" ITREALMS: Leo Stan Ekeh @65: A pride to modern Nigeria - ITREALMS

Monday, February 22, 2021

Leo Stan Ekeh @65: A pride to modern Nigeria - ITREALMS

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Research has shown there are several gains or benefits of turning 65 years of age. For the working class, it may be time to stop filing personal income tax returns and retire from active service. For others, it could be a time to think and take seriously their health plan for retirement, yet another set sees this age as a turning point to further greatness.
After all, the good book, the Holy Bible promises Christians three scores plus 10 and above in Psalm 90:10, which Macmillan Dictionary defined as 70 years and above. Hence, turning 65 years of age is a milestone towards ascending to the three scores and 10. So, it is for Dr. Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh, also known as Leo-Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group; as he clocks 65 years today, February 22, 2021.

Given the number of Doctorate awards in honoris causa, one has to maintain that all are on merit, hence some of your followers especially in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) sector, have kept faith to address you as Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh, even though you would prefer a simple ‘Mr’ appendage.

Proudly African foremost serial digital entrepreneur, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh has redefined and differed many odd things to reposition his society, especially Nigeria and by extension the continent of Africa. At 65, Dr. Ekeh is ahead of his age as he remained futuristically optimistic and aided by the power of technologies.

If Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh is a sign reader, he may have discovered that he has special dates with 5. He was born in the 53rd day of the year 1956 at Ubomiri, Mbaitoli Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State to the family of Chief and Mrs. Ebenezer Ekeh of blessed memories.

He came from a family of four with the first son being, His Royal Highness (HRH) Eze George Ekeh of Ubomiri kingdom. Leo-Stan’s immediate family of over 35 years brings on a lovely wife, Mrs. Chioma Ekeh, three boys and two girls.

From the records gathered by ITREALMS, Dr. Ekeh holds B.Sc. (Hons.) Economics from Punjab University, India; Post Graduate Diploma in Risk Management from Nottingham University, England; Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa), University of Jos; Doctor of Business Administration (Honoris Causa), Imo State University, Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa), Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi; Doctor of Technology (Honoris Causa), Federal University of Technology, Owerri; Over 15 Honorary Fellowship Awards from Nigerian Federal and State Polytechnics; National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM 2019).

ALSO READ: Leonard Nnamdi Stanley Ekeh: The Lion @60

Some of the accolades in his basket include the Lifetime Pioneering Entrepreneur of the year – 2017 TELL Awards for Excellence; Extraordinary Business Achievement Award (2017); Pioneer ICT Personality of the year by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in 2004, he was awarded the national honor as the Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR) (2004), while in 2002, he became the Nigerian Icon of Hope via former President Olusegun Obasanjo. In addition, he is a distinguished fellow, Nigeria Law School, NCS and Life Member, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, to name a few.

Reputed as a globally recognized tech guru, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh is the Chairman of Zinox Group; Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest integrated technology conglomerate which includes viable concerns such as Zinox Technologies Limited, Task Systems Ltd., Technology Distributions Limited (TD Africa) and TD Mobile, among others, through which he deployed some of the biggest ICT projects on the continent.

Historically, on the anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence on October 1st 2001, Ekeh enjoyed the rare privilege of being honoured as an Icon of Hope by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for his sustained pioneering efforts in the area of Information Technology and also as a pride to modern Nigeria.

Ekeh also inspired several generations of budding entrepreneurs and startups, many of whom are currently disrupting the technology space in Nigeria and beyond.

Some of his groundbreaking strides in the Nigerian technology ecosystem included a major achievement in 2018 when he returned to e-Commerce; a vertical he pioneered in Africa many years ago through BuyRight Africa Dotcom with addition of Konga after acquiring the majority shares in Naspers and AB Kinnevik. Barely two earlier, Dr. Ekeh has since transformed the composite e-Commerce giant into Nigeria’s leading player, with the brand on the edge of dominating Africa’s biggest market just as its making inroads into other neighbouring African markets. He has equally been involved with companies such as ICT Brokers, TD Plus, ICT Connect.

The story of Dr. Ekeh’s legendary strides is one of many firsts amid a series of landmark attainments in his chosen field of Information and Communications Technology sector.

ITREALMS gathered that Dr. Ekeh pioneered Desktop Publishing and Computer Graphics in Nigeria in 1987 with his first known company, Task Systems Limited and equally launched the first ICT support company in Nigeria via ITEC Solutions Ltd. Additionally, he pioneered the deployment of digital dispensing pumps for petrol and gas stations in Nigeria in partnership with Elf Oil (now Total Plc.) after he was cheated by an attendant at a fuel station. Just as he pioneered ICT distribution in West Africa with the launch of Technology Distributions Limited, otherwise known as TD Africa; which has remained the biggest technology, lifestyle and cutting-edge solution distributors in the West African sub-region.

First rated Indian-trained Economist and Global Advisor to Microsoft, Dr. Ekeh holds the rare status of manufacturing the first internationally certified computer brand in Sub-Saharan Africa: Zinox Computers. Whilst the biometric digital revolution in Nigeria can be attributed to his novelty after he singlehandedly delivered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) voters’ registration in 2006 when foreign contractors failed to deliver. Four years later, he again supervised the biggest single ICT digital rollout in Africa with INEC in 2010 valued back then at over $170m, as well as the largest single e-Library and Wireless Cloud rollout project on the continent through one of his companies – Zinox Technologies Ltd. Today, Ekeh’s contributions and sterling work with INEC have gone a long way in giving Nigeria a credible database of voters and reduced post-election litigations by over 45 per cent.

A foremost advocate of digital literacy for all, Ekeh holds the enviable record of donating cutting-edge and well-equipped digital centres to several secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Considerably, Ekeh’s Zinox Group pioneered the unheralded but highly commendable practice of paternity leave in Nigeria to reduce stress on young male staff and enable them supports their spouses when they welcome a new baby.

Renowned digital democrat and philanthropist, Dr. Ekeh has quietly touched so many lives through the Leo Stan Foundation. Among these are charitable works such as donation of N100m to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East; N50m to victims of the demolished Eke-Ukwu market in Imo State, scholarships to hundreds of indigent students across Nigeria to study both at home and abroad, as well as the set-up of a N1.5bn revolving loan scheme for disadvantaged students and entrepreneurs of Imo origin, among several others.

What's more, Ekeh’s foundation quietly invested in education, provided medicare to the needy and supported churches and other religious organizations. During the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Leo Stan Foundation leveraged on staff of the various companies in the Zinox Group to feed over 7000 families across Nigeria for two weeks. He has also regularly supported state governments in Imo, Lagos and other parts of the country through the donations of patrol vehicles to improve security, among other donations.

The tech enthusiast is one of the foremost champions of gender equality in Nigeria. He has consistently advocated for and also empowered women and the girl child, whom he regularly addresses and challenges to aspire to greatness at various public events and fora. His passion for gender equality can be seen at first hand in the Zinox Group where women, led by his wife, Mrs. Chioma Ekeh, occupy the first four executive management positions at TD Africa, the biggest company by revenue in the Group. Also, he had recently appointed another female as Managing Director of Zinox. The Group’s Human Resources Unit is also headed by a female.

Dr. Ekeh’s unerring zeal for productivity and excellence was recently rewarded by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with the National Productivity Merit Award (NPOM) in November 2019 and a distinguished member of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, among others.

ITREALMS equally gathered that as a global digital giant Dr. Ekeh’s vision and performance shore up credibility for the indigenous capacities in the ICT sector, which have seen him receive over 60 local and international awards, just as he served on a number of Federal Government Committees, including but not limited to the Presidential Committee for Job Creation, Nigeria Thinkers, ICT Roadmap, to name a few.

As you mark this milestone, we look forward to your celebrating the three scores plus 10 and beyond, even as we @ITREALMS hope your celebration gives you many happy memories! Its our prayers that wherever the year ahead takes you, must be yet another exciting milestone, accompanied with happiness and good health. Amen.

Happy 65th birthday Chairman!

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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