The family of the late business mogul and philanthropist, Captain Hosa Okunbo yesterday disclosed that he died of pancreatic cancer in a London hospital.
This was contained in a statement issued by the deceased’s media consultant Samuel Ajayi and signed on behalf of the family by Dr Tinyan Okunbo.
The family thanked God for the life of their late father and brother, saying that he dedicated his life to humanity.
Tinyan said, “The family of the late Evangelist Robert Amos Okunbo of Orhua Town in Uhunmwode local government area of Edo State has announced the passing unto glory of its crowned jewel, son, brother, father, husband, grandfather, philanthropist and business magnate, Capt. (Dr) Idahosa Wells Okunbo, who passed on in the early hours of 8th August, 2021 in London Clinic after a gallant fight with pancreatic cancer.
“The family, however, thanked God for a life of service and dedication to humanity that the late businessman lived.
“We do not mourn like those that have no hope and we take solace in the fact that he lived a good life and he has gone to be with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“The family would want to thank everyone for their prayers and support all through this trying period.
“The family, however, craved the understanding of all and sundry at these trying times and would want the immediate family to be allowed to ‘grief in privacy’” he said.
Tinyan said further announcements would be communicated at a later date.
The news of Okunbo’s death filtered in early yesterday from London in the United Kingdom (UK), where he was undergoing treatment.
The late Okunbo was a retired commercial pilot and a business magnate, with a business profile spanning over 30 years.
At the age of 21, he graduated from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre (NCAT), Zaria as a professional commercial pilot
After his retirement, he established Hoslyn Ventures Limited, a company which focused on procurement in the oil and gas industry and, since then, his business interests have grown in leaps and bounds.
Following the restiveness in the Niger Delta region, Captain Okunbo set up Ocean Marine Security Limited, to protect the offshore assets of the major oil companies in the country.
He was also the chairman of PPP Fluid Mechanics Limited, a crude oil logistics company, OMS Tankers Ltd, owners of the first indigenous marine tankers in Nigeria, Westminster Security Solutions Limited, a franchise of Westminster Group Plc UK and Wells Habitat Limited, Hoslyn Habitat Limited, a notable design, construction and landscaping company among other thriving businesses.
In 1997, as part of his contribution to Nigeria’s electoral process, Capt Okunbo was the leader of a business team which championed the introduction of transparent ballot boxes for use in Nigeria’s elections.
He also participated in numerous national and international fora as a resource person and was honoured by different organisations and institutions.
In 2007, Okunbo was honoured with the Justice of the Peace (JP) in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of peace and good governance as well as the development of his constituency.
An honorary doctorate degree was conferred on him by the University of Benin (UNIBEN) for his contribution and benevolence to humanity as well as his achievements as an entrepreneur.
Okunbo, mostly known as “Captain Hosa” lived as an accomplished businessman, philanthropist and a source of inspiration to a lot of Nigerian youths.
PMB, Obaseki, Oshiomhole Mourn
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the family, friends and associates of Captain Okunbo, who died yesterday at 63.
Buhari in a statement issued by his media aide, Femi Adesina, said the late Okunbo with investments spanning the petroleum, telecommunications, maritime, and power sectors, among others, contributed immensely to the development of the Nigerian economy, providing sustenance to many families in the process.
Buhari, who prayed for the repose of Okunbo’s soul, urged those who mourn him, particularly the people of Edo State to whom he devoted his time and resources, to sustain his legacies of well-spiritedness and large heartedness.
Also yesterday, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State in his condolence message, described Okunbo as a brother and a distinguished Nigerian.
He said, “It is with a heavy heart that I mourn the passing of a great son of Edo State, a brother, a distinguished Nigerian, an illustrious businessman and an accomplished philanthropist, Captain Hosa Okunbo.
“A man of unparalleled energy and accomplishments, Captain Okunbo saw opportunities in adversity and from an early age, carved a niche for himself to become one of Nigeria’s most outstanding businessmen.
“A trained pilot, he conquered the air at an early age and set for the waters and land, building enterprises that distinguished him in the business world and embodied the hard work, perseverance, dexterity and acumen that espoused his Edo heritage.
“Okunbo was a philanthropist who gave lavishly of himself and his resources; thousands of Edo sons and daughters benefitted from his charitable works and benevolence.
“As a mortal, Captain Okunbo was not a perfect person just as none of us can claim to be, but he will be remembered for his undying love for Edo people. His desire for the development and progress of our dear state, the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as well as his invaluable contributions to building bridges of peace across the country will never be forgotten.
“I commiserate with the Okunbo family, friends and associates of our departed brother and pray that God will grant all the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss,” Obaseki said.
Similarly, former governor of Edo State, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, has described the death of Okunbo as an irreplaceable loss to humanity.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Benin yesterday, the former All Progressives Congress (APC) and labour leader said he was yet to come to terms with the news of his death.
Oshiomhole said, “I received the news this morning that my friend Capt Hosa Okunbo has passed on.
“I am in disbelief, shock and deep pain, to say the least. It is just too hard to come to terms with the reality that ‘Capi’ is no more and words alone cannot appropriately capture the dark mood cast upon our land this day.
“Capt Hosa was not just a good friend, but a brother and an exceptionally dependable ally in all my efforts for a better Edo State. He truly loved our state and wished only the best for its people.
“His generosity and capacity for empathy knew no bounds. He was a man of peace with an unlimited ability to forgive those who hurt him.
“He was a great source of inspiration for our youths, with a unique flair to understand and intervene on their behalf.
“He was sympathetic to all causes that sought to foster harmony, development and progress in society.
“He engendered an extensive support system that catered for all categories of the needy in all spheres of existence.
“His humanitarian investments in the health, education, economic and social lives of his people made him perhaps the most celebrated philanthropist in Edo State until his death.
“He made himself available to solve the problems of everyone and at all times. Even with his personal health challenges, he never ceased to respond to the cries of the needy. His demise is an irreplaceable loss to humanity. Edo people and indeed Nigerians of all political and religious persuasion will surely miss him,” Oshiomhole said.