Born into the family of Mr & Mrs Edward Emeka, from Umuatuolu Village in Ivite Umueri, on December 13th 1958, Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka began his journey through life at a very young age. He was the fifth child of his parents, a hard working couple who raised their children in a very disciplined and humble way. Apparently, it was from his parents that he learned much of his humility and discipline.
It was a very rough beginning for the young Ben Emeka who finished his primary education in 1973 at Oche Primary School Umueri (now Ovuakwu Primary School Umueri), same year, his father died. There was no one who could take care of his education; so he had to stop going to school.
But in the meantime, Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka sought the assistance of his elder brother Chief Samuel Emeka, then resident in the Northern State of Sokoto – an assistance which saw him begin to learn trade in motorcycle spare parts.
Ben’s apprenticeship lasted for two years during which he lived with his elder brother. 1975 was his year of independence as he started his own trade and within five years (between 1975 and 1980), he moved from motorcycle spare parts to Motor spare parts, the trade he learnt for another six months.
He was dealing in Toyota spare parts but, suddenly, Caterpillar spare parts became a new and attractive area. He decided to venture into it. To the glory of God both dealership in Motor and Caterpillar parts blossomed, but the notorious sectarian crisis in Sokoto became an obstacle. It was time for Ben to relocate to Aba, Abia State, the first law of nature being that of self-preservation.
While in Sokoto before returning to Aba, Ben was also conscious of the need for further education, and that was why he attended a private coaching lesson so he could write his GCE. He passed the GCE at the first sitting, and in 1994, he moved down from Aba to Port Harcourt where he saw a lot of educational opportunities. Ben thereafter enrolled in the University of Science and Technology for a Business Administration programme. After five years, he graduated in flying colors obtaining a Bsc in Business Administration.
Prior to his graduation in 2004, Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka had moved from Caterpillar spare parts to Caterpillar equipment leasing. But in the course of the leasing, he discovered that majority of the people he was doing business with were construction companies, so a new idea came to his mind and he decided to float a construction firm. That was how ‘New Idea Construction Company’ came about in 1999.
When New Idea Construction Company came into the construction industry, it was a very turbulent period for Ben. Wherever he went to bid for jobs, the first thing he was asked was, ‘what construction job have you done before?’ and unfortunately for him, he had actually not done any because he was a starter.
But as a very innovative and a determined person, Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka took a very bold step. First of all, he started building houses for his friends and also some for himself. By so doing, he was gradually building up his Company’s profile and in no distant time, he was able to break through into the construction industry by getting a road construction work from Agip Oil Company Nigeria, a two-kilometer road in Aga, Rivers State.
It must be noted however, that he was given a maximum of one year to complete that road, but, because of his creativity, passion and the commitment he showed, he was able to finish it under six months. Not only did he finish the road and deliver it on time, its quality was very remarkable and the company was very happy with the pace and quality of the road project.
That of course was the beginning of his breakthrough into the construction industry, and from there, it was no longer a problem showing what he had done before as he was being asked.
New Idea Construction Company no doubt, became a name to be reckoned with in the construction industry. About 60 percent of the roads in Abia State were handled by New Idea Construction Company, as well as some roads in Imo State.
These projects included but were not limited to: the dualization of Aba/Owerri Road, Aba, Abia State (Phases 1&2); dualization and expansion of Bende Road, Umuahia, Abia State; Construction of Obahu-Ekeututu Road Orsu L.G.A, IMO State; construction of Ukwuamango, Ariaria Road, Aba, Abia State, and the construction of Umuneke-Umueme-Obike-Ndashi Road Ngor Okpala L.G.A, Imo State.
Today, New Idea Construction Company has done a lot of jobs with Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, a federal agency.
Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka got married to Lady Chinwe Emeka the fourth daughter of Mr & Mrs Valentine Ilogu from Iruozobia Umueri. The decision to marry ealier was a personal decision unlike many young Igbo men. Since Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka was already financially established, and had actually built four bedrooms flat in one storey building at the age of 27, there was nothing left other than a woman to be his wife.
Shortly after marriage in 1986, Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu and Lady Chinwe Emeka had their first son who is now a graduate of civil engineering from the University of Wales, London. He thereafter, proceeded to do his Master’s Degree in France. Their second son was born in 1989, and he is a graduate of Medical Science in Hungary. The first daughter, the third child of the family is also a graduate from Calep University, where she studied Finance & Accounts; while the fourth child is a graduate of Civic Engineering, from University of Surey and currently doing his Masters in Project Management at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA . The two other ones who are the babies of the house are schooling here in Nigeria. No doubt, the union of Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu, and Lady Chinwe Emeka is a blessed union, and an example of God’s grace upon man.
Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka is a strong practicing Christian. He is also a Knight of Saint Christopher and a prayer warrior as a matter of fact. Within eleven months, he built single-handed a brand new Anglican Church for Umueri (Saint Gabriel Cathedral Church Umueri) which was burnt down during the 1999 crisis of Aguleri, Umueri, and Umuoba Anam. Because it was a divine project, and because everything works together for good, by 2007, the church was dedicated by the Primate, Church of Nigeria, and today, it is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Niger-West. This is particularly because, when they were about creating more Dioceses in the Anglican Communion, they found Saint Gabriel Cathedral church built by Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka as the most suitable to be used as the Cathedral headquarters, and all the Cathedral status was given to it.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE SOCIETY:
As a seasoned administrator and an innovative business technocrat, Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka has contributed tremendously to humanity and the society at large. He grades almost every road in Umueri every year, and this he does single-handed. He personally brought and established ‘Lions Club International’ in Umueri, a charity organization that is known for philanthropy. Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka also built a Club House, and donated same to Umueri Recreation club. He alone reconstructed the Diocesan hospital, Umueri, and donated same to the Diocese of Niger-West. He also built five classroom blocks and donated same to Ivite Community Secondary School Umueri. He purchased plots of land and donated same to Umueri General Assembly (Port-Harcourt Chapter). He has given scholarship awards to different categories of people both at home and abroad and these include, full scholarship to some Law school students in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka has accomplished a lot for himself. He is a member of many business associations which include, Port-Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHICCIMA). He is a member of United States Commercial Service (NUSA) – a US Department of Commerce. He also doubles as the Chairman and Managing Director of Caterpillar Masters W.A Limited, a company that has made mark in importation of Caterpillars; he is Chairman/CEO Chiben Stores Limited (Licenses liquor distributor), Chairman, Obinwanne Umueri Cooperative Farm, and Chairman Oganiru Cooperative Farm. He is the Group Chairman/Managing Director of Chiben Oil and Gas Ltd, Chairman/CEO New Idea Asphalt Plant Limited; State Treasurer, Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil & Gas (Hostcom); Charter President, Umueri Lions Club International between 2008 and 2009; Chairperson Region Lions, District 404A Nigeria between 2010 and 2011. Chairman, Umueri General Assembly Port-Harcourt between 1993, and 1998.
AWARDS AND MERITS:
Igwe Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka has won numerous awards from all walks of life, an eloquent testimony to his contribution to humanity. These awards include
1. Melvin Jones Fellow for Dedicated Humanitarian Services Lion’s International Club (2011)
2. Excellence for Outstanding Performance in the Construction Industry by ASATU, Anambra State (2015)
3. NOA Pillar of Development and Selfless Service to People (2016)
4. Meritorious Award in Engineering Service Delivery, by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (2011)
5. Defender of the Unemployed in Niger Delta, by Association of Unemployed Graduates (2011)
6. Award of Excellence, the most Outstanding Entrepreneur in South-East Zone by National Association of Banking & Finance Students (2016)
7. Award of Excellence, Astute Philanthropist, by Law Students of Anambra State University, Igbariam Campus
8. Award of Excellence by the Ministry of Works Staff Welfare, Awka Anambra State (2016)
9. Honorary Award (Akuluouno of Umueri) by Girls High School, Umueri (2014).
10. Jesus Squad award for Contributions towards the Development and Sustenance of the Diocese of Niger-West (2014)
11. Community Health Award by the Ministry of Health Anambra State.
12. Award of Excellence in Construction Industry by Awka Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (AWKACIMA)
13. Sustainable Development goal by First Klass Global Impact Initiative. etc