VALENTINE OZIGBO: A PROFILE IN EXCELLENCE
Valentine Chineto Ozigbo hails from Amesi, in Aguata Local Government Area I. Anambra State. He was born in Umuomaku in Orumba on July 20, 1970, as the last child of Chief Andrew Nwafor Ozigbo, an educationist and Mrs Christiana Ozigbo, a farmer and business owner.
Growing up, Valentine always exhibited exceptional brilliance. He attended Christ The Redeemer College, Amesi, where he excelled well above his peers. His outstanding performance during his time at the school was unarguably evident that upon graduation, his principal employed him to teach Physics and Mathematics while he awaited university admission.
Ozigbo gained admission to study accounting at the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) where he graduated in 1994 as the best graduating student in both the Department of Accounting and the Faculty of Business Administration, winning six awards in the process. He also obtained an MBA in banking and finance from UNN. In 2003, Val won the prestigious Chevening Scholarship to study of a Masters in Science at the University of Lancaster, in the UK. Again, he graduated with a distinction from Lancaster in 2004.
Mr Ozigbo got his first banking job in NAL Merchant Bank as a reward for a brilliant performance in a former lecturer’s course at UNN. This job kicked off a colourful career in the banking industry in which he worked in Diamond Bank, where he emerged Best Staff of the Year barely six months after joining the bank. He has also worked at Continental Trust Bank, where he served as the Warri Branch Manager; Standard Trust Bank before the merger with United Bank For Africa (UBA). At UBA he became Divisional Head of International banking and oversaw the growth of the bank outside its native Nigeria. He played the same role at Bank PHB, now Keystone Bank where he rose to the position of General Manager.
After 17 years of exceptional service in the banking sector, influential headhunters invited Valentine Ozigbo to the role of the first-ever Managing Director of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. He led a $100 million renovation uplift project that saw Transcorp Hilton Hotel transform into a premium in the Nigerian hospitality industry. It consequently attained the global renown as the most prominent business hotel in Africa and a prime destination for world leaders visiting Nigeria.
Under Val’s leadership, the hotel won several coveted laurels in the hospitality industry. In 2012, Transcorp Hilton Abuja was named the winner of the Hilton Worldwide Prize for the 2012 GC&E (Group Conference and Events) Sales Team of the year for the Middle East and Africa regions. It was recognized severally by Seven Stars Awards group.
Similarly, the years 2013 through to 2019 saw the hotel named consistently as World Travel Awards’ Africa’s Leading Business Hotel, Nigeria’s Leading Business Hotel, Nigeria’s Leading MICE Hotel. Transcorp Hilton Hotel received recognition for having Nigeria’s Best Hotel Suite (The Presidential Suite) all under Val’s dynamic and dedicated leadership.
It was during his time at Transcorp that he morphed into the revered corporate titan that he is today. Valentine Ozigbo won the prestigious Seven-Star Hospitality CEO of the Year Award in Spain in 2016. He was inducted into the Seven Stars Pantheon Hall of Fame during the Pantheon of the Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyles Awards which took place in the luxury Greek island of Crete.
Keeping in the upward swing, in January 2019, Valentine was appointed to the position of President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc. In this role, he oversaw the conglomerate’s holdings in the power, hospitality and the oil and gas sector, namely Transcorp Power, Transcorp Hotels, and Transcorp Energy.
In March 2020, he stepped down as President of Transcorp Plc to dedicate the next chapter of his life to public service. He retains a seat on the boards of Transcorp Plc, Transcorp Power Limited, and Transcorp Hotels Plc.
In his 26 years in the corporate world, Valentine Ozigbo has had the privilege of attending several international conferences, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meeting in Washington DC, the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Nigeria, the African Development Bank Annual Meetings in China, and the Euromoney debate on capital flows to Africa.
He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, the Institute of Credit Administration, and the Institute of Tourism Professionals. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors (IOD) Nigeria and a member of Board of Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt.
But there is more to the Val, as he is fondly called by many. He is widely known for his being an extraordinary philanthropist, a thoroughbred professional with applaudable human and material resource management, distinct emotional intelligence, effective leadership, and a knack for service to humanity.
Over the years, Ozigbo has championed several charitable projects aimed at giving back to society. His many projects have significantly impacted young people. He was the Chairman of Unusual Praise 2018, one of the most massive gospel concerts in Africa. Since 2018, he has been the Chairman of Unusual Entrepreneur, a body aimed at providing funding, business training and mentorship for entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The goal is to help entrepreneurs identify critical gaps and opportunities in their businesses, provide them with coaching and support services that will enable them to succeed in the long term.
He is also the Chairman of Feet’ N’ Tricks International, the biggest promoters of freestyle football in Africa. Since 2017, Feet’ N’ Tricks have held the annual Nigerian Freestyle Football Championships and since 2018, the yearly African Freestyle Football Championships. The 2020 edition, tagged Freestyle UNLOCKED Africa was hosted in July 2020, drawing freestyle footballers from 54 African countries.
Valentine Ozigbo is a prominent supporter of the entertainment industry. He has been involved in many award-winning projects and executively produced one of Nollywood’s biggest blockbuster movies, Merry Men 2.
Through his charitable endeavour, Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, an initiative borne out of a passion for promoting sports, youth development and community building, he has carried out numerous projects that impacted many lives at the grassroots level.
Asides sponsoring Freestyle UNLOCKED Africa, the foundation recently held the Ogene COVID-19 Message Competiton and the Mbem & Oja Voice Melody Contest to promote the ancient Igbo musical art.
He recently declared his intentions to run for the governorship of Anambra State. His declaration has been greeted with support from critical quarters, as it is the expectation of many that he would translate his enviable track record in the corporate world into a transformation of Anambra State.