With a Seminar Room named after him at the University of Oxford, UK, Bachelor and Masters’ degrees, and currently on the verge of completing his doctorate, with a plethora of awards for distinguishing himself in his chosen field, Tony Ohifeme Ezekiel is a furniture maker with a difference, writes Oladipo Awojobi
In this clime, it’s unusual to see a man in an industry that is not grouped among the key sectors of the economy, sitting with the high and mighty and with a basket-full of awards of excellence.
But Tony Ohifeme Ezekiel is an exception. With a combination of integrity, humility, hard work, and academic and professional competences, he has broken the glass ceiling. Today, Ezekiel, who was born in 1958 in the northern city of Kaduna, has raised the bar with his ingenuity in several areas of human endeavours.
Tony is the founder and CEO of Itex Furniture; an indigenous furniture manufacturing company in Abuja, Nigeria which has handled several high profile jobs in the country.
His success in building his enterprise is also linked to his passion for the country and for ‘building’ people. Indeed, this passion, determination and integrity have earned him a reputation as a visionary leader, loyal friend, honest partner and a man of the people.
Tony embodies the image of a total Nigerian, having been exposed to the socio-cultural diversities and dynamics of the country. He spent his childhood years in Northern Nigeria and the better part of adulthood in Southern Nigeria.
His background and experience have left him devoid of all tribal or religious sentiments whatsoever; and has made him a versatile and amiable character gifted with cross-cultural people management skills. This is further evidenced by his fluency in English, Yoruba, Hausa, Edo and Ora languages.
Tony Ezekiel, a man of uncommon talents, and human relations, was born to the family of the late Mr. Joseph Aiguabasimin Ezekiel and Mrs. Emily Ajayi Ezekiel of Eme-Ora in Owan West LGC of Edo State, Nigeria. He attended Our Lady Primary School, Kaduna in 1966 and finished at St. Mary’s Primary School, Lokoja in 1972.
Upon completing his primary education, he attended Government Secondary School, Koton Karfi before proceeding to Ahmadu Bello University in the Mathematics Department.
He also studied the following courses; Knowledge Management Application, Change Management, Strategic Leadership, Advanced Management and Leadership Programme, PGD in Global Business Executive, Masters in Business Administration, D. Phil, Management and Leadership Candidate, all at the prestigious University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
Fondly called ‘The Carpenter,’ Tony’s Itex Furniture started its operation from a car port garage and has grown to an ultra-modern factory complex with state of the art machines on a 2.5 hectares parcel of land in the new Idu Industrial District, Abuja with a staff strength of more than 100 persons.
Itex’s meteoric growth is largely due to the visionary and dynamism of its founder, his commitment to innovation, quality and delivery of excellent customer experience; resulting in Itex becoming one of the leading furniture manufacturing companies in Nigeria.
Itex Furniture has contributed immensely in transforming the look, feel and comfort of offices and homes in Nigeria.
The company has been privileged to furnish various landmark buildings in Nigeria. The list include Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Headquarters in Abuja, Central Bank of Nigeria Headquarters, Abuja, Federal Ministry of Finance Headquarters, Abuja, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Abuja, Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Abuja, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Aviation, Rivers State Government Secretariat, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Federal Inland Revenue offices in Abuja, Ibadan, Akure, Military Pensions Board, Abuja, Court of Appeal, Abuja, the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE), Presidential Palace of the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe amongst others.
In pursuit of its vision, Itex Furniture used the Blue Ocean theorem in creating a comfortable learning environment with functional and durable school desks as evident in the furnishing of all primary and secondary institutions in the following states; Edo, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Ondo, Gombe, and Lagos, just to mention a few.
As part of giving back to the society, Itex has been actively involved in the development of human capital some of which include; Solomon Giwa Amu Foundation-Skill Acquisition Programme Factory and excursion visits by various schools; Regent Int’l School, Benue State University, Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa State, as well as Entrepreneurial Training for Senior Officers of the Nigerian Army in preparatory to retirement
Ezekiel possesses political influence. His experience in governance has helped shaped the success of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, especially in his constituency; ‘Owan West’.
It is on record that through his visionary leadership, the political structure of Owan West was redefined. He ensured that only qualified individuals with a heart to serve the people were elected into political offices in his constituency in 2011.
In recognition of his achievements in business, humanitarian works and other spheres of life, Ezekiel has received numerous awards, some of which include; a Seminar Room named after him at the University of Oxford (for bringing experience to class), in May 2013; the Corporate Service award from Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association in 2013; Entrepreneur of the year in 2008, the Abuja Enterprise Agency – Fastest Growing Furniture Company in 2006; FCT Leaders’ Summit – Honour Award, and 2008 Midwest Times – Midwest Personality of the Year Award.
Tony Ezekiel is happily married to Mrs. Adeola Olowu Ezekiel and they are blessed with three loving children, Emilomo Evette Ezekiel, Emmanuel Ailohi Ezekiel and Oare Edmond Ezekiel.
He is a complete man in terms of character, a man of vision, a honest and dependable fellow, a humanist, welfarist, man of the people and above all a man of integrity, whose achievements and activities over the years are pointers to his potentials and ability to make things happen even where others dread to touch.