- Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu was a great man. He accomplished and made so much wealth before he died. All without Oil.
He was so Rich 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 20 but 10 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 clerk with John Holt Lagos in 1929.
- It was working as a tyre clerk then 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 to 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 the use of Sir Ojukwu’s 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 Zik’s 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;
- The first President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
- President, African Continental Bank
- Chairman, Nigerian Cement Company (NIGERCEM)
- CEO, Ojukwu Transport Company…over 5000 fleet of trucks.
- Chairman, Nigerian National Shipping Line…over 100 ships and vessels
- Chairman, Lion Of Africa Insurance Company
- Chairman, BISCO Nigeria Limited
- Chairman, Nigerian Industrial Development Bank. Founded to specifically give loans to industries
- Vice President, Lagos Chamber Of Commerce
- Chairman, Palmline Shipping Company
- Chairman, Nigerian Produce Marketing Board
- Director, Shell D’Arcy Petroleum
- Director, Thomas Wyatt & Son
- Director, Nigerian Coal Corporation
- Director, Guiness Nigeria Limited
- Director, Nigerian Tobacco Company
- Director, 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.
It is not a coincidence that his town, Nnewi, has the highest number of Billionaires in Nigeria today. You can clearly see the effect of wealth distribution. He inspired many of those Billionaires from Nnewi and beyond.