By Nwabueze Jonathan Emenike | Guinea, West Africa | Feb. 2, 2014 – Someone asked me, how can I find a good business opportunity? I replied, go and look for adversity. If you can handle adversity, you will find opportunity. Adversity and opportunity are two inseparable twins. This is credited to Ajaero Tony Martins in an essay. He further explicates that the life and business ethics of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State and President Slok Group, are really worth understudying. Here is Kalu driven by ambition and drive to maximize opportunities. Kalu is an entrepreneurial model worth emulating. If only the world can be filled with men who see opportunities instead of problems, it will be a better place.
In relation to that, some persons might think that all the business trips of Kalu from United States to United Kingdom, from Zimbabwe to Soweto, from China to Chile, from Guinea Conackry to Georgia etc., are mostly for his personal gains. But Kalu is more to this. He is bent on handling adversity and assisting Nigerians in the Diaspora to succeed in their different fields of business, by ensuring that they secure loans from his banks to efficiently run their businesses.
He does not stop at that. He also imports goods worth millions of dollars and distributes to them without collecting initial capital in order to seeing that they prosper. Even though that he is said to be the fourth richest persons in Nigeria and among the fifty richest Africans, Kalu is a humble personality. He has done much and is still doing, to assist Nigerians in the Diaspora, not minding the tribe the Nigerian comes from.
Many Nigerians who are trapped in the Diaspora and had no means of coming back home are today proud marketers of batteries, tyres and lubricants, candles, wall tiles, vegetables and many others that Kalu imports and shares among them to sell (without asking for initial capital), as a means of fostering them not to waste and die like a church rat in overseas. In the case where any Nigerian he meets abroad does not want to trade, Kalu makes sure that the Nigerian is engaged in a meaningful means of livelihood. Others use his companys name to import goods worth billions of naira, as could be seen in the attached picture.
One aspect of Kalu that many of us who are away from Nigeria have seen apart from helping us to succeed is that he shows worry whenever any Nigerian is caught in any criminal activities. He would seek for fair trial of the person and urge others who are doing meaningful businesses not to blame the ugly tendency on leadership collapse in the country for involving in any crime whatsoever. When in 2012 it was reported that in Brazil alone, some 457 Nigerians were languishing in prisons for various offences, Kalu wept like a baby before many of us. He has great passion for Nigeria and Nigerians and has often warned that people should eschew crime and corruption in any environment they found themselves.
Many of us wonder how Kalu garners his strength to tackle issues bothering on Nigeria and Nigerians without sweating. It could be recalled that in the same 2012, the pages of the newspapers were awash with his clarion calls that people should avoid drug, whether taking or trafficking it. He also warned that the security agents should gear-up towards tackling the problem of drug and child trafficking to foreign countries. Perhaps, it was the often voice of Kalu on issues like this that has compelled the Federal Government to providing innovative intervention methods to arrest the situation. Kalu is improving the well being of Nigerians in Diaspora.
Kalu does not want any Nigerian to be a failure to Nigeria, even though that others may perceive the leadership of Nigeria at different levels, as a failure. He does not want Nigerians in the Diaspora to lack confidence, will-power, political adulthood and resoluteness to change the status quo in any countries they are. Kalu immensely votes into human development and has immeasurably transformation agenda for any Nigerian in the Diaspora. He in earnest practices communalism, knowing that capitalism has failed the world; he wants every Nigerian to be involved in the day to day administration of self-development.
Apart from helping us in the Diaspora, he is also committed to assisting that things are got right at home, despite the fact that he has tight schedules. He has recently brought in many companies to partner with Slok in the areas of steel manufacturing, ICTs, Education, Media, etc., in making sure that job opportunities are created for the swarming jobless Nigerians. But his efforts do not go unnoticed; he has been severally honoured at home and in the Diaspora.
Ex-President Ibrahim Babangida in 1986, honoured Kalu for his outstanding achievements, leadership skills and positive ambition, at the age of 26, becoming the youngest Nigerian to be given a National Merit Award (MON). The most recent, he was recognised with the 2013 Advocacy for Justice Award, by Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation (PNF-USA, Inc.).
This honour threw Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora in jollification moods, because the award is only given to accredited individuals. The likes of the late literary giant, Prof. Chinua Achebe, a former Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief S.N. Okeke; Senator Onyeabo Obi and former Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akinyuli, have as well received similar awards.
Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu is more than what many Nigerians think he is. He is underestimated by those who have not made research on him or those who have not come in contact with him. He is not selfish. Many of us thank him a lot for his benevolence and are aspiring to be like him and apply his principle, which states that a good businessman must have nose for business, the same way a journalist has nose for news.
One great lesson of Kalu is that once your eyes, ears, nose, heart and brain are trained on business, you sniff business opportunities everywhere. In places where people see a lot of obstacles, he sees a lot of opportunities. At times, there is something instinctive in him that tells him a business opportunity exists even at a place where others see nothing. That is what makes him different, maybe, unique. A good businessman sees where others dont see. What Kalu sees, others may not see. You cannot see because that is the secret of the business the entire world is a big market waiting for anybody who knows the rules of the game.
Nwabueze Jonathan Emenike is of JONATEC Auto Supply International, Guinea. Tel: +224664640657]]>