He has an eye for details, and is very prompt in attending to the said details. Little wonder even his name is prompt, precise and easy to use. He is Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Eke, the Nigerian name synonymous with technology.
Leo Stan Ekeh, as he has come to reduce his name for easy access, was born on February 22, 1956 in Ubomiri, Mbaitoli in Imo State to a middle-class family with three brothers and two sisters. His mother was a dietician while his father was a nurse. He attended Holy Ghost College, Owerri for his secondary education. As a young lad, Stan’s dream had been to own the biggest transport company in Nigeria. But today, he is the indefatigable Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the well-known indigenous Zinox Technologies Limited, makers of personal computers.
It is however, surprising, but accurate that the first name in Nigeria technology does not have a technology background as he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Panjan University in India and a postgraduate degree in Risk Management from Nottingham University in England after a short spell at Cork City University. Ekeh believes that studying in India was “a great turning point in my life because I found the economy of India a realistic economy”.
The ebullient industrialist began his journey in the technology business and business in general when he set up Task Systems Limited which was a pioneer in desktop publishing and computer graphics in Nigeria. The company set the pace for technological build up that it was to his credit the computerization of a high percentage of print media in Nigeria.
Not a man to shout eureka on a short notice, the astute businessman went ahead to found other companies including ITEC Solutions Limited and Technology Distribution Limited, and in October, 2001, he set up the mother of all technology businesses, Zinox Technologies Limited to produce locally made computers., and his computers were the first Nigerian made computers certified internationally. Leo Stan’s Zinox Computer has some innovative features, which include the Naira sign, and a Power Supply designed to contain the erratic nature of electric power in Nigeria.
Zinox was the first computer manufacturer in West Africa to attain the WHQL certification and the ISO 9001: 2000 certification. Recently in October 2013, Zinox Technologies unveiled their first tablet computer called Zipad produced locally at a media conference at the Company’s headquarters in Lagos. The company is the leading computer manufacturing company in Nigeria and is patronized heavily by the Nigerian government, especially during elections.
For the magnanimous Chief, the issue of ‘chop alone’ is not part of his life style as he has given back variously, through his company, Zinox Technologies, to the society in several ways. One of which is the Computerize Nigeria Project which was launched on August 5, 2000 whose goal was to sensitize and encourage development in the use of computers by Nigerians, another such project is the CANi scheme which was set up to provide quality desktop and laptop computers to the Nigerian populace at below normal market prices with the option of bank financing and a 24 month repayment period.
It is not unusual for a businessman of the nature of Chief Leo Stan Ekeh to be a cynosure of all eyes as his business genius can be seen in the numerous awards he has won as a person and as a corporate entity. These awards include Zinox computers as ICT Company of the Year at the Thisday Awards for Excellence in 2007, Computer Brand of the Year in 2006 at the Nigerian Information Technology and Telecom Awards.
He is also credited with four doctorate degrees from reputable universities across the country. They are. • Doctor of Business Administration (Honoris Causa) Imo State University, Owerri • Doctor of Business Administration (Honoris Causa) Federal University of Agric, Makurdi • Doctor of Technology (Honoris Causa) Federal University of Technology, Owerri. • Doctor of Science (Honorary) University of Jos. On the national level, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh was conferred with the honour of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) of Nigeria by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004, and is also a board member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group. He was also made the Icon of Hope by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on October 1, 2002.
In addition to Zinox, he has been involved with companies Task Systems, Technology Distributions Limited, ICT Brokers, TD Plus, ICT Connect and Buyright AFRICA Dotcom.
Task Systems Limited, his first company has consistently won outstanding industry Awards as Best Partner Award for Compaq, HP, Microsoft, American Power Solution, APC, etc. for 20 years.
He also pioneered IT Solutions in West Africa through his company ITEC Solutions Limited through which he has delivered the largest IT Solutions ever, from an indigenous firm, to the Nigerian Corporate Market.
Ekeh also pioneered IT Distribution in West Africa through Technology Distributions Limited, TD, which has emerged the Number 1 ICT distribution company in West Africa. TD has consistently won, for ten years, the highest industry Awards and recognitions for market penetration, revenue, and preferred partner status to become the most decorated ICT Distributor in West Africa.
He pioneered the deployment of digital dispensing pumps in Nigeria in partnership with Elf Petroleum and Schlumberger, France, through his company Stanoil. His business mind jumped at this after he was cheated by a petrol station attendant in Ikeja, Nigeria, who used analogue pumps to dispense fuel into his car.
Leo Stan Ekeh has a record of incisive entrepreneurship and his vision to Computerize Nigeria has rewritten the history of Information Technology in the Third World. Mr. Ekeh who believes that no one is destined to be poor in this knowledge century has been the main driver of digital knowledge Democracy in Africa.
Again, as Chairman of the Zinox Group, he believes one of his legacies is to alter positively the destiny of many poor Nigerians through his knowledge democracy platforms.
The most integrated Information Technology Group in the whole of Africa, the Zinox Group has shown multiple competencies in manufacturing, solutions delivery and logistics. The Group salvaged the 2006 Voters’ registration exercise by delivering 12,000 systems to INEC in 3 weeks. Again in 2011, under his leadership, the Group has been responsible for the technology backbone for the 2011 voters’ registration through the supply of 80,000 DDC Machines in 35 days, an awesome accomplishment for an indigenous firm in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.
In addition to Leo Stan Ekeh’s aforementioned awards, the following come in handy: Fellow of the Nigerian Computer Society, FNCS • ICT personality of the Year • Corporate Citizen of the Year Award 2002/2003, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria. • Information Technology Personality of the Year 2002 Award (IT & Telecom Digest)
- Fellow of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Lagos.
- Fellow of the Federal Polytechnic, Idah.
- Fellow of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State
- Distinguished Fellow of the Nigeria Law School
- 2003 Nigerian Science and Technology Achiever of the Year
- Life Membership, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs
Stan, in addition to his business prowess, is a prolific family man, who is married to his wife of over 30 years, Chioma, who is also technology savvy, and they are blessed by Gozie, Nnamdi, Chidalu and two other boys. It is worthy of note that Gozie and Nnamdi have become a chip off the old block, treading the path of their father in the world of technology.
A deeply religious person of Catholic extraction, Stan Ekeh lived a disciplined life as it is on record that he had neither smoked nor tasted alcohol in his entire life. He dedicated his success to the Almighty God, humbly adding that his achievements in life notwithstanding, he is still an orphan in the business world.
Sir, your business sincerity and achievements based on innovation have earned you the singular honour of being our Boss of the Week. Congrats sir!