CHAIRMAN/Chief Executive Officer, Danduko Group of Companies, Chief (Sir) Daniel Uchendu has been blessed with another graduate. His son, cently graduated from American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where he studied Electrical Engineering. And proud of his feat, the untainted mogul and Hankook boss headed for the Arabian Gulf to witness the graduation ceremony held on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at the AUS Hall, UAE.
After a reception in honour of the graduating students, Danduko staged a lavish party at one of Dubai’s luxury suites, Hilton Creek.
In this exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Associat Editor, UCHE OLEHI, Chief Dan Uchendu, who now has four university graduates, including a medical doctor, opened up on the joys of being blessed with exceptional children.
The serial entrepreneur also reviewed Nigeria’s turbulent business climate, while predicting the economy will sure rebound after the general elections.
Congratulations on your son’s recent graduation from American University of Sharjah, UAE. How does it feel to produce yet another graduate?
We thank God. He alone can do this. And I give Him back His glory.
Training a child in such a prestigious private international institution is not a tea party, how did you do it?
It is what we have been looking forward to, and with God on our side, we were able to achieve it. So, I will say it was not by might nor by power, but it is only God who did it, not me.
So, how did the graduation ceremony held at American University of Sharjah go?
Everything went fine as planned. And I thank God my son made it.
Who accompanied you to Dubai apart from your immediate family?
My friends and some of my business associates. We were 10.
A party was held after the graduation ceremony, we were told?
Yes, there was a lavish party at Hilton Creek, Dubai. It was at the topmost floor of the luxury hotel and suites. It attracted so many personalities including United Arab Emirates prominent citizens.
Are you planning any special celebration for some of us who couldn’t make it to Dubai?
Sure, we would soon stage a thanksgiving as usual to thank God for the gift of yet another graduate.
Have you picked a date for the thanksgiving?
So, how would you describe Somtochukwu Uchendu?
Somtochukwu is a cool headed and focused guy. He is a child any man should be proud of. He is also an obedient and intelligent child. I’m so, so proud of him.
While he was outside our shores, did you at anytime entertain fears he might derail or lose focus?
Never! Not at all because before you send a child out you would have known his character. So, right from infancy, he had been a boy you could trust.
Somtochukwu Jnr is still in his early 20s, what happens if he decides to get married in say three, four years, would you give him your blessing?
That’s already in the pipeline, my own is not two, three years. He should get married a year after his National Youth Service.
Can you please refresh our mind with your other children who are now graduates?
I have eight children, in case you don’t know. Interestingly, four are already graduates. That is why I have cause to glorify God who has done it again for me.
How is business, Danduko?
Business is quite challenging but fine. Everything is in God’s Hands.
Is the elections fever negatively affecting Danduko Group and Hankook?
It’s affecting the economy at large, not Danduko Group alone. So, we are all suffering from the election fever, to borrow your phrase.
Do you see Nigeria moving forward after the general elections?
That is our prayer.
What are your projections for 2015?
While some people are looking at the negative side of it, we know everything would be fine. We would have cause to glorify God because everything will pick up again after the elections.
For you, it’s always God?
That is Danduko God is the rock and pillar of my success. In fact, I have a very big God who is always by my side.
Finally, what gives you the greatest joy about your only son, Somtochukwu?
I’m humbled and pleased with torrents of testimonies pouring in on his behalf. From the Christian community in Dubai and his friends, Somtochukwu has been given uncountable recommendations, testimonies upon testimonies and awards. He returned with loads of merit awards from AUS. Being in charge of sports at the AUS, he was adjudged the Best Sports Analyst. He also got awards in Information Technology as Computer Analyst, among other honours. In fact, it has been testimonies upon testimonies. And I’m particularly glad that the young man could continue where I stopped.
And for your family and business associates who have been felicitating with you since his graduation as an engineer, what do you say to them?
I really appreciate their felicitations and support. I also pray that God will bless them with good, reliable and intelligent children like Chief Daniel Uchendu (Danduko).
‘Why I studied Engineering at American University of Sharjah, AUS’
– SOMTOCHUKWU UCHENDU, JNR
SOMTOCHUKWU Uchendu tells ENCOMIUM Weekly why he chose the prestigious university founded in 1997 by Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, member of Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Sharjah.
Engr. Somtochukwu Uchendu, Jnr also shares his experience as a foreign student, his plans after graduation and relationship with his dad, Danduko.
Congratulations on your graduation as an Electrical Engineer. How does it feel?
It feels good to finally graduate after four years!
Why did you chose to study at the prestigious American University of Sharjah?
I chose AUS because it is very highly ranked in the world and they offered my choice of study. Also, it had the perfect environment for me to learn.
And why Electrical Engineering?
From a very young age, I always aspired to be an Electrical Engineer. I was always fond of trying to solve electrical engineering – related problems.
What were your challenges of studying abroad?
The extreme weather conditions and the language. Apart from that, I believe that studying abroad is a perfect medium for globalisation.
Can you recall the most memorable period of your academic sojourn in UAE?
That was when I passed my Professional Engineering Exam.
What next now you are through with school?
I have started my Masters program in the University of Coventry, UK.
Are you going to practice engineering, business or both?
I would love to be very flexible in my career. I also have a passion for business, so I could love to practice both engineering and business. I also have a passion for Engineering, so I also see myself working for an Engineering firm.
Can you please tell us other schools you attended?
I attended Chrisland Primary School in Opebi and Chrisland Secondary School in Idimu.
Your dad has given you and your siblings the best education money can buy. I’m sure you appreciate that?
I’ll never stop thanking him for that. Watch and see how he will reap his reward in the near future.
So, what do you say to him?
Thank you and God bless you, Sir. God will continue to replenish your pocket in a thousand folds.
What is your relationship with Danduko and what do you cherish most about him?
He’s my dad of course. And I’m a proud son. We are more like brothers, sometimes.
Are you in a relationship, and is marriage in your mind?
I have marriage in my mind and I am waiting for God’s perfect time.
Privileged to graduate in your early 20s, what more do you want from God?
All my success is attributed to God, so I give him all the glory and I pray for more success in the future.
– UCHE OLEHI