Historical Perspective

The antecedents of the Anyiam-Osigwe Group can be traced to the 1800s-1930 history of entrepreneurial spirit and achievements associated with both parents of Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of the Anyiam-Osigwe Group.

His father, Nze (Lord) Anyiam (The Ojukwu Na ru Orgwu (I) of the ancient town of Nkwerre) in the then South-Eastern Nigeria, was among the prominent sons of Nze Osigwe Nwa Okala (a renowned merchant of George fabrics) son of Duru Nnuihe (Lord of a thousand things) of Umuoforolor Nkwerre in the present Nkwere Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. Nze Anyiam was himself an accomplished entrepreneur of his time.

He was a very versatile man, and his affluence and its sources reflected his versatility. He was a celebrated traveling merchant who traded in palm produce, potash, alcoholic beverages (wines and spirits), guns and gun powder, fabrics (Georges from India, and specially woven Akwuete cloth for which he commissioned weavers in Akwuete in the present Rivers State of Nigeria) as well as ornamental accessories such as glass beads, coral beads, jewelry and elephant tusks and ivory bangles. His trading activities took him to various parts of Eastern Nigeria.

Nze Anyiam usually traveled in the company of his retinue of wives and aids and was carried on a hammock. Nze Anyiam married a total of twenty-five wives of which Lolo (lady) Nwaorie was the fourth in order of seniority. Lolo Nwaorie was of good birth but her parents were by no means rich when compared to the affluence, power and means associated with her husband’s antecedents.

However, Nwaorie was a strong-willed, energetic and industrious woman who was all embracing in her perspective and conduct in the large and complex domain of Nze Anyiam. Lolo Nwaorie was to become a distinguished and successful trader who was nicknamed; “Aka na eme ego” (the hand that makes money).

Like the men folk did to her husband, other women in her community looked up to her for leadership. Lolo Nworie bore two children for Nze Anyiam. Uriah and Oyechere. Uriah was 15 years older than Onyechere. Onyechere lost his mother at the tender age of three while his father Nze Anyiam passed on when he was only nine years old. With the transition of Nze Anyiam, and in the absence of their mother, neither Uriah nor Onyechere had any access to their late father’s Estate, which had now become subject to intense competition and intrigue.

Uriah who was much older than Onyechere was therefore saddled with the onerous responsibility of funding Onyechere’s primary and secondary education. Onyechere completed his secondary school education in 1942. He then joined his elder brother Uriah in Kaduna the then capital of Northern Nigeria.

Upon arrival in Kaduna, young Onyechere gained employment with Post and Telegraph (P&T) Kaduna. However, prompted by his keen sense of adventure and entrepreneurial zeal, he soon resigned his appointment with P&T and in collaboration with his senior brother embarked on what has come to be described as an  entrepreneurial odyssey. 

Thus, Onyechere and Uriah registered ‘Anyiam Brothers’ a business name in 1943 through which they conducted their import and export trade, agro-business and other commercial activities between 1943 and 1952. Anyiam Brothers recorded remarkable success trading reconditioned trucks/lorries imported from the United Kingdom and stockfish from Norway.

By 1951 Anyiam Brothers had acquired Real Estate in the cities of Port Harcourt, Lagos and Jos in Nigeria and London in the United Kingdom.

SABBATICAL: After 1952 the founders of Anyiam Brothers opted, as it were, to go on sabbatical from business and devote time to academic pursuits. Whereas Uriah opted to study Law, based on his love for the legal profession, Onyechere, on his part, “followed [his] calling” and embarked on “an esoteric enquiry with a view to comprehend existence and its purpose at a much higher octave above the mundane”.

In the years that followed he became primarily engaged in philosophical studies, research and the teaching of what he termed “the Path to Self-Mastery and Conscious Unity with Divine Intelligence”. It was during this period of his earthly sojourn that he founded the West African Academy of Sciences, which was essentially a network of “truth seekers” who subscribed to his quest to study “the human being as a manifestation of Divine Intelligence”.

His enquiry and attendant experiences culminated in his development of the concept of “a Holistic Approach to Human Existence and Development’’, which has been recognized as "a viable philosophy for development”. Anyiam-Osigwe’s contributions to philosophical inquiry have gained significant recognition. A major development in this regard is the collaborative effort between the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation, its affiliate, the Africa Institute of Leadership, Research and Development, based in South Africa and the Department of Philosophy, University of Ibadan. The goal of this collaborative initiative is to employ the original thoughts of Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe for the construction of a coherent and plausible development philosophy that will serve as a viable foundation for socio-political and economic reconstruction and sustainable development in Nigeria and other developing societies.

To achieve this goal, the collaborators have embarked upon: An exposition of the views of Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe on Development Philosophy. An analysis of his philosophical positions to see how best to situate them within the sub-disciplines of Philosophy.

The organization of his original writings in a manner that would render them more accessible for more productive philosophical scrutiny. A thematic presentation of his views in a way that they can serve as raw materials from which contemporary African philosophers can draw both inspiration and resources for further philosophical inquiry.

It is in furtherance of these goals that The Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation in conjunction with the Department of Philosophy, University of Ibadan as well as the Africa Institute for Leadership, Research and Development organise a bienniel international conference on the Development Philosophy of Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, with the broad theme, A Holistic Approach to Human Existence and Development.

In acknowledgement of his efforts to the development of Philosophy, the Nigerian Philosophical Association, on the 23rd of October 2012,  posthumously honoured Anyiam-Osigwe with the distinguished Odera Oruka Award for Sage Philosophy.