Multiple award-winning global CEO Valentine Ozigbo has been honoured by the prestigious Onitsha Business School as the institution named its research centre after the respected business leader.
Prof Olusegun Sogbesan, the Founder and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Onitsha Business School, made the historic announcement at the institution’s 7th Vision Anniversary/Graduation Ceremony held on Friday, March 23, 2022.
While making his remarks at the elaborate ceremony, Prof Sogbesan announced that the new research centre would be named the Valentine Ozigbo Research Centre.
According to Sogbesan, the leadership of the Onitsha Business School selected Mr Ozigbo for recognition because of his towering achievements in the Nigerian business landscape and his unwavering support for the business school.
Professor Sogbesan further eulogised Ozigbo for his simplicity, humility, and carriage, describing him as a “model citizen, accomplished corporate titan, and a selfless individual who embodies the qualities of a nation builder”.
Ozigbo, who was voted as the 2021 Anambra Man of the Year, thanked the governing council of the Onitsha Business School for the honour, promising to continue to partner with the school.
“I am fascinated by this because Onitsha is seen as the epicentre of business in West Africa. Onitsha is also home to the biggest market in Nigeria, so the location of this business school is perfect,” Ozigbo said.
“I have co-authored a book with an Associate Professor at the Lagos Business School, Prof Ogechi Adeola of the Pan-African University. Ígba-Boi, our book, is a business research book that examines the Igbo apprenticeship system.
“Our book will be launching soon, and I will be partnering with the Onitsha Business School on that project.
“Throughout my life, I have lived by the principles of compassion, community, and continuous improvement. We must work together to meet the challenges of our time.
“I believe that if we adopt the culture of continuous improvement in developing and upscaling the Igba-Boi system, Ndi Igbo and Nigerians will overtake many countries,” Ozigbo added.
Mr Ozigbo also announced Professor Sogbesan as the book’s launch committee chairman. He also congratulated the graduands. One of them is Ozigbo’s brother-in-law, Ichie Sunday Ezeobiora, one of West Africa’s most successful agribusinessmen, who is the Chairman of Sunchi Farms.
While speaking to journalists after the event, Ozigbo expressed gratitude to the Onitsha Business School.
“I came to celebrate with the graduands of the Onitsha Business School and show appreciation for the honour this hallowed institution has bestowed upon me,” Ozigbo remarked.
“The school’s leadership has considered me worthy of having a research institute after me, and I do not take this recognition for granted.
“I spoke of my plans to revolutionise the Igba-boi apprenticeship system and ensure that it becomes a viable means of sustainable financial emancipation that we can showcase and export.
“We can quickly achieve this by building a proper ecosystem which entails assembling key stakeholders, defining their roles, setting key performance indicators and practical appraisal modules, and monitoring progress.
“I firmly believe in rewriting our story, and to achieve this, we have to raise our collective consciousness,’ Ozigbo added.
Valentine Ozigbo is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, one of Africa’s most prominent conglomerates interested in hospitality, agribusiness, power, energy, and oil and gas.
In 2020 when he turned 50, Ozigbo resigned from his position at Transcorp Plc to focus on the next phase of his life, which he has dedicated to public service.
In Ozigbo’s first foray into politics, he contested for the office of Governor of State. Ozigbo’s Ka Anambra Chawapu message of hope sparked one of the most prominent political movements in southeastern Nigeria, winning the hearts of the Ndi Anambra with a refined brand of politics devoid of mudslinging.
A natural crowd-puller, Ozigbo made history when he emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate after a keenly-contested primary election. He came second in the main election held in November 2021, behind Professor Chukwuma Soludu, who was on his 4th attempt at the governorship.
Ozigbo is the founder of the eponymously named Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, one of Nigeria’s leading non-profit organisations. Since its inception, the VCO Foundation has positively impacted the lives of 400,000 people, especially women, youth, and children.
Mr Ozigbo is also a respected international sports developer. He is the Chairman of Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, Africa’s largest promoter of freestyle football. Since 2017, Feet ‘N’ Tricks International has organised the annual Nigerian Freestyle Football Championship and the African Freestyle Football Championship.