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
John Okelue Okpoli: Pacesetter, Pathfinder and Pioneering Expert
By Eric Elezuo
The ultimate measure of a man, they say, is not where he stands in the moment of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. The willing man is an achiever in whatever situation he finds himself. He don’t just achieve, he creates or rather pioneers a million ways to getting things done. There are however, very few men in the universe, who have worked extremely hard to create opportunities, even from nothing, carved out veritable future for not only themselves but also for generations to come. One of such men is Delta born finance and asset management guru, Okelue John Okpoli.
Fondly called The Pioneer, John Okpoli, who is reputed to have pioneered almost everything he is involved in today ranging from academics, career, family, associations and many more, was born into the family of Dr. (Sir) Felix and Lady Dorothy Uzor Okpoli on October 6, 1978.
He started at a very young age to exhibited the featues and qualities of a gifted child, becoming a pathfinder and pace setter for his mates, contemporaries and collegues both on the home and academic fronts. His leadership abilities threw themselves to the fore, and could not be extinguished as he nurtured it step by step through to the adult he is today.
Young John kicked off his academic journey very early in life when at the age of four, he enrolled at Delta Steel Primary School, Owvian Aladja Delta State in 1982. But owing to geographical relocation because his father was a civil servant, he continued and concluded his elementary education at Iyobosa Primary School, Benin City in 1988, and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate.
John started his secondary education at Greater Tomorrow Secondary School, Benin City in 1989, but moved to Lagos thereafter and attended Ikeja High School, Ikeja where he concluded his seconadary i education in 1994. He was at the end of the day, rewarded with the prestigious West African School Certificate as he ‘cleared’ his papers in a single sitting, and with notable grades.
His exploits while at Greater Tomorrow Secondary School Benin City created a leverage for him to become a member of the Interim Executive committee of the 1994 set later in life
In 1996, John Okpoli was admitted into the University of Benin with the 1995/96 set to study Mathematics and Economics. He graduated with B.Sc honours in 2000 as a high flyer.
Being a goal getter with unquenchable zeal to acquire and sustain, and one whose focus and attention to details is second to none, Okpoli undertook a Special Executive MBA Programme at the Metropolitan School Of Business and Management in 2013. He knew what the future was going to throw at him, and he was prepared.
Highly equipped to face the harsh business environment, Okpoli began turning things around, and practically became a builder, an apostle of some sort, creating firsts and pioneering strong financial business ventures, which have stood the test of time, and are still flourishing till date. In fact, Okpoli has the proverbial Midas touch to make things happen and turn anything to gold.
As the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fundvine Asset Management Ltd, Okpoli singlehanded pioneered the setting up of all the company’s subsidiaries. He didn’t stop there. When the cruise boat of job relocation took him to AT&A as the Chief Operating Officer, Okpoli again brought his wealth of experience to bear, creating new vistas and breaking barriers. It is not by accident that the firm is today a force to reckon with.
The pioneering achiever went ahead to work with Sasware, a Signal Alliance agency as Head of Operations, and his story has bordered on performance, capacity building and expansion. He is a go-getter in its simplest term.
It is worthy of note that under his watch, Fundvine Hathaway Asset Management Ltd, rebranded and rolled out new enticing products.
Hear him: “I think I owe everything that has happened to me, and still going to happen to me to God. He has been more than kind to me, releasing in me the right words and actions at the right time.
“My success stories of pioneering ability, expansionist approach and general achievements, have remained legendary, and I hardly fail. This is the zeal and call I take to any establishment I find myself for the service of mankind.”
Among many other pioneering activities of John include but not limited to being among the pioneer set of Mathematics and Economics department of the University of Benin. He went ahead to become the pioneer president or leader of distinct associations while on campus, including Project committee, UNIBEN Mathematics Class of 99 and Emerging Leaders Network (An Intiative Of Centre Of Leadership).
A very humble person, Okpoli gives credit to God for his ‘little’ efforts so far, and to his father, Felix Okpoli, who retired as a zonal General Manager with the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). The senior Okpoli was the first product of Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Ubulu Uku in Delta State.
In the same vein, his maternal grand father Reverend S. I. Nwabuoku was the pioneer/first Anglican priest in the Anioma part of Delta State just as his uncle, Ven. (Dr) I. E. Nwabuoku was the pioneer Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Medical Centre and Vicar General, Anglican Diocese, Benin City.
Basically, pioneering ability runs in the family. It is left to the imagination what a person of John Okpoli’s Calibre can do to an establishment or best still, a political institution. He is truly an asset; a much sought after one for that matter.
Okpoli, among many secular and formal endowments, is blessed with so many professional qualifications such as:
– Project Management Institute U.K 2011
– Nigerian Institute Of Management 2002
– Institute Of Credit Administration 2004
– Institute Of Cost Management 2002
– Economics Institute 2004
He may be a man about town, hovering from one boardroom to another, yet he is an accomplished family; a beloved and cherish husband to his beautiful wife, Oberhi Mary Okpoli, a prolific lawyer and Head of Chambers of Prince M.P Ohwovoriole (SAN) in Lagos.
Between John and Oberhi are wonderful children, who are steadily following the greater heights footsteps of their parents.
Congratulations John, you deserve our personality in focus honours
British Prime Minister, Fiancée Announce Birth of Baby Boy
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, on Wednesday, gave birth to a “healthy baby boy” in a London hospital, a spokesman for the couple said.
“Both mother and baby are doing very well,” the spokesman said in a surprise announcement, as Symonds was not thought to be due until later in the year.
Akporiaye Takes Over As NANTA President, Assures Continuity
By Eric Elezuo
In line with the constitution and guidelines governing the affairs of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye has officially taken over the affairs of the association. She took over from the immediate past president, Mr. Bankole Bernard, who steered the group for two consecutive terms.
In her acknowledgement speech to the teaming members of the association, Akporiaye assures continuity while at the same time details a new beginning.
Pledging to achieve more together with everyone on board, she called for effective strategies’ to address local challenges in the travel and tourism world as well as the damage the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic has caused.
Below is her detailed statement:
CONTINUITY AND THE BIRTH OF A NEW BEGINNING:
Dear members of NANTA, our principals, elders and the media.
This morning, our president, who is now the immediate past president, my brother and friend, Bankole Bernard wrote to hand over the affairs of the association to me in line with consultation with our Board of Trustees and the executive members.
Yesterday, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, most able gentleman and leader, Mr Steve Isokariare also sent a message to put me on notice to steer the wheel of our progressive association for the next two years.
While the uncertainty that becloud our dear nation, industry and the world persisted due to Covid-19, many expressed anxiety about the possibility of the change in baton at this uncertain times….which is human.
While this line of thought gained ground, particularly with the desirable need to postpone our Kano AGM which could have afforded us the opportunity for me to present my manifesto to you as your incoming President but also to formally adopt our established physical handover protocols.
Nonetheless we all have to deal with the realities of the “Force Majeure” situation that Corona Virus have brought upon us. By God’s grace we shall overcome it.
So we have digitally taken over and all the legal protocols for hand over have taken place overseen by our very capable Board of Trustees.
On one hand you are assured of continuity because I was one of the outgoing executives of the last administration.
On the other hand this is the birth of a new beginning as the incoming exco takes over under my leadership as the 44th President of NANTA.
We must admit that while we have global challenges brought on by COVID-19. We also do have some pertinent local challenges facing our members and their businesses which we must confront and come up with effective strategies to address.
In due course the incoming executives shall engage and consult with all of you as stakeholders in order to establish and validate our priorities.
I will then be articulating these priorities with strategies on how to move us forward.
I know there is a huge challenge to re-access our reach and physical engagement process in view of covid 19 and the impact on global Travel.
We are conscious of the pressure to rebound and gain immediate foothold yet determined to guide our members to follow established federal and states governments protocols on covid 19 and practice safety and social distancing as recommended by health officials globally.
This statement is to assure you all including our Friends and Principals that NANTA is united and in safe hands under my watch.
The Watchword under my Watch will be TEAMWORK .
As stakeholders you all have ideas not just the excos. As President i will ensure you all have the right platform to provide inputs for continuous engagements whether physical or digital.
But I reassure you as President my priorities will be YOUR priorities.
Therefore, the new exco and I will in due course address you all on the course we wish to chart, praying for assistance, suggestions and presence in all we shall endeavor to do on your behalf.
Once again, let me express my profound gratitude to Mr Bankole Bernard, the board of trustees, elders, my fellow partners in leadership, all zonal leadership and members, not excluding our very supportive friends in the travel and tourism and the media.
Having accepted to stand and hold forth as the 44th NANTA president, I ask God Amighty to grant me wisdom and knowledge to lead this great body and make it greater than ever before.
Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM NANTA)
Thank you all so much and may God bless Nigeria and may God bless our beloved NANTA.
National President NANTA