By Ken Nwogbo
Leo Stan Ekeh, Icon of Hope is 60! And for his family, friends and associates; words cannot express their love, respect and admiration for Nigeria’s quintessential businessman.
He is an inspirational motto, lesson as well as a reminder to all that leadership is not the rare gift reserved to a chosen few and charismatic unique individuals, but a potential that lies within all and that we are all called to awaken by finding our passion and living a purposeful life.
A firm believer in his goal, Leo Stan has pushed himself and those around him beyond what might be considered comfort zone and rational.
Born to Late Chief and Mrs. Ebenezer Ekeh on February 22, 1956, in Ubomiri, Mbaitoli LGA, Imo State; Leo Stan optimises the “can-do-attitude” which has enabled him excite and conquer all the industries he bestrides.
Armed with first class education from some of the world’s leading institutions, Leo Stan is living a life of many firsts.
He started as a very small entrepreneur but today, the Zinox group is the largest ICT group in sub-Saharan Africa.
The group is into ICT products manufacturing, distribution, upscale core technology solutions and support and more.
But let’s start from the first company: Task System.
It all started when he came back to Nigeria and had to create a bit of disruption in the system because the economy was an IBM-driven economy.
So Leo Stan, came with Apple Macintosh.
He launched Apple in the country about 24 years ago and computerised all the media and multi-media houses in the country, including the book publishing houses nationwide.
After this first disruptive move, he moved to offer solutions to the oil and gas sector of the economy and it was at this point that Steve Job enhanced the Graphics interface of Apple with User interface which limited it initially from being used in the corporate sector as an alternative to IBM, and that gave Leo Stan the impetus to expand into the rare corporate sector.
His first company, Task System delivered solution to the first 20 largest multinationals in the country in the 80s, 90s and till today.
That is in the oil, banking and manufacturing sector. It’s a highly integrated solution company.
And in order to segment the market, he launched the first ICT distribution company in West Africa – Technology Distributions, which today is the largest ICT distributor in sub-Saharan Africa and controls 70 per cent of the Nigerian ICT distribution market.
The icing on the cake was the launch of Zinox in 2001 to create digital identity for Nigeria.
It was the he first ever internationally certified branded computers OEM in West Africa, the first computer company in the world to incorporate the Naira sign on its keyboard and the first metropolitan Wimax solution in Nigeria.
But within Zinox, there are digital Internet hub called Zinox Telecom which is streaming online content using the group’s robust broadband infrastructure to about 226 tertiary schools and over 1,000 secondary institutions and other strategic corporate organisations in the country.
He also caused the biometric digital revolution in Nigeria with INEC voter’s registration in 2006 when foreign contractors could not deliver after months of promises.
Again he supervised the largest single ICT digital rollout in Africa with INEC in 2010 through his company Zinox Technologies that won the over N27b contract.
A true inspiration for many to follow and a devout Christian and family man; Leo Stan is married to Chioma and they have five beautiful children.
He is also a philanthropist of repute who gives out nearly half of his earnings yearly for the betterment of mankind and in line with his covenant with his God.
He encouraged Apple Computers, Hewlett Packard, Compaq, Microsoft, Lenovo etc. come into Nigeria to establish offices because of his crusade for Digital emancipation of Africans.
Leo Stan has served the Federal government in several strategic Presidential Committees including the most strategic seven-man Committee under President Obasanjo administration – “The Nigeria Thinkers”.
This was the strategy and tact committee headed by the President that visualized the Nigeria global road map and possible dominance in select sectors in Africa and the world
Leo Stan over a hundred awards including; Icon of Hope Award by President Olusegun Obasanjo on the 1st of October 2002 for his exemplary Digital vision and as a Model for modern Nigeria.
He was awarded Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) for his incisive digital Entrepreneurship; and pioneer ICT Personality of the year by Nigeria Computer Society – the Umbrella body of all Computer Associations in Nigeria.
A fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society and distinguished Fellow of the Nigeria Law School, Leo Stan has over six Doctor of Science Degrees (Honoris causa) from FUTO, UNIJOS, FUAM, IMSU etc.
A most sought after personality in both local and international ICT events, Leo Stan is Microsoft Inc. Global Adviser and mentor to several start-ups in Nigeria.
Not resting on his achievements, Leo Stan has an ambition to build the first and largest 360 degrees ICT conglomerate in Africa and with his Group investment in Xputer, a 21st century Software company.
Today, he can claim to be there having taken leadership in ICT Solutions (Task Systems Ltd.), ICT Distribution (Technology Distributions), Digital Hardware manufacturing and Hybrid ICT solutions, Retail (Yudala by relationship), Enterprise Digital Internet Hub (Zinox Telecoms Ltd, Nigeria and Ashour Corporation, Dubai) just to mention a few.
As he marks his birthday, we pray God to continue to grant him good health, wisdom and many more years so that mankind will continue to draw from his wealth of experience, forthrightness and exceptional leadership.
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