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The Guardian’s special focus on Most Impactful and Award-winning CEOs that contributed to Nigeria’s GDP growth in 2021 Part 4

By Guardian Nigeria
11 December 2021   |   8:00 am
How Chisco Energy’s re-inventing through innovative ideas, improving client’s experience, risk-free working environment, host community relationship by Chidi Anyaegbu For over 40 years of consistently building multi-disciplinary capabilities expressed through focused business units which has established the Chisco Group as a brand with global impact, Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu, MFR, serial entrepreneur and the Group Chairman/CEO,…

Chidi Anyaegbu

How Chisco Energy’s re-inventing through innovative ideas, improving client’s experience, risk-free working environment, host community relationship by Chidi Anyaegbu

For over 40 years of consistently building multi-disciplinary capabilities expressed through focused business units which has established the Chisco Group as a brand with global impact, Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu, MFR, serial entrepreneur and the Group Chairman/CEO, Chisco Energy Nigeria Limited, has become a household name in the Nigeria’s business landscape, and even beyond.

Driven by the passion for creating values and bringing innovative solutions while adhering to integrity and excellence, Dr. Anyaegbu has positioned his company as a major player in Transportation/Integrated Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Hospitality Industry, Real Estate giants and downstream Oil & Gas of the nation’s economy having evolved from a micro auto-parts retailer into a leading national brand!

Speaking on the attributable factors for success and breaking new frontiers, one of Nigeria’s foremost Transportation/Integrated Logistics magnate revealed that he “create a positive outlook even when the national or global economy suggest otherwise. This has spurred higher energy, and greater confidence. I have also driven this level of passion to our team of over 5,000 employees across the group.”

In responding to the level of professionalism and astuteness involved in handling Chisco Energy Limited’s business operations in connection with re-positioning Nigeria to the path of wealth creation and economic growth, Anyaegbu noted that “Downstream Oil & Gas business is very dynamic business with constant regulatory guidelines that demands adherence and compliance. Chisco Energy being a company with futuristic outlook prioritizes professionalism in our trades and operations. We consider employee training and skill up-scaling and optimization is considered the main factor to increase organizational performance.”

He added that “Chisco Energy remains committed to the improving of the overall macro-economic development of Nigeria through effective participation in energy market place. Creating employments and contributing to the overall GDP of the Nigerian economy.

We at Chisco Energy are always re-inventing ourselves and brand with innovative ideas to achieve our immediate and long-term objectives. While we obviously take those long strides, we most importantly focus on those everyday innovative solutions we create on how to improve our client experience, regulators confidence, operational infallibility, risk-free working environment, host community relationship.”

Concerning the urgent need and the steps for Nigeria to attain self-sufficiency through local refining of petroleum products, the business magnate stressed that “The need to attend self-sufficiency in the oil industry is paramount. We commend the huge investment being made by Dangote Oil Refinery and other emerging modular refineries. When these refineries are fully operational, the huge pressure of FX demand for the importation of refined petroleum product will drop.”

Meanwhile, he maintained that “the challenges of human capital development in Nigeria can be tackled through trainings and upscaling, mentoring and motivation, strengthening our educational standards, having a paradigm shift in our educational curriculum to meet today’s realities of skill set”

Born September 13th, 1956, Chidi Anyaegbu obtained his First Leaving Certificate from St. Andrew’s Primary School, Amichi, Nnewi, Anambra State, in 1971, and attended several Management and Entrepreneurial courses in France, USA, Brazil, Germany and the United Kingdom. In 1996, he was awarded a honourary Doctorate degree in Business Administration (Honoris Causa) by Penn State University, USA.

He ventured into business in 1975 after completing his apprenticeship from his uncle who supported him with N120 and started with sales of auto spare parts at Ebute-Metta, Lagos. In 1981, he started Chisco Transport Limited and subsequently diversified into other sectors of the economy. In 2010, he founded “You Too Can Do It”, a non-governmental organization that is aimed at assisting the less privileged. As part of his philanthropic activities, he built a N78million business facility at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State for Transport Studies.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (International) London, and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Nigeria Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu has garnered many awards both locally and overseas in recognition of his exemplary leadership qualities and business exploits. Some of these include: Business Certificate Award- University of Houston, U.S.A; Distinguished Leadership Award By Police Community Relations Committee, Zone 7 of the Nigerian Police; Pillar of Development in Anambra State; Honorary Senior Fellowship, Institute of Internal Auditors of Nigeria; National Merit Award in Transport; Award of Excellence for Exemplary Leadership and Integrity; Member of Federal Republic (MFR); Appointed a member of dependable Resources Persons for the completion of Ecumenical Centre by President Olusegun Obasanjo; Official Transporter for FIFA World Youth Championship, Nigeria 1999; Official Carrier of the President of America Entourage during Bill Clinton’s official visit to Nigeria; Official Transporter for the 8th All African Games, COJA 2003; Man of the Year, The Sun Newspaper., amongst others.

Paulinus Ozonnagbo

  1. PAULINUS OZONNAGBO: Serial Entrepreneur, Building The Polystar Brand Through Superior Quality And Affordability

He is a Nigerian pride whose entrepreneurial engagement has provided jobs for many and added immensely to the GDP growth of this nation in recent years, Dr. Paulinus Ozonnagbo, Founder/CEO of Nigerian topmost indigenous electronics and home appliances manufacturer, Polystar Electronics, has surely created a niche for himself in the highly competitive electronic industry in the West Africa region,

Self-made with patriotic vision, Ozonnagbo was born without a silver spoon, but his determination to rise beyond his humble background made him to adopt hard work, diligence and perseverance as weapons. He went into apprenticeship as a teenager with a focus on electronics and home appliances sales, honed his marketing skill and later set up his own business which has grown over the years to become the biggest indigenous electronics brand in Nigeria, today.

Proud of the Polystar brand, he attributed Polystar’s success factors to “years of acquiring extensive practical experience of both the Nigerian and global electronics market and product. I went into electronics manufacturing to help solve some of the inherited challenges often encountered by Nigerian customers in the usage of many home appliances brands in the Nigerian market.”

He added that “The push for better products was considered putting in place the peculiarities of the Nigerian environment, power, fluctuation etc. culminated in the launch of Polystar Electronics in 2004 and our superior products include, televisions, gas, washing machine, air conditioner, home theater, oven, ceiling fan, etc.

We have prioritized investment in after sales and customers services to keep our customers happy and continually attract new customers. Nevertheless, the most important element that kept us ahead of the competition over the years has been the extra mile that we go in designing and manufacturing our products, which are the energy saving features, the low-voltage compatibility, durability, that comes with Polystar products are some of the intrinsic values we invest heavily in. This gives us an edge in the electronics and home appliances market.”

A fast-growing brand name in electronics and home appliances sub-sector of the Nigerian market, Polystar products over time has carved a niche for itself in the highly dynamic and competitive electronics and home appliances market environment through a combination of its superior quality and affordability. The Polystar range is supported by its robust sales and service centers and 2-year warranty.

Now synonymous with quality, Polystar’s parent company, Polysonic Nigeria Limited is being run by a team of dynamic professionals, who are focused on taking the Polystar products to homes across African continent.

From the commencement of its operation in 1990, the Nigerian electronics giant now has offices in Alaba International Market, Ojo, Enugu, Abuja, Onitsha, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Kano, and its products are available in reputable stores across Nigeria.

At the recently-held 2021 edition of the African Quality Achievement Awards – Nigeria’s top indigenous electronics brand – Polystar Electronics was awarded as the “Africa’s Best Quality Household Electronics Company of The Decade” by the World Quality Alliance and African Quality Institute.

A recipient of many awards in recognition of his entrepreneurial zeal with strong corporate governance, Ozonnagbo advised upcoming CEOs to be dynamic, focused and hardworking.

Steve Heffron

We invest heavily in digital skilling and employee development” – Steve Heffron

For over 20years, Steve Heffron, CEO, Tek Experts Limited, has focused on building teams that successfully deliver modern technology services and memorable customer experiences which redefine the boundaries of what is possible.

Prior to joining Tek Experts, Steve was General Manager of Worldwide Customer Service and Support at Microsoft and held executive leadership roles at CA Technologies and Convergys Corporation. His passion is to keep organizations on the cutting-edge, constantly challenging the status quo and raising the bar on what it means to deliver the best Customer Experience.

Strategies adopted in expanding portfolio at Tek Experts

We’ve developed a set of offerings that are laser-focused on the technology sector. Unlike many BPOs, we are not looking to be everything to everyone. Our customers are enterprise technology companies that want a delivery partner who can actively contribute to the value they provide to their customers and that requires unique knowledge and capabilities. Our deep expertise in the tech sector enables us to operate as a direct extension of our customers’ support offering and create strong synergy with their CX (Customer Experience) strategy and capabilities.

USP and impact on sectoral growth

We recognize that tech support is instrumental in driving our customers’ brand and overall customer experience. We are uniquely positioned to help companies leverage the existing investments they make in customer support to drive product adoption, increase renewal rates, and ultimately top-line revenue growth.

Many of the services we offer to our customers require technical expertise and we invest heavily in digital skilling and employee development, growing a skilled workforce for the ICT industry. At Tek Experts, we offer both a place to develop IT skills and a place to leverage those skills with job opportunities supporting some of the most cutting-edge technology for the biggest global brands.

In Africa, we have partnered with global and local organizations and government agencies to invest in growing local talent for the ICT industry. A highlight of our recent programs include:

In Nigeria, we partnered with Microsoft to recruit, develop and upskill unconventional talent for employability into the tech industry as part of their Leap Apprenticeship Program. In the first 2years of the program, we trained and hired 40 girls as M365 and Power Apps Support Engineers for Tek Experts.

We’ve partnered with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund on a number of initiatives to tackle unemployment issues, nurture local tech talent, and help position Nigeria as a major IT hub in Africa.Our engineering team in Nigeria has grown tremendously (9 times) since the launch of our operations in 2018 – from 200 to 1800 highly skilled support engineers.

We managed to grow our talent base in Nigeria by more than 40% amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. This was a major success for the local teams who kept achieving great results in times of crisis. We have also scaled our operations by setting up our first office in Rwanda. This is in line with our commitment to invest in local talent, create new opportunities, and contribute to the expansion of Africa’s growing knowledge-based economy.

COVID-19 impact on services and opportunities

The pandemic accelerated the move to remote work that was already happening across the industry, enabling us to deliver our services in new ways at scale. Tek Experts was able to quickly transition to remote work in a secure and effective manner because we had already invested in the latest technology, security, people management, and training.

As it relates to opportunities, we have seen the rapidly accelerating digitalization across industries drive a significant increase in demand for software and technology services. This has put an even stronger focus on support services in the technology space and our customers are asking for more services. We’re also seeing businesses more fully realize the importance of tailor-made support services that are an extension of their brand and contribute to their overall value proposition.

Abbey Onas

  1. ABBEY ONAS: Integrity-Driven CEO With Passion for Positive Change

Dr. Abbey Onas, Chairman/CEO, ZGM Investment Group of Companies, is a well-rounded professional with track record of excellent performance and integrity, who has touched various aspects of the Nigerian economy in the past two decades leading local and foreign partners to deliver top level performance and growth. His collaborative works have resulted in substantial inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country, and earned him many recognitions and awards.

With a wealth of experience in project management, planning and advising, Onas’ reputation for high integrity and sound strategy continues to propel the company he founded to greater heights thus allowing him to have tangible impacts in many segments of the nation’s economy, including construction and mining industries, distributive trade, waste management, assets management.

A linguist with high proficiency in three international languages, Dr. Onas is a high achiever with higher degrees in Business Administration and Political Science. He is currently the Coordinator to Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (FTZ), Igbesa, Ogun State. His acumen, sound strategy and commercial relationship management have helped the FTZ to be a destination of choice amongst other FTZs in Nigeria and a landmark project in Ogun State.

He has served as a member of several professional bodies and left good marks in the positions he served in both professional capacity and non-for-profit institutions. Being a man driven by vision and values, the ZGM Investment Group CEO is an asset to the nation, who has continued to invest in and inspire the youth.

In his words, “My passion is driven by a strong desire to be self-reliant, economically-independent and a need for positive change in our ever-changing world. Apart from my No pain, no gain slogan, my most cherished philosophy is “whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well”. I believe in doing the right thing, in the right way and at the right time. This attitude is what I have inculcated into ZGM Investment Group to attain a high level of professionalism.”

According to Onas, “Ideally, doing the right thing, professionally saves you a lot of time and energy. In the same vein, Nigeria will benefit more in growth and development when economic and political activities are carried out professionally, devoid of bias and personal interest. Also, corruption should be tackled and eliminated by all means in all government parastatals.”

Concerning the impact of COVID-19, the exceptional linguist turned business guru said “the pandemic paved way for some avenues that were less exploited in the past. ZGM like many other businesses in Nigeria with the desire to thrive in the post COVID-19 era now operate virtually and seamlessly using every available Information Technology such as Zoom, social media marketing, etc. In addition, we developed more TEAMS (Together Everybody Achieve More Success) that work across different platforms and departments to help achieve our corporate goals.”

He stressed that “the reason why China is rated among the strongest economies in the world is its GDP. A lot of merchandise originates from China and exported worldwide yearly. Nigeria needs to follow the footsteps of such economic giants by encouraging local sourcing, consumption, production, as well as local participation. We should reduce our reliance on importation and improve on exportation of foreign investments. More Industrial Parks, Free Trade Zones should be introduced in the 36 States.”

He noted that “Some of the problems of human capital development are attributed to our nation’s system of education, national orientation and personal attitude, especially towards economy. Quality education should be the right of every Nigerian coupled with effective skill and manpower development policies. As individuals, we need to change our attitude positively by rejecting mediocrity, tribalism, laziness. CBN should also encourage commercial banks to support young entrepreneurs more than the well-established companies.”

“Nigeria needs policies that encourage growth and development of small and medium scale enterprises, most importantly funding and improved security. Well-established and upcoming CEOs need to be more focused, supportive, and creative with zero tolerance for failure at work place with high level of commitments as to encourage the employees”, he added.

For his resourcefulness, remarkable achievements and mentorship, Dr. Abbey Onas has received numerous award and recognitions both locally and overseas. These include: Most Valuable Indigenous CEO of the Year, 2021 by YOUNG Achievers Nigeria Magazine; Global Excellence Awards’ Business Man of the Year, 2019; .ZGM Investment Group’s Investment Company of the Year, 2019 by TREK Africa Entrepreneurship Conference Awards; Nigeria Police Force Area B Command’s Award of Appreciation, 2021; Crescent University Abeokuta’s Honourary Degree Award 2018; Award of Appreciation by the Ondo State Government; Outstanding African Entrepreneur of the Year, 2014 by the Leadership Award for African Achievers.

Imeh Etuk

ENGR. IMEH ETUK: Highly Reputable IT Expert, Helping Nigerian Businesses For Greater Profitability

Engr. Imeh Etuk holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from the prestigious University of Benin, Nigeria, and a Project Management Certificate from the Lagos Business School, and he is currently an MBA student at the Business School Netherlands.

Etuk, whose career has spanned several organisations, started with Business Machines Limited, a subsidiary of NCR Corporation as Systems Engineer in 1992. He later joined Inlaks Computers as a Project Engineer in 1997, and thereafter, Roe Limited as Assistant Manager in the Data Centre & Storage Division in 1998.

Upon the acquisition of ROE Limited by Dimension Data, a South Africa based Multi-National, Engr. Etuk, was promoted Deputy Manager in same division in Dimension Data, where he implemented several IBM servers and storage projects for customers in Nigeria. While in Dimension Data, Engr Etuk, had the opportunity of undergoing an internship at the IBM factory in Montpelier, France.

From Dimension Data, he joined NetApp Inc, a US-based Storage manufacturing company as Professional Services Engineer for West Africa in 2007, where he was responsible for the implementation of NetApp Storage Solutions. In 2008, he joined EMC, also a US-based Information Systems Manufacturer, as Snr. Implementation Specialist based in Nigeria. Etuk holds several IT Certifications, and has deployed projects and attended courses in several overseas countries.

To mention a few of his international assignments, in 2015, while still in EMC, Engr. Imeh Etuk was the SAN Resident Engineer at the Tanzanian Electoral Commission during that country’s general elections that year. His responsibility was to ensure the smooth running of the EMC infrastructure before, and during the elections. Also, in 2014, Imeh Etuk, implemented an EMC Storage solution at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Added to this, Engr. Etuk deployed several EMC solutions for the Ministry of Finance, Ghana, Tulow Oil, Ghana, Ghana Petroleum Commission and the Ghana Immigration Service. Also, deployed an EMC storage and replication solution for Faolu Bank, Nairobi, Kenya.

Imeh was later promoted, Solutions Architect in EMC, and following the merger in 2016 between DELL and EMC, and subsequent restructuring of the company globally, Imeh left DELLEMC and founded IEFE International, a DELLEMC Certified  Deployment Services Partner where is currently Managing Director/ CEO,  IEFE International provides best-in  class integrated IT delivery services with focus on Professional Services, Managed Services, and  Advisory & Consultancy Services  to a wide range of customers, helping to enable their businesses for greater profitability.

Engr. Imeh Etuk, is a Registered Electrical & Electronic Engineer, and member of the Council for the Registration of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN.

Abasiama Idaresit

ABASIAMA IDARESIT: Nigerian Tech Guru, Growing Businesses Across Africa

Abasiama Idaresit is a technology entrepreneur and Founder/CEO, Wild Fusion Holdings LLC; Africa’s leading independent digital holding company with operations in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. In the course of his career, Idaresit has been recognized in the United Nations’ MIPAD Top 100 (Most Influential People of African Descent) Under 40, Business and Entrepreneurship Class of 2018, was listed in the 2016 and 2017 Choiseul Institute’s (France) Top 200 Under-40 Young Economic Leaders in Africa. He is a graduate of Information Systems from the University of London and holds an MBA from Manchester Business School. Over the years, he has been instrumental in driving technology adoption and penetration across Africa.

Vision for Wild Fusion

Wild Fusion is an African company focused on leveraging technology to unlock economic and social opportunities across the continent. We started as a digital marketing company over ten years ago providing solutions for the problems and challenges in communication and marketing, while unlocking new opportunities presented by the internet to Nigerian leading brands.

We became the first Google Adwords Partner in the sub-region and we have presence in other African countries including Ghana and Kenya. We also established the Wild Fusion Digital Centre to train Nigerians enabling and deepening technological know-how.

Since 2014, over 4,000 Nigerians have been trained directly and indirectly through Wild Fusion Digital Centre. We have since evolved into a holding company with interest in digital marketing, digital outsourcing, technology capacity building, and angel-investing in technology start-ups while building out very innovative fintech start-ups at a pilot stage.

How early bootstrapped status got tackled

It was very challenging and it still is, but there is nothing insurmountable if you are determined. A number of businesses still face these challenges today and some have folded up due to poor infrastructure; both human and physical. Iterating your business plans/execution, adapting to the realities and needs of your clients/customers while finding ways around the infrastructural headwinds is critical to surviving.

Digital marketing and its impact on SMEs’ growth, Nigerian economy

It is obvious that digital technology has significantly impacted SMEs and the Nigerian economy in general. From unlocking access to information, instant communication, collaboration, access to new opportunities and new markets/customers. The sheer volume of foreign investment through offshore Venture Capitalists coming into the country’s digital sector has contributed significantly to our GDP.

In 2001, 1% of the Nigerian GDP came from digital and communication technology, but as of today, over 10% (according to OC&C research) of the Nigerian GDP is from information and communication technology. Digital Marketing has enabled new businesses to evolve and scale, acquire new customers (especially foreign ones) cost effectively while introducing transparency to the world of marketing. From new customer acquisition to launch and design of new products to blockchain, digital technology will and continue to positively impact small businesses and the economy at large.

Deploying digital marketing as a basic component of integrated marketing in Nigeria

Technology is ever evolving and iterative so it will get better, cheaper, more integrated/efficient and effective with time. However, we have to manage this evolution by understanding the impact on society, the politics of technology and other concerns including privacy and transparency. New technology opportunities are in the pipeline for the marketing world from Artificial intelligence to Blockchain to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) and machine learning, digital marketing will continue to evolve with time.

Is digital marketing a threat to the traditional media in the area of advertising?

I do not see it as threat to traditional media, I see it as an opportunity for traditional media. An opportunity to integrate, digitize and innovate. A classic example will be your DOOH (Digital Out of Home) or your digital billboard with programmatic or internet enabled features.

This innovative media platform is already in the market and unlocks incredible opportunities for the advertiser and it is an opportunity for the traditional outdoor company and not a threat. Other solutions include your radio station streaming online while allowing social media users to participates on the radio shows. This is an opportunity to reach more listeners and not a threat.