Chief Victor Esimajemite Nanna (1922 – 2019)
Chief Victor Nanna was born on February 27, 1922 to Chief Newton Colleone Nanna from Koko and Mrs. Togbanro Colleone Nanna from Effurun. He started kindergarten lessons at Nanna Memorial School and became a pioneer pupil at the Native Administration School in Koko in 1933. He left for Government School in Warri and attempted the entrance examination into King’s College Lagos, got admitted along with other pupils like Chief Ovie Whiskey, John Wyse and Young Dakolo. In 1944, he obtained Grade 1 from the School Certificate examination, which qualified him for an automatic overseas university admission. Unfortunately, lack of financial sponsorship forced him to remain in Nigeria.
With his determination to succeed in life he opted for an alternate route – the UAC for their management training scheme where a requirement was to write an essay on “why I want to be a manager in UAC,” which was routed through the principal of King’s College Lagos. He worked briefly at the Commonwealth Pay Office in Lagos and in 1945 UAC interviewed him and asked “how far can an employee climb and was told “the sky was the limit”. He was employed and posted to COWAN Estate, Ajagbodudu as a Research Assistant.
In 1946, he was transferred to Calabar and went through vigorous training in Palm Oil Research and visited other branches in Nigeria and the Cameroon. He kept this position till 1952 and received training outside Nigeria and became a Divisional Manager in the Cameroon. In 1953, he was promoted an Estate Manager and posted back to Calabar. He returned to the Cameroon as Manager for Rubber and Banana Plantation.
In 1959, he went to the United Kingdom and trained in various Management Techniques jointly known as Work Study. On his return in 1960, he became the Work Study Manager again in Calabar in charge of the Unilever Stations in and outside Nigeria and the Cameroon. He was promoted to Deputy General Manager with the responsibilities of training Union Managers and other Personnel Functions. The Plantation Employers Association of Nigeria was formed in Benin which came under the control of a Management group known as the Unilever Plantation Group which gave birth to PAMOL. Chief Victor Nanna was nominated the Managing Director Pamol Nigeria Limited and ended as the Chairman of the company – the peak of his career!!! He retired in 1984 after a period of 40 years of meritorious service.
He escaped from Calabar with his family during the civil war and returned home to Koko and built his country home, where he lived until his demise. After settling down, he detected that an enmity was brewing to pitch the Nanna family against the larger Iwekoro/Ameren family of Koko and was determined to work towards a lasting re-unification of all parties. A devout Christian of the Catholic faith and a communicant, his hobbies included hunting. He had an alluring passion for photography and invested in good cameras and laboratory equipment for developing the photos.
He was happily married to Miss. Orode Elizabeth Kperegbeyi of Olobe in 1947, who passed on in 2009 and are blessed with six children, 17 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. To God be the glory.
Chief Victor Nanna had no regrets in life. The conversion and upliftment of the Nanna Palace, Koko to a national museum through the achievement of Mr. J.O.S. Ayomike and Museum staff from Benin City will help to preserve the artifacts and the building happened in his lifetime. He was installed the “OLARE-AJA (AKATAGBENI)” of Koko – the oldest man in town! Travel well and rest in peace.