This, he said, was as a result of the crucial role small and medium-sized businesses play in an economy.
Okonkwo also emphasised the importance of entrepreneurship.
According to him, his belief in the concept helped him in his career as a banker.
While noting that his parents taught him to be an entrepreneur, the Okonkwo said his interaction with other people he encountered in various places he had worked in time past impacted on him greatly.
The CEO spoke in Lagos while celebrating his 50th birthday recently with other bankers and family members.
He said, “Over my career in life, there are people who have influenced me. My father taught me to be an entrepreneur and rise up to the challenges in life. He taught me to be realistic and down to earth. He also taught me to work hard and the good things of life will come.”
The banker, who had held various senior managerial positions in different banks before the consolidation era, explained that a defining moment came in his life when he met and interacted with people of great minds.
“In my working life, I will talk about people I have worked with like Mr. Fola Adeola, Tony Elumelu and others.
These are part of people that influenced my working life,” he added.
Okonkwo, who had a stint at Guarantee Trust Bank, said his experience at United Bank of Africa marked “a redefining, rigorous, challenging, opportunity-laden and higher leadership preparation phase of his career.”