Senator Annie Okonkwo, who served as a representative for Anambra Central in Nigeria, has died at the age of 63. According to a family source, he passed away in the United States, where he had been undergoing medical treatment.
The source revealed that the well-known businessman had previously battled lung cancer and had experienced a recovery. However, he suffered a relapse in April and had been on life support until his passing.
Confirming the news, the family released a statement, stating, “The entire Okonkwo family of Iruebenebe village Ojoto announces the passing of High Chief Annie Okonkwo. Indeed, Ojoto has lost a political pillar.”
Born on May 23, 1960, Okonkwo hailed from Iruebenebe village in Ojoto, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State. He represented Anambra Central Senatorial District from 2007 to 2011 as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Okonkwo, also known as Agunaechemba I of Ojoto, was a successful entrepreneur who built a conglomerate with diverse business interests in sectors such as oil and gas, telecommunications, commodity trading, real estate development, manufacturing, and general commerce. Some of his notable companies included Reliance Telecoms, Clemco Industries, Modern Communications (satellite TV Network), MacClemm Marketing Communications, Sunflower Nigeria, and Pentagon Oil.
He acquired an Advanced Diploma in Marketing and an Advanced Diploma in Commercial Law and Practice from the University of Lagos. Additionally, Okonkwo was an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School, where he obtained an Advanced Diploma in Management.
During his time in the Senate, Okonkwo served on committees focusing on Upstream Petroleum Resources, Police Affairs, Environment (as vice-chairman), and Agriculture.
In February 2010, he contested for the governorship of Anambra State but was unsuccessful, losing to Peter Obi.
Okonkwo received numerous local and international awards in recognition of his exceptional leadership, including the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Award for Excellence in Enterprise (WAIM), the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM), and the EMRC Euro Market Brussels Leadership Award.
His son, Hon. Uche Okonkwo, emerged as the winner of the Idemili North/South Federal Constituency in the general elections held on February 25.
The last public appearance of Annie Okonkwo was when his son visited him to present him with his certificate of return after his victory in the House of Representatives election.
With his demise, the political landscape mourns the loss of a prominent figure in Nigerian politics.