Biography of Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Uzor Kalu is a Nigerian Igbo business mogul and politician. He was once the state governor of Abia State from 1999 to 2007. He is the Chairman of quite a number of establishments of which includes SLOK Holding, the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers all in Nigeria.
Orji Uzor Kalu was born in 1960 on the 21st of April to Eunice Uzor Kalu (Odiokunamba). His mother may have been raising him alone as there is no source has certified who his father was, regardless, his mother was quite rich and influential on her own. Orji Uzor Kalu is notably one of the Nigerian billionaires that did not study abroad; he had his secondary education a King School Aba and also at Government College, Umuahia, Abia State. For his tertiary education, he attended Barewa College, Zaria and then went on to University of Maiduguri to study political science.
He however did not complete his education, so yes, Orji Uzor Kalu is one billionaire who is actually a university dropout. Here’s why he dropped out of school- He was more of partisan person and as such when the “Ali Must Go” riot erupted as a demonstration against the then education minister he actively participated and eventually got suspended in school as a result.
But Orji Uzor Kalu had other plans for himself, while the other students that had been suspended with him ran around to find a way to get their suspension lifted, Kalu went on to start a business.
And no he had no personal savings, he had to borrow. He borrowed 32$ from his mother to start up his business which was trading commodities like palm oil, rice and sugar. He both them from the Eastern region and selling them in the Northern region. He made so much profit that he decided to stretch out into buying and reselling furniture too at an even larger scale.
He is married to Ifeoma Orji Uzor Kalu and together they have three children- Neya Kalu, Olivia Kalu and Nicole Kalu.
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Rise to Prominence
Orji Uzor Kalu went on to establish his own company and he named it SLOK Holding- a conglomerate that would comprise other thriving companies like Ojialex Furniture Company,. SLOK Nigeria, Limited, SLOK United Kingdom Limited, Adamawa Publishers Limited, SLOK Vegetable Oil, Aba, SLOK Paper Factory, Aba, SLOK United States Incorporated, SLOK Ghana, Togo, Cotonou, Guinea, South Africa, Liberia, Botswana, SLOK Korea, Supreme Oil Limited, SLOK Airlines, Sun Publishing Limited, and First International Bank Limited.
He eventually stretched out into Newspaper business, he heads quite a number of prestigious News Paper’s in the country including the Daily Sun and the New Telegraph both of which are very much respected and renowned.
His company SLOK Holding is a Nigerian owned syndicate with webs in just about every sector and a significant presence in West Africa. It has operations in Oil and gas, banking and finance, media and publishing, real estate, trading, manufacturing, insurance and tourism.
SLOK Holding also owns SLOK Nigeria Ltd. SLOK Nigeria owns, operates and manages its own fleet and is the largest indigenous company in Nigeria that can boast of that feat. The company is basically into marine transport services and as such it is involved in operations like offshore support and deep sea transportation within the Nigerian coastal and inland waterways.
He also made a sizeable amount of money in the early 80’s from the contracts he was awarded by the Nigerian military government to import and supply arms and ammunition to the country’s military and defense forces.
He became the governor of Abia State in 1999 and held the office till 2007.
Orji Uzor Kalu is still very much partisan in nature, he started the Njiko Igbo Movement which is aimed at electing a Presidential candidate that is Igbo.
Orji Uzor Kalu also one man who has achieved quite a lot, and all during his youth. Some of his known achievements include;
- He became the youngest Nigerian to receive the National Merit Award when he received the award at the age of 26 from President Ibrahim Babangida in 1986.
- He headed First International Bank Limited at the age of 33.
- He supervised the Nigerian commercial relations with China’s SinoPacific Shipbuilding company when he was the principal of SLOK Holding.
- He was made the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce’s Industrialist of the Year and also awarded the Humanitarian Award of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Humanitarain Club.
- He has also bagged the Volunteer Award of the International Association of Volunteers.
- He has bagged the National Merit AWard.
- He is a recipient of the EU Special Award in Brussels.
- He has also received the World Bank Leon Sullivan Award.
- He has a degree from Abia State University, a Certificate in Business Administration from Harvard University and honorary doctorates from the University of Maiduguri and Abia State University.
However, like Femi Otedola and Mike Adenuga, Orji Uzor Kalu also proved the rhetoric that with immense wealth and recognition also comes the penchant for breaking the law and hence he has also had a and brush with the law.
He was arrested by the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) on the 11th of July, 2007 on charges of corruption during his tenure as the governor of Abia State. He was also charged with money laundering and diverting public money into family business.
Orji Uzor Kalu’s Net Worth
Orji Uzor Kalu’s net worth recently took a devastating plunge from $1billion to $330million as an effect of weakness in the oil business and a drop in real estate prices.