A TESTIMONY OF THE MAN; HIGH CHIEF KENNETH IFEKUDU, AGBALANZE ONYEKACHUKWU N’OZUBULU
From the desk of the Publisher, Eminent Magazine.
It’s been a while I wrote about an icon. I took an unintentional break.
But one thing I haven’t forgotten is how hard it is to effectively write about an icon; you have to activate your mental capacity, and put it in full gear in order to comprehend and elaborate the weighty thoughts you have of the iconic abilities of the subject matter. Then you go on to put them in white and black.
But at the end of the day, you cannot really be sure if you have given a good written account of the icon. It is always your audience’s decision to make.
But writing about this extraordinary fellow, High Chief Agbalanze Onyekachukwu, I knew I was going to enjoy every moment of it. The only notable companions I had were my pen, paper, work desk, and a cup of wine.
Back to the man of the moment, Agbalanze Onyekachukwu is one man I’ll always love to spend time with both online and offline.
Prior to writing this piece, I interviewed him. I think it was more of a friendly chit-chat than an interview session.
It was a sudden august visit to meet a great man after a long wait period.
The very moment he confirmed his availability and asked me to come, I had to hop on the next flight. Like the proverbial saying goes; ‘He who sees an eagle should pluck some of its feathers because it’s not common to see one.’
Hence, I ensured I did my best to translate our online meeting to a one-on-one table discussion.
At exactly 10 a.m. I landed in Abuja, and my good friend picked me up and took me to Chief Agbalanze’s Office.
I was impressed to learn that his Abuja Office Address wasn’t an “unknown” location. In fact, it was easily discovered using Google Maps
We knew we were there when we came upon an edifice with the inscription Diamond Leeds Ltd, printed in blue (which I’ve discovered to be his favourite colour)
The security guards were looking quite smart and put up happy faces, with a lot of smiles.
As was customary at Diamond Leeds, they politely interrogated us, and ushered us into the visitors lobby
A beautiful receptionist welcomed us just before calling the boss on phone to announce our arrival.
Unlike most offices, he instructed that we be entertained as we patiently wait for him. We were offered snacks and beverages.
The atmosphere of the entire office was so relaxing and serene.
Briefly, during our wait, he came down to apologize for the delay, informing us of his tight meeting schedule before he went back up.
Sincerely, we weren’t concerned because we were very comfortable there. But that’s what you get dealing with the High Chief; good-mannerism, refinedness and humility.
These qualities transcended to everyone else working in the office, judging from their actions, discussions and the way they carried out their duties. It was a beautiful sight to see.
I remember when they had the grand opening of their new office. I came across an Instagram post by one of his staff, describing his boss. It was filled with encomiums rightfully earned. She called him the Best of all Bosses. The content of the post was true and relatable, so we dropped our remarks and congratulations on her comment section. The poster, who worked in the very office we visited, was quite happy seeing us.
During the course of our wait, a lot of men came in and left. Men who were unarguably rich and influential.
Even though each meeting was brief, they all left looking happy and fulfilled. This was testament to the fact that the High Chief doesn’t disappoint his people and clients. His service always came with honesty, precision and accuracy.
He is truly a man of the people. As they say, greatness is determined by action and not by mere words. Chief always displays greatness.
When it was time to meet with him, we were ushered to see him upstairs in his own office.
On entering the office, he had this look of calm and royalty. He was seated and having a chat with some of his friends.
He introduced us to one of them; Barr. Berth Igwilo (SAN) Ezeani Ikpeoma from Adazi, who doubles as his friend and business associate and was a seasoned/wealthy lawyer.
It was a pleasure meeting them, as it is said, ‘the presence of greatness inspires greatness.’
As we were about to start our conversation, a member of the National Assembly representing a part in Northern Nigeria was ushered in to see him for a brief chat.
With so much humility, the Honorable member greeted us and craved our indulgence for his perceived distraction. This informs us that not only that Agbalanze is a humble fellow, it also transcends to the kind of friends he keeps.
I won’t forget to emphasize on the beauty, class and simplicity of his office, Right from the lower to upper chambers. It was well articulated, and designed with a personal touch of him- The MAN.
High Chief Kenneth Ifekudu grew up under the watch of his parents, Late Chief Paul A. Ifekudu (JP) Eze Onyekachukwu Ozubulu of blessed memory and Mrs. Ifekudu who were both elites.
His father was an accountant while his mum was a headmistress.
He grew up knowing the value of education; as well as the need for discipline as he always recount how his father’s disciplinary actions resulted to who he is today. He eulogizes and cherishes his father a lot who taught him firsthand the value of good parenting.
He gained admission into secondary school at a tender age of 10 and was through by the age 16. His great attributes was shown during his days in secondary school that he was honoured with the position of Senior Prefect.
His personality was so endearing to both students and teachers and he was one of the brightest students in school. The memories of his impact are still remembered by his peers till now. He later gained admission into Auchi Polytechnic on his dad’s recommendation to study Business Administration, graduated as the overall best student in Business Administration (OND Certified).
He pursued his BSc at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka where he studied Marketing and came out with Honoris Cum Lauda.
According to him, the two discipline essentially helped him so much in shaping his way of doing business and studying them was the best thing that has happened to his career so far. Meanwhile, his childhood dream was to study Law not until his dad redirected him to study Business Administration unregretful, while Marketing on the other hand has helped him understood life and prepared him to take up challenges wherever it is.
There is a thing about being a learned gentleman that I have always seen in the High Chief, Agbalanze has in all ramification proved to be a worthy fellow, his actions portends greatly one who is very knowledgeable and reliable, carries himself with utmost gentility that often times people regard as too much leniency.
His University studies contributed immensely to the success of his company, Diamond Leeds Ltd.
Diamond Leeds is one of the top construction companies in Nigeria with an excellent multi-billion Naira track record of projects completed.
His marketing skills helped shape his strategic way of surmounting odds against him in the construction industry.
Construction firms are known for their high demand in both human and financial resources, let alone being a construction firm dedicated exclusively to Federal Government Contracts like Diamond Leeds Ltd.
The Firm was founded in 2008, became fully operational in 2010. He recounted his experiences so far, notably; the fact that government contracts are not being funded by banks, so one has to look out for means to kick-start the contracted project, this obviously was not an easy mountain to climb but his marketing skills were fully operational and useful for the cause of outsmarting such challenges.
Secondly, the government system regrettably has not been friendly, especially the fact that it is structured in a way that often times they don’t even have the resources to fund an immediate project on their budget, and at the end, the contractors are left with no option than to fund it themselves and be owed heavily. These very two factors have been a consistent challenge for the contractors but by God’s grace he has been able to surmount them despite still being owed anyways.
Chief Kenneth’s ingenuity, doggedness and resilience has made him a champion in the industry, an ordinary person would have already given up to these unwelcoming tides but not for Agbalanze who is not just a Contractor but a Contractor Extraordinaire.
Diamond Leeds Ltd is a house hold name when it comes to Federal Government contracts with ventures in construction of roads, bridges and boreholes, building construction, trading and supplies, just to name a few.
The idea of Diamond Leeds was birthed during his service in the banking sector in Anambra State when he noticed that his greatest customers were all contractors, he made up his mind that once he is out of the banking system he will venture into the contract business. By God’s grace his dream came true and today it is packaged as a diamond and baptized as Diamond Leeds Ltd.
The man, Agbalanze Onyekachukwu is a man well known for his happy and jovial mood. He often shows his 32 that you may not even know when he is unhappy, but with such graceful look, rest assured that meeting him would be like meeting an angel.
He is a very amiable and loving person, a true definition of handsomeness.
I will not fail to mention his heartthrob, whom he is married to. It is said that behind every successful man, there is a woman.
Mrs. Chioma Ifekudu is that woman. She has been a beautiful rose in his garden adorning it with so much beauty and bringing growth and happiness to all areas of his life. They are blessed with four lovely children in their 13 years of marital bliss, being each others’ ride or die.
Another peculiarity with The MAN is his relationship with God and his thankful attitude. It is said that gratitude is the least of all virtues but the greatest of them all. Often time, it is highly undermined, but those who know its value and recognizes it, benefits from it greatly.
Agbalanze is an epitome of gratitude, we can’t recall how many times he spoke about God’s grace in his life and how thankful he is to God throughout our conversation. This singular attitude of him distinguishes him among equals and can be seen glaringly on the numerous blessings he has received from God consistently.
We can dare to liken him to King David, because he is a man of thanksgiving. This attitude of his also transcends to his human-to-human relationship. Everyone who knows him will testify that he appreciates people a lot and can go all out to show his appreciation. He is always ready to honour people’s efforts no matter what it may cost him.
This act further transcends to his other nature- Generosity.
It is a known fact to everyone around High Chief Kenneth that his generosity has no bounds. His generous attributes according to him stems from his upbringing, an excellent quality imbibed in him as a result of good parenting. This is one of the biggest qualities he inherited from his late father Chief Paul Ifekudu who until his demise was popularly known for his generosity, kindness and his love for people.
It is said that an Apple doesn’t fall far from its tree. Hence, Agbalanze Onyekachukwu in every aspect is a chip off the old block. He is a light anywhere he finds himself. Asides being a senior prefect back then in his secondary school days, he has refused several times to undertake any other position of leadership, rather he prefers being on the seat of strong membership or followership whose light radiates across borders between the leaders and the led. He believed that such exemplary way of life is a great factor in good parenting and mentorship. He envisages having a non-profit organization whose aim and focus will be helping the poor and giving to the needy. ‘This is why we live; this is why God gives us his blessings so we can bless others.’ He said.
During the course of our interaction, we talked about many issues including our dear country.
High Chief Ifekudu gave us just two clear analysis that can bring an immediate solution to our economic problem coming from a banking background and an experienced businessman.
‘If the Government should do their best and see how they can stabilize the Naira, it will help a lot. The effect of the stability will transcend to many other areas of the economy like stability in price of goods and services, which would affect not only the rich but the poorest positively,’ he opined.
He further reiterated the militating factor behind achieving such goal which should be tackled first hand, Nigeria being an import dependent nation affects the availability of dollar, the more it diminishes, the lesser our Naira’s value.
Unless, a drastic effort is made to set up manufacturing firms, increase our agricultural produce and do many other things that would promote export to earn dollars, then there may not be salvation coming any time soon.
*Read up more interesting testimonies about him in the magazine, coming out soon*🙏😊