By Moses Nosike
Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is a young Nigerian from the east with a humble beginning. He was not born with a silver spoon, rather he experienced and witnessed poverty. But before he conquered poverty and penury, Odii right from his growing up possessed a heart of flesh where he renders help and enjoys service to humanity because he doesn’t like seeing his follow human being suffer pain or difficulty without offering little help. At this point, one begins to wonder if that reason God raised him from grass to grace.
However, in that spirit of humanity Odii has touched lives home and abroad. He has built over 100 homes for indigents in the rural areas, 6 churches, 3 Floors of Primary and Secondary schools, offered scholarships to over 1000 students home and abroad, with yearly medical screening via his foundation etc.
He is the Founder/Chairman of Orient Global Group with subsidiary companies; Orient Global Manufacturing, Orient Haulage & Logistics, and Purity Agro-Allied Ltd, others. Recently owners of The Classroom by Ultimus, Viarmor Healthcare Ltd at Victoria Island.
Having a young man like you who is making impact in the business world, also helping the less privilege in the society, as Ohanaeze president, Chief Solomon Ogbonna confirmed, tell us your experience while growing up…
I was not born with a silver spoon. As a matter of fact, my humble beginning experience inspired me to help the less privileged around me and anywhere I come across them. That experience made me know today what people are going through from poor background. I had been there, so it is not an experience another person should tell me. I understand what people are going through on a daily basis to fight poverty.
These factors put together made me see reasons the poor and less privileged in the society should be assisted to survive. Again, having gone through poverty and God by His grace helped me out of it, I felt it is human and godly to help others come out of poverty and penury.
At the media launch of The Classroom by Ultimus, at Victoria Island , there were list of companies owned by, how have you been successfully managing these outfits?
One of the things that made it possible for me to run my companies is the fact that I believe in people, human resources and development. These factors are basic assets in achieving results. Again, I realised I can’t do all alone. So, I work with a team of young people as partners, who follow my vision, having the understanding that it would not only benefit us but the society at large when we succeed.
You have raised structures for many poor families in your community even in this challenging periods, how were able to do that?
It all started when I was growing up. I always liked to help people the little way I can, and each time I did it, I would always be happy. So I grew up with that spirit of helping others especially the less privileged, and that became part of my lifestyle. Reason being that I don’t like seeing people in pain or difficulty. Maybe God saw my heart and raised me up knowing that whatever resources He entrusted into my hand will be used to help others.
With your good heart of service, youths would like somebody like you in leadership …
Well, there are different kinds of leadership; political leadership, economic leadership, family leadership, mentorship leadership etc. Leadership in any position is not a problem, but the most important thing is to be a leader that would impact positively on people around you. I also tell people that one must not get into politics before he can assist in his little way. Whether in politics, business world, cause a positive change in the life of people around you. Then if opportunity calls for political position and the people decide for you, good. I don’t need to wait till I acquire political power before I know that my neighbour needs a shirt to wear; or friends I grew up with are still struggling or suffering before I help them. If I can’t remember them now, even when I get into politics I can’t still remember them.
You have empowered several youths, what is your advice to other high placed Nigerians?
I uses to tell friends and business colleagues that without the society you can’t make any business to happen. You cannot be successful without the people. It means that anybody you raise today can raise others tomorrow, and by so doing, we are building a successful and a safer society. Without helping people around you especially youths, business environment is not safe.
Business thrives in a safer environment. You can never see any business person who wants to invest in an environment that is not safe or in crisis. I tell people that whatever the Lord has given to you is not for your consumption alone, use it to impact positively on people around you. So if we create that mindset to help others, our society will be a better place to live. This mindset has helped me become a mentor to a lot of youths and I tell them that whatever thing you gain from me, cash or kind share with others. Personally, I think this is a way we can make the world a better place.
Today, there are social vices as a result of high rate of unemployment in our society. Highly placed people in the society can do something to reduce unemployment especially among the youths. I also encourage people, don’t sit tight waiting for jobs, find something to do; who knows if you are the one that would create the job people are looking for to help the society. I believe it’s a high time we began to think outside the box.
Many of us today started with little but today our business have grown beyond the boundaries of this country without involving into crime. You can learn from us. Successful people are not from heavens. Start with a process and that process will help you become a responsible citizen. You don’t have to reject yourself when you are rejected. If government is not providing what is needful, you don’t fold your arms. You need to work hard and be part of those that would contribute to a better society. After all you don’t need to wait for what the country will do for us, but think what we can do for the country.
With your support to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos under the supervision of Chief Ogbonna, how do you assess his leadership?
Chief Solomon Ogbonna is someone who is talented and gifted. When it comes to leadership, he knows how to bring his people together. For me I have always believed and supported where there is peace. That is why I have been supporting Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos.
With some of your business in Lagos, how is your relationship with the state government?
Well, I have a cordial relationship with Lagos state government. I’m a businessman in Nigeria, and as a Nigerian doing my business in Lagos, I create good relationship with the environment.
As a philantrophist and a patron to LASU, which area would you want government to focus in terms of nation building?
Leadership is very challenging and complex. You can’t satisfy everybody. In Lagos, the governor I believe is doing his best. We should also understand that when there is a new administration, it takes sometime to put many things in place. For the governor of Lagos state who I see as a youth, most of his programmes are youth oriented.
How did Covid-19 affect your business?
As a business man, I was trained to see challenges as an opportunity. So anywhere we see challenges, we go back to the drawing board and study the situation to see if there is opportunity around it. I was trained not to complain rather to see challenges as opportunity. What I’m trying to say is that Covid-19 will go and the world will move on. This is not the first time we’re facing pandemic.
As a young man, what makes you happy in life?
I’m always happy when I put smile on the faces of people, especially the less privileged ones in the society. Again, when people I don’t know come to me and said you helped me even without knowing me. Many had met me and said, you paid my school fees; you paid my rent when I was stranded. You sponsored my education. These are services to humanity and I’m happy doing it.
Challenges during your growing-up…
Major challenge during growing-up is poverty. I experienced and witnessed it. Life was tough then. But I made up my mind to be hard working. I decided to remain focus and didn’t allow poverty to ruin my vision and future, believing that things can change for better, and I would tell a better story of my life.
However, we should have this understanding that in life, nothing good comes easily. I went through hardship and as well a process. Life is all about process. What you are seeing of me today didn’t just happen. There were days I had no foods to eat but I was confident that one day I will find enough food to eat and give people too because this is part of my calling. The same thing I’m encouraging our youths to work hard, remain focus even when you are not having enough today, tomorrow there may be opportunity to make it in life and you would have enough to eat and give to others.