Life is nothing but what mortals put into it! According to Frantz Fanon, in his book: “wretched of the earth”, “Any man wrapped in himself would only make a small package”. These wise sayings typify the generous life of one of Nigeria’s finest citizens and professionals, Chief Eugene Amechi Okwor, who turns octogenarian today.
The life and profound impact of Chief Okwor on the sands of the history of the Nigerian insurance industry warrants clinging of glasses in ecstatic celebration of a man who has sown to the “emotional bank account” of numerous practitioners, notably in the industry, as a mentor, friend, and boss.
Good enough, history records him as the pioneer Commissioner for Insurance, who used his office so admirably to court friendship with his colleagues and juniors in the industry, as against putting up the garb of a “superior being”, as many in such exalted officials often won’t to do in the office.
The history of insurance industry, especially the government regulatory or supervisory aspect, would not be complete without the personality notch on the person of Chief Okwor, who as Director in the then Nigerian Insurance Supervisory Board, under the Federal Ministry of Trade, expanded the horizon of the regulatory body to what is now known today as the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), under which we have had four successive Commissioners for Insurance. Since governance is a continuum, the contributions of Chief Okwor partly energized the initiatives and input of the early insurance operators such as Olola Olabode Ogunlana, Mr. Talabi Braithwaite; Chief J.A Akin George, et al, for a more robust regulatory institution to superintend over the then fast-expanding insurance industry. This effort gave birth to the National Insurance Commission Decree 1997, marking a significant watershed in the regulatory history of the Nigerian insurance industry.
At the personal level, testimonies abound about how Chief Okwor, a Lawyer and London chartered insurance practitioner acquainted himself so admirably to all those who needed support and regulatory lift to commence their professional operations, especially as Insurance Brokers.
The testifiers who prefer anonymity relived with delight how personable and supportive Chief Okwor was, not only in helping them through their certification process, but also providing required mentorship to them and their visions afterward.
A highly cosmopolitan and detribalized Nigerian, Chief Okwor is an excellent social mixer and possess a trans-generational mien, making both those of the older bloc as well as the younger ones to be in comfort with him.
His personality cuts across the entire segments of the industry, qualifying him as one of the most venerated elders of the industry still around. Like the words of a famous American soldier, and warlord, General Mc Arthur, “old soldiers never die…” Chief Okwor has continued to ply his profession as an Insurance Broker and member of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, despite his advancing age.
His place in the respected Elders Advisory Committee of the Council is quite conspicuous. It is, therefore, with a heart of love and appreciation that the President of the NCRIB, Dr (Mrs) Bola Onigbogi joins other family members and industry leaders and members felicitate this great icon of our industry as he proudly joins the prestigious league of the Octogenarians. Happy birthday, sir.
Is the Assistant Executive Secretary of NCRIB