A Tribute To Herbert Onukwube (1928 – 1914)
CHIEF Dr. Herbert O. Onukwube, Orimili Enugwu Ukwu Na Umunri, was born in 1928 at Adagbe Avomimi Village, Enugwu-Ukwu, to Mr. Onukwube Nwankwo and Mrs. Nwanyiegbo Joana-Nwakpaligwe of Urunnebo Village, Enugwu-Ukwu.
He enrolled into formal education lately in his growing years. He had a short stint at Immanuel Church School, Enugwu-Ukwu, before proceeding to St. Peter’s Central School at Abagana and Amawbia respectively to finish his Standard Six.
In his quest to acquire western education, the late Onukwube trekked a total distance of about 15km between Adagbe Avomimi Village and Central School, Amawbia, setting out as early as 4:30am daily on a winding footpath across villages in Enugwu-Ukwu, enroute Nawfia to school. These were the stiff conditions Papa weathered through that shaped his life. He worked with Costain W.A. Ltd, before venturing into private business.
Orimili began business as mere petty trader, facing all odds to graduate into a fledging wealthy entrepreneur. His entrepreneurial spirit launched him fully into importation of decorative and automotive paints few years after the Nigerian Civil War, precisely in 1974.
In the course of his business engagements, he traversed the globe. He travelled to Netherland (Holland) to import Sikkens and De-beer automotive paint, Hasco wood finish or Lacquer; France, to import auto-parts and batteries; Japan, to import wheelbarrows, paint brusher; the U.S.A, to import Bondo filler; and to the United Kingdom, to import polygard filler. In fact, he was an international businessman of repute.
He finally veered into industry for diversification and founded HERBERTEX PAINTS NIG LTD, which he nurtured from the scratch into a reputed paint factory in Nigeria. The factory produces House paints such as HERBERTEX Emulsion, HERBERTEX Texcoat, House Master Emulsion, Sky Brite Emulsion, Polifilla, Autorapid car paint, and Skii Brite auto paint, among others.
Orimili was a colossus, an icon of uncommon purpose and an outstanding business giant.
Because of his entrepreneurial acumen, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business degree from Pennyslavia Christian University, U.S.A.
The late Onukwube was 86 years old when he passed on to glory.
His remains will be laid to rest on Thursday, February 5, 2015, after funeral Service at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Enugwu-Ukwu.
He is survived by his wife, Edith Onukwube and 12 children including Pastor Tagbo Onukwube, MD HERBERTEX PAINTS LTD; Hon. Afam Onukwube of Njikoka Local Government Legislature Abagana; Mr. Chukwuemeka Onukwube, a Denmark based businessman; and Engr. Kenechukwu Onukwube, a petroleum engineer in the United Kingdom.
Others are Mrs. Nkiru Enebeli of Federal Government Girls College Nise and Mrs. Ifeoma Amalu of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu.
May his soul rest in perfect peace, Amen.