Ifetayo Adeniyi and Patrick Ochoga
An English playwright, poet and actor, William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar said, “When beggars die there are no comments seen but heavens themselves blaze the death of Princes’”
Since the consummate philanthropist and Achiever par excellence, Captain Hosa joined the Saints on August 8, 2021, the heavens have not stopped blazing forth. The famous American Physicist, Albert Einstein was famously quoted to have said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” This aptly captured the life of Captain Hosa, who would have turned 65 today.
Hosa, championed at managing human and material capital, came to the world at the right time, did his best and left the stage like a colossus with indelible milestones when the ovation was still reverberating. That Idahosa Wells Okunbo was a business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and trained commercial pilot is not news but he fulfilled the divine mandate of wealth, which is to touch lives.
Like the large-hearted soul that he was, the business magnet did not go into business to amass fortune for himself and family but as a channel to wipe tears off the face of humanity. He saw wealth as an instrument, given by the Almighty God for the restoration of human dignity. And true to divine expectation, he did not disappoint divinity.
Captain Hosa in life and times epitomises the age-long saying that generous souls, who build others never die, but merely transited to greater glory. Because of the human bridges he built in his lifetime, today, it’s as if Captain is still here with us. Like the generous Dorcas of the Bible, thousands, who found their bearing in life the large-heartedness of Hosa have not stopped shouting it to high heavens.
At the time he joined the angels on August 8, 2021, the skilful business man, left no one in doubt that he came to add value and substance to humanity. His intellect, patriotism and leadership acumen steep in humility and sound judgment stood him out. In the age that integrity in business is a scarce commodity, Captain left clean records. He was never found wanting for once. With this, he caught the admiration of his business partners’ home and around the world.
The life of esteemed personalities, Captain Hosa, who left us about, teaches an indelible lesson that a life worthwhile is not the one that accumulated all the wealth but the one that yielded himself as a channel to fill others. An avowed family man, Okunbo was married and had 11 children. He died on 8th August 2021, at a hospital in London. He was aged 63.
Captain Okunbo is a trained commercial pilot who owned chains of businesses in agro-allied, petroleum, telecommunications, power, real estate, and banking industries, amongst others. At age 21, Idahosa Wells Okunbo became a pilot, and it was widely reported that at 30, he had logged 7,500 hours of flying time as a commercial jet plane pilot.
Many years later, Okunbo ventured into agriculture with the ownership of the company Wells Farm Limited, where he invested millions of dollars in greenhouse farming and agro-allied business for Edo.
Idahosa Wells Okunbo had over fifty sea vessels for security and crude oil movements. Captain Hosa Okunbo companies, Ocean Marine Ltd and OMS Tankers Ltd, bailed out NNPC when the NNPC was challenged to move crude in marine vessels to the refineries.
He served as chairman and director on numerous company boards in Nigeria, spanning multiple business sectors such as the agro-allied, petroleum, telecommunications, power, real estate, and banking industries. Okunbo is also the father-in-law of the 21st Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III.
Okunbo had his primary education at Government Primary school in Benin City, old Bendel State, now Edo State. He proceeded to Federal Government College, Warri, in 1971, where he sat for West African Senior School Certificate Examination. Okunbo was a native speaker of the Edo language, and a fluent speaker of English.
Okunbo pursued a desire to become a pilot by studying at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre, Zaria, Kaduna State, and became a professional commercial pilot at the age of 21. He also attended ACME School of Aeronautics in Fort Worth Texas in 1983, where he obtained an Airline Transport Pilot Licence.
Upon graduation, Okunbo became a professional commercial pilot, and was made a captain in 1983 at the age of 25. He was a flight captain with Intercontinental Airlines for about two years, then was employed by Okada Airlines for three years. In 1988, he retired from piloting at the age of 30, having logged over 7,000 hours of flight time, and ventured into private business.
Okunbo established Hoslyn Ventures Nigeria Ltd, a company that was involved with procurement in the Nigerian petroleum sector. He was the founder and chairman of the following Nigerian companies: CMES-OMS Petroleum Development Company (CPDC), which, in September 2019, signed $875.75 million alternative financing deal for the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) operated OML 65, The Wells Carlton Hotel and Apartments, Abuja. A five star rated hospitality firm, Wells San-Carlos Agro Farms Ltd., which, in March 2016, unveiled a $750 million, 9,000-hectare (22,000-acre) farm intended to “create 85,000 jobs in Edo State.
Others are Ocean Marine Security Ltd., an offshore asset-protection company, rendering services to major oil companies in Nigeria, including NNPC. The company recently completed the building of the 46-kilometre (29 mi) Escravos–Warri Crude Pipeline, which was inaugurated by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu; Westminster Security Solutions Nigeria Ltd, a franchise of Westminster Group Plc UK, of which he was a major shareholder; Wells Group of companies, which include Wells Dredging Ltd., Wells Property Development Company Ltd., and Wells Entertainments Ltd. – through which Okunbo financed the movie Black November and owns major share in Feva Tv Canada and Wells Bread also in Brampton Canada; Ocean Marine Solutions Tankers Ltd, which owns Nigeria’s first marine tankers. Hoslyn Habitat Ltd., which is a design, construction and landscaping company. Gyro Air Ltd, operators of charter flight operations.
Okunbo was a director in the following companies: Joint Marine Environ Guard Ltd. (JMEG), Secure Anchorage Area Ltd. (SAA), Digisteel Integrated Services Ltd, Phil Nugent Nigeria Ltd. Others are Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd. (IEDM), which is a core investor in Ibadan Electricity Distribution Companies.
He was a member of the Board of Directors of NatCom Development and Investment Ltd., which is the holding company of Nigerian telecommunications giant NTEL.