is pleased to announce its Board of Directors’ decision to extend the employment contract of its GMD/CEO, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, from 2024 to 2026.
The decision was taken at the Board meeting on February 12, 2024. The extension is in furtherance of the Bank’s strategic objectives and premised on Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s sterling performance since assumption of office on January 1, 2021,”
The Board noted that it is confident that the Bank’s performance will continue its upward trajectory under Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s leadership, and looks forward to working closely with her and the Executive Management Team on execution of various strategic initiatives including international expansion.
Healthgarde ‘Star of Africa’ to Emerge at Lagos Convention
Wellness and multilevel marketing giant, Healthgarde International, is revving up for its 2024 convention this weekend in Lagos, Nigeria and plans to celebrate its high achieving sales heroes with pomp and pageantry.
Previewing highlights of the convention in a media statement issued February 14, the Chief Executive Officer, Healthgarde International, Nneka Nwarueze, said: “We will recognize and celebrate our top achievers whose commitment and sales drive continue to give our high quality health products the marketing edge.
“We will be crowning a new ‘Healthgarde Star of Africa’ as well as launch a new product that we are introducing to the market at the Lagos convention. At Healthgarde International, our goal is to maintain a thriving direct selling company developed in Africa by Africans for Africa. Our passion is to keep making a difference in people’s lives by creating wealth through sustained wellness” Nwarueze said.
South Africa-based Group Chief Operating Officer, Healthgarde International, Lovelyn Bassey, who arrived Wednesday ahead of the convention, reviewed Healthgarde’s 2023 business strides for health journalists, and said: “Our products have deepened the markets in a few more countries, including Botswana.
“We are also happy to report that quite a few Healthgarde consultants from Nigeria qualified and enjoyed a well deserved, all expenses paid five-star holiday to South Africa last year, while some others won impressive cash prizes. Our 2024 celebration of excellence this Saturday, February 17 will be very colourful and exciting too,” Bassey said.
Healthgarde Nigeria has an active base of over 12,000 distributors, and in Southern Africa, over 20,000 active distributors. Its business network and networth is spread across the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ghana, Uganda and Botswana, and is still growing.