Anambra isn’t called the light of the nation for nothing. She is blessed with bountiful talents in every conceivable sphere of human endeavour. Nigeria as a country and indeed the world at large have benefited immensely from the quality of human resources she has produced in sports, academia, banking and finance, law, medicine, etc. Everywhere you go in the world, the possibility of seeing an Anambra person making impact is high. Too many young people of Anambra origin are doing wonders silently, changing the world, achieving giant strides men and contributing to national development. However, many of them maintain a low profile and are not much known owing to that. ANAMBRA PEOPLE want to celebrate these quiet but impactful young people from Anambra state to inspire other young people.
Nonso Okpala was born in 1978. He started his career at KPMG in Lagos where he honed his financial skills. He thereafter joined BGL, a renowned investment company in Africa. It was at BGL that Nonso learnt and developed a deep understanding of how businesses were run and how funds required for business operations and investments could be raised. He also served as Chief Financial officer (CFO) at Heirs Holdings. In 2009, he co-founded the VFD group and became its CEO in 2016. VFD Group is a financial services proprietary investment company, spreading its investment wings into basically every sector within the financial services industry.
Today, Nonso with his team of professionals are building Africa’s first truly diverse business ecosystem, with over 40 portfolio investments, a total asset base of 34 billion naira and a share price of 361 naira in 9 investment sectors. This accomplishment is nothing short of a phenomenon considering that the company is still young. At formation, the company issued its shares at N2 per share and was listed on NASD at N100 per share and today the company’s shares is trading at N361. Such accomplishment in few years is a mark of ingenuity. It is proper to tag Nonso Africa’s Oracle of Omaha (Warren Buffet). Like Berkshire Hathaway, the VFD Group is fast emerging as Africa’s top investment conglomerate.
The Midas touch and the giant strides of this rising star is now most evident. This young entrepreneurial genius is fast cementing his place as a Corporate Titan in the Nigeria private sector and leaving a foot print in Nigeria’s economic landscape.
Beyond the boardroom, Nonso is driving the Chude and Ego foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to transforming low-income communities through access to world-class education and quality healthcare. Nonso always believe that more opportunities translate to more victories and successes in an environment and the society at large hence his passion to foster more opportunities through his foundation.
He recently raised over 200 million naira to build the Osnon Academy, a world class educational facility in Anambra. Nonso Okpala is the Chairman of VFD Tech and VFD Group Plc.
Dr. Chukwuemeka Franklin Okeke is the MD/CEO of Spine Communications Limited, founder of RISE Global Health Initiative California, founder of Aspire Football Club, Adazi-Ani and was the Chairman Caretaker Committee, Anambra State Football Association in 2020.
Dr. Chukwuemeka Franklin Okeke is a Graduate of Georgia State University, Atlanta where he acquired a Bachelors of Science degree and a Master’s degree in Neurobiology. He also has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from University of California, San Diego. He is a member, American College of Health Executives, USA, a member Nigerian Association of Pharmacists in the Americas and a member, Pharmacist Council of Nigeria. In 2017, he was honored by the University of California, San Diego as one of their four outstanding healers under forty years old.
Through his foundation, he launched ‘My Anambra Football’, a deliberate effort to improve football standard in Anambra State. The foundation has sponsored an array of programmes like; Adazi-Ani Jam Blast (in partnership with New Age Mobile Concept), Aspire FC Egwu Ogene Contest (In partnership with New Age Mobile Concept), Orumba General Hospital Free Medical Outreach, FC Bayern Youth Cup (in partnership with VOE Foundation), Adazi-Ani Fest 2020 (in partnership with New Age Mobile Concept), My Anambra Football Super 8 Tournament (in partnership with GUO, New Age Mobile Concept, and Royal Electronics), FC Bayern Youth Team Exhibition Games (in partnership with VOE Foundation), Aspire Football Academy Scholarship and FC Bayern Youth Cup, 2022 (in partnership with VOE Foundation).
Dr. Emeka Okeke is also into health care and has invested heavily in the sector in the state. For instance, in 2015, he oversaw the first healthcare delivery- Public-Private partnership in Anambra State through the Anambra Business Coalition. This partnership between his RISE Health Corporation and Anambra State Government, enabled the rehabilitation of public and private hospitals in the State, a feat celebrated by ex-governor Willie Obiano, who personally came to unveil some of the projects. In 2013, he rolled out the Free-Clinic-Days program in Anambra that screened over 2000 people and provided 300 parents with free access to medical care. The same year, Governor Peter Obi commended and financially Supported Dr. Okeke’s Nigeria Epilepsy Care Advancement Program (NECAP) where 240 epilepsy patients were enrolled into a free 12-month medical care and support. NECAP was also supported by Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California, Eden Medical Center California and National Hospital Abuja.
Paul Orajiaka is a Nigerian entrepreneur, politician, and philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of Auldon Group, a firm that manufactures and sells African-themed toys, in particular Unity Dolls. Auldon manufactures dolls and other toys which depict, promote and teach Africa’s cultural heritage to children. While studying at the University of Lagos, he set up Auldon Toys (now Auldon Group) with an initial investment of less than $100. The company got the status of a limited liability firm in 2002 and currently employs more than 400 direct and indirect employees. It now has an annual turnover in excess of $10 million.
Apart from Nigeria, Auldon’s toys are now sought after in countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and some parts of Europe. Last year, Auldon launched the Unity Girl Dolls, a set of multi-cultural dolls clad in the traditional attires of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups. It has been a runaway success and a tremendous hit among Nigerian parents and their daughters. Paul Orajiaka is an alumnus of Harvard Business School. Paul Orajiaka was an aspirant in the last Anambra governorship election.
Dr. Umeh is the MD/CEO of Century Power Generation and a Director of Nestoil Plc – both subsidiaries of the Obijackson Group of companies. He joined the Group in February, 2011 from General Electric Aviation, in Cincinnati Ohio, USA, and brings years of seasoned engineering, manufacturing, program management and managerial experience. While at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna New York (2001 – 2007), he was responsible for the development of several technologies used to increase efficiency and reduce emissions on land-based and aviation gas turbine engines, in addition to modifying fuels for advanced aeronautical engines.
Eloka holds several Engineering degrees, including a BEng in Electronics Engineering from the University of Nigeria, a BSc in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida, and an MSc and Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.
Dr. Umeh is a philanthropist and volunteers his spare time to mentor students and young professionals.
Dikanna Chika Okafor
Mr. Dikanna Chika Okafor was the Executive Director, Operations and Services at Chicason Group of Companies. Before joining the Chicason Group of Companies, Mr. Dikanna served in different capacities with Reading, United Kingdom, and Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). He is currently the Deputy Group Managing Director, Chicason Group.
He is a member of the Institute of Director Nigeria (IOD). He has attended various international courses on Oil and Gas (CITAC), Trading (Cambridge Princeton), and Family Business Management (INSEAD).
Mr. Dikanna Chika Okafor is the founder and Chairman of Dyko Oil and Gas services. A Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Reading, United Kingdom, an Alumnus of Lagos Business School (LBS), and a fellow of the school of General Studies of the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
He is a speaker, mentor, an accredited and certified coach practitioner as well as a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF).