Okonkwo, who is also the Chairman of The Dome Entertainment Limited, has remained a very strong promoter of culture and tradition in Anambra state.
December 23 will now occupy a very important place in the annals for Dr Obiora Okonkwo. It will remain the day that traditional rulers of Anambra Central Senatorial district, jointly conferred high honours on a man who has risen to become a most prominent son of the zone.
The traditional rulers found him worthy of honour following a review of his philanthropy and value addition to the cultural development of the people of the zone. Arising from the October edition of their monthly meeting, the royal fathers agreed, in unison, to single out Dr. Okonkwo, who also holds the titles of Dikeora Idemili, Inwelle Ogidi and Ugegbe Igbo, for honour as the Mbuba Anafolu Mbulu N’Ukpa.
The royal fathers lauded Okonkwo’s unrivalled support for the traditional institution in Anambra Central, his personal accomplishments and exceptional intellectual acumen, entrepreneurial heights as a business leader of great integrity, who has impacted positively on the life of the people of Anambra Central zone, while selecting him for the honour.
In their letter conveying the decision to him, the Royal Fathers said “we commend you also for your unrestrained support for the promotion of our culture and tradition as well as appreciate your life of selflessness, commitment to the good of Anambra Central Senatorial Zone and the upliftment of our people through your numerous empowerment programmes, support for education and skills acquisition.”
Okonkwo, who is also the Chairman of The Dome Entertainment Limited, owners of The Dome and parent company of The Summit, Bowling Alley, Noni’s Pizza, Paradiso, Wesley Snipes, Satchmo, Camelot Spa and The Francis Hotel, has remained a very strong promoter of culture and tradition in Anambra state. Annually, he hosts a celebration of the New Yam, which highlights the Igbo culture and celebration of life. During such colourful celebrations, masquerades and dance groups compete for the top prize.
Though a scholar with strong academic bias for political studies, Okonkwo has added value in the recreation of the understanding of culture and tradition of the people, aligning it with modernity while striving to ensure that the people realign themselves to their culture. He insists that the distance created between man and his traditional culture is directly responsible for the dearth of morals in the society.
According to Okonkwo, “cultural revival is prerequisite for progress”. He argues that “we got lost in the pursuit of westernization. This shows the younger generation that our traditions should be cherished”.
For Okonkwo, a revival of culture in Nigerian societies will go a long way to help reinvigorate morals and arrest the decadence that had negated positive growth and encouraged the growth corruptive tendencies in the people.
High Chief Obiora Okonkwo holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Political Science, with distinction, from the Russian Academy of Science, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Moscow, and a Professional Fellowship Doctorate from the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria. He had earlier earned a Master of Science Degree in Economics, also with distinction, from the Russian Peoples Friendship University in Moscow and a first class in economics from the Russian Peoples Friendship University in Moscow. He had his early education in Nigeria obtaining his West African Schools Certificate from the Boys High School, Onitsha in Anambra state and his First School Leaving Certificate from Crowther Memorial Grammar School, also in Onitsha, Anambra state.
He was the 2018 laureate of the Faculty of the Social Sciences of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in May 2018 where he delivered a seminal lecture titled ‘The Value of Diversity: Restructuring to Save Nigeria’. In the lecture, Okonkwo traced the history of constitutional changes in Nigeria using same to enlighten on the need to restructure Nigeria so as to make it workable. He warned that failure to restructure Nigeria, would be working towards a predictable end for the country.
He also authored a seminal work titled ‘Democracy and Development: A Prolegomena For growth’, published in Okwadike, a commemorative book on the 80th Birthday of a former governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife. The discourse was also widely published on several Nigerian media platforms. His work on The Role of Nigeria Civil Society in Transition to Civil Rule earned him a PhD in 1999 and became a reference study at the Russian Academy of Science, Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow. His Master’s Degree thesis was on Corporate Strategic Planning and Methods, published in Moscow in 1994. He also published Engaging the Nigerian Diaspora for National Development in New York, 2005, with another in 2007 titled Turning the Nigerian Brain Drain into Brain Gain, which was published in Accra, Ghana in 2007. In 2013, he published another work titled Citizen Election and Expectation: The Role of Religious Groups in Politics.
Dr Okonkwo, born on December 5, 1965, in Gombe, northeast Nigeria, chairs the boards of several companies including The Dome Entertainment Limited, owners and managers of The Dome and The Francis Hotel, Abuja; Solicom Engineering Limited, Private Airline Services Limited (PASL), owners and operators of United Nigeria, Rokada Security Company Limited among others, with a combined employee strength of over 600 workers including Nigerians and foreigners. He is also President and Founder of Nigeria-Russia Business Forum, Nigeria-Belgium Business Forum among other business fora.
Okonkwo who is a native of Ogidi in Idemili-North area of Anambra state, is widely travelled and is fluent in Russian, is also a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (FNIPR), Chartered Economists (FCE) and CareerNation Institute, New York, USA. He is noted for his philanthropy and dedicated support for humanitarian and religious causes.
Besides the honour from all traditional rulers of Anambra Central, Okonkwo is also listed for other such honours from other communities in the state and beyond, some of which will be conferred in the next few weeks.
However, with his interest in business, Okonkwo is set to become the next big phenomenon on the Nigerian business front. Nigerians may just watch for him.
Uchegbu wrote from Abuja