I stayed with my pen for hours trying to figure out the right words to use to describe this dynamic young man. The reason why I was confused is not farfetched. I was being careful not to use words that turn out to be an over-kill. At the same time, there is this burden of using the right words that fit perfectly to present him in the exact light that I am struggling to project.
Now, take for instance, out of the pains of his people’s sufferings, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, the President of Masters Energy, stepped out to contest the 2015 Abia gubernatorial election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. During the election, it was difficult to differentiate between his Uche Ogah Foundation and the Uche Ogah Campaign Committee as each organisation turned into a platform for positive social change.
He invested lots of funds into the campaign and did not look back for a second. He set Abia on ‘fire’, a fire that is still burning long after the primaries has run into ‘conclusion’. There were several other candidates, a former Minister of the Federal Republic, a former bank CEO, former Deputy Governors, sitting Senators, Commissioners etc. But the election was between Uche Ogah and the government machineries put in place to deliver an anointed candidate.
Election day came, after all the government machinery and their unorthodox methods were applied. Uche Ogah did not only come second, but he has built enough public sympathy that made him score votes that were twice the votes of a just resigned Federal Minister, former bank CEO, former deputy governor and former speaker, a diplomat and a former commissioner put together. In reality, it was like a stolen mandate. Because Ogah came second, there was a pin-drop silence all over Abia the day the result was announced.
Now, this is not the story that I’m finding difficult to get the right words to express. The real story is about what happened after the election.
The PDP gubernatorial primary election came up on December 8, 2014. This was just a few days to the Christmas festivities period and the prices of petroleum products went high as a result of an artificial scarcity. Being into oil, in fact a major player in the oil industry, one could have expected Ogah to see this as an opportunity to cover his election cost. Increase the cost of gas, fuel, kerosene and make a kill. To the average business tycoon, that was just normal. Fortunately, Uche Ogah does not do business or see things from business angle of life. He sees things and does business from the people’s welfare point of view. That was the motivating spirit that inspired him into contesting for the post of chief executive of Abia State in the first place. These were the qualities that endeared him to the people in the first place. Can you imagine that kerosene was selling at N120 and above during the festive period? Even at that cost, people were lining up, waiting and begging for it. Mind you, he has a multi-billion naira 158,000-metric ton storage facility for petroleum products in Port Harcourt. If he had increased the prices of the petroleum products, he could have covered his campaign spending. He rather chose to help the Jonathan government to stabilise the market by making both products available, affordable at government official prices at different parts of the East. He ordered all Masters Energy Filling Stations to sell kerosene at N60 against the N120 others were selling and fuel at N97 against the N115 to N120 others were selling. Can you now see my difficulty in finding the right words to pen will exactly fit in describing him?
Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah is a young man who has gone on to build a massive business empire, the Masters Energy Group, into an international company and leading player in a plethora of sectors in Africa. So far he has pioneered investments in infrastructural developments which run into billions of dollars. At the moment he is President of Masters Energy Group, conglomerate with various subsidiaries and interests spanning oil and gas, banking, insurance, aviation, shipping, dredging, logistics, construction, transport, power, automobile, manufacturing, real estate, commodities and the list goes on. The Group has so far provided employment for over 6,000 Nigerians and other African citizens.
Ogah has built a multi-billion naira storage facility of 158,000 metric tons petroleum products in Port Harcourt, which has helped the Jonathan administration in no small way to stabilize petroleum products, making them both available and affordable in different parts of the country, as he did this Christmas by playing a role to make sure there was no scarcity. His business empire has provided direct and indirect employment to citizens of the Niger Delta region and beyond in the spirit of the federal government’s rehabilitation and amnesty programmes.
As if all these are not enough, within the confines of Masters Energy City lies a multi-million naira fabrication yard, established in 2010 for the purpose of fabrication and construction of equipments for use, not only in the oil and gas industry, but also beyond the sector. At the moment, the fabrication yard has constructed different 1,000 MT capacity barges and is presently constructing additional 3 barges.
As a result, it’s not an over statement to state that this young man has single handedly changed the face of Rumuolumeni, Rivers State with his group’s massive tank farm that is next to none in the west coast of Africa and added a jetty that opened the space for international cruise to dock. This is akin to his mega dream for an Abia sea port in Azumini.
In the course of building a large business empire from 2006 till date, he has created a large repository of human resource teams and consultants that have been instrumental his transformative investment culture. Having employed and used consultants from Africa, Asia and Europe – some of which are scholars for international organisations like World Bank, IMF etc, he garnered wide ranging experience and knowledge in team building and people development with a decade across five continents. These were the qualities he want to ensure Abia gained from.
Ogah has created a huge business lay-out in Ogun state and built ultra modern complexes in Lagos. To crown it all he has created several energy distribution points within our south-east zone and commenced a multi-billion naira integrate industrial city at Uturu, his home town, known as Masters Energy Industrial City, which on completion is expected to grow the economy of Abia state because of the high number of business it would attract from across the world. Already about seven companies are springing up within the Masters Energy Industrial City in Abia State. These companies include: fertilizer plant, plastic plant, lubricant plant- producing seven product lines – engine oil, grease, Hydraulic, Cooking gas, transmission oil, Gear Oil, Noodles Plant, steel manufacturing (which produces pipe for offshore drilling) and mechanised palm production plants. All these plants are at 75% completion stage. The products of these companies will contribute in no small way to the economical development of Abia State, Nigeria and West African states; in addition to the creation of new jobs for the unemployed. Masters Energy Group is projected to have over 42,000 direct and indirect work force by the time these projects come on stream.
Recently he acquired 300 hectares of land in Abia State for massive agricultural development in line with Federal Governments Trasformation Agenda to be known as Masters Energy Agricultural City. It will have green houses, poultries, fisheries, biogas units.
Perhaps his proclivity for making others happy, which he considers among the best of his virtues and his love for the poor, are what he has going for him. He is one man who believes that poverty is curable through a plan and he has developed a plan for that.
One other fact that makes him exceptional is that in spite of the outcome of the last election, at the moment he is pioneering an effort that will help 5,150 widows, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC’s) overcome the burdens of their vulnerabilities. Through the Uche Ogah Foundation, Ogah and his wife, Ngozi, opened their doors to thousands of young people with a plethora of empowerment capital and in-kind support to start new lives that will never go down. They have equally developed several girl-child support programs and acted as business angels to several rural women.
Long before the Abia election, the foundation has been executing programmes to help indigent school children from primary school pupils to university students, with free books and comprehensive scholarship offers over the years.
At the Abia State University stands the state-of-the-art Business Faculty auditorium built by the Uche Ogah Foundation to raise the bar for academic excellence for our students. In addition, he has rebuilt several churches and schools, and provided vehicles for many. In addition to all these, the Uche Ogah Foundation has sunk billions of naira to make this world a better place for the down-trodden.
It is this measure of human angle running pari passu with business development that has made Uche Ogah (Masters Energy), a household name. These are the qualities that influenced his decision to help the Jonathan administration stabilise the price of fuel and kerosene this Christmas by selling at government controlled prices against what was obtainable elsewhere.
The few times I spend with him made me to realise that his love for humanity stems from his deep fear of God. He began a walk with Christ in 1986, through the Scripture Union in Enugu and this relationship has guided him through the years to his present commitment as a Field Representative in the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International. Most importantly, he is a firm believer in the family tradition, the sanctity of marriage and in Christian values. This has helped him and his wife, Ngozi Ogah, to built a very stable home with godly children.
The inspiring story of Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah is the story of an ordinary Igbo son who wanted to be remembered as a compassionate humanitarian whose life has been dedicated to the pursuit of the good life for himself and his people; a dedicated community transformation agent, a silent achiever and a proven servant of the Most High God.
Little wonder why Abians are still crying.