Chief Dr. (Sir) Godwin Ubaka Okeke, MON, popularly known as GUO clocked 70 years on 6th June, this year. He was born 6th June, 1949 at Iyi-Enu Hospital, Ogidi, Onitsha. He is the sixth of eight children of his parents made up of seven male and one female. The 70th birthday bash is this Thursday in Lagos. He started GUO Transport business at barely 21 years.
He has numerous traditional titles including Onwa Anaocha Local Government and Adazi-Ani; Agunecheibe of Amandugba, Imo State; Babalaje of Otto and Lagos Mainland among others.
In this interview with CYNTHIA CHIDINMA IGBOKWE from USA, Chief G.U Okeke spoke on a wide range of issues including his business, way Nigerian politicians can make the difference, handing over to our youths leadership and his life, even as he advised youths o how to make it in life. Excerpts:
How was your growing up like?
It was fine with a lot of challenges. I am the sixth male child of my parents. I am the sixth of eight children. It was tough growing up, but, I found myself helping out in bringing up my younger ones. Apart from being the sixth, I have two others, one female and another male. I was just like taking care of them, helping out in the cooking and every other thing, although it helps me a lot, because even at this old age, I can still cook and prepare food for myself in the absence of my wife and every other grown up in the house. It was a good experience.
Can you let us into what your experience looked like during the Nigeria Biafra civil war?
It was a bitter one, bitter experience, because Nigeria has not witnessed anything like war before ,and some of us who were still in College that time, they started disrupting everything, movement and every other thing. But, luckily for me by 1966, I had the opportunity of having this training, what you called citizenship and leadership training course or Man or War.
Before the war, we were trained on how to handle certain things because in my school Nnobi Community Secondary School, you have to be trained to be ready to take up leadership of controlling the students. That is to be a prefect, it is one of the conditions. You have to go for that training, so that you know how to endure, how to handle people, it helped us, we were in the training. We finished it, and immediately after that, the war came up, so it helped me a lot. I was so young that time, 1967-1968, we were able to do certain things even to train the younger ones, because it was the army that trained us that 66, 67.
It was a military training. We have to go for cross country, by 5am they woke you up , you got up with your kits and ran about and after that you do rod climbing, rope climbing , trekking for more than 20 miles in a day. So, it was a terrible thing and it helped me a lot during the war and I made very good use of it during the war and still making use of that training today, because that training is what the graduates of today are doing, going for about six weeks course , they called it orientation course to prepare them in NYSC, although what they are doing today is not as difficult as what we had during the 60s.