The Visioner behind Masters Energy Group
His small frame belies the huge mind that conceived one of Nigeria’s fastest growing oil and gas companies. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, founder of the Masters Energy Group, has proved that success is more about the size of the mind and sharpness of vision, than it is about physique. His soar-away success lends credence to the truism that says you can only achieve as far as you can see.
The motivation for Ogah’s success is an uncommon relentlessness for daring, which is evident in the ease with which he overcame the so-called fear of the unknown – a major drawback for many otherwise enterprising men and women.
High academic qualifications and a promising career in the banking sector, with one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, could have made the potential of getting to the pinnacle in the sector an attractive option for many a young man, but not Ogah. His gaze was fixed at entrepreneurship, and nothing was going to make him look anywhere else, not even the prospect of getting to the top echelon of a mega brand like Zenith Bank.
Ogah’s is not the usual and sometimes boring rags-to-riches story of many a successful person. He wasn’t born with the proverbial silver spoon. And he wasn’t born into abject poverty, either, though he admits that since he did not have a rosy childhood, he could not have most of the things he would have wished to have. He grew up like any other child in the village of Onuaku, in Isikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State.
The philosophy that has guided Ogah from childhood, through education to his days as an employee, up to the time he launched out as an entrepreneur, is achievement of success through hard work. Not for him the penchant by some people to cut corners. Thus, in his final year in secondary school, while some of his mates resorted to the popular cheating method that is known as expo, he burned the midnight oil to pass out in flying colours. He carried the trait to the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, where he obtained the Ordinary National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Accountancy in quick succession, before proceeding to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, for a post graduate diploma.
Ogah obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking and Finance from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, in Ogun State and an MBA from the University of Lagos. He cut his teeth in banking at the defunct NAL Merchant Bank where he did his national youth service, before joining the All States Trust Bank . A period of two years with All States Trust Bank was all he needed to hone his skills to be able to play in the big league, and there couldn’t be a better attraction than Zenith Bank. It did not take long for his penchant for hard work and dedication to be noticed in Zenith Bank, and the rewards came through rapid promotions that saw him catapulted to the position of assistant general manager and head, Ikeja Business Focus Group, within seven years.
The position he occupied at Zenith was quite significant, considering the premium the bank places on competence and merit, which is to say that as an assistant general manager, he must have been among the best and the brightest.
But Ogah didn’t see a future in banking. Big titles and the perks that come with them did not appeal to him. He left a comfort zone of his own volition to actualize a lifelong desire to chart a course of life that would enable him to leave his footprints on the sands of time. And the only way he could achieve this was to establish an organization that would outlive him, not only in providing goods and services, but most importantly in improving the quality of lives of as many people as it could touch, directly and indirectly.
Enter Masters Energy
Those who know better say success is for those that dare. Ogah had a dream to be a big player in the oil and gas industry. He had an idea and a vision. But there was no means of providing financial backing for the idea. This would not deter him. Where there’s a will, there must be a way.
He demonstrated will by falling back on his life’s savings, which was nowhere near what he needed to start the company of his dream. But thanks to his good name and integrity, he was able to secure financing from banks to get his dream company off the ground.
Masters Energy Oil & Gas Limited is licensed by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), published by Nipex and endorsed by NAPIMS-NNPC for joint ventures (JVs) and production sharing contracts. The company, whose vision is, “To be the world’s benchmark in the oil and gas industry”, focuses on marketing, trading, gas and power, energy and refining, as well as exploration and production of petroleum products.
In pursuit of this vision, the company, in 2006, acquired over 143 hecters of land at Rumuolumeni, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for the construction of an ultra-modern integrated oil and gas logistics centre. Three years later, in 2009, it commissioned the first phase of the centre aptly christened Masters Energy City, with facilities for storing 158, 000 metric tonnes of petroleum products – the biggest of such facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. Masters Energy City holds sufficient quantity of PMS, AGO, DPK, ATK, LPFO and other chemicals to be able to feed the South East, South South and North East markets. Other features of the centre are a functional and dedicated jetty, a logistics centre and enough space for future development projects.
In December, 2011, Chief Theodore Orji, the then governor of Abia State, performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Masters Energy Industrial City in Uturu, Isikwuato Local Government Area of the state. The first phase of the flagship project is almost completed to commence operations. The complex is expected to contribute immensely to the economic growth of the state in particular and the country a large, because of the numerous businesses it will generate. Already, construction work has been completed on seven companies that will go into petrochemicals, lubricants, noodles, organic fertilizer, plastics and food processing, even before the industrial complex comes on stream.
The industrial city will, on completion, accommodate a palm oil processing plant, as well as a steel processing plant for the production of pipes and steel for exploration and production companies in the oil and gas sector. Future development plans include establishment of a liquefied natural gas plant; a lubricant plant and a 20, 000 barrels per day modular refinery, all within the industrial city.
Masters Energy, which commenced operations as a core downstream petroleum marketing company engaged in importation, bulk buying and selling of petroleum products, has remained highly relevant in trading on petroleum products at competitive prices, even when it has grown into an integrated energy centre offering services in the broad spectrum of energy services.
A key player in the downstream sector of the nation’s oil and gas company, Masters Energy currently has retail outlets and strong presence in 16 states of the federation, with a projection for the 36 states and the federal capital territory in the near future.
A major breakthrough for Masters Energy came in 2011 when it was awarded a crude oil lifting license, a development that lunched the company into the league of big time players in the nation’s oil and gas industry, making it something of a beautiful bride whose business relationship is sought by several off-shore oil companies.
Like the acorn seed, Masters Energy has grown from a small downstream marketing company into Nigeria’s fastest and most diversified energy group, with interests in oil and gas, banking, construction, shipping, logistics and security. The company’s other areas of interest are agriculture, petrochemicals, fabrication, aviation, pipe laying, dredging and shoreline protection, as well as commodities.
The company has expanded beyond the Nigerian boundaries into the West African sub-region, and is currently in the Republic of Benin and Ghana, with plans to set up shop in Togo and Ivory Coast soon.
Masters Energy Group is a responsible corporate citizen. It has over the years demonstrated commitment to corporate social responsibility by ensuring it impacts positively on the communities where it operates. The company understands that the socio-economic wellbeing of its host communities is key to its success. It has therefore provided relevant infrastructure and contributed heavily to the physical development of the communities where it operates.
Its commitment to corporate governance is evident in the fact that it does not only operate profitably, but does so ethically. It demonstrates pride in being a Nigerian company that strongly believes in its future and the viability of its economy.
Ogah’s motivation for establishing Masters Energy was anything but material acquisition. For, it was, the world of banking, especially in one of Nigeria’s leading banks, could have provided more than he needed. He was keen on taking thousands of Nigerian youths whose pitiable sights struck him each time he drove past them, off the streets. His desire to improve the quality of lives of people does not begin and end in the area of employment, in which he has more than 6, 000 Nigerians on his payroll. It’s also about those who are not, and may never be, in a position to secure employment.
In addition to building and equipping many hospitals and medical centres in different parts of the country, especially in areas where his businesses are located, Ogah has sponsored free medical treatment for the sick and poor. He has partnered different medical centres, like Hopeville Rehabilitation Centre, for fabrication of prosthesis (artificial limbs) and orthotics (calipers) for disabled persons.
In December, 2011, Ogah raised the level of his involvement in philanthropy when he set up the Uche Ogah Foundation, to focus primarily on poverty alleviation and empowerment. He has used the Madam Jessy Ogah Foundation which he named after his mother to provide scholarship for primary and secondary school children since2006, and university scholarships to more than 200 students in different parts of the country.
In 2014, he built and donated to the Abia State University, a 500-seat capacity state-of-the-art auditorium fitted with high-tech projector and sound system; a mini hall that can sit between 60 and 70 persons and a 70-seat information communication technology (ICT) centre with high capacity server and central printer. A 250 kva generator provides electricity to the centre that also has two standard executive meeting rooms.
Ogah contributed to the promotion of scholarship when instituted a chair at the Abia State University.
Ogah is not the Biblical prophet that is without honour at home. Honour for him has come from home and abroad, from appreciative communities, governments, organizations and educational institutions that have benefited from the contents of his large heart.
In demonstration of the axiom that charity begins at home, the Abia State Government, in appreciation of his numerous contributions to the socio-economic development of the state, honoured him with the title of Oke Osisi of Abia State, during the 21st anniversary celebration of the state in 2012.
Ogah is a recipient of quite a handful of awards. On a professional level, he was the Highest Award Winning Staff of Zenith Bank Plc, including MD/CEO’s Commendation, in 2004 and Best Overall Branch Manager of Zenith Bank Plc in 2006. He is Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Institute of Accountants; Fellow, Institute of Credit Administration; Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Shipping and Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Brand Management.
In the business sector, he is an ambassador and member of the governing council of the Nigerian-Turkey Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a holder of the Enterprise Award of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce. He was honoured with the prestigious Bi-Annual Keyman Award for Outstanding Entrepreneurship by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, and holds the title of Entrepreneurship Promoter of the Year 2012.
Ogah holds the Meritorious Diamond Award for National Development (2008); Distinguished Corporate Achievers Gold Award (2009); African Peace Award (2010); and Businessworld Newspaper Man of The Year Award for 2012.
On the educational front, he was Best Overall Graduating Student, School of Finance, Institute of Management Technology, Enugu.
Abia State University was not left out on the list of institutions that found him worthy of honour, as it awarded him an honorary doctorate in Business Adminisrration in 2013.
The icing on the cake for the man of many parts was the conferment of the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) on him by former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in 2012.