Leo Stan Ekeh: The Zeus of the Nigerian technology space – By Keem Abdul
Mr. Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh, born in 1956 in Imo state, Nigeria, is a visionary businessman who wields powerful influence across a web of interests in the African technology space. He started his entrepreneurial career in the late 80s distributing computer hardware and software to an impressive clientele across West Africa. He also founded Task Systems, a desktop publishing and computer graphics company providing services to corporates at a time when Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s groundbreaking MS-DOS was just catching on in the country. The visionary businessman is credited with the computerization of 95% of publishing houses and advertising agencies in Nigeria.
In 2001, he scored the highest point in the buzzer when he set up Zinox Technologies to manufacture eponymously named computer systems which became Nigeria’s first internationally certified branded computers. It was unimaginable at the time that Nigeria would have an indigenous technology manufacturer. The bold Igbo man dared dominant foreign brands in the market which included Hewlett Packard, Compaq and others. He braved the challenges of doing business in Nigeria and took on the negative myth that told of a poor quality of our locally made products.
Zinox Computers smartly introduced innovative features which included the Naira sign, and a powering supply system designed to combat and contain the sickly nature of epileptic electricity experienced by consumers. When it was launched, they already had the WHQL certification and not long after, acquired the coveted NIS ISO 2000: 9001 QMS certification. In no time, Zinox gained the trust of the suspecting Nigerian consumer and the brand penetrated the market, beginning from government agencies to mass consumer market.
That success wasn’t enough for him though. At a time when many of his contemporaries had their eyes on oil money, Leo Stan Ekeh was reigning supreme in the waters of ICT. He saw the future. As Nigeria was freed in 1998 from the coups, counter coups and military regimes which interrupted its fair system of governance and growth, Mr. Ekeh began to push for the digitization of its electioneering processes in order to make its electoral process more credible. Ekeh’s company clinched a deal and was responsible for the technological infrastructure of the 2007 and 2011 voters’ registration in Nigeria. Till date, that remains the largest single ICT project in sub Saharan Africa. Zinox Technologies, under the leadership of Leo Stan Ekeh, has been at the forefront in assisting several African countries including Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and the Gambia, to revolutionize their electoral processes. Today his net worth is put at well over a billion US dollars.
Leo Stan Ekeh is a globally recognized leader in the African technology space with several Ivy League business school speaking invitations to his credit. His three decades of business has shown a Midas touch. He holds the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) national honour of Nigeria. In 2013, Microsoft appointed him as one of its Global Partner Advisors.
On February 5, 2018 Zinox Group concluded the acquisition of the struggling e-commerce and marketplace company Konga. Founded in 2012 by ex-Googler Sim Shagaya, the online company had received around $100 million from foreign investors but struggled to turn profit or even show promise. The investors cut their losses and sold to Leo Stan Ekeh’s Zinox at $15 million, according to some reports. Their reasons were uneasiness of doing business in Nigeria, inadequate number of consumers with good purchasing power and infrastructural challenges. Mr. Ekeh has laid out ambitious plans for Konga and wants to prove again that the Nigerian market, this time, e-commerce, can be cracked.
The industry he is in does not respect tradition. It respects innovation. As Stan Lee was to the comic book industry, causing many to marvel, so is Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh to Nigeria’s technology space. No matter who tells the story, Leo Stan Ekeh and his Zinox Group sit atop the Mount Olympus as Zeus. It will be nearly impossible to unseat them from that vaunted and well-deserved position.
Culled From Inaugural Edition Of TEJ