Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed that the late industrialist and insurance magnet, Chief Sonny Iwedike Odogwu would miss the coming into fruition, his contribution to the building of a new Nigeria of his dream.
Obasanjo admitted that though he was sad by this development, but was grateful to God for such a life well spent in the service of our fatherland.
The former President said he received the news of the death with mixed feelings and of sadness, but, with gratitude to God.
These were contained in his reaction to the transition of Chief Odogwu, as made available by his Special Assistant Media, Kehinde Akinyemi in a release on Wednesday.
“I was sad because we will miss his contribution to the building of a new Nigeria of his dream but I am grateful to God for such a life well spent in the service of our Fatherland.
”Sonny was somebody I knew very well, from the early years of his entrepreneurship. He was one of the very few who can be said that their lives brought a blessing to their generation. I recall his inspiring career as a frontline indigenous industrialist, an accomplished administrator, a foremost businessman and a tireless philanthropist,” Obasanjo was quoted as saying.
He recalled that from a humble beginning as a trainee in an insurance firm, Odogwu “branched out on his own to establish an insurance brokerage firm, Robert Dyson and Diket, in 1952, and in addition to which he established a trading store as a side business in Lagos Island.
“Upon his return to Nigeria in 1958 from abroad where he went to further his studies, he took up a position of Assistant Director with C.T. Browing and stayed with the company for a year then left to establish his own insurance brokerage outfit called African Insurance Underwriters. In 1965, he added life insurance business to his portfolio, establishing African Prudential Insurance.
“Sonny grew his insurance business and started diversifying into other industrial sectors in 1972. By 1984, he had branched out into other industries or areas of investment such as property development, shipping, finance, industrial relations and hotel management under Sunny Iwedike Odogwu (SIO) group of companies.
“It is, therefore, gratifying that he had himself built a sprawling business empire, which is a modern day employer of thousands of people. He was, indeed, a patriot who had made sterling contribution towards the socio-economic development of our dear country. He was a formidable pillar of the Nigerian society evincing those values that inspired others and shaped the nature of socio-economic and political engagements on several fronts.”