John Obaro

John Obaro of Systemspec
John Obaro. Photo: Media Point

John Obaro; Technology entrepreneur. Obaro led a team that pioneered Nigeria’s first network linking Lagos and four states in terms of real-time online banking when he was still at International Merchant Bank(IMB). He worked with the consulting firm Arthur Andersen where incidentally he was on same team Nigeria’s first minister of Communication and Information Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson. Together, they worked to install banking software and they were able to link this with other branches of the bank. Obaro’s team had a mini mail system which was way before emails became popular,  and they were able to do real-time posting. They achieved so much success that other banks started moving towards replicating the same thing.

At various times, Obaro served on the boards of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Information Technology, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, and Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria, which eventually stepped into the vaccum created when there was nobody to guide or regulate IT in Nigeria. Obaro made acquaintance of Dr. Christopher Kolade, his lecturer at the Lagos Business School when he was doing an executive programme. He would later invite the accomplished diplomat whom he held in high regard for his values to be the chairman of the board of his SystemSpecs.

Obaro originates from the Okun sub-ethnic group in Kogi State. He has two children- a boy and girl. His daughter, born in 1987 is a consultant neurologist in the United States. His son, who studied in California, against his wishes opted to go into the film industry as a screenwriter. Obaro, born April 19, 1958 grew up with uncle, Ayo Omolokun, a Deputy Permanent Secretary in Kwara State Civil Service with whom he left Kaduna after the creation of the North-Central states. Omolokun had only two daughters hence he adopted him. As a staff of the  Sarduana of Sokoto, he closed by 7pm daily, and young Obaro spent the time after school studying and sleeping in his office. Obaro studied Mathematics with Computer Science then did a MBA at the University of Lagos.
Punch May 14, 2017

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer