A Philanthropist Par Excellence, Annie Okonkwo, Turns 56


Anayo Okolie

Anyone who knows Senator Clement Annie Okonkwo, who will be 56 tomorrow, May 23, would attest to the fact that he has spent a good part of his God-given blessings touching lives. Okonkwo loves his people and does not wait until he gets into elective or appointive office before showing his love.

Popularly called Agunechemba, meaning “the guardian of the people, Okonkwo is a successful businessman, an entrepreneur of international repute, and an exceptional philanthropist. He has been described variously by people as a man of uncommon destiny and remarkable character. He has created several forums through which people could access him. One of the forums that Okonkwo established to enable him empower people is Agunechemba Foundation and many young people have benefited from programmes under the foundation.

His philanthropy, commitment and service have earned him several awards and honours by various communities and organisations both within and outside Nigeria. Among such titles and awards are Agunechemba Ojoto, Onwa of Oba, Dikedioranma of Aguluzoigbo, Okosisi of Nri, and Ojelu Igbo Ozi na Obosi.

He ventured into business at an early age and has done remarkably well. Through hard work and tenacity of purpose, Okonkwo has built a vast business empire that spans telecommunications, oil and gas, manufacturing, banking, export, import, and real estate.
Okonkwo was born 1960 in Ojoto, Anambra State. He holds the Advanced Diploma in Management, Harvard University, USA (1997-1998), Advanced Diploma in Commercial Law and Practice, University of Lagos (1995-1997), and Advanced Diploma in Marketing, University of Lagos (1994 – 1995). His companies include Reliance Telecomm, Clemco Industries, Modern Communications (satellite TV Network), MacClemm Marketing Communications, Sunflower Nigeria and Pentagon Oil.

Okonkwo’s businesses and investments have become major conglomerates in the country today, providing employment for thousands of Nigerians. He has an attitude of giving back to the society. He has contributed to the development of many communities across the state.
Okonkwo is happily married to Lady Chinyere Okonkwo, and they are blessed with six children, as well as a grandchild from his first son, Harris Uche Okonkwo. Incidentally, Okonkwo and his wife, who will turn 53 on May 26, will be celebrating their birthday the same week.

His antecedent, especially in the aspect of giving back to the society, paved way for him to be elected Senator for the Anambra Central senatorial district in 2007 under the Peoples Democratic Party. After taking his seat in the Senate, he was appointed to the committees on Upstream Petroleum Resources, Police Affairs, Environment (vice-chairman) and Agriculture.
Months after he was sworn in as Senator in 2007, Okonkwo ensured that the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology undertook a visit to Anambra State following the erosion and environmental degradation that the state experienced. He also facilitated employment for over 100 of his constituents into the Nigerian Police Force, Federal Ministry of Environment, Customs, and among others.

To ensure improvement of electricity, in 2009, Okonkwo distributed 15 units of transformers to communities in Anambra Central zone, which were handed over to president generals of communities under his senatorial district.
Enekwesumpu area, in Nkpor; Electrical Market, Obosi; Odume Layout, Obosi; Eke Awka market; Motor Spare parts area, Nkpor; Oba; Nnobi; Nibo; and Awka also received transformers from Okonkwo. Other community and constituency projects, which he attracted, included modern library/ internet centre at Okpuno, Awka, modern library centre at Nkpor, construction and renovation of 15 primary schools across the senatorial zone, construction of classroom blocks and water boreholes in Ojoto Girls Secondary School, supply of hospital equipment and pharmaceuticals to Ojoto Medical Centre, the PHCN power distribution sub-station in Ojoto, renovation of a school in the seven local government areas.

He has also donated ICT facilities to Federal Polytechnic, Oko, a giant generator set to St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Chaplaincy, Awka, and among others. Following the crisis in PDP in 2011, Okonkwo lost his re-election bid. But he has remained active in politics.

Okonkwo participated in the 2015 general election. He participated in the primary election reported to be monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission and the state chairman of the party, Ejike Oguebego.
The Federal High Court had ruled that state party leadership led by Oguebego was the only constitutionally recognised body that could organise the party primaries, which INEC also confirmed before and after the primaries. Their names were published by INEC before the judgement of a higher court that set aside the order. Oguebego proceeded to the Supreme Court and was confirmed as the chairman.