To say that he was a great man is an understatement. I’m unable to frame the words that could best describe this man and our journey of nearly three decades.”- Onoja, SAN
American Author Sherrilyn Woodward is attributed with saying: “The point is to savour and treasure every moment, every breath. They are precious because they are limited. Nothing in abundance is ever held dear. It’s cast off without any thought whatsoever. But happiness, victory, and life are sacred because they are fleeting and stingily measured.”
Barely three weeks ago, Engr. Joseph Makoju, onetime CEO of the erstwhile National Electric Power Authority (NEPA)/Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and former Managing Director, Dangote Group, stood by his foster son Chief Ogwu James Onoja, SAN as the Senior Advocate unveiled a multi-million naira printing press at Nasarawa State University. By 11th of April, 2022, the man described by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as being crucial to his vision and mission for the nation while he was president between 1999 and 2007 had transited to another realm. Below is Onoja’s story and tribute to the man he calls father.
When I was in a partnership with a Lagos Law firm, they wanted me to do something that was against my conscience. A client was going to be cheated but I advised her not to agree to the terms and she listened. She later thanked me and even gave me a property to manage.
Thereafter, I was introduced to a lady who told me somebody whose name she wouldn’t disclose wanted to buy a property. The property she was looking for fit the same property which the first woman handed over to me for sale. It was an estate property. After the transaction was concluded, both the woman and the person who bought the property disappeared leaving all the original documents of the property with me.
People said it was a settlement from God but I disagreed and sought ways to find them. I remember they told me the person the property was bought for was the Managing Director of a company, so, I wore my suit and went to the place, but I couldn’t enter. I sent in a note but there was no reply. Then I put the property up for rent. The first rent yielded N1, 000. I then wrote a cheque, put the name and address of the Managing Director in question, and sent the cheque to him. But he sent it back to me saying he didn’t know what I was talking about. From the reply he wrote to me, I noticed that the telephone number on the letterhead was a Multilinks the landline, and we had a Multilinks line in my office. I called and his personal assistant (PA) picked. I introduced myself and briefly narrated the transaction which was now four years.
I was in my office one day when the man called our Multilinks line and requested to see me. On entering his office that day, his opening statement was— “People like you are no longer available, sit down.” I immediately stretched my hand forward to give him the property documents, but he asked me to sit down. I told him that I couldn’t find the link woman but that I have been collecting the rent and the cheque I sent him earlier was with me.
He asked me to hold the documents; that after all the papers had been with me for four years. He now instructed the PA to give me two new properties to manage for him. That was a big break for me. That was how the relationship started with the man who became a father to me. There and then Engr. Joseph Makoju then the Managing Director of Elephant Cement decided that we should work together. And so, by 1999, I that had been struggling with life was already a millionaire. It’s about integrity.
He took me under his wings and that was why until he took his last breath on 11th April 2022 he remained my godfather. At the time I started with him 27 years ago, many said: “you are a mumu (fool), but God used him greatly to open so many doors for me.
Engr. Joseph Makoju was more than a father to me. The loss is indescribable. He was my children’s grandfather. My entire family is devastated. I’m still unable to come to terms with it but God knows best. To say that he was a great man is an understatement. I’m unable to frame the words that could best describe this man and our journey of nearly three decades.
Credit to Lawandsocietymagazine.com