A brief biography of Sir,Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu: The Father of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, KBE, (1901-1966) was a businessman from Ojukwu family of Nwakanwa quarters Obiuno, Umudim, Nnewi, Nnewi North LGA in Anambra state.
Sir Ojukwu was the first and founding President of The Nigerian Stock Exchange and The African Continental Bank.
He was also either Chairman or on the board of directors of some of Nigeria’s most profitable companies, such as Shell Oil Nigeria Limited and Guinness Nig. Ltd, Nigerian National Shipping Lines, Nigerian Cement Factory, Nigerian Coal Corporation, Costain West Africa Ltd, John Holt, and Nigerian Marketing Board, amongst others.
He won a parliamentary seat during the nation’s first republic. He had his Primary Education in Asaba and attended the prestigious Hope Waddell Institute, Calabar.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth 2 of England.
When Queen Elizabeth II visited Nigeria in 1952, the then Federal Government of Nigeria could not afford a Rolls Royce. Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, the father of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, offered his to the Nigeria Government (see the picture as attached).
He died in 1966, a year before the Nigerian Civil War.
Sir Louis Ojukwu was a great man. He accomplished and made so much wealth before he died. Up All without Oil. He was so rich he did not need official papers to visit Britain. Sir Ojukwu’s Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith LWB was used to chauffeur Queen Elizabeth during her 1956 visit.
According to Forbes Africa, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, who founded the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), was Nigeria’s first billionaire. He practically owned Victoria Garden, Lagos.
Sir Ojukwu went to Lagos with nothing in 1929, aged just 20, but 10 years later, he was already managing his chain of businesses which included Ojukwu Stores and Ojukwu textiles and Ojukwu transportation company.
By 1950, just Ojukwu Transportation had over 200 trucks in its fleet. How did he do it?
Born Louis Philip Odumegwu Ojukwu in Nnewi in 1909, the only boy and second of four children, Sir Ojukwu went to Government Primary School Asaba.
In 1922, he proceeded to the only Secondary School in the Eastern region at the time, Hope Waddell training institute, Calabar. After completing his secondary school education in 1928. Sir Louis secured a job as a tyre sales Clark with John Holt Lagos in 1929.
It was working as a tyre. Clark, the Sir Louis Ojukwu, noticed that many Igbo traders who came to Lagos to buy tyres also bought textiles.
With his meagre savings, Sir Louis travelled down to Onitsha, where he opened his first business venture called “Ojukwu stores.” He employed one of his relatives to oversee it.
He returned to Lagos and started sending down textiles on Lorries to his shop while still working for John Holt. Sir Louise’s textile boomed.
By 1930, Louis’ Ojukwu transport company’ was born. Sir Ojukwu worked tirelessly and, by the end of the 1930s, was the major transporter on the East-West Road.
In 1939, on the outbreak of world war 2, the British Government requested to use Sir Ojukwus’s fleet of trucks for the War effort, to which he agreed. When the war ended in 1945, the British Government recognised his sacrifice and awarded him a KBE (Knight of the British Empire).
The end of the war also created a high demand for raw materials from West Africa, and Sir Ojukwus Transport’s business exploded sky high, and he diversified into other industries. Some of Sir Ojukwu’s early drivers, such as Chief Ilodibe (Ekene Dili Chukwu) and Chief Izuchukwu (Izuchukwu Transport), would later become Transport moguls themselves (Igbo wealth Creation).
Sir Louis was also a financial pillar of Ziks NCNC party, and when the party came to power in 1960, Sir Louis was offered the position of Finance Minister, which he turned down; the post ultimately went to Okotie-Eboh. Sir Louis died in Nkalagu, present-day Ebonyi state, in 1966.
Some of his key achievements include;
- The first President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
- President, African Continental Bank
- Chairman, Nigerian cement company (NIGERCEM)
- CEO, Ojukwu Transport company…over 5000 fleets of trucks.
- Chairman, Nigerian National Shipping Line with over 100 ships and vessels
- Chairman, Lion Of Africa Insurance Company
- Chairman, BISCO Nigeria Limited Chairman, Nigerian Industrial Development Bank. founded to give loans to industries specifically
- Vice President, Lagos Chamber Of Commerce
- Chairman, Palm line Shipping company
- Chairman, Nigerian Produce Marketing board.
- Director, Shell D’Arcy Petroleum
- Director, Thomas Wyatt & Son
- Director, Nigerian Coal corporation
- Director, Guinness Nigeria Limited
- Director, Nigerian Tobacco Company
- Director, Daily Times of Nigeria
- Sir Louis Ojukwu also owned numerous buildings, landed properties and stocks.
It is estimated that at the time he died in 1966, he was worth about $40B in today’s currency. It is not a coincidence that his town, Nnewi, has the highest number of billionaires in Nigeria today.
You can see the effect of wealth distribution. He inspired many of those Billionaires from Nnewi and beyond.
The information in this article was curated from online sources.
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