The Surreptitious ‘Politician’ Called Captain Hosa


John Mayaki writes on the antics of Captain Hosa Okunbor who frequently makes cautious intervention on the polity, which many describe as a smokescreen for partisanship

The deliberation about the involvement of Captain Hosa Wells Okunbor in politics will continue for long. Whether he enjoys these discussions or deliberately encourages them may never be known. What is not in doubt is that he is hand in glove with those who move the levers of power in Nigeria and elsewhere. Okunbor has frequently been rumoured to have an eye on becoming the Chief Executive of Edo State. Each time, he slips away under a cloud of sophistry. Does he really need to become governor, when he is a confidant of governors and Mr. President?

While, partisan groups are seriously courting him like a beautiful bride to identify with a particular political party, Okunbor is satisfied with playing a supportive role to all his friends and associates who are politicians, as many of them are active in different political groups, he has decided to make his modest contribution across partisan lines. But the biggest statement on social change and enterprise deliberately made by Okunbor is his humongous investment in different businesses that builds human capacity and contributes in a substantial way to the aspiration of various strata of government to lift the people out of poverty.

It is not a settled debate if a man’s achievements should take greater attention over his attitudes and character. But even in the presence of this contest, everyone can agree that a man’s character is always at the heart of his success, for no man can go so far without meeting tests of integrity, attitude, and character. In answering those tests, one is determined fit or unfit for the greatness which he or she seeks.

For Captain Wells Okunbor, achievement and character are inseparable. And if his life is dissected, picked apart and studied separately in batches, we find even from his very humble beginnings that he is the man worthy of study and emulation. It takes a certain kind of devotion to learning and work to begin a career in the aviation industry at age 21 and within nine years, successfully record a whopping 7,500 hours on the air.

Yet this enviable achievement almost paled in comparison with what was to come. But again, paying less heed to his fantastic achievements, attention is drawn to the bravery and courage of heart that must have enabled a young man successful in his career to resign and take on a daunting task of establishing a new business and charting a totally new and different course.

Registering his first company, Hoslyn Ventures Nigeria Limited, in 1986, as a young man and at an era where entrepreneurship has not become the fashionable creed it is today, a glimpse is offered into the heart of Captain Okunbor. Determination, grit, patience, and foresight—it brought the captain far and has been taking him from heights to higher grounds.

Captain Okunbor rendered restless by his innovative foresight, kept on divesting into sectors, turning his bright ideas into productive companies. From Hoslyn Ventures Limited, which performed elaborately in the field of Equipment Procurement and Construction, to chairing CMES OMS Venture, providing services in the oil and gas sector and at a point bailing out the problem fraught NNPC through another of his company Ocean Marine Limited.

Shifting his ambition towards the agricultural sector, Captain Okunbor invested millions of dollars into the Wells Sam Carlos Farm, on course to deliver its projected provision of over 100,00 jobs for the teeming youth population across disciplines and careers. Captain Okunbor, having commandeered the air, the sea, has also come to land to dominate, divesting not only into the agricultural sector but as well into entertainment (being the executive producer of the award-winning movie, Black November), hospitality and hotels, energy, and telecommunications.

These activities in multiple sectors, without doubt, consume a lot of personal energy and time, yet Captain Okunbor still provides himself for activities of the people and for the people. He attends ceremonies, he donates to the less privileged, and empowers startups, making his wealth go round and uplifting the society.

Often time, people praise a man for his successes without studying the very soul of his ventures, which is where the lessons lie. If the anatomy of Captain Hosa Wells Okunbor is studied, we find that what we must teach ourselves goes beyond the admiration and aspiration to wealth, rather the uptight imbibing of character, courage, and readiness to match ambition with calculated actions, taking risks that will drive us to great rewards.

*Mayaki, an Oxford and Cambridge University-trained entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainability expert, writes from Abujari