PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK
CHIEF O.C. NWOKENYE (O.C. PACOS)
BOJI-BOJI OWA (Ika Weekly) – Indigenes of Ika nation have been called upon to think more on how to develop their ethnic nationality instead of harping on clannish differences, which tend to divide the people rather than unite them.
The call was made by the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Owa Kingdom, Chief Onyebigwa Christian Nwokenye while fielding questions in a “Personality of the Week” interview conducted by Ika Weekly at his Boji-Boji Owa residence at the weekend.
Chief Nwokenye reminded the people that the slow pace of physical and structural development in Ika land is not as a result of any perceived division among the people or their traditional rulers, but because Ika has not had public-spirited and philanthropic political office holders who are well connected at the Federal and State levels.
He debunked the notion making rounds in some quarters that the absence of government presence and slow pace of development in Ika land was due to clannish divisions, adding that traditional rulers in Ika land are not at loggerheads with one another.
According to the traditional Prime Minister, all the eleven traditional rulers in Ika land know their positions both at Local Government and State levels, adding that none of them is grumbling.
Chief Nwokenye therefore appealed to the people to support their traditional rulers as well as the newly elected and appointed political officer holders of Ika origin in their efforts to attract dividends of democracy to Ika land.
Chief Nwokenye who has been in bakery and catering business for the past 50 years, called on Ika businessmen and women to take keen interest in the education and moral up-bringing of their children because, according to him, any one who engages on building houses and acquiring wealth at the expense of his or her childrenâ€™s education will regret because when those children grow up without sound education and nothing to do, they will certainly sell those houses to keep body and soul together.
He also advised parents particularly mothers to always monitor their children at school and on play ground to know the company they keep for, according to him “evil communications corrupt good manner”.
He frowned at those businessmen and women who claim that they have no time to look after their children because of their business, adding that such parents usually end up without good children to inherit their business and to continue from where they may stop.
Chief Nwokenye who started Bakery business in Oke Ado, Ibadan in 1956 and currently Chairman of Master Bakers Association, Ika Chapter, said he cannot count or remember how many people he was assisted for the past 50 years, adding that what gives him joy is to see those he has assisted morally or financially doing better than himself.
He declared, “Majority of the people I helped through school or by way of employment are now doing well in various fields of human endeavours”.
The Iyase said he has remained in bakery business not because there is too much gain in the business but to teach the younger ones how to be consistent in business and instill in them the spirit of perseverance.
Chief Nwokenye who is also a member of Board of Directors, Boji-Boji Community Bank, said the bank has succeeded where many others have failed because the directors are men of proven integrity and honesty because they know that the money in the bank are depositors money and as such, should not be mismanaged.
Speaking on the recent face off between master bakers and bread sellers in the state, Chief Nwokenye said the purpose of trading is to make profit, pointing out that with the current increase in the price of baking flour, no baker can survive without an increase in the cost of bread.
He said the protest by bread settlers over the stoppage of supply of bread for few by the master bakers was not intended to punish any seller or buyer but to enable bakers adjust the price of bread, adding that any time flour manufacturers increase their product bakers will be out of production unless they adjust the cost of a loaf of bread.
The astute business mogul who celebrated his 70th birthday on December 31, 2006, was born into the royal family of late Pa Moha Nwokenye and Madam Nwabiani Nwokenye of Obisi Quarters, Owa-Oyibu, Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State, on December 31, 1936.
He had his elementary Education at Anglican Primary School, Owa Oyibu between 1945 and 1953.
He ventured into textile trading with late Edward Okungbowa Etumudon at Boji-Boji, Owa between 1953 and 1955 before he left for Ibadan in early 1956 where he worked briefly with Western Nigeria Development Corporation (WNDC) Eleyele, Ibadan.
During the same period, he worked as a newspaper vendor and a saw miller at Onipe, Ibadan.
In 1956, young Nwokenye Christian started his bakery business with FASCO Bakery, Oke Ado, Ibadan, from where he moved to Rossy Bakery Benin City, in 1958.
From Benin City the young man with burning desire and zeal to succeed left for Owo in the then Western Religion, now Ondo State where OC PACOS Bakery was established in 1961.
During the civil war, which lasted from 1967 to 1970, Chief Nwokenye returned home and re-established OC PACOS Bakery at Boji Boji, Owa where it has remained remains a factor in Bakery industry till date, producing the famous OC PACOS Bread.
Chief Onyebigwa Christian Nwokenye was installed the IYASE (Prime Minister) of Owa Kingdom by His Royal Majesty Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor II (JP) The Obi of Owa Kingdom in 1994.
He is a member of many business and socio-cultural organizations including Board of Director, Boji-Boji Community Bank, Otu Onyeazolibe, Ekakakeme Okaribe and several others where he has been playing leadership roles.
He is a pioneer distributor with Golden Penny Flour Mill, Apapa Lagos, former Secretary, Allocation committee, Master Bakers and Caterer Association in the defunct Bendel State, and currently, Chairman, Master Bakers Association, Ika Chapter and State Vice-chariman of the Assocation.
A staunch member of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Chief Nwokenye is married to two wives, many children and grand children some of whom are doing well both in Nigeria and abroad.