Anambra: The Home of the Mighty and Famous, by Fortune Arinze Madueke
It is not a secret that Anambra State is one of the most interesting states in Nigeria. Being rich in different natural resources, though largely untapped, Anambra has managed to produce successful, educated, and industrious people from all works of life. The appellation given to Anambra State as the Light of the Nation may not make meaning to many Nigerians, not until one takes time to visit the state and interact with the people, see their culture, appreciate their mindset, attitude, vision and expectations. Indeed, chances are that of every 10 most successful Nigerians in any field of endeavor, at least one of them must be from Anambra state. By branding Anambra State the Light of the Nation, the architects of that theme might have based their decision on the antecedents of Anambra people and indeed, the extraordinary power and uncommon I can do it mindset, that is rare anywhere else in Nigeria.
Anambra is the home of most of the foremost political icons that founded Nigeria. Foremost amongst them was Dr. The Rt. Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria. In the second republic, Late Chief Sir Alex Ekwueme from Oko in Anambra State, became the Vice President of Nigeria. Other great politicians from Anambra State include; Chief. The Rt. Hon. Dr. Akwaeke Nwafor-Orizu, former Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo, also former senate President, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, former Easter region leader and Biafra warlord.
In other works of life we have names like Prof. Chinua Achebe, Chukwuemeka Ike, Chimamanda Adichie, former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Godian Ezekwe, Prof. Dora Akunyili, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, among a host of others, to mention but a few. These are household names throughout Nigeria and beyond.
In business and enterprise, Anambra State has no rival in Nigeria, as her people perfectly combine intellectual capacity with political wizardry and financial power. A very uncommon combination of three fold fortune.
Anambra State has the largest number of billionaires in Nigeria. The people have the largest investments across the length and breath of Nigeria and beyond and are the most migratory. They are the most forward looking. If every part of Nigeria develops her human capital like Anambra State, the entire country would be transformed.
The spirit that moves the people of Anambra State is embodied in the creative power that God bestowed upon man at creation, when he (God) gave man the power to conquer and take dominion over all his creation. Interestingly, one can boldly say that in Nigeria, Anambra people have keyed into the divine mandate and that explains in part, why things are positively different for most Anambra people than elsewhere, in Nigeria. In an effort to unravel the science behind the progress of Anambra people, we have paid attention to a regular age long practice in which an Anambra man travels to any part of Nigeria for business purposes. Once he starts doing well, he will send for his brother(s) who he makes to learn the trade and help him start up with capital and some goods. And the chain of success continues. Till today, many successful Anambra people scattered all over the country were taken to their current state of residence by their brother or relative. There is a second part. This one, when an Anambra man succeeds, he sends message that he needs a boy to assist him in his business. When the boy comes, he stays and serve him for 5 to 8 years, depending on the agreement reached with the boy’s people. Finally, at the end of this long period of mentorship, he is settled with start up capital and other things depending on his oga’s disposition towards him. Yet, there is another angle. Someone can be sent to someone in a business line he wishes to pursue his business career, to learn the trade for a few years. At the end, he goes on to commence trading in that line of business. The summary is that no Igbo business man anywhere, failed to pass through the test of learning and mentorship. This is the major secret behind the success of Anambra business men anywhere you see them.
Based on the 2018 report of the United Nations Global ‘poverty index,’ Anambra State became the top second richest state, following Lagos, which has been named the first one. Thus, it is imperative we look at the top five richest towns in this maverick state of Anambra.
1. Nnewi: It is generally believed that Nnewi is the richest town in Anambra State. Perhaps, the richest town in Nigeria. This fact is quite agreeable, looking at billionaires who originate from this small city. According to statistics, so many famous and successful people were born or raised in Nnewi town that it has been easily considered as the city of black billionaires, for a period of well close to 100 years. Nnewi has enjoyed fame and wealth for almost 100 years and still counting. In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the likes of Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, Okonkwo Kano, Chief Anazodo and others, were the face of black wealth. For Sir. Louis Ojukwu, his fame and wealth was so powerful that the government of Nigeria borrowed his car to carry the Queen of England when she visited Nigeria, in the 1950s. It has been variously estimated that in today’s world, Sir. Loius Ojukwu would be worth billions of dollars. Since the 1980s till date, Dr. Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Group, Dr. Cletus Ibeto, of Ibeto Group, Dr. Alexandar Chika Okafor, of Chikason Group, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, of Innoson Group, to mention but a few, have remained on the stage. These industrialists and entrepreneurs have been billionaires for decades, with various brands to their name within and outside Nigeria. The striking thing to note is that they started as mere motorcycle spare parts dealers in Nkwo Nnewi market. Interestingly, but not surprising, Most people refer to Nnewi as the ‘Japan of Africa’ due to the level of technological knowhow, development of industries and plants, going on in Nnewi. Engr. Ajulu Uzodike, the MIT trained Engineer and Chairman of Cutix Industries LTD, also a formost industrialist from Nnewi and a blessed man. All of them have their industries in Nnewi. Note that these are not the only wealthy and exceptional Nnewi business men and entrepreneurs.
2. Awka: This is the capital of the state, and it has all the rights to be one of the richest cities in Anambra State because it has all the possibilities to develop economically, build new jobs for citizens and attract investments from all over Nigeria. The state’s capital generates billions of Naira all year round. Awka is also the ‘heart’ of the country’s carving and metalwork industry. The place has several impressive higher educational institutions (both private and federal) that are known to graduate successful medical workers, businesspersons, and scientific geniuses.
3. Onitsha: It’s not a secret that Onitsha’s markets are known and loved by many Nigerians. People travel from all over the country, from its deepest and furthest corners, and from neighboring countries, to make purchases and pour a lot of money into the local economy. Actually, Onitsha is famous all over Africa as the top market in the Western part of the continent. No wonder, this is one of the richest towns in Anambra State and the home of seasoned lawyers like, Barr. Ikpeazu- SAN, Olisa Agbakoba- SAN. World renowed computer wizard; Dr. Philip Emeagwali, lengendary Mathematics guru; Prof. Chike Obi.
4. Ekwulobia: This place can also be called one of the top five richest towns in Anambra State because, Ekwulobia is a big urban city with enough human capital to stay wealthy, become an industrial center and remain as one of the state’s commercial heartbeats. Consisting of 9 villages, Ekwulobia has several resorts, many hotels, a big park, educational institutions, and other places for people to relax. That is why a lot of people are happy to live and work there.
5. Obosi: The town has almost the same outlook as Onitsha, given its proximity to the commercial city of Onitsha. Thus, a lot of industrial work, fabrication, manufacturing and trading goes on in Obosi. It is also the home of Minaj International (mbi), which was the first successful private tv station in Nigeria.
Now you know the top 5 richest towns in Anambra State. Actually, Anambra is called the real ‘Light of the Nation’ by many Nigerians. There can be little doubt that Anambra is indeed the Light of the Nation. In terms of human capital development, natural resources, as well as fertile lands, Anambra state remains miles ahead and it is only good that the blessing of the state is celebrated by all.
To further demonstrate that Anambra state CAN NEVER be left behind even in spiritual and divine matters, Rev. Fr. Tansi and Cardinal Arinze are all sons of Anambra state. Also Pastor Chuks David Ogbueli of Dominion City, is from Anambra State.
Furthermore, Anambra State remains a key hub with the largest commercial market in West Africa, showing a significant export investment opportunity. In Trade, Services and Industrialization, Anambra State is a very viable state, ready for business anytime. Onitsha and Nnewi provide the link for trade and distribution of goods between Northern and Southern Nigeria, and into other West African countries. The state is home to many indigenous conglomerates such as Ibeto Group, Chicason Group, Coscharis Group, Tiger Foods and many others. These companies have investments across several industries including cement, automobile, petrochemicals, hospitality and even financial services. According to the state investment agency (ANSIPPA), Anambra ranks 1st in commercial trade volume in the South East and 3rd in Nigeria after Lagos and Kano.
As it is certain that Anambra is the mother of numerous Nigerian billionaires who have immensely contributed to Nigeria’s economic growth and expansion, it is important we highlight just a few of the over 1, 500 billionaires in the state, in no particular order.
1. Sir Emeka Offor: Very eminent for his contributions to the Nigerian oil sector. Emeka Offor is actively engaged in a number of investment plan together with numerous business collaborations. Without undermining the contributive efforts of the business man, he owns and manages The Chrome Group, among others.
2. Prince Arthur Eze: Another distinguished native of Anambra who hails from Dunukofia – a local government in Anambra Central district. Based on the analysis of his net worth at 5.8 billion dollars, he has been announced as one of the richest Africans, sitting in the eighth position. By dint of his shrewd business strategies, his position in Nigeria’s oil sector has surged favourably.
3. Dr. Mrs. Stella Okoli: The Nnewi born pharmacist and entrepreneur of high repute is the founder and Chairman of Emzor Pharmaceuticals. She rose to fame through academic excellence and dint of hard work to establish one of the most successful pharmaceutical firms in Nigeria today. Not many people know that Emzor is founded by Dr. Stella Okoli, Ada Nnewi. To those that know her, she remains an amazon and a source of great inspiration.
4. Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukuma: Another business giant from the reputable Nnewi town of Anambra. Chief Chukuma is the first ever Nigerian to set up Nigeria’s indigenous vehicle manufacturing company. As regards the influence of his engagement in business, he has claimed a number of honours within and outside the country.
5. Dr. Cosmos Maduka: You shouldn’t doubt it if you are informed that Anambra could emerged as the top Eastern producer of automobiles without any contradiction. Mr. Cosmas Maduka is another native of Nnewi in Anambra whose wealth has surged through his expertise in the making of automobiles. From apprenticeship to a great reputation, Cosmas Maduka rose high to be founder and Chairman of the prestigious Coscharis Group of Companies, with stake in virtually every single consumable.
6. Dr. Obinna Uzoh: This versatile personage is acclaimed for his contributive efforts, spinning across business, politics and the legal sphere. A degree holder and graduate of economics, Obinna Uzor is the founder and CEO of an expansive business organization titled GOCUZ Group of Companies.
7. Dr. ABC Orjiakor: A most distinguished surgeon and a blessed man. A giant in the oil industry and a gentleman. Dr. Orjiakor is an icon and role model. A most rare combination of intellectual prowess and business acumen. He sits as the Chairman of Seplat, which has major stake in Nigeria oil industry.
8. Chief Cletus Ibeto: Cletus Ibeto is a business tycoon from Nnewi in Anambra State. He owns Cletus Ibeto Group, one of the two leading conglomerates in the Eastern part of the country. In the early 80’s Cletus Ibeto began his enterprise with a firm dealing in the importation of spare parts. Currently, his productive efforts in the industrial sector have made him Nigeria’s leading producer of batteries and spare parts for automobiles.
9. Barr. Allen Onyema, The Chairman and CEO of Airpeace Airline, which at the moment is a leader in the Nigeria aviation industry.
10. Engr. Ernest Azu Dialu: The billionaire oil magnet and philanthropist. Chairman of Nestoil, century power generation and smile network.
11. Chief. Dr. Alexander Chika Okafor: The Chairman of Chikason Group of industries which produces house hold consumables, as well as petrochemicals. He is also a stakeholder in the oil industry. Dr. Chika Okafor is a humble man and a man of character.
Some other billionaires includes; Nnetochukwu Azubuike of Genesis Hotel and Genesis Deluxe and Cinemas, Sen. Andy Uba, a successful Anambra politician and Sen-elect Ifeanyi Ubah, a businessman turned politician, to mention but a few.
We are not also left out in the entertainment and sports industry as the likes of Mikel Obi , Peter and Paul Okoye of the famous P. Square group, are all Anambra indigines.
Historically, Anambra indigene by name Olauda Equanor was instrumental to the abolition of slave trade, centuries ago.
Thus, it is safe to say that Anambra is the home of great minds with dangerously deep pockets.
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