June 26th, 2021 is a date that now stands on the cusp of history for Valentine Ozigbo – he won the PDP primary election on this day. But whether it becomes a day he would see as the precipice of near greatness or the launchpad of a post-APGA era in Anambra State, the events between now and November 6th, 2021 would tell.
In the now, here are five facts you need to know about the possible next governor of Anambra State.
Valentine Ozigbo is from Umuomaku in Orumba South LGA
Valentine Ozigbo was born on the 20th day of July, 1970. As this was just seven months after the Civil War, Valentine was a conception of wartime. It should be noted that his village, including most of the Orumba-Aguata axis, stretching to Nnewi were never captured by the Nigerian forces.
Even if he was conceived in a refugee camp, his conception would still be the even if he was conceived in a refugee camp, his conception would still be the defiance of annihilative push that it was.
Umuomaku Village borders Umunze which is the main urban centre closest to it. It also has borders with Enugu Umuoniya and Umuchu. As it is in Orumba South Local Government Area, it is part of the Old Aguata which, with Orumba North and Aguata, used to be one local government area until 1996, and the trio has continued to present a single front overseas and in other Nigerian cities where the individual local governments do not have enough numbers to form an independent entity.
Valentine Ozigbo will be 50 years old by the time the main election happens in November.
Val Ozigbo is a Roman Catholic
In Anambra State, the Catholic Church has had a tight hold on the leadership. By March 2022 when Willie Obiano leaves power, the Catholic Church would have been governor of the State for 16 years. This is not uninterrupted as Dame Etiaba and Andy Uba, non-Catholics, had a combined four months as governors.
Valentine Ozigbo is a Catholic. His father Chief Andrew Ozigbo was a headmaster and a catechist. His mother, Christiana Ozigbo was a trader and devout Catholic. Ozigbo is not just a nominal catholic. According to the Nation Newspaper, in 2018, he organized “the largest Catholic Gospel Concert in Africa”.
Before the primaries, there were whispers that it was the turn of Anglicans to produce the next governor, something that made Chris Azubogu a strong candidate (see our analysis here). Chris Azubogu earned just ten votes in the PDP Primary. This is not an outright rejection of Anglicanism (we believe that the delegates chose someone they believe has a great chance of winning the election).
But in the general election, the issue of religion would come up and the influence of the famed powerful Catholic Bishops of Anambra State would be put to test. It would be an issue-based election but the prospect of having 24 years of Catholic dominance in Agu Awka will prove contentious.
Ozigbo is a family man
He is a married man. He got married to Mary-Callista Ojiugo whom he described as “the love of my life and best friend” in November 2002. The couple is blessed with four children – three boys namely Mario Obioma Ugochukwu, Chimdi Angello, and Mitchel Chima, and one girl the named Valerie Chioma.
The little information we have of Mary-Calista, she is a Non-Executive Director at VFD Group based in Bauxite, Arkansas, the United States.
Val Ozigbo is highly educated
Ozigbo had his primary school in his village community school and then his secondary in Christ the Redeemer College, in Amesi, Aguata Local Government Area. He gained admission into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, for the 1989/1990 set. He studied Accountancy and graduated top of his class.
Ozigbo won the Chevening Scholarship funded by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He had his master’s in Finance at Lancaster University, graduating with a distinction. He didn’t come back to Nigeria immediately as he went on to bag another master’s degree, this one in Business Administration.
He has a couple of high-valued professional courses, chief of them being his participation in the first Global CEO Programme for Africa which was combined-run by Lagos Business School, SBS Business School Kenya, and IESE Business School New York.
He is an accomplished corporate leader
Anambra is not new to accomplished business leaders heading it. Peter Obi and Willie Obiano are all achieved top executive status at Fidelity Bank and elsewhere. Ozigbo is the immediate past group chief executive officer, CEO, of Transcorp, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, owners of Transcorp Hilton Hotels with interest in oil and gas, power generation, and .
This was the corporate apex for Ozigbo, a man who has made a name for himself in banking and investment in Nigeria and overseas, energy, retail, hospitality, etc. Ozigbo left Transcorp’s CEO position in March 2020 but has remained on the Transcorp board.
He is also a member of numerous boards in the corporate world and a member of powerful professional bodies including the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Institue of Tourism Professionals, Institute of Taxation in Nigeria, etc.
They say Ozigbo is a master of Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of management through the deletion of waste in the work system. The next few months would tell if he would have the opportunity of reenacting this philosophy in a state we all love.
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