• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Annie-Okonwo’s determination to serve humanity

uche okonkwo

Uchenna Harris Annie-Okonkwo is an accomplished youth. He is the Executive Director of Topwide Ventures Ltd, a multidimensional private conglomerate with core interests in commodity trading and fast-moving consumer goods. Top wide is also into real estate and construction, with significant presence in the oil and gas sub-sector. His attention has shifted from becoming wealthier to impacting positively in the lives of the people.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader,” this statement was once made by John Quincy Adams, an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States.

The era of hereditary leadership is fast eroding as leaders are being chosen by what they have done for humanity, the lives they have touched and their ability to inspire others to dream just as they do.

Leaders no doubt instil in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.

Nigeria no doubt needs not just selfless leaders but leaders who will inspire others to succeed. This seems to be one key thing lacking in most people elected into positions of leadership.

However, the narrative is about to change as Uchenna Harris Annie-Okonkwo, Executive Director of Top wide Ventures Ltd, a multidimensional private conglomerate with core interests in commodity trading and fast-moving consumer goods is ready and willing to ascend the position of the SDP candidate/ aspirant to the Federal House of Representatives for Idemili North & South, Anambra State.

Expectedly consistent to his burning quest for a better society where justice, fairness and progress as ideals become reality and norm, Uche has unveiled an abiding zeal and zest to serve but not served, a desired beacon to inflame and entrench compassion in our representative democratic architecture.

Okonkwo was the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for House of Representatives in Idemili North & South, Anambra State.  He believes in the philosophy that people help themselves best by making others better because an improved humanity breeds an endowed personality.

According to him, leadership at best should be a tool for service and followership, the best weapon for leaders.

“Mark you, everyone to a degree is a leader in his or her sphere of influence. So if individuals get it right in their personal domain of influence, society will thrive better in such a way that progress becomes assured and routine,” Okonkwo said.

His dreams have always been providing solutions to problems especially issues affecting Nigerians negatively. Days after the fire disaster which destroyed lives and property in Onitsha, Okonkwo flew down to Nigeria from Canada, to join forces with other Nigerians to ensure similar is averted from reoccurring.

The young entrepreneur called on the government and the people of the state to rise together and halt the malady of fire disasters in Anambra state, through a firm prevention, rather than reaction mechanics.

“Yes, fire outbreaks can be sporadic and spontaneous, deliberate or not, but they are certainly not unforeseeable. If it is a foreseeable disaster, we should be readier for the menace through a more robust curtailment and containment capacity, than reactive tokens and broad lamentations.”

The youth empowerment crusader and critical voice for the young generation stated that considering the costs of funds, the burdens of doing business, the time span of savings for business start-ups, and our peculiar dependents ratio to every breadwinner, the preventable agony of seeing your livelihood go up in flames in minutes, makes the economics of prevention far cheaper and compelling, than the quicksand palliatives, most times unfulfilled, poorly administered, or even abandoned as memories grow thin.

“Which is really why I’m saying this now than earlier to help keep the issues alive because the agonies still subsist. I, therefore, call on the government of  Anambra State as responsive as I believe they are, to as a matter of developmental necessity, to arrest and prevent any further situation as witnessed lately, and by so doing, restore confidence to our striving businesses and businessmen.

“I feel sad as every other person when confronted with the constant picture of firefighters arriving late to the scenes of distress to confess being handicapped by lack of water, hydrants, failure of equipment, access to the arena, and poor public attitudes that conduce to fire. These are unfortunate as they are embarrassing because trading and commerce is to Anambra State what oil and gas is to Nigeria. It should command higher structured primacy, I really humbly submit.”

Annie-Okonkwo added: “Furthermore, I state with responsibility that if the government is constrained by funds to secure the golden eggs of our people, their markets, then  I advocate strongly the setting up of a Fire Safety Trust Fund, where the synergy between the people and their government is exploited to catalyze firmed efficiencies in fire fighting and containment. I will be a free and willing campaigner for such initiative and I know many will gladly do the same too.

“Because if this is done transparently without politics and hubris, such institutionalised process will have the persuasive buy-in by the mass of the traders, who through their legal market union executives will be sensitized to throw in their pinch to keep their pie.”

Annie-Okonkwo’s roots

Uche Harris Annie-Okonkwo is easily the natural son of the soil from Ojoto Town, deeply proud of the environment that gave him his root and respectfully humbled to have Distinguished Senator Annie Okonkwo, Agunachemba, and inspirational Lolo Chinyere Okonkwo as his dear parents.

First, he has been privileged to be the son of the father he has.  As a prominent political figure in Nigeria, he has contributed more in shaping my life politically than anyone else. With lucid hindsight, he grew up almost amidst guests of all tribes and status who come for political, economic and social visits from so early in the day, to so late in the night he remembers their animated discussions and loud arguments about our country and governance.

His Clement Annie Okonkwo carved a niche for himself, building conglomerate that employed over 7,000 people in his companies Reliance Telecomm, Clemco Industries, Modern Communications (satellite TV Network), MacClemm Marketing Communications, Sunflower Nigeria and Pentagon Oil.

Uche Annie-Okonkwo’s dad, who represented Anambra Central Senatorial District in 2007 was appointed in various committees, Upstream Petroleum Resources, Police Affairs, Environment (vice-chairman) and Agriculture.

He recollects their hushed tones when things are really bad as during the coup-prone days and many more like that.  Sen. Annie Okonkwo, his dad was first a successful businessman before a politician, so the influences run appreciatively concurrently.

Growing up too was delightful by virtue of his mother’s inspirational stature. Her moral regimen was and continue to be a well of vintage wisdom. Lolo Chinyere as she has become better known enjoys a special knack for propriety and exactitude. So between them, Annie Okonkwo’s education and all the people he has met and read about, his philosophy of life is already cut out to add his bit to uphold humanity through service by examples.

“To the leaders and the led, humility is a key factor, and to me personally, the first factor really. Humility is a resonant adhesive that ties both together and oils their bond of interactions and necessary conversations that must take place for continuous harmony,” he said.

Profile

Okonkwo is a native of Ojoto in Anambra State. He grew up partly in Aba and Lagos, where he accomplished his secondary education before moving to Canada for higher studies. Today, he has double honours in political science and philosophy, primed with a separate degree in Professional Writing and strategic communications.

A global citizen by education and exposure, he passed through the rigorous high school tutelage of Kings College and British International School, Lagos before proceeding to a premier Ivy league School in Canada, the famed University of Toronto, where he was a B.Sc double laureate in political Science and Philosophy. He later topped it off with a B.A. in Professional Writing and Strategic Communications with emphasis on African political culture, persuasion, evolution and dynamics.

He has since served his fatherland faithfully in obedience to law and pronounced yearning to civic national duty in Abuja where he triumphed with a commendation in his NYSC beat.

His preferred post-service work experience has deliberately been here in Nigeria, where he had profound corporate climbs from sales & project manager, to Special Advisor on Business Affairs, before anchoring on the Topwide Group as an Executive Director with vast layers of challenging responsibilities and exceptionally acquitted himself creditably.

Across the board, Uche has distinguished himself with remarkable talents in deals negotiations as a rare development barrier breaker yet remain a restless knowledge seeker.

He has chosen and nurtured a disarming down to earth persona, a virtue and charisma that tied his bliss quickly to a permanent heartthrob Lady Nkeiruka Okonkwo, with whom today, they are blessed with great children to their happy matrimony.

Top wide Ventures, the company which Annie Okonkwo heads as executive director has actually been in existence since 1996 with focus on commodity trading especially in fast-moving consumer goods.

The company which is now into real estate and construction, and its emerging subsidiaries cutting edge players in oil and gas, mining and manufacturing are graciously doing well and its turnover has been incremental.

“I think from a private point of view, and the Nigerian peculiar challenges, we have done very well in our areas of chosen interests.

“Topwide is also into real estate and construction, with significant presence in the oil and gas sub-sector. Presently, its pioneering a defining initiative in the Nigerian mining industry in partnership with world best multinational, PT Tema of Indonesia, he said.

Accomplishments

Speaking on his accomplishments as a person, he said.  “I would not say have been great chest beaters, but nonetheless pathfinding. I’m privileged to ascend the ladder as Executive Director in a thriving conglomerate with responsibilities that are met decidedly.   I am thrilled by our corporate investments in the Mining and the Real Estates.

“Particularly, in the mining area where our proactive nuances gave rise to the berthing in our shores the second-largest Mining company in the world who are currently working without a stop in Nigeria. They have been here for a year now and looking good for long gestation happily.

“I feel accomplished we brought them in and it has been great and though competitive.  This is the kind of development required for Nigeria to really grow and hit her mark in global competitive index,” Okonkwo said.

He further explained that getting married to his permanent heartthrob, passionate Nkeiruka through whom God took residence in his home and children is also a great achievement.

“That is my testimony accomplishment any day and our children remain our light bearers indeed. I have also done lots of poverty alleviation programmes but I don’t see them as an accomplishment, but rather normal civic philanthropy.

“I feel fulfilled and excited whenever I visit the orphanages or render help to people. It’s actually one of the reasons that propelled me into politics in order to possibly increase the scale of the lives I touch and will surely touch,” he added.