What can you do with 120 naira in Nigeria today? Indeed, coming after the addition in the cost of fuel (remember subsidy palaver?) that has escalated the cost of living; that amount pales into insignificance. Thirty years ago, however, it was the all the amount gathered to commence the journey into one of the most endearing transport legacies in Africa. The Chisco Transport Company has metamorphosed into the more diversified Chisco Group. Welcome to the story of Chief Chidi Anyaegbu (MFR), the Okeiyi of Amichi in Nnewi.
Chief Anyaegbu has come a long way. The N120 was the seed money from he received from his uncle, but today, he sits atop the conglomerate Chisco Group, which has subsidiaries in oil and gas, finance, hospitality, real estate, import and export. After more than 30 years of wheeling and dealing, Chidi is slowing down to give back to society. In 2010, he publicly presented his biography titled “You Too Can Do It” and a Foundation to take care of his philanthropic interests.
He believes that success can be achieved by anyone who sets his mind to it. He went into Business in 1975 and started his transportation operations in 1981. He remains ever grateful to his uncle, Daniel Ofodum and his first shop landlady, Mama Fasholati, for giving him his first break in business. Today, he could lay claim to ‘owning’ majority of the shops at the spare parts market at Ebute Metta having trained and mentored many spare parts sellers in those areas.
The Chisco helmsman thanks God for His love and guidance. According to him, “the journey has not been easy because of the kind of environment where we operate in. We are successful not because we are the smartest or that we are the hardest working people. Of all the people that are working hard, God decided to bless our own efforts. That’s what is called grace.”
But the harsh environment did not bother him much. “I don’t believe that things are difficult,” he says. “In life, challenges must come your way, and as they come, you must solve them to move forward. There is no business that is easy. There is nothing good that comes easy. In business if you plan and it doesn’t go as planned, you re-plan. No wise man sleeps from 6 pm to 6 am. It is not possible. Something will disturb you during the day, which you often will go over when you go to bed. I don’t give up in life.”
Worried by the dearth of qualified manpower in logistics business in Nigeria, Anyaegbu has built a N78 million business faculty at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka for Transport Studies. Although not a graduate, Chidi has been honoured with doctorate degrees based on his business acumen and giving back to society. He once attempted to acquire a law degree, but was forced to drop out when his business went downhill as a result of his academic pursuit. He had to make a tough choice, higher education for the sake of earning a degree or business success.
Today, Chisco Group is known more with Chisco Transport. It started with sales of spare parts and from there to Chisco Transport. From there he diversified into oil and gas, hospitality, courier, real estate and other companies. To ensure continuity and its evolution into an institution, Chidi went to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka to build the first faculty for transport studies. It is called Chidi Anyaegbu Endowment for Transport Studies. It will train professionals who will run the transport industry including Chisco Transport, so that there is continuity when Chidi leaves the scene.
What would be his advice to someone hoping to start a transport business? “This has taken me over 30 years to acquire,” he replied. “Transport business in Nigeria is very difficult and, therefore, requires 100% attention. You have to leave everything to face it. Second, you have to decide the type of vehicle to use given the peculiar nature of our roads. Nigerians are used to certain types of vehicles. Three, you need to train your drivers very well. You need to decide the route you want to ply. You may decide to develop a route. Five, you have to look for committed and passionate people. Then you leave the rest to God.”
Chief (Dr.) Chidi Anyaegbu is the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chisco Group. He is from Amichi, in Nnewi South Local Government of Anambra State. He attended St. Andrew’s Primary School Amichi, 1963-1971, and later on, the Evening Class Program at the University of Lagos, Faculty of Law.
In the course of his business, he also attended several short Management and Entrepreneurial courses in France, USA, Brazil, Germany, and United Kingdom. He was conferred with a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration (Honoris Causa) by Penn State University, USA in 1996. He is a Fellow, Chattered Institute of Logistics and Transport (International) London and possesses the Business Certificate Award by University of Houston USA. Chief Anyaegbu is a Fellow, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Nigeria, and was conferred an honorary Senior Fellowship by the Institute of Internal Auditors of Nigeria. He was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Police Community Relations Committee, zone 7 of the Nigerian Police. He is a pillar of development in Anambra state Foundation and National Merit Award in Transport at the Institute of International Auditors of Nigeria.
He was also awarded a certificate of Excellence for Exemplary Leadership and Integrity by the Institute of Internal Auditors of Nigeria, Awarded West African beacon of hope by the West African Student Union. He was awarded the Honorary Member of dependable resources of Ecumenical Center by President Obasanjo, GCFR and he also received the prestigious Federal Government award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). He was appointed as one of 100 distinguished Nigerians Bid Ambassadors for Abuja 2014 (Common Wealth Games).
His Business Certificate Award took deep cognizance of the contributions of Chief Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu to the Academic advancement of the society conferred on him by the University of Houston, USA.
Chief Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu (MFR) is the Chairman/CEO of Chisco Group of Companies which comprises
- CHISCO TRANSPORT NIGERIA LIMITED
- CTN EXPRESS LTD
- VILLA ANGELIA GUEST HOUSE
- ANGEL PARK PLACE HOTEL
- HAVILLAH OIL
- BASE BUREAU DE CHANGE
- CHISCO HAULAGE and KEENLINE INVESTMENT LIMITED
He believes that success can be achieved by anyone who sets his mind to it. He went into Business in 1975 and started his transportation operations in 1981, he has over the years made valuable contributions to the economic, financial and educational sectors of the Nigerian economy. He is happily married with five children.