Born without the proverbial silver spoon
, Akin Ogunbiyi is one man whose personal, professional and entre- preneurial odyssey is a compelling study in rising from rags to riches; grass to grace; and obscurity to stardom.
Born in the ancient city of Ile-Ogbo, Osun State to a family of peas- ant farmers, I had my early education at A.U.D Primary School, in Ile-Og- bo, my hometown.
There, I had my first experience of life’s challenges, having to cope with lack and the burden of chasing a dream.
A typical village boy, I had nothing but my God-given intellectual abilities, foresight and a big dream burning intensely within. I, never- theless, kept my focus on the goal of excellence and greatness.
Like gold in its raw state, I was refined by life’s scourge; yet re- mained resolute on my mission; and fought against all odds and set- backs to emerge a colossus to be reckoned with globally.
An insatiable quest for knowledge
My insatiable quest for knowledge motivated me to proceed to the fa- mous University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, Osun State, where I bagged a degree in Agricultural Economics.
My un-diminishing educational quest inspired me to further sharpen and expand my business acumen at Lagos Business School, Lagos, Nigeria. I also attended the International Graduate School of Management, University of Navarra (IESE) Barcelona, Spain, Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; while I did full courses on Leadership at Said Business Scholl, University of Oxford, United King- dom, and Yale School of Management.
From the above-named iconic institutions, I came out with the following academic qualifications: B.Sc. (Hons) Agricultural Economics, 1986; Executive Masters in Business Administration, 1997; The Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Programme, 2011; and Global Leadership Certificate, Yale School of Managment, 2017.
As for professional qualifications, I am an Associate member, Char- tered Insurance Institute, London (ACII); and a Chartered Insurance Practitioner, CIP.
Arising from the above, I am a Member, Chartered Insurance In- stitute, London; Member, Insurance Institute of Nigeria; Member, Risk Management Society of Nigeria; Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Directors Nigeria; and Fellow, West Africa Insurance Institute, Banjul, Gambia.
As an astute believer in continuous self-development, I have, in addition to all of the above, attended numerous courses and seminars in Nigeria and across the world; while I have several essays and pub- lications on varying subjects and published in various mediums and platforms to my credit.
Facts about my entrepreneurial strides:
My career development in Insurance, for instance, started during my undergraduate studies when I ventured into Agricultural Insurance as my choice of specialization. After graduation, I was employed in 1988 by the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria, NICON, as a Research & Planning Officer. While there, I worked in various strategic capacities, including the training of Chief Executives of insurance companies from sister African countries.
Mutual Benefits Assurance, Niger Republic
As an entrepreneurial risk taker and risk manager, I gave up an im- pressive and promising career at NICON Insurance to go into Insurance Consultancy, a business which was unexplored and without a prece- dent of success in Nigeria at the time.
I then joined Finance and Insurance Expert Limited, a firm of Insur- ance, Finance, Environmental and Management consultants as pioneer Managing Partner/Chief Executive Officer in 1992.
Significantly, I ventured into business at the age of 29; and at age 31, I started Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc, a pan-African organization on 2nd October, 1995. This organization has, over the years, evolved into a conglomerate consisting of nine companies with diverse inter- ests in various sectors of the Nigerian economy, especially, Insurance, Real Estate, Oil&Gas, Transportation, Agriculture and Finance, through investments, strategic alliances, and partnerships, with over 5,000 staff and marketing executives in its employment.
Employed graduates in their thousands
Dr. Ogunbiyi (r) with former Prime Minister of Niger Republic, Mr. Amodou Chieffou
Today, after 27 years in the Insurance industry, MUTUAL Benefits has become a leading brand in Nigeria with branches in virtually all the nooks and crannies of the country and also in other African countries, especially Liberia and Niger Republic.
As a business icon and manager, I have successfully built business- es from scratch into a conglomerate that has been a beacon of hope to other aspiring entrepreneurs.
Touching lives, impacting people
I follow in the footsteps of my role model, mentor and former Chairman of our company, Mutual Benefits Assurance PLC, late Chief Aret Adams, former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, who once said, “I am a leader of men and women. I am not rich. My wealth is in the lives of the people that I have touched”. That man really touched lives. I am a product of Aret Adams. And, I am glad that, as we speak, there are a number of people that will be proud to say, too, “I am a product of Akin Ogunbiyi”. That really satisfies me.
Apart from the numerous Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR in- itiatives of my Group of Companies, I have, over the years extended my philanthropic gestures to numerous individuals, families and com- munities through my Foundation which I established for that purpose. In particular, the Foundation supported over a hundred scholarship awards and sponsorship of students in secondary, tertiary professional education. Of these scholarship awards, there were 10 (ten) graduates of the West Africa College of Insurance, Banjul, Gambia; 50 (fifty) grad- uates from Chartered Institute of Insurance Management, Lagos, Nige- ria; a postgraduate study leading up to the award of Ph. D in Architec- ture from University of Leeds, United Kingdom, among many others.
I am both humbled and proud to say that in my entire professional and entrepreneurial growth trajectory, certain qualities have defined Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc impacting Delta State Micro Credit Programme
My personality brand essence and promise. These are: value creation and delivery, rooted in distinction, humility, excellence and hu- manity.
My foray into politics has witnessed no less; and under my leader- ship, Osun and its great people can only enjoy more of those qualities in me.
Not without honours
It would interest you to note that to the glory of God, and for all the above and many more, I am NOT a “Prophet without Honours”. I have bageed numerous Awards, recognitions and commendations from many local and international institutions, all of which keep inspiring me to keep aspiring to do more.
Gunning for governorship of osun state:
Having taken a very deep look at the continuing evolution of our darling state since its creation in 1991; having watched the different fortunes which have befallen the State in the hands of various Chief Executives in its 30 years of existence; having been seriously concerned about the less than satisfying pace of the state’s development; its not so sterling stand in the comity of States in the Nigerian federation; Hav- ing been grievously disturbed by the crushing burden of debt and the state of arrested development to which Osun State has been subjected in recent years; Having realistically considered how yet far away from the dreams of the founding fathers Osun State still remains;
With due consideration to the unimaginable human capital and natu- ral resources our dear state is endowed with; With due regard for the can-do spirit of our people, both at home and in the diaspora; Being very mindful of how easy it is for our people and our potentials to be mobilized, once a visionary and exemplary leader, who knows the way, shows the way and leads the way as soon as he gets in the saddle;
With a very clear vision; and one sole aim of putting all that I am and all that I have into creating values across all spheres of our lives as a State with and for our people across the length and breadth of the State and beyond; thus lifting Osun State from its current state to the mountaintop of development (a modern and industrialized State) – all to the glory of God and to the eternal joy and pride of our people, both now and in the generations to come;
I stepped on to the political turf of our state and of our country by joining politics in 2017 under the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to contest for the governorship seat of Osun State. I was “politicked” out.
Undeterred; Determined; and Inspired by my inner convictions and the clarion call of all those who mean well for the State, I am step- ping forward, again, for this cause: to see Osun State fulfill its manifest destiny; become a beacon and a pride of the people; and of this nation, with the echoes of its unprecedentedly accelerated development ric- ocheting across Africa and the globe; and into coming generation
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