Encomiums as Okoya celebrates 80th birthday

..As Obaseki hails his tenacity, sense of industry


It was a gathering of who is who in Lagos as dignitaries from all walks of life, weekend gathered in Lagos to celebrate the 80th birthday of Aare Rasak Akanni Okoya, the founder of Eleganza Group of companies.

The foremost industrialist, who turned 80 on Sunday, January 12, was described by many as one of those who have contributed in building the nation’s economy and has created jobs for the youths.

The birthday celebration was held at his residence in Lagos

Vice President   Yemi  Osinbajo, who superintended the cutting of the cake, prayed that the God Almighty would  preserve to celebrate and bless him with longer life in good health in order to do greater things that would boost economic growth.

Prof. Osinbajo said:  “We have gathered to celebrate a national icon of treasure. This year is the begging of greater things to come”.

In a chat with newsmen, Okoya appreciated the Almighty God for keeping him alive to celebrate his 80th birthday in good health.

He said, “I feel very happy, I feel fulfilled. I have played my part as an industrialist and I still want to do more so that Eleganza legacies will be forever by the grace of God. I feel fulfilled and I thank God Almighty for my life as an industrialist”.

Speaking further, he urged Nigerian entrepreneurs to be patient, honest and hardworking, saying:  “If you are hardworking, you will make it as an entrepreneur.

“It is not easy to come to this position I am today, but young entrepreneurs who want to make it in life must be very honest and hardworking,” he added.

His wife, Dr. Mrs. Shade Okoya, who described him as a humble, prayed that God will keep him to see more years ahead.

She said, “I pray that God will continue to keep him, I wish him well as he clocks 80, I feel very honoured today”, maintaining that her husband is a very humble man.

Other dignitaries  at the event included the  former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Governor of Lagos and National Leader, All Progressives Congress  (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu;, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sonwolu; Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat; President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Mrs. Cecilia Ibru; Former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Oluranti Adebule; Former Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter dated January 7, 2020, facilitated with Chief Okoya on his 80th birthday, congratulating on resourcefulness on building a national brand that has long gone beyond the borders.

This was contained in a statement signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on (Media& Publicity).

Buhari said: “I am delighted to see footprints in our daily lives, and national growth indicators, which have been diligently interpreted in large scale industrial investments, creation of many jobs and promotion of many entrepreneurial spirits.

“Dear Chief Okoya, as you celebrate this milestone, turning an octogenarian in January 12, 2020, I rejoice with you on the recognition and awards, both home and abroad, for your purposeful lifestyle of bringing comfort and joy to the lives of many through the Eleganza Group”.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has congratulated celebrated billionaire and industrialist, Chief Okoya,  describing  him as one of the most influential industrialists in Nigeria, “with a chain of companies spread across different sectors of the country’s economy”.

In a statement, the governor hailed Okoya’s tenacity and sense of industry, noting that his exploits as an industrialist is a testament to the indefatigable spirit of hard work and resilience common with Nigerians.

According to him, “I send hearty felicitations as you mark your 80th birthday. It is quite heartwarming that you have made an indelible mark in the sands of time and touched the life of many who crossed your path.

“As an industrialist, we are proud of all that you have achieved and the many more innovative ideas you are bringing to change Nigeria’s industrial landscape. Managing large conglomerates has never been an easy task, but Chief Okoya has redefined the practice with his expert handling of a business concern that spans clothing, household appliances, stationeries, cosmetics and many others.”

“It is only with a rare mix of dedication and hard work that you have been able to groom and manage a conglomerate like Eleganza Group, which employs thousands of Nigerians directly and indirectly,” he added.

The governor said that the industrialist has remained steadfast in his quest to contribute to diversifying Nigeria’s economy, with the determined zeal to boost local productivity.

“We pray for many more years of good health, even as we are confident that you will continue to bring your expertise to bear as we chart our path to economic prosperity in Nigeria,” he said.

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