OJI UKWU EJE ABA
The story of an Igbo indefatigable entrepreneur:
Joseph Chukwuka Ulasi, hailed from Nnewi in Anambra state. Born in 1890 and died 1944.
He was nicknamed “O ji ụkwụ eje Aba” because of his unflinching hustling spirit as a young Igbo boy determined to make it in life and of which he eventually did by becoming the most successful transporter from South East.
He regularly traveled on foot from Nnewi to Aba in mid-1920’s in search of fortune (O ji ụkwụ eje Aba). At Aba he traded in textiles and produce, slowly and painstakingly building a solid asset base by setting up roadside stalls along the popular Aba Road. He would recruit apprentices from Nnewi at one stage, up to sixty. By 1933, he had built up a fleet of six lorries, which he deployed into a road haulage business which earned him a mail delivery contract for the Eastern Provinces. He made fortune from the Mail delivery contract which helped him to up his fleet of lorries from 6 to 14 as at 1935.
J.C Ulasi was born to a modest Christian family, but schooled in the determined competitive and mercantile traditions of his people. The name of his Transport Company is J.C Ulasi Motors, a household name in the 1930s. He became a Warrant Chief at Aba and died in June 1944. His kinsman Louis Odumegwu-Ojukwu was to succeed him as the King of the road haulage business by the formation of his legendary Ojukwu Transport Company in 1937. Chief. J.C Ulasi tremendous success as a transporter also inspired his cousin, Late. Chief Ejikeme Ilodibe of “Ekene Dili Chukwu” to emerge as a transport magnate. JC Ulasi died a wealthy Igbo transporter, he was the first Nigerian to venture in to Transport business and it played out well for him. Many others toed his path.
You have now known the story behind that popular nomenclature “O ji ukwu eje Aba”
©️ Chinedu Leonard.