IKA AMAZON SERIES:
OUR IKA AMAZON FOR TODAY IS:
MRS OGOR ESTHER OBUH – CEO, Ogornma Frozen Foods.
“There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hardwork, There are no limits”.
- Michael Phelps
Every successful person has a story and if you listen keenly, their stories have a common thread. This typically involves huge, insurmountable obstacles. With resources, they never knew they had and against all odds, they managed to overcome the situation and turned it around. No matter what the obstacle was – could have been a painful childhood, broken home, health challenge, career upheaval, debt, unemployment or the death of a loved one…they had a compelling reason to get out of it. They had a huge “Vacuum” that needed to be filled.
Successful people look like they are living fabulous lives – but it is not always that way. Some of them had to work their butts off to reach their dreams. They did not come across money easily. They know what it is like to scrape for every single kobo.
Their stories are meant to motivate people. They show you that everybody can achieve their dreams, no matter how much money their parents had in the bank account when they were younger or how many dead-end jobs they had to do in order to pay their bills.
While many tell their rag to riches stories to the world to give strength to failing hearts and burdened souls, others do so to gloat and brag from their new positions of strength, wealth or power, whatever the case is, often times, these rag to riches tales reflects hardwork, tenacity, perseverance and staunch determinations.
The above attributes are what our today Amazon Auntie Ogor has in store and in large quantities. She is an alpha female. She is a woman who has embraced her leadership ambitions. She is talented, highly motivated and self- confident. She believes her ability to achieve is limitless. She has a confidence that is contagious, making others respect her as an equal. She showcases leadership characteristics that make others recognize her as being impactful. She is highly ambitious.
Yes, today Aunty Ogor now lives a good life. A glamorous life! She is surrounded by all the good things of life. Nice cars, well-furnished kitchen, nice wardrobe and nice shoes. She lives in a well-furnished house with giant size coloured television and double door fridges. She eats whatever she wants to eat with maids, drivers and security men all at her beck and call.
Living the life of her dreams!
But few know the following: that this same Auntie Ogor during the birth of her first child, her husband (the famous Sir Tony Obuh) had to collect Ninety naira (#90) IOU from his office to off set the hospital bills. This same Ogor once lived in a one room apartment with her family along Uwelu Road, off Textile Mill Road, Benin City with only one mattress, one radio and one bucket (the same bucket they used in bathing is also used in storing drinking water). No television. No fridge. No furniture. She used to pack soup and water in a plastic container and store it in their neighbour’s fridge. In the evening after the close of work, the entire family go to their neighbour’s house to watch television. (Mr. and Mrs. Ebojor, God bless you guys).
This same glamorous Ogor, once hawked “Okirika” all around different Ministry in Asaba. She once stayed for over 8 years without changing her wardrobe, to the extent that some close family members once mocked her that in spite of her hustling she could not afford to change her clothes.
Was she deterred? No.
She remained focus!
From the beginning:
Ogor Esther Obuh was born on 17th May 1968 to the family of Late Mr. Jacob Osondu Nwagbogu of Ogbemudien Quarters in Ika South Local Government Area and Mrs. Esther Obiajulu Nwagbogu of Ika North East Local Government Area both in Delta State. The first and only female child of the family.
The father, Late Mr. Jacob Osondu Nwagbogu, was a 1969 University of Ibadan graduate of Agricultural Science who had a vast knowledge in farm management and the mother a retired primary school headmistress.
IAS: Which primary school did you attend?
OGOR OBUH: I started my primary education at Ovwodarin primary school, Ughelli, when I was age 4 because my mom was a teacher and I was accompanying her to school, she did not know that I was catching up with the class work; I did the exams with other pupils and I passed very well, so I continued with them. Later my dad was transferred to Agbor and the whole family relocated to Agbor, that was how I finished my primary school at Orogodo primary school, Agbor in 1979.
IAS: What about your Secondary School Education?
OGOR OBUH: I did my Secondary School Education at the prestigious Marymount College Agbor from 1979 – 1983.
IAS: What influenced your career choice as an Accountant?
OGOR OBUH: Hmmm… when I was in Secondary School, there is this cousin of mine (Mr. Bright Obiaze) that worked with the then New Nigerian Bank (NNB) and each time he comes home he spends crisp naira note and I said to myself wow! I must become an Accountant so that I too can be spending crisp naira note like him. That was it!
IAS: Tell us about your Tertiary Education?
OGOR OBUH: I did my Ordinary National Diploma (OND) with the Auchi Polytechnic in the Department of Accountancy from 1986 -1988. Then I proceeded to Delta State University for my degree programme and I graduated in 2002 with B.Sc. Accounting. I must state too, that during my graduating set of 2002, we were only 5 persons that made Second Class Upper Division (2.1) and I was the only female.
In 2006, I was at the Nigeria College of Accountancy, Jos. Where I was qualified as a professional Accountant, (Certified National Accountant CNA) awarded by Association of National Accountant of Nigeria (ANAN).
IAS: Wow! That was an impressive record.
OGOR OBUH: Yesooo. That was in fulfillment of my dream of becoming an Accountant.
IAS: How is marriage life?
OGOR OBUH: Very blissful. You know, I married my husband when I was barely 21 years old (June 23rd 1990) and to the glory of God, the marriage is blessed with 4 surviving wonderful children (two boys and two girls, with two grandchildren and still counting…). In fairness to you, my marriage like many others around has been characterized by ups and downs. But the ups have been greater than the downs…laughs.
IAS: Describe your husband in a few words?
OGOR OBUH: Sir Tony Obuh is a very wonderful man. He is my best friend. A very calm and calculated gentleman. A very good husband and a wonderful father.
IAS: Tell us about your employment history?
OGOR OBUH: I was employed into the then Bendel State Civil Service (Ministry of Finance) as an Assistant Executive Officer (AEO) level 6 with my Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in 1989. But before then, I did my Industrial Attachment with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Warri Refinery in 1988. Presently, I’m an Accountant with the Directorate of Pension and Establishment, Asaba.
IAS: Any other side hustling?
OGOR OBUH: Yesoo. I’m a fish seller. I’m not ashamed of my hustling. I buy and sell various types of fishes (CEO, Ogornma Frozen Foods). I’m also into full time livestock and rice farming (Toni-Chuks Farms).
IAS: Tell us about your farming experience?
OGOR OBUH: I started the Poultry farming from our visitors toilet with 500 pullets. I was coached by Mr Kwamu of Songhai Farms Amukpe on how to raised birds. I wake up 5am everyday, to clean the water trough, feeds them before going to work. At the end, I found out that it was a good business. So I was encouraged.
IAS: How do you combine your career, family and your business? Which of them is suffering?
OGOR OBUH: None of them is suffering. It is all about priority, time management and effective deployment of ICT side-by-side with my professional training as an Accountant. Moreover, I have workers who are dedicated to their jobs.
IAS: How do you motivate your workers?
OGOR OBUH: As a business person I motivate my workers through these means:
- I set target for them. When you meet and exceed the target I reward you.
- I give them free hand to use their initiative and innovative ideas.
- I maintain an open door policy with them. They can call and reach me at any time and discuss anything with me.
- I organize end of year get-together with them. Where small presents are given to each and every one of them.
- I see my workers as part of my family. Therefore, I treat them like my family members.
IAS: As a very successful person, who do you attribute your modest achievements in life to?
OGOR OBUH: I attribute my modest achievements in life to NO MAN BUT TO GOD ALMIGHTY AND HARDWORK.
IAS: What is your philosophy to life?
OGOR OBUH: God above everything. And family first.
IAS: What is your philosophy of giving?
OGOR OBUH: I give without reservations. I don’t give to impress but to encourage. From the beginning of the year, I save up what I will give at the end of the year. It hurts me to see people suffering. The little I have I share it with my people. I share my stories with them to encourage them too. I don’t give to seek media attentions.
IAS: As an award winning personality, which of these awards do you cherish the most?
OGOR OBUH: I value all the awards. But the one that is dearest to my heart is the Agbor Progressive Initiative(API), Service to Humanity Award (2017). It was in recognition of my little contribution of a borehole water project with a standby generator to supply the good people of Oki community clean water.
IAS: Who is your role model?
OGOR OBUH: My mother (Mrs. Esther Obiajulu Nwabugo). For instilling in me the virtues of discipline and hardwork at an early age.
IAS: Final question madam, what is your “Nextlevel”?
OGOR OBUH: Hmmm…Ewere Okonta, you are really an inspiring young man. You are doing a nice work. Keep it up.
My “Nextlevel” is to establish a foundation that will care for the less privileged. With special focus on Sickle Cell patients, old people and the physically challenged.
NOTE FROM US:
Mrs. Ogor Esther Obuh is presently the CEO, Ogornma Frozen Foods & the Exec Director, Toni-Chuks Farms. She is a Certified Accountant and an alpha female. The Vice President, Ladies of the League. A proud grandmother and a thoroughly breed Ika woman. She is a philanthropist. A role model. A trailblazer. A newsmaker. An accomplished Amazon from Ika Nation. And above all, a proud fish seller!
Her story is a vivid example of people starting from nothing and working their way up to the top. This is something you and I can do too if we have the hunger to manage the path and curve before us and not be afraid to take necessary risks.
Amazon Mrs. Ogor Esther Obuh, Congratulations and best wishes on your induction into the IKA AMAZON HALL OF FAME 2019.
© Ewere Okonta.