Late Chief Sunny Odogwu
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori have expressed their condolences on the demise of foremost businessman and titled chief of Asaba, Chief Sunny Iwedike Odogwu.
Governor Okowa in a statement in which he extended his heartfelt commiserations to the family of foremost industrialist, and elder statesman, who passed on on Monday, November 5, 2018 at 87 years, also condoled with the Asagba of Asaba, Obi Prof. Chike Edozien and the Asaba people on the death of one of their most illustrious sons.
Okowa in the statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Charles Aniagwu in Asaba on today, Tuesday, 6/11/2018, stated:
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has received with immense sadness, news of the passing away of one of Nigeria’s leading entrepreneurs and philanthropist, Chief Sonny Odogwu, (CFR).
“Governor Okowa extends sincere condolences to members of Odogwu’s family as well as his friends, associates, business partners within and outside Nigeria, and the people of Asaba where he held the traditional title of Ide-Ahaba of Asaba.
“The Governor shares in their pain and sorrow as they mourn the late Chief Sonny Odogwu who was also honoured in his lifetime with the Zik Leadership Award in Business in 1997, the World Bank Group-IMF African Club Prize in Business Leadership in 1998 as Africa’s best businessman and Lifetime Award as an outstanding personality of the decade by The Anioma Professionals Forum in Lagos in 2017.
“The Governor believes that Chief Sonny Odogwu will also be long remembered and honoured as a very generous philanthropist whose US-based Non-Governmental Organization; “Africa NGO” supports more than 260 programmers in 27 African countries. In addition, about 35 nations on the African continent have benefited from direct “Africa” assistance solely sponsored by Chief Odogwu,”
The statement further said “Chief Odogwu equally demonstrated his large heart in Nigeria by creating and supporting an educational endowment fund for the education of the underprivileged students in secondary schools where more than 3500 have benefitted from this scheme.
“Governor Okowa urges members of the Odogwu family, the Asagba in Council and all others who mourn the very successful businessman to be comforted by the knowledge that he lived a very worthy and fulfilled life, and left a legacy of great entrepreneurial achievements for his children to build on,”
Governor Okowa prays that God Almighty will grant Chief Odogwu’s soul peaceful and eternal rest.
Chief James Onanefe Ibori on his part, described the death of Chief Sunny Iwedike Odogwu on Monday night, as a monumental loss to the Anioma people, Delta state and Nigeria as a whole. In a statement signed by Tony Eluemunor, his Media Assistant, Chief Ibori said that “though I was a much younger man than Chief Odowgu, he related closely with me as a friend and Governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007. He was my adviser in chief during my campaigns in 1999. Ide Ahaba, Chief Sunny Odogwu who was at the time already a household name in Nigeria and one of the richest Nigerians alive was humble enough to strike a real friendship with me. I benefitted greatly from his advice. His desire was a fast-track development of Delta state which was just a few years old when I became Governor. He made it his duty to help me understand the complexity of our dear state, Delta.
He said: “the late Chief Odogwu was among the first generation of businessmen to challenge the expatriates in specialized businesses such as insurance and shipping. Even when the insurance sector of the Nigerian economy was under the control of the white colonialists, Chief Odogwu was audacious enough to set up Dyson and Dickets Insurance Brokers in 1953. He was about the first Nigerian to set up shop on Broad Street, Lagos.
“Chief Odogwu really loved his Anioma people and was one of their first generation leaders. From there flowed his natural love for the Igbo nation, whose pan Igbo Iri-ji Ndigbo (New Yam) festival he helped to introduce by funding the first Iri-ji festival and lecture in Owerri in the late 1980s. He also invited the late Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to Asaba in 1988 as part of the Bendel East Cultural Association celebrations in an effort to unite Anioma people and link them up with the other parts that speak the Igbo language, in preparation for Gen. Babangida’s military to democratic transition.
“Chief Odogwu remained a completely detribalised Nigerian to the end. He maintained strong friendships with people from all across the country and felt at home in any part of Nigeria. He was a lover of the arts and he supported many musicians, painters and sculptors.