On what would have been the 66th birthday of the late Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo (JP), we come together to commemorate a man whose influence transcends temporal boundaries.
Reflecting on William Shakespeare’s immortal words, “When beggars die, there are no comets seen but heavens themselves blaze the death of Princes,” we acknowledge the enduring legacy of this consummate philanthropist and achiever.
Since Captain Hosa Okunbo, the paragon of philanthropy and achievement, joined the Saints Triumphant on August 8, 2021, the celestial spheres have continued to illuminate his remarkable journey. The resonant wisdom of Albert Einstein, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile,” encapsulates Captain Hosa’s existence.
Okunbo, a virtuoso in managing both human and material capital, graced our world with his indelible presence. Beyond his well-known roles as a business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and trained commercial pilot, his distinctive legacy lies in the fulfillment of the divine mandate of wealth – to touch lives.
His business ethos transcended mere wealth accumulation for personal gain; instead, Captain Hosa viewed it as a sacred channel to alleviate human suffering. Recognising wealth as a divine instrument for the restoration of human dignity, he never fell short of divine expectations.
His life exemplified the age-old adage that generous souls, who build others, never truly depart but transition to a loftier glory. The bridges of humanity he constructed resonate today, as if his benevolent spirit still walks among us. Thousands, akin to the grateful Dorcas of biblical lore, continue to echo their appreciation for the largesse they received from Hosa.
His departure on August 8, 2021, affirmed that Captain Hosa Okunbo had indeed come to add profound value and substance to humanity. His intellectual acuity, unwavering patriotism, and leadership steeped in humility and sound judgment distinguished him in an era where integrity in business is a rare commodity. Leaving behind a legacy of unblemished records, he garnered admiration not only within his homeland but also on a global scale.
The life of Captain Hosa Okunbo imparts an indelible lesson – that a life worthwhile is not measured by wealth accumulation alone but by the profound impact it has on others. An unwavering family man, Hosa Okunbo’s commitment to family values shines through in the testament of his marriage and eleven children.
Born in Benin City, Edo State, on January 7, 1958, Captain Okunbo’s educational journey commenced at Government Primary School and continued to Federal Government College, Warri, in 1971. Fluent in both the Edo language and English, his diverse linguistic abilities mirrored the breadth of his influence.
Fueled by a childhood dream of becoming a pilot, Okunbo pursued aviation studies at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre, later obtaining an Airline Transport Pilot License from ACME School of Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas. Becoming a professional commercial pilot at 21, he ascended to the rank of captain at 25, soaring into the skies, accumulating an impressive 7,500 hours of flying time by the age of 30.
Transitioning from the skies to the boardrooms, Captain Hosa retired from piloting at 30, having logged over 7,000 hours of flight time. In 1988, he ventured into private business, establishing Hoslyn Ventures Nigeria Ltd., which became intricately involved in procurement within the Nigerian petroleum sector.
Captain Okunbo venture into a business was a diverse array spanning agro-allied, petroleum, telecommunications, power, real estate, and banking industries.
His foray into agriculture, exemplified by the ownership of Well Farm Limited, demonstrated his commitment to sustainable practices and agro-allied businesses for the benefit of Edo State. The ownership of over fifty sea vessels for security and crude oil movements showcased the multifaceted impact of his endeavours.
Captain Hosa’s companies, including Ocean Marine Ltd and OMS Tankers Ltd, played a pivotal role in supporting NNPC during challenges in moving crude via marine vessels to refineries. Serving as chairman and director on numerous company boards in Nigeria, his versatility and commitment to national development were evident.
His entrepreneurial journey further unfolded as he founded and chaired numerous Nigerian companies, each contributing significantly to various industries. From CMES-OMS Petroleum Development Company (CPDC) to the Wells Carlton Hotel and Apartments in Abuja, his impact extended across sectors, generating employment and fostering economic growth.
Ocean Marine Security Ltd, dedicated to offshore asset protection, marked his commitment to the oil and gas industry, with the completion of the 46-kilometer Escravos–Warri Crude Pipeline standing as a testament to his dedication. His involvement in Westminster Security Solutions Nigeria Ltd and the Wells Group of Companies, including Wells Dredging Ltd., Wells Property Development Company Ltd., and Wells Entertainments Ltd., showcased the depth of his business acumen.
Captain Okunbo’s directorship in companies like Joint Marine Environ Guard Ltd. (JMEG), Secure Anchorage Area Ltd. (SAA), Digisteel Integrated Services Ltd, Phil Nugent Nigeria Ltd, and Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd. (IEDM) demonstrated his commitment to advancing various sectors.
His membership on the Board of Directors of NatCom Development and Investment Ltd, the holding company of Nigerian telecommunications giant NTEL, underscored his influence in the ever-evolving telecommunications industry.
In conclusion, the life of Captain Hosa Okunbo emerges as a tapestry woven with threads of philanthropy, business acumen, and dedication to societal development. As we mark his 66th posthumous birthday, we pay homage to a man who not only accumulated wealth but wielded it as a potent instrument for the betterment of humanity. May the memory of Captain Hosa Okunbo continue to inspire generations to live selflessly and contribute meaningfully to the world.
.Ifetayo & Ochoga write from Lagos