WRITTEN BY EMEKA ARINZE
Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano, Akpokuedike Global, is sixty-two years old today. He was born on a beautiful rainy morning of Monday, August 8, 1955 in the oil-bearing Aguleri town,
in Anambra East local government area to an educationist father and an entrepreneurial mother. A remarkable child, young Willie inherited both genes of his parents; eventually becoming an exemplary scholar and a successful banker, entrepreneur and an administrator.
Willie’s father was a famous Scout Commissioner, headmaster and disciplinarian, who was highly respected for his uprightness, high integrity and great sense of commitment. He was a quintessential teacher who brought his children up in the strictest discipline. Young Willie’s mother, on the other hand, was highly enterprising and visionary. She was a successful Onitsha-based business woman
Following in the footsteps of his Catechist father, young Willie embraced early education. He started from the mission schools, Holy Trinity Primary School, Onitsha, where he imbibed his early Christian values and preceded to the prestigious Christ the King’s College, Onitsha, where he showed a remarkable academic prowess and passed out as one of the best students in his time. In fact, he was the 1974 John F. Kennedy Essay Winner at CKC. He gained admission to the University of Lagos to study Accountancy and graduated with a Second Class Upper Division Honours. He later obtained a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the same University.
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Chief Willie Obiano is a Fellow and later the Patron of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). He also holds a national Merit Certificate for outstanding service during his National Youth Service Corps in Benue State, in the 1979/80 Service Year. He is married to an Amazon, pretty Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu V. Obiano (OSODIEME). They are blessed with a beautiful daughter, a medical doctor and a son
Riding on the back of his impressive academic performance, Willie Obiano quickly got his first job with First Bank and subsequently joined the lucrative oil and gas industry as a staff of Texaco International, where he rapidly rose to become the company’s Chief Internal Auditor, being the first black man to hold such position, with extensive oversight functions on the internal processes of the company in Nigeria and overseas. After years of functioning at the top level in the oil and gas sector, Willie then moved his enormous expertise and exposure from that sector to Fidelity Bank Plc.
His arrival in the Bank marked a dramatic turn in its fortunes. As the Executive Director in charge of Business Banking, Chief Obiano managed the bank’s vast human and material resources with the dexterity of grandmaster in the game of chess, deploying talent and resources seamlessly to ensure a calculated expansion of the business and a healthy growth of the bottom line.
As an administrator, Chief Obiano is almost flawless; deploying carrot and stick with great wisdom and tact – showing as much firmness as compassion as the circumstances demand. As a leader, Akpokuedike showed tremendous charisma and personal charm at Fidelity, attracting the young Turks and the best brains around him and mentoring them to a point of self-possession. This is partly because he had extensive professional trainings in Harvard Business School and Stanford University, both in the USA, among numerous others.
One of the greatest qualities of Chief Willie Obiano is his philanthropic spirit and his willingness to help people in need. Before he became the governor, he is known to have secretly operated a Foundation that offered scholarships to many people and empowered thousands of women and youths. He is also a pillar of the church, having made extensive donations and contributions to diverse development projects in the Catholic, the Anglican and some Pentecostal churches in Nigeria. Consequently, he has won many honours from the churches.
His community, Aguleri, conferred on him and his wife in the year 2000, separate chieftaincy titles for distinguished services. Chief Willie Obiano bagged the title, ‘’Akpokuedike Aguleri’’. On January 2, 2011, Chief Willie Obiano and his wife Chief Mrs. Eberechukwu Veronica Obiano, were adopted into the Igwe-in-council of the Idigo dynasty of the ancient kingdom of AGULERI. This high Chief investiture made Chief Mrs. Obiano, Osodieme, the only female in the hundred and twenty years Idigo dynasty, to be so honoured. They were also conferred as Otunba Atayese and Erelu Atayese by Oba David Ade Obadu of Ilemeso in Ekiti.
During his swearing-in as the executive governor of Anambra State on March 17, 2014, Akpokuedike told the world that his vision is for Anambra State to become the first choice investment destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities. Forty-one months after, Akpokuedike has achieved the vision. He has touched all sectors, affected all the three zones in the state beautified Anambra, turned the face of Awka and improved both human and material resources. Thus, he has bagged many notable endorsements and awards, both locally and internationally, such as the SUN Governor of Year and Zik Price for Good Governance Award among many others
No doubt, Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano, Akpokuedike global, is willingly working and the people are graciously happy. He is a hero at 62. Thus, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nze Uche Nworah, Ezudo, management and staff of the Anambra Broadcasting Service heartily wish our performing governor sixty-two hearty cheers. Hip hip hip- Hurray!