There is a consensus that what Nigeria needs most to be more competitive is visionary leadership.
This notion has been with us even before independence in 1960. Yet we are finding it difficult to fathom whether we are progressing or retrogressing. There have been reference to the likes of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Fidel Castro of Cuba among others have been extolled for providing leadership that helped steer the development ships of their countries. In the same vein, George Washington several years ago pioneered and provided qualitative leadership direction for the American government.
Most of the times, Nigerians have with nostalgia remembered the somewhat articulate and focused leadership that was provided by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Alhaji Ahmadu Bello. Ever since the end of their era, the hue and cry has been loud over complaints of a country devoid of focused leadership. But then what is leadership?
“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” –Bill Bradley
The above interpretation of leadership makes great meaning to Val Ozigbo who has just thrown his hat into the ring to vie for the Governorship position in Anambra State under the umbrella of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
Immediate past President and Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), Mr. Valentine Chineto “Val” Ozigbo, has said that Anambra State needs a more focused and visionary leadership that would pursue the path of collaboration so as to achieve her short and long term developmental goals.
Almost the most decorated black man in the hospitality industry in the world, Ozigbo who resigned from his plum job and left his comfort zone at Transcorp Hotels to wade into the murky waters of politics said he hungers for a better Anambra State; a better Nigeria and a better place for the black man.
Describing the Anambra State experience as that of one with blessed and missed opportunities, the widely travelled man whose wealth of experience traverses banking, business, administration and other endeavours said he possesses the quality mix and experience to pool together all the varied resources of the state and launch it to where it belongs, in addition to making it competitive.
According to him, Anambra state needs to play a bigger role in the lives of not only Igbos in Nigeria and the African Diaspora but also as part of the march towards restoring the dignity of the black man anywhere in the world.
He maintains that a lot more needs to be done in the area of making the state more “investment friendly” in order to attract both local and foreign investors.
‘’What we need in Anambra is efficiency and to make it more competitive. It is when you have made it investor-friendly that you can attract all sorts of investors’’,
WHO IS VAL OZIGBO?
Valentine Chineto “Val” Ozigbo, who was born on July 20, 1970, is a Nigerian business executive. He is the immediate past President and Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria plc (or Transcorp), a diversified conglomerate with strategic investments and core interests in the hospitality, agribusiness and energy sectors.
Previously, Ozigbo had worked as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria-based hospitality company, Transcorp Hotels Plc. Transcorp Hotels is the hospitality subsidiary of Nigerian conglomerate Transcorp. He also worked in the banking sector, gaining over 17 years of experience with NAL Merchant Bank, Diamond Bank, Continental Trust Bank, FSB International Bank, Standard Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa and Bank PHB.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Ozigbo hails from Anambra State in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. He attended Christ the Redeemer College, a secondary school in Amesi, Anambra State, where he was an outstanding student, having represented the college in various quiz competitions. He later taught Physics and Mathematics at the same institution while awaiting University admission.
He studied Accounting at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka graduating with the class of 1994 with the best result in both Accounting and Business Administration.
He obtained his MBA in Banking and Finance from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2000 and an MSc in finance with distinction from the Lancaster University, United Kingdom in 2004.
Ozigbo has professional qualifications in accounting (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria) which he obtained in 1998; Taxation (The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria) gotten in 2000; and Credit Administration (Institute of Credit Administration) which he bagged in 2015. He is a fellow of all three institutes.
As CEO of Transcorp Hotels, he oversaw the hotel’s expansion to other cities across Nigeria and a consolidation of its status as the leading hotel in the country. Under him, the company announced an N8 billion initial public offering (IPO) in 2014, which was oversubscribed.
TRANSCORP HOTELS PLC
Ozigbo served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc. from October 2011 – December 2018. In this role, he provided strategic direction and drove the execution of key strategic goals of the company and its projects under management which included business expansion, merger and acquisition opportunities, business improvements, upgrade and renovations.
He was also responsible for developing five new projects worth over $500 million, including two hotels in Lagos and Port Harcourt, a 5000-capacity conference facility, luxury apartments and the upgrade of existing hotels with additional retail facilities.
Ozigbo was a British Chevening Scholar in 2003–04.
He has also participated in many international conferences including: the World Economic Forum at Davos (WEF) and the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) in Nigeria; the African Development Bank annual meetings in China; the World Bank/ International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meetings in Washington DC; Euromoney and Economist Conferences in London; Euromoney debates on Capital Flows to Africa in London; and SIBOS 2009.
In September 2018, he was conferred with the award of Distinguished Alumni of the Lancaster University. The award was conferred on him at a special convocation ceremony of the university held at its Ghana Campus.
Given where we are today, it is evident that the path of safety and progress going forward lies in Anambra, and indeed all of Nigeria appreciating and responding most actively to the need to put our best feet forward on the leadership arena.