By Benjamin Njoku
It was a night of extolment at the inaugural ceremony held in honour of late Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo at his residence in GRA, Benin on Tuesday.
At the event, friends, family, well-wishers, colleagues, and royal dignitaries gathered to reminisce on the immense contributions of the business mogul and philanthropist who made a tremendous impact in the lives of Nigerians.
The guests, most of whom were employees from a multitude of companies he owned, all attested to how much of an icon Captain Hosa was. With teary eyes, his “work family” called attention to the general public’s attention to Cappi’s disciplined yet considerate leadership style. They also expressed how it inspired most of them to live their dreams and excel in their diverse careers. He inspired enthusiasm for development across sectors, nationally and internationally.
In 2016, Cappi as he was fondly called while he lived achieved another impressive entrepreneurial milestone, when he unveiled a 22,000 acre state-of-the-art facility worth $750 million (N150 billion). The facility, which eventually became a greenhouse farm, was established in the heart of Edo State, Nigeria.
Cappi’s dream for agriculture to penetrate every nook and crannies of Nigeria’s ecosystem led to him creating a world-class farm in the state known as “the Heartbeat of Nigeria ” – a move that highlights the importance of the state towards socio-economic development.
Beyond the physical positioning, the nature and capacity of the farm are noteworthy, underlying Captain Idahosa’s ingenious abilities. The farm has created a whopping 85,000 direct jobs; and indirectly employed thousands more youth and women. This is highly commendable for a country groaning under the weight of a high unemployment rate and several job losses.
Speaking highly of Captain Hosa’s outstanding efforts and humanitarian impact, the Managing Director of Wells Hosa Farms, Engr. Franklin Owegie said: “Being one of the business outfits through which the great Edo business icon provided a platform for numerous families to earn a living, the staff of the Wells Hosa Greenhouse Farm are very much beneficiaries of the special growing love with which Captain Hosa (as he was fondly called) related with everybody. He penetrated the world with selfless kindness and establishing endearing friendships without regard to social status, religion, and political affiliations.”
At the night of tributes, those that worked closely with him recounted stories of his endearing personality, warm enthusiasm and many other experiences that made for Cappi’s achievements. They attested that Cappi’s legacy will live on. From the food on our tables to the agricultural opportunities that abound in the country, the presence of Captain Hosa is forever felt.
The four-day event celebrating Cappi’s final flight kicked off yesterday in Edo State. The programme of events continues throughout the week until his remains are laid to rest in a ceremony in his hometown, Benin, on October 9, 2021.