Anyinwelummadu, (we have people), that was the motto of Ogbuefi Dennis Odife’s campaign slogan for the Anambra State governorship race in 2010 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. It was the first time he would openly show interest in politics. Before then, and afterwards, he worked behind the scene to support candidates including his dear wife Stella who was one time State Deputy Governor.
Although Odife lost the primaries, his campaign message remained relevant not only in Anambra, but Nigeria. He had the firm believe that Anambra has people enough to develop the state and take it to greater heights. Indeed, Anambrahas people who have made their marks in various sectors- politics, governance, medicine, science and technology, mathematics, banking, etc. Among them is this 7 ft tall, handsome, brilliant, intellectually suave and robust thinking man, Dennis Onyemaechi( who knows tomorrow?) Odife.
My first encounter with Odife 25 years ago was one better told another day. But it was a meeting that changed both the future of his then Centrepoint investments limited and my own life as well. Suffice it to say that, our relationship has since then flourished and is still flourishing.
Born on 29th August 2015 in Jos Plateau State to the family of late Ogbuefi Dennis EdozieOdife and Mrs Elizabeth Adanne, Odife was educated at Edo Government College, Benin City (1959-63), Kings College, Lagos (1964-65), the University of Lagos (1966/7-70/72) and at the graduate School of Business of Columbia University in the City of New York (1973-74). He won academic prizes at Edo College and King’s College, the faculty prize at the University of Lagos and was enrolled in the Dean’s list at Columbia University where he took an MBA in finance and management science. He was an economist by training, a banker, author, motivational speaker, university lecturer and licensed stockbroker.
His career started with the defunct Barclays Bank DCO (now Union Bank of Nigeria PLC) in Lagos. Upon graduation from the University of Lagos in 1972, he was immediately appointed graduate assistant and with time rose through the ranks to become Lecturer 1. He resigned in 1976 to work for Icon Limited (Merchant Bankers) and Icon Stockbrokers Limited where he rose by 1978 to positions of Senior Manager and Executive Director respectively. He also interned at Baring Brothers & Co. (UK) and Morgan Stanley & Co. (United States). He joined the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1976 till 1979 and was reappointed in 1996.
He founded Centre-Point Investments Limited in 1979 and co-promoted Centre-Point Securities Limited in 1984 and Centre-Point Merchant Bank Plc in 1988 ( laterCentrepoint Bank Plc) of which he was variously the Vice-Chairman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until he merged the bank with eight other banks to form Unity Bank Plc in 2005.
In the course of his professional investment banking career, Odife financed the landmark resuscitation of the Golden Guinea Breweries Umuahia, West African Glass Company (Port Harcourt), Avon Vegetable Oil (Enugu), Grommac industries (Sapele), CutixPlc, AdswitchPlc (Nnewi, Anambra), Premier Breweries (Onitsha), Adamasingba stadium (Oyo) and countless other industries in Lagos and other parts of the country and assisted countless public companies to list their securities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and did the first privatization exercise in Nigeria
He was a member of the Vision 2010 Committee, Chairman of the nine-member committee that wrote the final report, Chairman of the Committee of Bank Chief Executives that wrote the report on the Public -Private Partnership in financing roads infrastructure, member of the Presidential Evaluation Committee on the management of the National Hospital, FCT, Abuja (2003-4) and Chairman of the Presidential Panel on the review of the Nigerian Capital Market. He was also Chairman Presidential Panel on Monetization of fringe benefits, Vice-Chairman, Steering Committee on the establishment of the Abuja Stock Exchange Plc, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Exchange, and hosted the first Malaysian business delegation to Nigeria in 1992 in an effort to encourage reorientation of Nigerian trade with Asia.
Odife authored more than 20 books, and published over 200 academic and professional papers on various aspects on the Nigerian economy especially the money and capital markets. He was honoured with the National Honour of Member of the Order of Niger (MON) in 2008. In his community UrueboNkwelle-Ezunaka in Oyi Local Government area of Anambra state he holds the revered title of OgbuefiEzenwegbu 1V. As this Icon goes to join his ancestors on Friday 30th October 2015, the legacies he left behind will forever be green in the memories of all those that crossed his part.

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