By Henry Ojelu
Like the change of baton in An- Anambra State Government House approaches, many political gladiators have thrown themselves into the race to succeed Governor Willie Obiano.
Though still over a year away, many political bigwigs and intellectuals from different works of life have already activated their political machinery to clinch the plumb job. One of such contenders is Harvard trained entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officer of Auldon Limited, Paul Orajiaka.
A native of Azia in Ihiala Local Government Area, Orajiaka’s aspiration is anchored on his conviction that indigenes of the state deserve a better deal. Unlike many career politicians jostling for the job, Orajiaka believes that government should be about service to the people and using the state’s limited resources to better the lives of the people. Since its creation on August 27, 1991, Anambra State has had a fair share of intellectuals like Orajiaka as leaders. From the first democratically elected governor, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, who is a lawyer and an Associate Professor of Politics and African Studies at the State University of New York, to Governor Peter Obi who made tremendous impacts in the Nigerian financial sector and even became the youngest chairman of a bank, and further down to the present governor who before joining politics, left his footprint as an astute accountant in the banking and oil sector, Anambra has been blessed with highly educated people. Like these leaders, Orajiaka possesses both the intellectual and managerial capacities to take the state to the next level.
The incredible story of how he became a Harvard scholar and built an African-themed toy company presently worth over $200 million from a mere $100 savings is perhaps an insight into what the award-winning entrepreneur is bringing into governance in Anambra State.
As a young boy, Orajiaka had his mindset of getting to the height of his educational pursuit. Fate, however, had a different route for him after his quest to study abroad was truncated by serial denial of Visa at the US embassy.
For years, the young Orajiaka temporarily abandoned his dream and went into business. Armed with the training from his father who was a craftsman, he quickly learned the ropes under the tutelage of his uncle at the popular Idumota Market in Lagos. With a dint of hard work, perseverance, and dedication, Orajiaka soon became a success story with his unique business expertise.
More than just being a successful entrepreneur, Orajiaka was poised to pursue his intellectual dreams. In 2001, he enrolled for his undergraduate program in Accounting at the University of Lagos and followed it up immediately with a Masters in the same institution. In 2011, he earned an Executive Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Lagos Business School, Pan Atlantic University (PAN).
Determined to achieve more academic milestones, Orajiaka pursued a doctorate in Business Administration at Henley Business School, University of Reading in the UK and then a Masters in Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the US. He has also partaken in several executive education programmes at the London Business School, UK, University of Wisconsin, US and IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Barcelona, Spain.
Today, Orajiaka is celebrated across the world for the impact his company, has made in engendering positive social changes among children by allowing them to have a sense of their culture in early life which puts them on good stead to make a positive impact. His entrepreneurial skills have also been an inspiration to thousands of youths who desire to follow his steps.
In recognition of his enviable impact in the business sector, the young energetic entrepreneur has received numerous local and international awards. Some of them include All Africa Business Leaders Award, Ashoka Africa Entrepreneurship Award, Regional winner SME, West Africa of the Global Titans CEO award, ASCSB most influential Leaders award and Traders Right Protection initiative award.
Aside from his giant strides in the business terrain, Orajiaka has also built a quiet reputation for himself in public service with his humanitarian gestures to the less privileged, donations to schools and leadership training for youths. Naturally, his foray into politics gravitates towards this direction.
Speaking on his zeal to engender transformational leadership in the coming political dispensation, Orajiaka said, “From Awka to Aguata, Ihiala to Idemili, Onitsha to Orumba, Nnewi to Ogbaru and across every of the 21 Local Government Areas and over 180 towns in Anambra State; there is that student yearning for better learning facilities and equipment, that youth who desires to become a global star in sports or entertainment, that businessman and woman who hope for better infrastructure and a more conducive environment for their business to thrive, that professional hoping for a better transport system to improve productivity and the aged who desire quality healthcare system and social welfare. We can make all this reality if we join hands together and ensure no one is left behind.”