“Mrs. Bukky George is A miracle child” – Leo Stan Ekeh.
The news making the rounds is that the billionaire tech entrepreneur, Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox, is allegedly the man behind the takeover of HealthPlus in Nigeria. The rumours come amid a well-publicised management tussle over the soul of the business. Is this real or mere speculation?
Above the frenzy of social media controversies, it is always good to investigate and ascertain the true facts of any case.
In a telephone conversation with the serial entrepreneur, Mr. Ekeh said that when he read the news, he did not give it much thought and dismissed it as one of those social media noises. But to his astonishment, few clips of the news have been sent to him by friends.
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“I have the highest regards for Mrs. Bukky George. I see her till tomorrow as a miracle child like myself. She is extremely brilliant with great energy and passion to succeed in her sector and there are few such women in Africa and my wife is one of them, so it will be spiritually wrong for me to be against her. I know both parties and simply put, they are all credible parties in partnership. I have known her investors – Alta Sempta Capital for some time before I met Mrs. George and we have had preliminary engagement relating to their potential investment in one of my companies and my ambition to roll out across Africa.
But till date, I do not have a kobo share in any of their different investment vehicles including a kobo in HealthPlus, though anyone has a right to invest in any company of his or her choice without clearance from the general public including investing in any of my companies. I have great passion for the health sector and those around me know my investment and support in that sector locally. It is my prayer they resolve their challenges soonest. I want to keep the several discussions I had with Mrs. George private because she is an amazon. I have my highest regards for successful African women and my Group is possibly the only one in the world with five certified women as Managing Directors. You can now understand!”
What do you advise Nigerian companies looking for foreign investors?
‘‘Looking for foreign investors is like taking a bank loan locally. You must keep your promises. When you talk about knowledge economy, it means you should be knowledgeable enough to understand what you are going into or pay quality corporate law firms to advise you, but you must listen to them. The money the bank lends to you belongs to depositors and investors and you must do everything to keep to the terms of the loan. Same with foreign investors. They are here to help you build and make money and in the process, you make more than you would have made. They help you alter your destiny. They are not charity organizations. Sincerely, they add huge value to help you institutionalize corporate governance and make more money than you would have made.
I had warned severally in conferences that the failure rate of startups in Nigeria is unbecoming of a nation and an embarrassment. We should respect agreements signed in this 21st century. That is the only way this country can grow. I am a child of trust economy, so I must keep strictly to agreements to grow. We have world class locally owned legal firms to guide us in these partnerships. I have had at least one major public quoted company as foreign investor and the experience is rewarding. They remain my best friends till today and can vouch for me on major international transactions and they have done this severally even though I bought them out few years ago. We need these people to scale. Nigeria doesn’t have the real financial capacity to build globally rated companies. Trust me on that. Thank you.’’