Allen Onyema (Air Peace CEO) Biography, Net Worth, Family, Age, History And Businesses Of An Uncommon Patriotic Citizen
Allen Ifechukwu Onyema is a Nigerian billionaire, lawyer, businessman, philanthropist and the CEO of Air Peace airline, a private Nigerian airline that offers scheduled passenger flights and charter services. He is a conflict resolution expert and the founder and National Chairman of The Foundation For Ethnic Harmony In Nigeria (FEHN) and is the only Nigerian with level-three certification in Nonviolence education, from the University of Rhode Island.
Allen Onyema is more notably celebrated in Nigeria today for his philanthropic, selfless gesture of offering Nigerians in South Africa a free return flight back to Nigeria during the xenophobic act in South Africa in September 2019 via Air Peace. True to his words, he sent an airline to South Africa which was frustrated by the South African government before finally being allowed to take Nigerians with complete papers.
This post talks about the biography of Allen Ifechukwu Onyema, Air Peace CEO.
Allen Onyema Early Life
Allen Ifechukwu Onyema was born in 1964 in Benin City. Although, he hails from Anambra State, Nigeria, Allen grew up in Benin and Warri. He was born to Michael and Helen Onyema as the first of nine children.
He attended primary schools in Benin and Warri, before proceeding to secondary school. Then, for his secondary school education, he attended St. Anthony’s Secondary school, Azia, Urhobo College, Effurun and Government College, Ugheli e.t.c.
Subsequently, Allen attended the University of Ibadan where he studied law, and graduated in 1987. Thereafter, he attended the Nigerian Law School and was called to Bar in 1989.
After Law School, Allen was more interested in working as a Lawyer than the option presented to him by his Mum and Uncle. He was asked to work in Shell so he could stay under his parents care. Allen knowing what he wanted decided to independently walk his way into success.
Allen Onyema Personal Life
Onyema met Alice Ejembi in Abuja and took her home before his mother died in 1991. Then in 1993, the duo got married, and they are blessed with four children – 1 girl, 3 boys.
Allen Onyema: Conflict Resolution Expert
It was at the University of Ibadan that his appetite for peace made him lead a group of 9 other students to travel to the ancient city of Zaria to quell a raging religious and ethnic riot that claimed lives. As a result of the publicity he and his colleagues received on return to their campus, their enthusiasm grew and this led to the formation of a group known then as Eminent Friends’ Group – a group formed with the objectives of promoting ethnic harmony amongst Nigeria’s diverse ethnic nationalities and fighting the incidence of violence of all forms in our nation.
On graduation from the University in 1987, he established branches of the Organization in all the States of the Federation. While in the Nigerian Law School in 1987, he combined his studies with social activism bothering on engendering peace in Nigeria.
The organization, today, has grown to become the Foundation For Ethnic Harmony In Nigeria (FEHN) with Allen Onyema as the founder and National Chairman. In addition, he is the only Nigerian with level-three certification in Nonviolence education, from the University of Rhode Island.
How Allen Onyema Started Air Peace Airline
Allen Onyema started making money in 1990 in the Law Firm of Nwizugbo & Company where he first practiced his law profession and rose to become the Head of Chambers by 1992. He resigned from the law firm to establish his own firm and an import trade outfit- Continental Business Links Ltd. By 2008, he had made so much that his interest was what he was spending on real estate. He was persuaded by a friend who reliably informed him that owning one commercial Boeing 737 could give jobs to over 150 persons. Allen Onyema wanted to create job opportunities and he embraced the idea after discussing it with his wife. In 2013, Air Peace was born.
Allen Onyema’s Family
Allen Onyema married his wife, Alice Ojochide Onyema, a beautiful Kogi lady from the Igala tribe in 1993, at the age of 27. He ventured into early marriage shortly after his mother died of kidney failure in 1991. Allen Onyema and his wife are blessed with four children; a girl and three boys.
While he was at the chamber, Allen met a friend who introduced him to real estate business and before long, he started making money from the business. Consequently, he resigned from Nwizigbo & Company to avoid conflict of interest and went on to establish his own law firm as well as other businesses.
He established the Onyema & Co, a law firm; Allen Onyema & Company, a property company; and Continental Business Links Ltd, an importation outfit. He put in the work in his businesses and they became successful.
Allen Onyema Philanthropy
Onyema is a philanthropist. He is interested in ensuring peace and tranquility in Nigeria, and has continued to work towards that goal.
Firstly, he organised the 1st Nigeria Forever Project in 2005, with the support of the Federal Government. The project which was done to promote broad nationalism as against ethnic nationalism became successful.
Also, he supported the government in putting an end to the Niger Delta militancy and also helped in training the group after amnesty was granted to them.
Also, in September 2019, Allen was instrumental in the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa as a result of Xenophobic attack. This act has remained a laudable effort as he was able to converge hundreds of Nigerians willing to return to their dear country.
Allen Onyema Net Worth
Allen Onyema estimated net worth is $500 million. Although the value of Air Peace aircraft is more than that, they are said to have been bought via bank loans which he confirmed in an interview in 2018. Allen Onyema reportedly ordered 30 new aircraft in April 2019 estimated at $2.1 billion, taking the total number of fleet owned by Air Peace to 33.
17 Fun Facts about Allen Onyema
- He considers himself a ‘true Nigerian’ owning to his childhood and education (he is Igbo, from Mbosi town, in Anambra who was born in Benin City, had his primary and secondary school education in various schools in Delta State, studied law at the University of Ibadan, lived in Abuja and Lagos and married an Igala woman from Kogi state.)
- He is the CEO of Air Peace, a private commercial airline in Nigeria.
- 7 of his aircraft are named after his family. The executive jet has Michael (his dad) on it. One Domier 328 jet has Helen (late mum) on it. The other Domier 328 has Ojochide (his wife) on it. The first four B737 have on them names of his 4 children namely; Nnenna– after his first child and daughter, Chinonso– after his first son, Obinna – after his second son and Ugochukwu – after his last son.
- He is a conflict resolution who is on a mission to diffuse ethnic tension in Nigeria.
- He freely and willingly offered his aircraft to bring back Nigerians in South African during the September 2019 xenophobic attack which saw South African nationals target Nigerians and other Africans living in South Africa.
- He is a highly detribalized Nigerian who believes there is no Igbo, Hausa, Fulani or Yoruba and this philosophy applies at Air Peace.
- He started Air Peace out of his passion to create jobs for Nigerians and not for the profit.
- Contrary to claims that Patience Jonathan owns Air Peace, Allen Onyema has never met with the former first lady before and has come out to state that he has no affiliation with the former first lady who is commonly referred to as ‘Mama Peace’.
- He is the first of 9 children.
- He waded into the Niger Delta region at a time when nobody dared, using his funds to sponsor youths to the Nonviolence training and transformational programme long before the Oil Companies, Government and International Community began to partner with him and invest in his training programmes.
- In 2007, a friend told him that one commercial Boeing 737 could give jobs to over 150 persons. So, he went into Commercial Aviation with his wife just to create jobs for the people. According to his interview with City People, he said, “If it was about profit, I would have kept the money in the banks and be getting double-digit interests on my investments.”
- He named his airline Air Peace same with others of his business concern.
- He came to Lagos in 1990 in search of jobs with no money on him.
- He squatted in Oshodi and couldn’t afford taxis or buses; he would go to Lagos Island by rail. Going back to Oshodi, he would trek from Marina to Iddo to join the overcrowded trains. He wanted to practice his profession as a lawyer.
- He left Government College in 1984 having obtained his Higher School Certificate and was directly offered admission to read law at the Nigeria’s Premier University, The University of Ibadan in the same year.
- It was in the University of Ibadan that his appetite for peace made him to lead a group of nine other students to travel to the ancient city of Zaria to quell a raging religious and ethnic riot that claimed lives. As a result of the publicity he and his colleagues received on return to their campus, their enthusiasm grew and this led to the formation of a group known then as Eminent Friends’ Group – a group formed with the objectives of promoting ethnic harmony amongst Nigeria’s diverse ethnic nationalities and fighting the incidence of violence of all forms in our nation.
- On graduation from the University in 1987, he established branches of the Organization in all the States of the Federation. While in the Nigerian Law School in 1987, he combined his studies with social activism bothering on engendering peace in Nigeria.
Award And Recognition
In recognition of his commitment to the common good, the 10 towns in his native local government conferred him the traditional title of Ide (Pillar) of Ihiala. Also, some of his other awards include;
Africa Leadership Merit Award, Africa International News Magazine, 2006
Hope for Humanity Award, Rotary Club, 2007
Martin Luther King Global Award for Pioneering Non-violence Education in West Africa, 2007
Hosting Rights for Global Conference on Nonviolence and Peace, 2007
Investiture as an Ambassador of Change, Non-governmental Organisation, Centre of Change, 2019
For demonstration of compassion and meeting a need, L&M Leader of the Month Award, 2019
Allen Onyema Quotes
“I prefer a big, strong Nigeria to a balkanized country.”
“Inter-ethnic marriage is one thing that can bring Nigeria together.”
“The length of time it takes for you to break even in aviation is miles apart, when compared with other businesses.”
“To succeed, we have to learn from the mistakes of those who came before us.”
“We have so many ethnic nationalities in the country and that should be a source of strength for us.”
“Agencies of government must understand that indigenous investors must be supported, appreciated and helped in order to energize the nation’s economy.”
“When its time to help people, and you start talking of money, you start wasting time.”
“God is my major source of motivation.”
“As Nigerians, as long as we are ready to take action, nobody can break our resolve.”
“I do good because I cannot go to the grave with my wallet nor with any of my houses.
“When the country moves on smoothly, a lot of private company will be able to do series of corporate social responsibility.”
“Civil servants should stop seeing private investors as enemies but as collaborators that can move Nigeria forward.”
Entrepreneurial Lessons From The Life Of Allen Onyema
Diligently Pursue Your Dream
A man can only be termed successful after he has accomplished his dreams, and this is what Onyema has done. He knew there was more to leading a great life than living under his parental guidance and working in his comfort zone. Instead he wanted to become a successful lawyer on his own terms. It was in the pursuit of this path that he met the friend that introduced him to real estate. Real estate became the industry where he made his fortune.
Also, entrepreneurs need to note that it takes extra effort to achieve a feat and only those who can pay the price eventually becomes successful.
Take Hold of Opportunity
Allen Onyema became known to the masses after he evacuated Nigerians in South Africa as a result of the xenophobic attack. The gesture has widely been spoken about by Nigerians both at home and in diaspora. Not only that, he has written his name in the sand of time.
We should be our brothers keeper. Your wealth has no meaning and purpose if you fail to create an impart with it. Use every opportunity to help others because our greatness lies in helping others rise.
Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey, let us help you go through it with our services.
Allen Onyema on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
Highlights of @flyairpeace outing at the 2019 @dubai_airshow The high point of the event was the signing of a firm order for 3 additional @embraer E195-E2 jets. Another big win for us! #BetterDealWithAirPeace www.flyairpeace.com #Embraer #dubaiairshow2019 @iam_kcee @mma2bicourtney @flo_the_first_lady @hy_defynyshun @dukeugo @seemeesolah @flygurlq @lagosairport @abujaairport @abuja.airport @mamajaviation @adesola82 @usoroessien @ubongking @markidiahi @theafritraveller @pilotjoe1
Allen Onyema on Twitter
Welcome Home!! @flyairpeace CEO, Mr Allen Onyema welcomes back the Nigerians stranded in South-Africa amid Xenophobic attacks after sending a free evacuation/rescue flight at the MMIA Cargo & Hajj Terminal in Lagos on Wednesday pic.twitter.com/QanKasdhPw
— Air Peace (@flyairpeace) September 12, 2019
Photo Credit/Sources: Instagram, Nairaland Forum, Vanguard News, Topstarmovies.com, The Sun Nigeria, Abia Pulse News, Reform.