On Monday, 22 October, African Leadership Academy (ALA) held a special memorial day called ALA African Heroes Day to celebrate the life of the late Osaze Osifo, a true ‘Unsung’ African hero.
Every few years, African Leadership Academy identifies an African leader who has led a remarkable life and contributed immensely to Africa, but whose great contributions may not be broadly known. ALA calls these leaders ‘Unsung Heroes’ of Africa, and hosts a day-long event to celebrate the life of these unsung heroes at the African Leadership Academy campus in South Africa.
The first African Hero ALA celebrated was Miko Rwayitare, a visionary entrepreneur who brought cellular technology to Africa. Miko also recognized that Africa’s problems must be solved by Africans and he conceptualized the creation of an “Academy of African Excellence,” a university that would bring together the brightest minds in Africa. Unfortunately he passed away before he was able to realize his dream.
Osaze Osifo was the second African Hero celebrated as part of ALA African Heroes Day. Osifo is considered to be a true ‘Unsung’ African hero at African Leadership Acadmey for his many contributions to Africa. ALA celebrated Osifo’s life and accomplishments to inspire the next generation of leaders at ALA by showcasing Osifo as a great African leader and role model.
Osifo served as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at First Bank of Nigeria. He was the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Ocean & Oil Holdings Ltd. and he also co-founded Travant Capital, an investment and advisory firm in Nigeria. Osifo was a banker, entrepreneur and financier who made a significant contribution to all the businesses he was involved in.
Aged 45, Osifo was said to have died in his sleep the morning of February 29, 2012, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. The financial sector is said to have lost one of the best brains in the industry with the death of the Managing Director of FBN Capital, Osaze Osifo.
Many of Osifo’s close friends, family — including his wife and children, and leading figures in the Nigerian business community travelled to South Africa to attend ALA African Heroes Day. Some of the guests who attended the event in honor of Osifo were: Tunde Folawiyo, head of the Yinka Folawiyo group; Onajite Paul Okoloko, the CEO and Managing Director of Notore Chemical Industries Ltd.; and Osifo’s close friend, Farooq Oreagba, former Head of Strategy & New Products of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
The events of the day included a special ceremony recognizing and celebrating Osifo’s life, a reading and discussion of a case study about Osifo’s contributions to Africa, and a grand opening of the Osaze Osifo Reading Room — a special section of the African Leadership Academy’s library named in his honor. Many of Osifo’s personal books on business and leadership are stored in the Osaze Osifo Reading Room, which is a way in which his thirst for knowledge and drive for success can continue to be an inspiration for current and future student leaders at the Academy.
Osifo also played a transformative role and provided influential support to the Academy since its founding in 2008. Osifo was a passionate and active member of African Leadership Academy’s Board of Trustees. He was an advocate for Nigerian involvement in ALA and was critical in identifying and recruiting some of the most talented young Nigerian students who were offered positions at ALA. Osifo truly believed in the Academy’s vision and mission to develop the next generation of African leaders.
To further support his dedication and commitment to African Leadership Academy, Osifo’s friends and family have committed to set up a foundation in his name that will support education initiatives across Africa like ALA.
African Leadership Academy is honored to have celebrated and recognized a father figure and a dear friend to the Academy, and an extraordinary human being.