I was in deep contemplation thinking about my benevolent mentors when in faraway Fujairah I encountered the Onwa GUO Emperor alone in his hotel room
“Never trouble another for what you can do yourself, never spend your money before you have it, never buy what you do not want because it’s cheap; we never repent of having eaten too little, how much pain has cost us the evils which have never happened, when angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.”
- Thomas Jefferson (1748-1826) the Third President of the United States of America
In my now publishing Classic; The Jews of Africa, Sir Odumegwu Louis Ojukwu towered into the climatic chronicle when as the pioneer African extraordinary entrepreneur of the Nigerian golden generation he sought to enter the United Kingdom without his travelling papers.
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Landing in Liverpool, still without his passport and visa, he was quickly accosted by the British immigration officials who dutifully demanded his papers before he would be allowed to go up into the Liverpool streets.
Unruffled, by the antics of the officials, Odumegwu Ojukwu trudged on as a commanding voice thundering from the top ordered the officials to retrace their steps.
‘‘If I were you I would leave that Gentleman alone’’
The gathering platoon of British Immigration officers were still at attention when Mr. John Holt, of the John Holt West Africa group descended down the port to embrace and welcome into England, his African partner and by thes late fifties, the Guru of the Nigeria business world.
Before his sudden death at Nkalagu few days to the civil war shoot out, Odumegwu was the consummate developer, and the Nigerian businessman who single handedly financed Queen Elizabeth’s maiden Royal visit to Nigeria. Pulling out the Queen’s special choice designer Rolls Royce!
There were other Nigeria top notch tycoons. Remember the dandy Mobolaji Bank Anthony, who sponsored the Emma Ifeajuna Lagos reception of the Nigerian pioneer athletic superstar. Emma had conquered the city of Vancouver 1954 Commonwealth Games, after he unbelievably scaled through 6/7 ft. clinching for Nigeria her first international Gold medal. He was the first human to jump three and half inches above his own height.
With his stars rising above the sky, Michael Ugo who was the first Nigerian importer and exporter had a money making philosophy. Money according to him grows into millions in the hands of a good caring planter. Money is like the mustard seed. It can only increase when it is planted well. You don’t need to hustle and bother a lot. He postulated, ‘‘I have planted money and at a certain stage I rise to go and harvest my plant, return home by 11 am and rest!
There were other interesting Nigeria businesses pundits many, for inexplicable reasons have and continue to pass through my path.
From the same East, I have been favored to relate with the late Danco Okafor, the Ojoto born Tycoon who in hey days wanted to buy over the whole agricultural lands of Uzo Uwani! Like many of his ilk he would never announce himself, his wealth or his empire.
The flowing Agbadas, Oxendale wardrobe never fitted his rugged framework but when I introduced him to the Chicago business circle, I was shocked to gather that he was a Knight of the Malta-Jerusalem, the few that control the New York market exchange!
Whatever, the money dazzler was Chief M.K.O Abiola. He never would call me by my name but would excuse me when I would not lie down or genuflect before his presence. At Concord when I was still in Unilag, at the Newsroom notably some Friday evenings, he would breeze in.
‘‘You Kekere.. Nwobodo Boy… follow me. Your hands no dey pain you. You too dey write and look at me and my pockets. Seven million check in this one, the left pocket 15 million in two hours deal!
I’m going to Fez, tonight you go come? At the Ikeja airport, his planes dominate the grounds and when the other Editors are returning to their homes and wives, I am airborne with the Chief to Fez, at the Sultan’s ship house on the Mediterranean. From the Sultan’s Palace at Fez to Seychelles to Heathrow-London, to Lagos and back to my Ikeja Palace Hotels I will return to work on Tuesday. There was no Sheraton then.
Like M.K.O, I have taken Chief Emma Iwuanyanwu in as my uncle and forever, for better or for worse he would be part of my unending roads of colliding ambitions and aspirations.
I was still in deep contemplation thinking about my benevolent, very wealthy mentors when in farawaynear the borders of Oman and southern Iran I encountered the Onwa GUO Emperor alone in his hotel room in Fujairah. Chief Godwin Ubaka Okeke is a story of a book any Poet can easily put in verses and a Novelist can write about without bothering about its believability.
A man I met by accident in a Tennis Court, whipping a down the line cross court winner. Adorning a Socrates white beard his Tennis is remarkable as the Umpire rules in his advantage, calling his name at the same time with the ball boys chorusing the GUO rhyme. My Cousin Arinze, a retired Correction Officer had also told me the story of an Onitsha businessman who was kidnapped by a notorious daredevil gang. The equally foolhardy gentleman pinned down by the tremendous firing coming from both the police and the escaping marauders refused to be awed. In that moment of unbelievable theatre, with his wife crying and pleading to the marauders to come for the money…. if only they let go her hubby, the Onwa, the GUO emperor decided to make his move. With the bullets flying all over the place and clenching his teeth the big man ran for his life; outran his younger hijackers only to fall into a ditch.
Next week read Emma Okocha’s en- counter with Onwa Godwin Ubaka Okeke in Fujairah.
What the people say….
My brother please. are you writing to- morrow? Last week I was not sure of your answers when I asked the question where is Emma Okocha because I cannot read on Wednesday without you on the Niger.
- Ifeanyi Nnadi
In the World Cup matches no players scored a goal direct from a corner kick. My humble self scored twice playing for Saint John’s College Kaduna, 1956 and 1958. Law Nwaka, first school boy to play for national team.
Emma when can I pick blood on the Niger.
Emma Okocha where are you I buy The Sun every Wednesday to read your historic write ups. if you are not writing again let me know through this text.
Be informed as from August, your Sun shall rise and your enemies shall wonder.
- Rev Akaegbu