By Tunde Thomas
THIS Tuesday afternoon Broad Street, the nerve centre of the nation’s commercial sector lives up to its billing: a chain of human traffic milling up and down the vast asphaltic surface, mostly drenched in sweat and carrying out various forms of transactions. The other attraction being the splendid array of glittering edifices that serves as the seat of some industrial concerns.
Entering the street from the Marina end, the reporter gradually meanders his way through the thick crowd, determined to ensure that he keeps his appointment punctually. He quickens his pace. As he approaches his destination, he glances at his wrist-watch, beams a smile of satisfaction as he soon comes face-to-face with Ebani House.
The reporter mounts the stairs leading to the second floor where his host holds forte. It is this sprawling floor that serves as the headquarters of John Holt Plc., a conglomerate that ranks among one of the leading giants in the nation’s industrial landscape.
2 0’clock prompt. The reporter, in company of the Group’s Public Relations Manager, was ushered into the expansive office of the Managing Director, Chief Christopher Ezeh. The dynamic chief executive was immersed in some file work. He had removed his suit and was casually dressed in a long sleeve shirt.
The soft -spoken industry mogul radiates an aura of humility, warmth and affection. In spite of his heavy work load and tight schedule, Chief Ezeh’s visage and conversational prowess reflects that of an articulate manager.
A diligent fellow, Chief Ezeh is a busy man. Presiding over the activities of a conglomerate whose scope of operations spans the entire length and breadth of the nation is no doubt an herculean task. Yet the ebullient Ezeh marches on with greater strides introducing a lot of initiatives that have taken the Holt Group to greater heights since he mounted the saddle as the Managing Director in 1986. Increases in turn-over profit before tax and creation of new divisions are few of the illuminating testimonies which Chief Ezeh’s tenure has endowed upon the company.
Born on February 2, 1943 in Igbo-Ukwu in Aguata Local Government of Anambra State, Chief Christopher Ezeh is an epitome of academic and industrial excellence. A fellow of several institutes, prominent among which are the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigerian (ICAN).
Unlike the Biblical prophet, Chief Ezeh is a man who has been accorded recognition and honour by his kinsmen. A pride of his community, Chief Ezeh was honoured with the highly revered Chieftaincy title of Ugwumba Igbo Ukwu in Anambra State in December 1990. For Chief Ezeh, every day of his life is a happy one; however he considers his birthdays as the happiest ones.
For this captain of industry, his day starts at 6.00 a.m. when he holds spiritual devotion with his family members. Before he finally departs home, he takes a cup of coffee which serves as his breakfast. By 8.00 a.m. Chief Ezeh is already seated in his office. While there, the versatile manager carries out a variety of chores.
He plays hosts to visitors as well as members of his staff from different divisions of the Holt Group who come in from time to time to ask for advice or approval of specific projects. When Chief Ezeh is not in the office, he is out on the field carrying out inspection of various units of his group or attending board meetings.
Back home in the evening, a doting father that he is, Chief Ezen interacts with members of his family. Thereafter he takes his dinner at 7:30 p.m. For this amiable chief executive, his leisure hours are divided between reading newspapers and magazines or settling down to tackle some of his office work which he had taken home. By 11.00 p.m. Chief Ezeh retires for the day with a round of prayer, thanking his creator for His infinite mercies.
First published Saturday, 3 July, 1993.