Allen Onyema is a Nigeria lawyer and business man. He established Air Peace, a Nigerian indigenous airline in 2013. Prior to this, he owned Onyema & Co., Allen Onyema & Company, and other business outfit.
He is a billionaire interested in providing jobs to the masses. Summarily, Allen is one of the patriotic Nigerian, and a man with a heart of gold.
Allen Onyema Early Life
Allen Ifechukwu Onyema was born in 1964 in Benin City. Although, he hails from Anambra State, Nigeria, Allen grew up in Benin and Warri. He was born to Michael and Helen Onyema as the first of nine children.
He attended primary schools in Benin and Warri, before proceeding to secondary school. Then, for his secondary school education, he attended St. Anthony’s Secondary school, Azia, Urhobo College, Effurun and Government College, Ugheli e.t.c.
Subsequently, Allen attended the University of Ibadan where he studied law, and graduated in 1987. Thereafter, he attended the Nigerian Law School and was called to Bar in 1989.
After Law School, Allen was more interested in working as a Lawyer than the option presented to him by his Mum and Uncle. He was asked to work in Shell so he could stay under his parents care. Allen knowing what he wanted decided to independently walk his way into success.
Allen Onyema Personal Life
Onyema met Alice Ejembi in Abuja and took her home before his mother died in 1991. Then in 1993, the duo got married, and they are blessed with four children – 1 girl, 3 boys.
In 1990, Allen relocated to Lagos. He struggled to make ends-meet while hoping to get a law firm to work with. Shortly afterwards, he met Late Chief Vincent Amobi Nwizugbo. Chief Vincent offered him a job at his chamber and they both agreed that he will be placed on a salary after some probational months.
Onyema went on with his work until he won his first case. This was a case that everyone thought winning would be impossible, but Allen ceased the opportunity and came out victorious. Due to this success, he was then placed on a N500 monthly salary. Afterwards, in 1992, he was made the head of the Chamber.
While he was at the chamber, Allen met a friend who introduced him to real estate business and before long, he started making money from the business. Consequently, he resigned from Nwizigbo & Company to avoid conflict of interest and went on to establish his own law firm as well as other businesses.
He established the Onyema & Co, a law firm; Allen Onyema & Company, a property company; and Continental Business Links Ltd, an importation outfit. He put in the work in his businesses and they became successful.
In 2013, Onyema founded Air Peace, as a private Nigerian airline. According to him, the business was borne out of the interest to create jobs for people. Although, the process began far back in 2007, but it encountered many hassles. Then, right about when Allen wanted to give up the airline dreams, solution came.
Today, Air Peace provide services to major cities of Nigeria and fly to other international destinations such as; Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, India, China, USA and Gambia.
It is one of the biggest airline in Nigeria with series of aircraft including 3 Boeings 777.
Allen Onyema Philanthropy
Onyema is a philanthropist. He is interested in ensuring peace and tranquility in Nigeria, and has continued to work towards that goal.
Firstly, he organised the 1st Nigeria Forever Project in 2005, with the support of the Federal Government. The project which was done to promote broad nationalism as against ethnic nationalism became successful.
Also, he supported the government in putting an end to the Niger Delta militancy and also helped in training the group after amnesty was granted to them.
Also, in September 2019, Allen was instrumental in the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa as a result of Xenophobic attack. This act has remained a laudable effort as he was able to converge hundreds of Nigerians willing to return to their dear country.
Award And Recognition
In recognition of his commitment to the common good, the 10 towns in his native local government conferred him the traditional title of Ide (Pillar) of Ihiala. Also, some of his other awards include;
- Africa Leadership Merit Award, Africa International News Magazine, 2006
- Hope for Humanity Award, Rotary Club, 2007
- Martin Luther King Global Award for Pioneering Non-violence Education in West Africa, 2007
- Hosting Rights for Global Conference on Nonviolence and Peace, 2007
- Investiture as an Ambassador of Change, Non-governmental Organisation, Centre of Change, 2019
- For demonstration of compassion and meeting a need, L&M Leader of the Month Award, 2019
Allen Onyema Quotes
“I prefer a big, strong Nigeria to a balkanized country.”
“Inter-ethnic marriage is one thing that can bring Nigeria together.”
“The length of time it takes for you to break even in aviation is miles apart, when compared with other businesses.”
“To succeed, we have to learn from the mistakes of those who came before us.”
“We have so many ethnic nationalities in the country and that should be a source of strength for us.”
“Agencies of government must understand that indigenous investors must be supported, appreciated and helped in order to energize the nation’s economy.”
“When its time to help people, and you start talking of money, you start wasting time.”
“God is my major source of motivation.”
“As Nigerians, as long as we are ready to take action, nobody can break our resolve.”
“I do good because I cannot go to the grave with my wallet nor with any of my houses.
“When the country moves on smoothly, a lot of private company will be able to do series of corporate social responsibility.”
“Civil servants should stop seeing private investors as enemies but as collaborators that can move Nigeria forward.”
Entrepreneurial Lessons From The Life Of Allen Onyema
Diligently Pursue Your Dream
A man can only be termed successful after he has accomplished his dreams, and this is what Onyema has done. He knew there was more to leading a great life than living under his parental guidance and working in his comfort zone. Instead he wanted to become a successful lawyer on his own terms. It was in the pursuit of this path that he met the friend that introduced him to real estate. Real estate became the industry where he made his fortune.
Also, entrepreneurs need to note that it takes extra effort to achieve a feat and only those who can pay the price eventually becomes successful.
Take Hold of Opportunity
Allen Onyema became known to the masses after he evacuated Nigerians in South Africa as a result of the xenophobic attack. The gesture has widely been spoken about by Nigerians both at home and in diaspora. Not only that, he has written his name in the sand of time.
We should be our brothers keeper. Your wealth has no meaning and purpose if you fail to create an impart with it. Use every opportunity to help others because our greatness lies in helping others rise.
Photo Credit/Sources: Instagram, Nairaland Forum, Vanguard News, Topstarmovies.com, The Sun Nigeria, Abia Pulse News, Reform.