Obinna Ekezie

Obinna EkezieObinna Ekezie was born on August 22, 1975, in Port Harcourt, which is the capital of Rivers State, Nigeria. His father was a prominent petroleum engineer and Obinna grew up dreaming of a similar career path. Obinna left his Nigerian home in 1993, traveling to the United States to complete his last two years of high school at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts. His successful years at this prestigious prep school set him up for a very bright future in college. Although he didn’t start playing basketball until the age of 18, he quickly excelled at the sport and began to draw the attention of college scouts.

Though he was heavily pursued by several colleges after finishing high school, Obinna signed on to attend and play basketball for the University of Maryland at College Park in 1995. In considering his educational future, he was drawn to the school by its engineering and IBM Total Quality Management programs. The same university was also part of the college basketball conference that Obinna considered to be the best at the time, the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Obinna played on their basketball team, the Terrapins, throughout his college career. In the 1999 NBA draft, he was picked in the second round and joined the Vancouver Grizzlies. Throughout the six years that followed, Obinna played for five different NBA teams and was also a member of three different international teams. When he sustained an injury in 2005, Obinna took his recovery time to seriously consider what he would do professionally at the close of his basketball career. Although this was an issue he had forethought many times, he knew the next chapter of his life was right around the corner.

That same year, while trying to return to his homeland of Nigeria, Obinna found the travel process wrought with problems. He discovered that booking any sort of transportation to or from Nigeria was much more difficult than booking travel in and around the United States. He also learned that there was not an online travel company already established in Nigeria. He decided to start his own travel company that would make it easier for people from his homeland to travel across the world.

Obinna retired from professional basketball in 2007 and moved home to Nigeria to pursue his new dream. He co-founded a travel website in 2008, Zeeptravel.com, while continuing to build an even bigger website at the same time. Two years later, during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Obinna and his business partner launched Wakanow. Through a series of aggressive business strategies and a strong concentration on customer service, it has become one of the fastest growing and largest Internet travel sites in Africa.

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