Ogala Osoka is a Nigerian business executive, insurance expert and former managing director of Nigerian Re-Insurance Corporation and the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria. He is a former president of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria.
He has also served as the chairman of Golden Guinea Breweries and as a board member of Dunlop Plc. In 2001, he was involved in a boardroom squabbles with foreign investors at the former over the management of the brewery with the foreign investors citing mismanagement. However, the md of the firm, Mr Idika, defended the Umuahia based brewery's management, citing cases of restructuring strategies that prevented a virtual collapse. (1)
Osoka's first foray in the insurance sector began in the early 1970s while waiting for an admission to the University of Nigeria, he worked for an insurance company. Thereafter, he left his original intention to study engineering at Nsukka to become an insurance salesman. He started by selling insurance for Unity Life Insurance Company. In 1978, after finishing his professional training on government scholarship at City of London College and had began working at an agency in London, he was invited to become one of the pioneer managers of the Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation. Then, the reinsurance business was virgin territory in the country but Osoka was one of the few managers that had the practical experience after working for a reinsurance outfit in London. The decree creating the firm cedes 20% of insurance risks undertaken by insurance firms to Nigerian-Re.
In 1987, he and a few other investors set up the Continental Reinsurance Company manned by a small number of staff. In 1989, he was asked by the government to head the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria.
At Nicon, a major task of his was to reposition the firm on solid commercial footing to compete against insurance competitors for government business, a business patronage NICON had enjoyed near monopoly since its inception. However, by the end of the 1980s, major clients such as the NNPC has misgivings about their relationship with NICON and wanted to form their own insurance firms. Osoka was also faced with the challenge of changing a bureaucratic culture to a more corporate environment.
In 1993, he swapped positions with a young insurance manager, Mohammed Kari, who became the managing director of NICON while Osoka was seconded to head the Nigerian Reinsurance Corporation, his former place of work.
- (1)'Changing Colour of Gold', Newswatch, September 2, 2001.