High Chief Obiora Okonkwo holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Political Science (with distinction), from the Russian Academy of Science, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Moscow, a Professional Fellowship Doctorate from the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria and Fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and Mediators of Nigeria. He earned a Master of Science Degree in Economics, also with distinction, from the Russian Peoples Friendship University in Moscow and a first class in economics from the Russian Peoples Friendship University in Moscow. He had his early education in Onitsha, Anambra state where he combined trading at the Main Market and managing a horde of apprentices, with schooling.
He is the winner of the prestigious The Sun Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 award; an award bestowed on him by the management of The Sun Newspapers in March 2020, for his entrepreneurial vision and dexterity in business through which he has created wealth and jobs. Earlier in February, he was presented with the maiden Dr. Michael Okpara Leadership Prize in Business. The honour came off the Dr. Michael Okpara Foundation, a foundation dedicated to propagating the ideals of the late Premier of the old Eastern Region.
Okonkwo, who was in September 2019 awarded the Rotary International Youth Leadership Icon Award in Abuja, is an engaging public intellectual who in February 2020, he delivered the lead lecture titled Education: Challenging Mindsets for Tomorrow’s Leaders at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON) held at the Shanahan Hall, Basilica of the Holy Trinity, Onitsha, Anambra State. Before that in December 2019, he also delivered the lead lecture titled Ndigbo in Contemporary Nigeria: A Social, Cultural, Political and Economic Reflection at the Umunri Colloquium at Enugu-Ukwu Civic Center. In September 2019, he delivered two lectures titled Media, Democratic Governance and Development in Nigeria and Giving Back to Society at the Media Summit of the Anambra Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Faculty of Social Science of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka. Before that in August 2019, he delivered a seminal paper on ‘Sustainable Millennium Goals and Its Impact on Youths’ at an event to mark the International Youth Day held at the Shanahan Hall of the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, Onitsha in Anambra state. Before that in July 2019, he delivered a paper titled ‘Leadership and Service in the Nigerian Democratic System’ at the annual retreat of the Southeast Zone of Heads of Federal Establishments and Parastatals Forum held at Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu, Anambra State. Earlier in June 2019, he was on the podium to deliver a lecture titled ‘The Media and National Integration in Nigeria’ at a colloquium by the Enugu State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He was the 2018 laureate of Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), where in May of that year, he delivered a seminal lecture titled ‘The Value of Diversity: Restructuring to Save Nigeria’. His major publications include: ‘Democracy and Development: A Prolegomena For growth’, published in Okwadike, a commemorative book on the 80th birthday of a former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, ‘The Role of Nigeria Civil Society in Transition to Civil Rule’ (1999), which earned him critical acclaim and became a reference study at the Russian Academy of Science, Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow; Engaging the Nigerian Diaspora for National Development (New York 2005) Turning the Nigerian Brain Drain into Brain Gain (Accra-Ghana, 2007) and Citizen Election and Expectation: The Role of Religious Groups in Politics (2013). His Master’s Degree thesis on ‘Corporate Strategic Planning and Methods’ was published in Moscow in 1994. He also published ‘Engaging the Nigerian Diaspora for National Development’ in New York (2005) among many others.
Dr. Okonkwo, who was born on December 5, 1965, in Gombe, north-east Nigeria, is an accomplished entrepreneur and chairs the boards of several companies including The Dome Entertainment and Hospitality Limited, an umbrella organisation comprising of The Summit Restaurant and Lounge, The Camelot Spa, The Bodytrust Health and Fitness Bar, The Francis Hotel, The Bowling Alley, Twins Café and Bakery, Noni’s Pizza and more; Solicom Engineering Limited, Private Airline Services Limited (PASL), owners and operators of United Nigeria, Rokada Security Company Limited among others, with a combined employee strength of over 700 including Nigerians and foreigners. He is founder of Nigeria-Belgium Business Forum among other business fora.
Dr. Okonkwo, who in July 2019 was conferred with the prestigious honour of Business Philanthropist of the Year by the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Business School, otherwise known as UNIZIK Business School, is also the Founder and Chairman, Board of Trustee of Pro-Value Humanity Foundation, a foundation set up to recreate humanity by creating a society where the human person is at the center of development. It also seeks to transform society by reorienting values for authentic human development.
In the same year, he endowed a research chair at the UNIZIK Business School, Awka, to carry out a study into Onitsha Main Market as an entrepreneurial hub of Igbo land. He believes that the outcome of the research will help create innovative changes that will revolutionize Igbo enterprise and make them become global brands, having had his initial contact with business at the market.
A native of Ogidi in Idemili-North area of Anambra state, High Chief Okonkwo, is widely travelled and is fluent in English, Russian and Igbo. He is also a Fellow of the following: Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (FNIPR), Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria (FCE) and CareerNation Institute, New York, USA. He is noted for his exceptional philanthropy and dedicated support for humanitarian and religious causes with several Nigerians now in European, American and Nigerian universities enjoying his education scholarship offered through Joseph Okonkwo Foundation, a foundation dedicated to the memory of his father. He also built and donated a school to his home community in Ogidi as well as brought in the Catholic religious order of Sisters of Divine Mercy to manage it. Fees at the school are subsidized by him. He is also the 2019 Face of Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), an annual event of Rotary International which brings together youths from across the globe to leadership and entrepreneurial training. To demonstrate his support for the programme, he sponsored 10 students of the Unizik Business School to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.
Dr. Okonkwo, a Knight of the Order of King Leopold, the highest national honour bestowed on foreign nationals by the King of Belgium, also holds the traditional titles of Mbuba Anafolu Mbulu N’Ukpa by all traditional rulers of Anambra Central Senatorial district, Dikeora Idemili, Inwele Ogidi Inwele, Ugegbe Igbo, EbekuoDike and Ugobueze
He was in November 2019 honoured by all traditional rulers of Anambra north senatorial zone as Ibobo Ndigbo, and by all traditional rulers of Anambra south senatorial district as Ebubemba.
High Chief Okonkwo PHD, a Visioner, Development-minded,Businessman and Politician is married with children.