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Ekeh, Zinox boss, may retire in 2021

Ekeh’s target is to achieve a tech group worth $10 billion in valuation.

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Leo Stan Ekeh

Indications have emerged that one of Africa’s leading digital entrepreneur and Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh may have decided to quit as CEO of his technology group by 2021.

One of Mr. Ekeh’s closest confidante disclosed that going by his tone at the Zinox Group corporate retreat held in April, it is clear he will retire as Group CEO when he turns 65 in 2021.

According to the source who pleaded anonymity, Ekeh’s target is to achieve a tech group worth $10 billion in valuation by this time and if he realises it, he intends to change the lives of his devoted employees by making every Management staff in the group who has served him loyally a billionaire and others millionaires before retiring into full-time research in the technology sector and social work.

“This is his ambition and I hope he realises this, especially considering the turbulent Nigerian economy. This was one of the reasons his group did not retrench any staff during the last economic recession, an unprecedented feat that is highly commendable in view of the gale of retrenchment that greeted the economic downturn,” the source disclosed.

Confirming the development, Corporate Communications Advisor, Zinox Group, Mr. Echika Ezuka disclosed that Ekeh’s decision to call time on his stellar career as arguably the continent’s foremost technology entrepreneur is one that was taken after deep consideration, as it would afford him more time to focus on his other humanitarian interests.

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Ekeh, who was honoured by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the occasion of Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary on October 1st 2002 for his sustained pioneering efforts in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and as a model for modern Nigerian youths, has been consistent with several technology innovations in Nigeria and beyond.

In addition to pioneering Desktop Publishing and Computer Graphics in Nigeria with his first Company – Task Systems Ltd, Mr. Ekeh also pioneered the deployment of digital dispensing pumps in Nigeria in partnership with Elf Petroleum and Schlumberger, France through his company Stanoil.  He launched the first ICT support Company in Nigeria – ITEC Solutions Ltd. and also pioneered structured ICT Distribution in West Africa with the launch of Technology Distributions Ltd. which has remained the biggest distributors in the West African sub-region.

Renowned for his disruptive business mindset and unerring eye for detail, Ekeh equally enjoys the status of manufacturing the first local and internationally certified computer brand in Sub-Saharan Africa through Zinox Technologies Ltd., manufacturers of Zinox brand of computers and digital devices.

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Ekeh is credited with the biometric digital revolution in Nigeria, having delivered the INEC Voters’ registration in 2006 when foreign contractors could not deliver after months of promises. He again supervised the biggest single ICT digital rollout in Africa with INEC in 2010 as well as the largest single e-Library and Wireless cloud rollout project on the continent through one of his companies – Zinox Technologies Ltd.

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The serial digital entrepreneur has also been involved with companies such as ICT Brokers, TD Plus, ICT Connect and the launch of Africa’s first ever e-commerce outfit, Buyright Africa. He also recently expanded the Zinox Group with the addition of Konga, Nigeria’s e-commerce giants after acquiring the company from previous majority investors, Naspers and AB Kinnevik. Ekeh also has major interests in a few companies located in other continents including Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Interestingly, Ekeh has also been credited with pioneering paternity leave in Nigeria when he introduced it in his company a few years ago.

He has received over 85 high-profile awards and served on a good number of Federal Government Committees in the last 15 years including the strategic Nigeria Thinkers, Presidential Committee for Job Creation, ICT Roadmap, among many others.

His retirement will come as a surprise to many, especially in view of his very active lifestyle, devotion to healthy living and Spartan discipline which has made him look much younger than his years.

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COVID-19: FG to launch Rapid Response Register for urban poor

The FG has moved to inaugurate an emergency intervention database for the poor residing in urban centres and affected by the pandemic.

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Nigeria blows past 40,000 COVID-19 cases

The Federal Government has announced that it would inaugurate a COVID-19 Rapid Response Register (RRR), which would be a health emergency response for the poor living in urban centers that have been affected by the pandemic.

This was disclosed by Mr. Joe Abuku, Communications Manager, National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), on Sunday in Abuja.

Mr. Abuku said the register would identify Nigerians that have been made poorer due to the pandemic, targeting mainly Traders and SME Owners.

He added that the scheme was designed by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, through NASSCO, in partnership with the World Bank, and will be inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

What Joe Abuku is saying

  • “This register is being built by NASSCO as an expansion of the existing National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP). It targets small business owners, street vendors, petty traders, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and service providers.
  • “Others are low wage employed individuals and families, including daily wage-based laborers, urban poor and destitute (persons with disabilities), and vulnerable families in slum areas, affected by the pandemic.
  • “The category of Nigerians who will be in this register is typically the urban/semi-urban poor engaged in the informal sectors of the economy, who lost their source of livelihood due to the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and jobs. The Federal Government plans to extend cash transfers to households in this register for a period of 12 months.”

He also stated that NASSCO would use geographical satellite sensing to locale the wards where the urban poor live, as the targeting of the poor would be done via cell phone Short Messaging Service (SMS) technology that allows residents of targeted communities register to be assisted by following simple steps using USSD codes.

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The SMS approach would be integrated through data gathered by the National Living Standard Survey Assessments and would be complemented by existing databases of Non-Governmental Organisations and local self-help-support groups.

  • “Mobile phone numbers of those deemed eligible for assistance will be linked to digitized bank accounts to receive cash support, under an expanded cash transfer program of the Federal Government. These cash payments are designed to boost consumption for these households, build their resilience, and in some cases, inject fresh capital into small businesses.”

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported last year that the World Bank said the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic could make an additional 5 million Nigerians poor.
  • The Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2020 by the World Bank Group indicate that between 88 million and 115 million people could fall back into extreme poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This is in addition to an increase between 23 million and 35 million in 2021, potentially bringing the total number of new people living in extreme poverty to between 110 million and 150 million.

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Covid-19: Nigeria needs serious controls not a second lockdown – House Committee on Education

A member of the lower legislative house has advised the government to focus on serious control measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education & Services, said the Federal and States governments should not impose a lockdown, but rather focus on serious control measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

He disclosed this during an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.

  • “I do not think we need a national lockdown now, I think what we need now is the first instance is serious controls. Let me say that the Governor of Lagos is the ‘poster man’ for the fight against covid-19. If we see you outside without a mask, we will arrest you and charge you to court, that is the kind of courage we need.”

He cited serious controls like buying hand sanitizers and washing materials to schools and urban areas in Lagos as part of the controls that should be commended.

  • “The issue is not a lockdown. If you lock people down, and you are not doing the right thing inside the lockdown, the cases will still increase. They (masses) will break it and will challenge it as they did during the first lockdown. So, the real issue is to bring out the policies and implement them.
  • “The Federal Ministry as a supervisor, yes states have the autonomy, but we give the state’s money from UBEC every year, we give them billions, what are they doing with it?

He urged that the FG should investigate what States use their Universal Basic Education Funds for, as Nigeria is in a time for “retooling and repurpose” and UBEC funding should be utilized in the fight against Covid-19.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government said Nigeria is not contemplating another lockdown and urged Nigerians to ignore social media posts circulating the possibility of another lockdown.

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Covid-19: Ghana’s healthcare could be overwhelmed – President Akufo-Addo

Ghanaian President has warned that he might impose a partial lockdown as healthcare facilities are overwhelmed by growing cases of coronavirus.

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Africa: Ghanaian inflation rate drops for the 3rd straight month to 10.1%, Ghana’s cedi becomes investors’ best choice ahead Nigeria’s naira, Ghana restricts flights into country after detecting Coronavirus but Nigeria ignores measure

The Ghanaian Government has warned that Ghana’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is rising fast and could overwhelm its already extended Covid-19 treatment centres.

This was disclosed by President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday in a Reuters report.

The Ghanaian President warned that he might impose a partial lockdown in the coming weeks as cases might reach peak levels.

Active cases in Ghana climbed to 1,924 from about 900 since the 5th of January. He also confirmed that the new variant was present in the country, as cases were imported from people entering Ghana.

The President said,

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  • “Our COVID-19 treatment centres have gone from having zero patients to now being full because of the upsurge in infections. At this current rate, our healthcare infrastructure will be overwhelmed.
  • “Work is ongoing to determine the presence and extent of spread of the new variants in the general population.”

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government also alerted Nigerians that hospitals across the country were running out of facilities to handle more serious cases of coronavirus infections, as the virus is spreading fast with mild symptoms in some victims and severe illnesses and death in others.

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