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Engineer (Chief) Cyril Onyekwelu Umunna Ajagu: Discerning investor on a mission of growing institutions

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It is for good reasons that the international community have continued to celebrate Nigeria as land of accomplishments. It seems as if there are special deposits of both human and material resources in Nigeria to the extent that many more nations of the world are ever desirous of benefiting from top notch professionals and practitioners who are baked in Nigeria.

While some of these articulate and hybrid Nigerian professionals are taking frontline positions in institutions and organizations with global reach, there are many more that are committed to fostering indigenous companies of international repute, standard and disposition; these are companies and institutions which have come to act as catalysts for the growth and development of the nation’s environment whether in the economic, social, politics or other spheres.

Behind these entrepreneurial drive and nation building efforts are the likes of Engineer (Chief) Cyril Onyekwelu Umunna Ajagu, a savvy investor who have, through the dent of hard work amidst high level analytical capacity have been able to decipher ego trip from wealth creation. The submissions of one William Edward Burghard in a letter to his great grandson wherein he declared that “the returns from your work must be the satisfactions which that work brings to you and the world’s need of that work. With this, life is heaven or as near heaven as you can get. Without this–with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need–this life is hell” can be said to be true for Cyril Ajagu, a man whose considerations at all times is the joy and benefits which his entrepreneurial endevours bring to mankind.

Cyril Ajagu should, with every humility stand tall to be counted and described as one of very Nigerian few investors to have rescued the nation’s insurance industry from total collapse considering the fact that his objective but strategic  investments in the insurance sector at the time that he did acted as the enabler in encouraging many other discerning investors from pitching their tents with the risk underwriting and management industry to the extent that  insurance profession is no longer been perceived or referred to as the poorer cousin of the banks. Cyril Ajagu is one of those deep pocket investors in the insurance industry to whom the insurance practitioners will forever remain grateful to.

An Engineer by training, Chief Cyril Ajagu is a versatile business mogul with responsibilities as the Group Managing Director of Molit Hotels Ltd, Conau Limited (Nig) and (Uk) Tecu Limited. As a Petroleum Engineer, it is taken for granted that he is deeply involved in the nation’s oil industry. But what seems to stand him out today is his insistence on helping to build a stronger platform for the insurance industry in Nigeria against the backdrop of his earlier conviction of the roles which insurance plays as an indefatigable risk management and mitigation scheme which encourages the survival and sustenance of most human endevours; businesses and life inclusive.

Take the growth trajectory of Universal Insurance Plc as a case in study. The decision of Chief Cyril Ajagu to invest in and help in the rejuvenation of Universal Insurance Company goes beyond business considerations to include the need to help position the company as a reliable engine of growth with particular emphasis on the eastern region of Nigeria from where Universal Insurance Company sprouted out from.

An industrialist per excellence, a professional of impeccable character, a quintessential manager of men and resources and a philanthropist of repute, Chief Cyril Ajagu’s involvement in Universal Insurance marked the beginning of a major turnaround in the fortunes of the first generation insurance company thus leading to the immediate and refreshing transformation of the underwriting company from a regional insurance company to one of a national status according to the ranking of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) which is the insurance industry’s regulatory authority. Today, Universal Insurance Plc operates as a hybrid financial institution where all stakeholders especially members of the public are delighted to obtaining insurance protection from considering the company’s efficiency and effectiveness in the areas of claims payment and risk mitigation.

Universal Insurance Plc. is a leading name in the Nigerian insurance and financial services sector with over four decades of experience and operations in many states of the Nigerian Federation including the Federal Capital Territory.

Today, Universal Insurance serves commercial, institutional and individual customers through an extensive general insurance network which also allows for the provision of financial and risk management services nation-wide. Universal Insurance Plc.’s leadership position is as a result of its underwriting skills, innovative insurance solutions, financial strength, superior service and prompt claims settlement.

Speaking at a recent event in Lagos Engr. Cyril Ajagu who occupies a pride of place in the company as the core investor narrated his encounter with the company thus; “I remember when I first came to invest in Universal Insurance sometime in 2003. It can only be described as a divine arrangement.

“The Company was going through turbulent times. Workers had not been paid for a very long time and were, therefore, very disillusioned.

“I came on board and to the glory of Almighty God, we forged ahead. The first decision we took was to reposition the Company from being a regional player to a national player.

“And this we achieved by relocating the head office from Enugu to Lagos and thus began our progressive journey through thick and thin.

“We grew stronger and during the recapitalization exercise organized by the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM in 2007, we not only recapitalized but we successfully acquired three other insurance companies – African Safety Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company and United Trust Assurance Company Limited”.

Chief Ajagu was later to extend his investment drive and human kindness to the nation’s insurance to African Alliance, a whole life insurance company which his investment decision helped in keeping the company alive and in good stead leading to African Alliance’s current expansionist dispositions.

Let us profile Chief (Eng) Cyril Onyekwelu Umunna Ajagu. He is a businessperson who has been the head of 10 different companies and occupies the position of Chairman for Ghana Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Chairman at Frenchies Foods Ltd., Chairman at Axiom Air Ltd., Chairman at Conau Holdings Ltd., Chairman for Universal Hotel Ltd. and Group Managing Director at Conau Ltd., Group Managing Director at Molit Hotels Ltd. and Group Managing Director at Tecu Ltd. (both are subsidiaries of Conau Ltd.). Dr. Ajagu is also on the board of Jobbot, Inc. and Member of Society of Petroleum Engineers, Inc. and Member of West African Insurance Institute.

In the past Dr. Ajagu held the position of Chairman at African Alliance Insurance Plc and Vice Chairman & Group Managing Director at Universal Insurance Plc.

Cyril Ajagu is a versatile business mogul in every respect. He studied in Nigeria and is armed with a B.Tech in Mining Engineering and MBA in Innovation Technology. He has worked with Oil Companies such as Mobil Nigeria and Overseas (North Sea) Schlumberger and Shell. Chief Ajagu is a good strategist and from a renowned business family.

He is highly knowledgeable and his business acumen cuts across Construction, Estate Development, Management, Transportation, Oil and Gas, Farming, SMEs and Industrial Consultancy. His exceptional performance earned him various awards such as Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary Club International, Fellow of the Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies, Fellow of Chartered Institute of Cost Management, 25 Agents of Change in Corporate Nigeria, Member of the West African Insurance Institute and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Africa Leadership Award – 2008.



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