HAPPY BIRTHDAY: THE CHARACTERISTIC NATURE OF PROF. CHRIS ONALO AT 67

Friday, 28th June 2024.

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prof and his wife

Prof. Chris OnaloFICA, ICCF, B.Sc, M.A, Ph.D (credit management) 

Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, NICA

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: THE CHARACTERISTIC NATURE OF PROF. CHRIS ONALO AT 67

This brief piece is aimed to illuminate the remarkable traits, passions, and life philosophies that define Prof. Chris Onalo.

Prof. Chris Onalo, the CEO and Registrar of Nigeria’s well-rated National Institute of Credit Administration (NICA), chartered, stands as a symbol of exemplary leadership and unparalleled passion. He is a man who is known for his firm commitment to excellence and leadership style characterized by a unique blend of vision, empathy, and resilience. A much-sought after teacher and founder of credit management profession in Nigeria, renowned expert in credit economy operations,  he holds a Bachelor of Science, Masters of Arts and Doctorate degrees in Credit Management.

He is currently designated African director of the prestigious London Postgraduate Credit Management College (LPCMC) UK, the first African to be appointed “professor of credit management” by the LPCMC. He is an alumnus of the International University of Panama.

“Prof. Chris Onalo’s character is anchored in his relentless pursuit of excellence. From the earliest days of his career up until now, he has demonstrated an insatiable drive to surpass expectations while also developing an unmatched ability to foresee industry trends and navigate every sphere through complex challenges.”

This commitment to excellence is not limited to achieving business success; it permeates every aspect of his life. He is someone whose meticulous attention to detail and insistence on quality, no matter the task at hand is truly admirable. This particular attribute of his, has cultivated a culture of high standards among his employees who are encouraged to be their best at all times.

Despite his demanding expectations, Prof. Chris Onalo is overwhelmingly empathetic. He understands that the core of any successful organization lies in its people. This empathic trait of his manifests in his open-door policy, where employees at all levels feel comfortable seeking his counsel. He takes the time to listen, offering support and guidance at every opportunity that presents itself for the demonstration of this emphatic nature of his.

A hallmark of Prof. Chris Onalo’s leadership is his passion for innovation. He constantly explores new ideas and methods that can propel the organization forward which in turn contributes to the growth of the credit economy of the country, which has for the longest been the driving force for him undertaking to singlehandedly found the Institute of Credit Administration now chartered. This particular endeavour in itself took him about 12 years to scale through the legal processes to get registered due to some major roadblocks.

His willingness to embrace change has led to numerous groundbreaking projects. Prof. Chris Onalo encourages a culture of creativity, where employees are empowered to think outside the box.

This innovative spirit is particularly evident in the organization’s research and development project recently introduced by him as part of the organization’s approach to contribute exponentially to economic growth and policies geared towards the expansion of the Nigerian credit ecosystem.

“Not only has he set a standard for the practice of credit administration in the country, he has made it a mandate to bring the credit economy of Nigeria at par with other developed economies of the world.”

With the benefit of hindsight, he has seen how dangerous it is to live on a cash and carry system as a nation and from examples of other countries; he could spend hours elucidating on the benefits of a fully developed and robust credit system. His belief in the transformative power of innovation has not only kept the organization at the forefront of industry advancements but also inspired employees to pursue their creative potentials.

“Prof. Chris Onalo’s resilience and perseverance is one of his most admirable traits. Perhaps coming from a humble background may have given rise to these particular attributes of his. Growing up in the backward community of Elele-Ibaji in Kogi State, yet having a drive to surpass his limited resources and circumstances, he moved out to the wider world where he was able to meet people and place himself in strategic places to embrace opportunities that have led to him becoming the man he is today.”  

He has weathered numerous challenges throughout his career. Despite all the challenges, he remains optimistic. A notable instance where he has demonstrated resilience is in his quest to get the Institute of Credit Administration to its chartered status, which is not a small achievement. It was an endeavor that came with numerous disappointments, road blocks and lots of negativity from naysayers, but was this a reason to give up? Certainly not, rather it became the driving force that propelled him to achieve what others thought impossible. This is only attainable by nothing but sheer determination and perseverance. A phrase I constantly hear him utter is “I will not take no for an answer”. His resilience is contagious, as he believes that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

He is persistent and result-oriented, believing that everything is possible even in the face of obstructing challenges. He believes that perseverance and maintaining a positive outlook are not only essential, but also rooted in his trust in God’s plan as he is often heard quoting scriptures and involving the omnipotent powers of God in every endeavour. In a deep breath, in all honesty, and evidentially, there is no doubt whatsoever that the refuge and fortress of Professor Chris Onalo is amazingly divine.

The impact of Prof. Chris Onalo’s character on his employees is profound. His high standards and commitment to excellence pushes employees to raise their performance. However, his empathetic leadership ensures that this drive does not come at the cost of well-being.

Prof. Chris Onalo’s passion for innovation creates a dynamic and stimulating work environment as everyone around him is motivated to explore new ideas which has resulted in numerous successful projects and positioned the organization in positive light as it pertains to credit administration in Nigeria.

Prof. Chris Onalo’s philosophies about life are deeply intertwined with his faith in God, this being a result of his status as a pastor, which has largely influenced his approach to leadership and personal conduct.  To further reiterate his pursuit of excellence, after he was called to become a pastor, he took time out of his already busy schedule to attend the Faith Bible College, Nigeria and Hawaii University, USA where he bagged bachelor degrees in theology and Christian education respectively.

Credit Management, Journalism, Entrepreneurship, Marital Counselling, Employee Productivity Coaching, Gospel Preaching, Family Leading and Business Management are among his many portfolios, along with profound academic qualifications. Notwithstanding these qualifications and achievements, he does not wear his badges on his sleeves, he exudes the kind of humility that easily inspires respect and admiration in others.

Another core philosophy of his, is the importance of humility and continuous learning, I remember vividly every time he says “if you want to learn and challenge yourself, then you have come to the right place”. A popular scripture that I can attribute to him is 2 Timothy 2:15; study to show thyself approved. He is an avid reader who constantly seeks to expand his knowledge. His library is a testament of this fact, as you will see loads of books, including books on credit management from different authors from the United Kingdom and United States.  In fact, he is “credit management” himself.

He is a man with a lot of academic and professional qualifications because he loves to read and having paper qualifications attest to this inner competence of his. He encourages his employees to adopt a similar mindset to promote professional development and foster a culture of intellectual and spiritual growth.  His pastoral service to God, surprisingly, is without the usual remunerations to which pastors and General Overseers are entitled. Yet, he is so committed to the church.

While he is dedicated to his work, he also emphasizes on the significance of family as he is currently helping couples achieve the best of relationships through his Marital Affairs Academy, a marital training institute that helps educate and teach couples the right approaches to marriage. He leads by example, ensuring that he makes time for worship, his loved ones, and his passions outside of work. I must say that having a good heart coupled with prioritizing one’s health comes with its perks as surprisingly, he turns 67 by 28th of June, yet he looks super young for his age, with so much energy and vitality.

“In summary, Prof. Chris Onalo is a leader whose character is defined by excellence, empathy, innovation, perseverance and resilience.”

His influence on the Credit Economy is immeasurable as can be seen by the impacts of the National Institute of Credit Administration. Through his philosophies, he inspires his employees to reach their full potentials while fostering a supportive and dynamic workplace.

Carefully listening to him, one will discover that his character seems to have been sharpened largely by the unique nature of his journey of life. His legacy is not only one of business success but also of profound human and spiritual bearing.

Indeed, working with him definitely is a huge undertaken and I can say for a fact that he is a man who will bring out the best in you if you let him.

 

Written by Susan David, Executive Assistant to the CEO, National Institute of Credit Administration.

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