[tribute] Leonard Nnamdi Stanley Ekeh: The Lion @60
In the 53rd day of the year 1956 in the Gregorian calendar, a Lion was born at Ubomiri, Mbaitoli Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State to Chief and Mrs. Ebenezer Ekeh of blessed memories and his name is Dr. Leonard Nnamdi Stanley Ekeh.
Significantly, there is an Igbo adage that tends to lay credence to the fact that an individual is found by his or her name and it was not surprising that the man popularly called Leo-Stan means a lot to different people, yet his name followed him with fate and based on avant-garde of divine intervention he is accomplished.
Leonard or Leo is a given name originated from the Old High German – Leonhard and contains prefix such as 'levon' which means 'lion,' while the suffix 'hardu' is interpreted as 'brave' or 'hardy.' In otherwords, the name has come to mean 'lion strength, lion-strong or lion-hearted.'
And if we go to Latin, Leo still means 'lion' and is a name of a patron Saint in the middle-age period, reputed for his activities of associating with prisoners in order to alleviate their sufferings, according to an online open source encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Not far-fetched is his second name, Stanley, invariably an ardent Catholic, this name aligns with a notable British-American explorer and journalist, Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904) who discovered David Livingstone in Africa. Hence the act of unearthing new things to the continent of Africa was not alien to Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh.
His Igbo name, Nnamdi, is a traditional male given name used by the Igbos of the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, to depict 'My God liveth' or “My father liveth.”
Many ardent observers of this enigma of digital entrepreneurship in Nigeria, would quickly tell anyone who cares to know that Leo-Stan made happen the long-yearn digitization of the mediasphere when he pioneered desktop publishing and computer graphics in 1987 through his first known registered Information and Communication Technology (ICT) entity, the Task Systems Ltd.
He followed up this with the deployment of digital dispensing pumps in Nigeria in partnership with Elf Petroleum and Schlumberger, France through his company Stanoil. This was after he was cheated by a petrol station attendant in Ikeja with the analogue pumps.
Not done, Leo-Stan launched series of pioneering efforts including the first ICT support company in Nigeria known as ITEC Solutions Ltd; the first ICT distribution conglomerate in West Africa, Technology Distributions (TD) Ltd with office in Nigeria, Liberia and Ghana to name a few.
Over Sixteen years ago, Leo-Stan launched the first local and internationally certified computer brand in Sub-Saharan Africa known as Zinox Technologies, the manufacturers of Zinox brand of computers and mobile devices.
In 2006, Leo-Stan though not a core politician, became the hero of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) voter's registration, prompting the biometric digital revolution in Nigeria when foreign contractors failed to deliver after several months of unfulfilled promises. His patriotism came to the fore again in 2010 when he oversaw the largest single ICT digital rollout in Africa with INEC through Zinox Technologies after winning the over N27b contract. Zinox Technologies has since deployed the largest single e-Library and wireless cloud rollout on the continent of Africa and by extension in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) through investment in Ashour Corporation, Dubai.
With a dietician mother and professional nurse as a father, Leo-Stan is a freak for fightness and healthy living, and shuns smoking and alcohols. A former student of Holy Ghost College, Owerri, Leo-Stan once recalled that he had wanted to own the biggest transport company in Nigeria; a dream that cannot be over-looked considering what the group is investing in mobile entertainment.
An alumni of popular Indian Punjab University and Nottingham City University, London in the United Kingdom where he bagged first degree in Economics and Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Risk Management respectively, Leo-Stan in ever-search for knowledge put a stop to his Post graduate degree in Computer Science at Cork City University, Ireland in 1984 after a three-month stint, in agreement with his parents and the University management, just as he also abandoned his Masters' degree in Business Law after eight-months at today's London Metropolitan University to use his school fees to launch his first company Task Systems Ltd, which mainstreamed digital revolution in Nigeria through desktop publishing and computer graphics in West Africa; computerizing in excess of 95 per cent of media cum multimedia houses and book publishing entities in the most populous black nation, Nigeria.
Coming from a family of four with the first son of the family, His Royal Highness (HRH) Eze George Ekeh, currently presiding over the Ubomiri kingdom, Leo-Stan's immediate family begets a lovely wife, three boys and two girls; Mrs. Chioma Ekeh, a Mathematician, who has married him for over 30 years; Mrs. Gozy Ijogun, the first daughter and Head of TDMobile, Mr. Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, founder of Yudala, the first true composite e-commerce company in Africa and Economics graduate from Lancaster University with a stint at Harvard University; Ms Chidalu Chrystal Ekeh who is currently serving her father land with speciality in Digital Marketing, while the last two boys are still in school.
What many may not know is that Leo-Stan started another homefront revolution with full involvement of his wife of 30 years; Chioma is a brilliant and consummate woman business leader with B.Sc. degree in Mathematics, MBA and a chartered Accountant, currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Technology Distributions Ltd.
The path of honours have not been strange to Leo-Stan Ekeh, who boosts of over 86 awards, including the Icon of Hope by President Olusegun Obasanjo on October 1, 2002 for his exemplary digital vision and as a model for modern Nigeria.
Whereas others wear their Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) for intimation purposes, Leo-Stan sees it as call for more digital entrepreneurship service to fatherland. Named the pioneer ICT Personality of the year by Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the Lion of Zinox Group is a fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society, the umbrella body of computer associations in Nigeria.
A distinguished fellow of the Nigeria Law School, Leo-Stan Ekeh has over six (6) Doctor of Science Degrees (Honoris causa) from the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), UNIJOS, FUAM, and Imo State University (IMSU) among others, even as he was recently named the Global Adviser to Microsoft Incorporated.
There may be no gainsaying that Leo-Stan Ekeh is the champion of digital liberation of Africans, thus encouraging Apple Computers, Hewlett Packard, Compaq, Microsoft, Lenovo to name a few to come into Nigeria to establish offices. Also, he served the federal government in several strategic Presidential Committees, comprising the most strategic seven-man Committee under President Obasanjo administration's 'The Nigeria Thinkers.'
Leo-Stan's aspiration to build the first and largest 360 degrees ICT conglomerate on the continent received a boost a few months ago, when Zinox group acquired Xputer, a 21st century Software company, and one is not left in doubt as to what next the Lion of Zinox Group is upto next.
For most Nigerians, 60 years ago, a lion was born and especially those who have followed his landmarks since he became obvious has an aura of an entrepreneur with a difference and motivator, leaving those who has traversed with him in the past 21,900 months on earth, that a lion is in our midst not to devour but emancipate Africans.
To our dear Leonard Nnamdi Stanley Ekeh, as you mark another mile stone in life, prayers abound for better years ahead as God promise his people, may you live to see your children's children. Moreso, we sojourn with you at this digital campaign and wish to assure that you may be a digital orphan, previously, but from this day after, you are, and have created a digital colony for yourself and all Africans.
Surely, Nigeria and indeed, his father, Chief Ebenezer Ekeh, will say, this is my son, Nnamdi, in whom I am well pleased.
A happy birthday, Chairman.
***Remmy Nweke, is the Group Executive Editor/Lead Strategist, DigitalSENSE Africa Media Ltd, publishers of ITRealms , DigitalSENSE Business News and NaijaAgroNet .