Sir Louis Ojukwu was a great man, accomplished entrepreneur who made so much wealth before he died. All without Oil and he became so rich that he did not need official papers to visit the 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 the first Billionaire in Nigeria. He practically owned Victoria Garden, Lagos.
Sir Ojukwu went to lagos with nothing in 1929 aged just twenty but ten years later, he was already managing his own chain of businesses which included, Ojukwu Stores, Ojukwu textiles and Ojukwu transportation company.
By 1950, just Ojukwu Transportation company 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 sales clerk that Sir Louis Ojukwu noticed that many Igbo traders who came to lagos to buy tyres also bought textiles as well. With his meagre saving, Sir Louis travelled down to Onitsha where he opened his first business venture called “Ojukwu stores” and employed one of his relatives to oversee it. He then 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 bought a second hand truck and employed a driver in other move his goods himself and ‘Ojukwu transport company’ was born. Sir Ojukwu worked tirelessly and by end of the 1930’s, was the major transporter on the East-West Road.
In 1939, on the outbreak of world war 2, the British Government requested use of Sir Ojukwus fleet of trucks for the War effort to which he agreed. When the war ended in 1945, the British Goverment recognised the sacrifice he made and he was awarded 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 business exploded sky high and he diversified into other businesses.
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 position ultimately went to Okotie-Eboh. Sir Louis died in Nkalagu, present day Ebonyi state, in 1966.
Some of his key achievements includes ;
– Being the first President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, President, African Continental Bank, Chairman of Nigerian cement company (NIGERCEM), CEO of Ojukwu Transport company…with over 5000 fleet of trucks, Chairman of Nigerian National Shipping Line… with over 100 ships and vessels
– Chairman of Lion Of Africa Insurance Company, Chairman of BISCO Nigeria Limited, Chairman of Nigerian Industrial Development Bank which was founded to specifically give loans to industries
He was also Vice President, Lagos Chamber Of Commerce, Chairman of Palmline Shipping company, Chairman of Nigerian Produce Marketing board, Director at Shell D’Arcy Petroleum, Director at Thomas Wyatt & Son, Director atNigerian Coal corporation, Director at Guiness Nigeria Limited, Director at Nigerian Tobacco Company, Director at Daily Times of Nigeria
Sir Louis Ojukwu also owned numerous building, landed properties and stocks, It is estimated that as at the time he died in 1966, he was worth about 40 Billion Dollars in today’s money.
Culled From Igbo News