“At the end, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished,” Denzel Washington, an American actor and producer said, “It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.” In every society, there are two categories of people; first are those like Solomon Grundy who just count days without making their days count. The other are those like Denzel Washington who not only mark time but also make a mark with their time on earth. They don’t wait until they get into politics before they can assist in the little way they can. Their interest lies not in the next election but the next generation. The latter category defines who Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is.
My first encounter with him was when he had a meeting with His Royal Majesty Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) in 2021. Being a Westerner, I might not have known him. When I saw him, he was down to earth. That increased my urge to know who exactly he is.
Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is a Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist born in Isu Achara, Onicha local government area of Ebonyi State. He is the founder and chair of the Orient Global Group. He’s such a saviour that Ebonyi State needs at the moment. So, this piece highlights his personality, achievements, and the reasons I desire him to join the Ebonyi State governorship race in 2023.
What I admire most about him is his determination. He never gives up on his goals. He holds that as long as nothing seems impossible for God to do, nothing stops him from finishing whatever bricks he pitches. Although he was born poor, he was determined to dust off his family history and re-write a bright type, embroidered with a better cover. He believes that consistency and determination bring no other result than progress.
Furthermore, his detribalized love for humanity is top-notch and made him stand out. He treats everyone equally, irrespective of their differences. He offers help to all and sundry – every tribe – although he’s from the eastern part of the country. I’ve seen him countless times mentoring and helping several Nigerian youths build their businesses. In 2020, for example, during the lockdown, his ₦150million donation to combat COVID-19 was disbursed evenly to all regions. Notwithstanding, he prioritizes the interest of his people.
Prior to his childhood experience, knowing and feeling the pains that rain more often on the poor, he’s determined to drain them of their pains. He gives cheerfully to everyone that solicits his help. In fact, he can’t withstand seeing people around him suffer. I remember the impacts his palliative intervention and online giveaways during the pandemic had on many who are not financially afloat. Many persons who might have slaughtered their destiny on the altar of suicide were blessed. He indeed is the epitome of who the scripture calls a good Samaritan. He derives joy in putting smiles on people’s faces.
Another act common to him is mentorship. We rise by lifting others, as he would say. He had mentored and inspired hundreds of Nigerian youths through his social media handle. He would give his followers the space to air out their opinions, pick the best, mentor them, and support them with whatever help they need – especially with fiscal and networking opportunities. I got to know this because I was one of those who craved to win his annual birthday empowerment. On his last birthday, he shared a million naira among 10 persons with inciting business ideas, ₦100,000 per person. He then did a proper and obvious follow-up on them. This alone travels a long mile, as many who were not so lucky to be selected now have the joy that there is a platform where their grievances can be aired out.
More so, the ability to carry people along is a strong weapon in his hand. He’s very social and quite accessible to all. Many times have I seen him relate with Nollywood actors and celebrities like Obi Cubana, Cubana Chief Priest, Kanayo O. Kanoya, and others. He is a friend of everyone. And to be best of my knowledge, he has made no one an enemy. He is a man of peace, freedom, and hope, making it easy for everyone to approach him. In fact, that’s the prime reason he flourishes in business.
Edward Everett Hale, an American author once said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Dr. Odii, despite his poor background, has hit the jackpot in his career. He has every quality that defines a successful man. He is a business mogul of our time, happily married to a lovely wife blessed with four adorable kids. His achievements so far are outstanding and I will analyze them under the following headings.
Personal Achievements (Businesses, Academics, and Awards)
Businesses and Companies
Dr. Odii is the founder and chair of the Orient Global Group, which comprises affiliate companies like Orient Global Manufacturing, Orient Haulage and Logistics, and Purity Agro-Allied limited. The group aims to help Nigeria add value to the world through manufacturing and the distribution of manufactured goods. They have had the trust of different firms such as Henkel, Nestle, Nasco, Unilever, and Guniess, and have recorded tremendous achievements over the past 16 years.
He also presides over the Ultimus holdings, the investment firm that has four operational companies. The companies are Viarmor, the Classroom, Parla Di Lusso, and the Ultimus construction. Viarmor offers medical technology services, while the Classroom provides luxuries at affordable prices. Both Parla Di Lusso and the Ultimus construction deal in real estate services. They all aim at contributing to the sustainable development of African economies. Under his leadership, the Ultimus holdings was ranked top among the 25 shortlisted recipients of the 2021 Next Bull award.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). In 2019, an honorary doctorate in Strategic Business Management & Corporate Governance and the Honour of Fellowship in Humanitarian Leadership (FHL) were conferred on him by the European American University in the Republic of Panama.
Also, he has been inaugurated into the 11th and 12th governing councils of Lagos State University (LASU). In fact, he is a patron to LASU. At present, he is also a member of the board of directors of the dignified Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) business school.
Figure 4: Dr. Ifeanyi C. Odii and his wife during the 2021 Independent Newspaper award
As a stellar businessman and a great philanthropist, he has got several awards and recognitions within and outside the country. Some of them are:
- Philanthropist award of the year by Independent Newspaper (2021).
- Recognition award in the 2021 Nigeria Investors value award organized by Businessday and Nigeria Exchange.
- World Peace Evangelist award by the United Nations (2021).
- Ambassador to two bodies;
- The United Nations
- The Organization of All African Military Sports (OSMA)
He has engaged in so many community empowerment services. An example of it is his 2021 scheme to empower 5 Nigerian youths with 1 million naira each to start up or expand their businesses. So far, he has given out several millions of naira to ensure many people around him do not suffer, but most of his community projects are done under the umbrella of the Ebele and AnyiChuks foundation.
Ebele and AnyiChuks Foundation
The foundation was birthed about 15 years ago out of Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii and Mrs. Ebele Odii’s kind gesture to help solve problems in different sectors in the form of poverty eradication, women and youth empowerment, educational aid, and other community assistance. The foundation has touched many lives since its inception. So far, it has constructed a school building, furnished with an I.C.T center, a laboratory, and a multipurpose hall for Isu Achara primary school. Through the educational intervention of the foundation, over 2,000 primary and secondary school students have been awarded scholarships to study both in Nigeria and abroad. It has also built over 130 houses for people and worship centers for 8 churches of different denominations.
In its ever-cherished bid to empower people, the foundation has given out start-up funds for over 500 businesses. In 2018, the foundation also distributed 50 motorcycles, 50 sewing machines, 50 grinding machines, 1000 bags of rice, 500 pieces of wrappers, and 20 pieces of hair dryers to thousands of people in Ebonyi State. This is one of the ways the foundation gives back to society.
Also in 2020, Dr. Ifeanyi C. Odii through the foundation donated a sum of ₦150 million to fight covid-19 – ₦20 million to the Federal Ministry of Health, another ₦20 million to Lagos State Ministry of Health (the epicenter of the disease), ₦10 million to the Ebonyi State Ministry of Health, 33,000 bags of rice and other relief materials which were given to 33,000 low or no income families in both Lagos and Ebonyi States.
Furthermore, the AnyiChuks Unity Cup is a football tournament organized annually for the youths in Ebonyi State by Dr. Odii under the umbrella of the Ebele and AnyiChuks Foundation. The football competition, which started in 2010, is a way of complementing the government of Ebonyi State and the State Ministry of Youths and Sports in the area of youth development and empowerment. It aims to promote peaceful co-existence and unity among the people of Isu Okomo in the area of sports, and most importantly to help the ever-talented youths find a career in football.
Why I desire Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii to join the Ebonyi State Governorship race in 2023
Ebonyi State is called the salt of the nation not only because it has the largest deposit of salt In the country but also because it’s an indispensable part of Nigeria. It has a landmass of 5,533 square kilometres and was ranked 34th most populous State in the 2006 census. It’s home to many trailblazers and pacesetters, ranging from politics to the business world, the film industry and agriculture. In fact, the state is known as the largest producer of rice, cassava, maize, beans, and yam.
Despite the treasures and blessings embedded in it, it still wallows in the dungeon of poverty and underdevelopment. It is pathetic that the state, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, recorded one of the least Nominal Gross Domestic Products (GDP) from 2013 to 2017. The economy of the state is relatively bad and becoming worse every day. But, if Dr. Oddi should be the next governor, the economy will be boosted. He is a business mogul who understands fiscal policies quite well. So, if he is allowed to rule Ebonyi State, the State will enjoy lots of economic benefits.
More so, Ebonyi State, as we know, produced the first minister of education in Nigeria. Yet, for years, it has failed to produce the highest UTME scorer. I’ve not for once seen a student of Ebonyi State emerge as one of the top 10 highest scorers of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB/UTME) exam. However, I have the assurance that this will change if Dr. Ifeanyi C. Odii becomes the governor of the State. He cherishes education so much.
Lastly, leadership is the willingness to make personal sacrifices for the greater good. Dr. Odii has sacrificed, in times past, many of his resources to put smiles on the face of his people. He is a cheerful giver who doesn’t like seeing his fellow humans suffer without offering help. He is rich already and has no record of embezzlement and other corrupt practices. I’m convinced he is not the kind that will feast on government funds. All manner of suffering will be far from the people of Ebonyi State if he is given a chance to serve.
In conclusion, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is such a wonderful personality that Ebonyi State needs at a time like this. But, he wouldn’t have been seen as the best fit for the governorship position if his wife had been nonchalant and frustrating. She not only supports the good works he does but also encourages him to do more. Behind every successful man there stands a great woman.