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Ben Amuta: The Making of an Onowu

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By Ingram Osigwe

Chief Ben Amuta’s life trajectory, his rise to the top, his emergence as the Onowu 11 of Umudioka are all studies in perseverance.
As he celebrates his coronation as Onowu and his palace officially commissioned come 29th December 2019, friends and associates agree that Ben was destined for great things.
Obviously,Umudioka, a sleepy community in Dunokofia local government area of Anambra state knows when and how to honour a son that has done it proud.Ben Amuta is an illustrious son of the town who has contributed immensely to its development.A philanthropist, he is never far away from the needy.Many in Umudioka testify to Ben Amuta’s large heartedness.

His passion for human capital development of Umudioka youths knows no bound.This explains why he runs a successful yearly scholarship scheme for youths in the town.

Chief Ben’s scholarship scheme has produced more than 40  graduates from primary school level to university.
It is therefore, no surprise that Umudioka decided to honour him with the office of Onowu or traditional Prime Minister.His coronation is a validation of his wide acceptance among his people.
Amuta had a hard but humble beginning.He however, had this unwavering believe that success laid in the womb of time and that at the fullness of time it shall come to fruition.
Indeed, when life garnishes one’s path with vicissitudes and obsufucations, giving up is not always the best option for with abiding faith in God, hardwork and honesty,one can indeed rise from zero to hero, brushing aside the initial pangs of difficulties and limitations.
Anyone in doubt of the above assertion needs tutorials and counsel from Chief Ben Amuta.
A business mongul, Amuta, popular as ‘Oil Minister’ and the brain behind the  highly successful brand,DON MORRIS red wine, was not born with a silver spoon but he acquired one through hard work.

He is also a major importer of CLASSIC red wine and some other brands of wines.Amuta’s other  investments span oil and gas, manufacturing,  real estate among others
A self made man, Amuta was born in Port-Harcourt to Chief and Mrs Anthony Amuta.He was only in primary 3 when the Nigerian Civil War erupted.
The young lad and his family would run for their dear lives, leaving behind all that they had worked for to become refugees in far flung places.
The man who would be Onowu was so young that the only luggage he could carry  during the family’s escape from the war was a mat.
Fleeing from Port Harcourt, Ben and his family were able to get to Umudioka thinking the town was immuned from the ferocity of the war but not too long after reaching there, they got wind that their village may be the next to be attacked.
So, he and his family again left the village for Onitsha in search of safety.Not long after, the village was eventually bombed killing some of the people that remained and maiming others.
Left with nothing and saddled with the responsibility of providing for his young family, Ben’s father took to carpentery to feed his family while his wife,  became a petty trader.
The grim economic situation the family faced forced Ben’s parents to advise to learn a trade as there was no money to send him to School.
However, determined to go to school, the young Ben struggled to see himself through primary school by doing odd jobs and helping his mother hook her petty sales. He paid his way through Common Entrance Examination while doing that, but could only manage up to class 3.
In class 3, in the facing of dire lack, he was again  advised by his parents to drop out of school as he was needed to help raise his younger siblings in school.This time around, Ben had no option than to drop out of school.

Although Ben was a highly intelligent young man, he couldn’t continue schooling because of tuition fee. His sister instead went further, while he went to learn a trade. He started working with his uncle in 1978. He was not discouraged by the turn of event rather, he was optimistic he would make it in life.
Ben soon gained freedom from his uncle and then set up his own business.In the course of building his business, Ben  traveled to different countries seeking business partnership.
However, imbued with the can do spirit the Igbo is noted for, Ben never gave up on his quest to acquire education hence he resorted to attending evening schools while also immersed in his business.

His undying love for education was to come to fruition years later as he obtained a NECO Certificate and a degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos, UNILAG.
The new Onowu 11 of Umudioka became popular as  ‘Oil Minister’ because he pioneered the importation of oil lubricant for cars in Lagos Island.

One unique business trait Ben is noted for is  the coinage of his and family names to arrive at brand names for his wines.This was how he came about Don Morris as brand name and trade mark.
Ben is a big player in the wine industry, owning one of the largest wine shops in Lagos with branches in other part of the country.
Married to the delectable Mrs Susan Amuta( an Educationist) and blessed  with four children, Ben is a dotting and loving father to his beautiful wife and adorable children.

On December 29, Umudioka will be agog for Ben and all roads will lead to his palatial country home.And then, heads will bow in awe, hands will clap in admiration and lips will move in joyful smiles when Ben will present his head to be bestowed with the the revered title of Onowo for he eminently deserves the honour.

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