Tony Ezekiel: A Carpenter At Oxford

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The transformation of Dr Tony Ezekiel from the study of mathematics to the occupation of carpentry is the kind of story usually told of legends which he is in his own right.

For a man with solid academic qualifications acquired at first class institutions- Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Oxford University England, the place to be is among egg-heads in the Ivory Tower and not in a carpenter’s workshop.

The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Itex Furniture; an indigenous furniture manufacturing company in Abuja, Nigeria is proud of where he is. It is unusual to see a man with such pedigree in an industry that is not grouped among the key sectors of the economy. But his humility, an uncommon passion for the vocation he loves, determination to raise it to an art form and the integrity to play straight have earned him a reputation as a visionary leader, loyal friend, honest partner and a man of the people.

The saying, oaks from little acorn grow, typifies the modest beginning of that foremost furniture company that has left its imprints on major conference rooms, auditoriums, corporate offices and schools.

Ezekiel, by dint of hard work, has made Itex Furniture the reference point in high profile furnishing at home and abroad. Fondly called ‘The Carpenter,’ Ezekiel’s Itex Furniture started its operation from a car port garage and has grown to an ultra-modern factory complex with state of the art machines on a 2.5 hectares parcel of land in the new Idu Industrial District, Abuja with a staff strength of more than 250.

Ezekiel and his Itex Furniture are household names in the country and outside when it comes to high class furniture. His company’s growth is largely due to his vision, the dynamism of his business operations, his commitment to high standards, innovative principles that accord with international best practices, unwavering dedication to quality as well as the delivery of excellent customer experience.

All these have marked out Itex as one of the leading furniture manufacturing companies in Nigeria. In pursuit of its vision, Itex Furniture used the Blue Ocean theorem in creating a comfortable learning environment with functional and durable school desks. Ezekiel does not just build furniture, he also builds people. He is an embodiment of the can do spirit of the typical Nigerian entrepreneur who defies all odds to sit with the high and mighty on the podium of success and fame.

The quintessential man of uncommon talents, and human relations, Tony Ezekiel was born in 1958 in the northern city of Kaduna to the family of the late Mr. Joseph Aiguabasimin Ezekiel and Mrs. Emily Ajayi Ezekiel of Eme-Ora in Owan West LGC of Edo State, Nigeria. He attended Our Lady Primary School, Kaduna in 1966 and finished at St. Mary’s Primary School, Lokoja in 1972.

Upon completing his primary education, he attended Government Secondary School, Koton Karfi before proceeding to Ahmadu Bello University in the Mathematics Department. He also studied the following courses; Knowledge Management Application, Change Management, Strategic Leadership, Advanced Management and Leadership Programme, PGD in Global Business Executive, Masters in Business Administration, D. Phil, Management and Leadership Candidate, all at the prestigious University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

With a Seminar Room named after him at the University of Oxford, England, where he studied for his Bachelor’s, Masters’ degrees and doctorate, as well as with a plethora of awards for distinguishing himself in his chosen field, Tony Ohifeme Ezekiel is a furniture maker with a difference.

With a combination of integrity, humility such as he displayed when he decided to go back to school at Oxford even as a successful and wealthy entrepreneur, hard work, academic and professional competences, he has broken the glass ceiling in terms of his ingenuity in several areas of human endeavour.

As part of giving back to the society, Itex has been actively involved in the development of human capital. In recognition of his achievements in business, humanitarian works and other spheres of life, Ezekiel has received numerous awards, some of which include, the Corporate Service award from Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association in 2013; Entrepreneur of the year in 2008 by Leadership Group limited, the Abuja Enterprise Agency as the Fastest Growing Furniture Company in 2006; FCT Leaders’ Summit – Honour Award, and 2008 Midwest Times – Midwest Personality of the Year Award.

Tony Ezekiel is happily married to Mrs. Adeola Olowu Ezekiel and they are blessed with three loving children. He is a complete man of character and vision, an honest and dependable fellow, a humanist, man of the people and above all, a man of integrity, whose achievements and activities over the years stand him out.