Jimoh Ibrahim: The story of unusual success By Femi SALAKO
Jimoh Ibrahim: The story of unusual success
The name Jimoh Ibrahim needs no introduction both in the business and political spaces. The renowned lawyer, politician and businessman is an investor and philanthropist whose impacts have been felt visibly in Nigeria and beyond. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Global Fleet Group, a company with presence in Nigeria and UK.
Ibrahim, who is also the Araba of Ikale Land, is an unusually gifted and brilliant Nigerian rose from a poor backgrpung to become a consequential figure on the continent. His story, besides beeing dumpfounding tale of success, is also an enduring motivation for all ages.
Born on the 24th of February 1967, to Alhaji Yakubu and Omofemiwa Jimoh. Jimoh is a native of Okitipupa in Ondo State, Nigeria. His father, a bricklayer, married about 7 wives while his mother was a fish seller. Barr. Jimoh Ibrahim had his primary and secondary school education at the Saint John’s school, Igbotako, Ondo State.
He studied law at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Osun State, Nigeria where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree. He went further to obtain a Masters in Public Administration (MPA), from the same institution. Afterwards, he attended Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, where he graduated with a combined Master of Laws (LLM) and Masters in International Taxation degree (MIT)
Record has it that during Jimoh’s undergraduate days, he proposed to organise seminars on law for all local governments in Nigeria so they could learn to make their own laws. This move came after he discovered that only the federal and state governments had laws.
Sources have it that he made a lot of money from conducting the seminars across all local governments in Nigeria. He also went ahead to organise several workshops in his field for top government officials which earned him good money as well.
A man of vision with his eye set on discovering business opportunities. He discovered the government was experiencing challenges recovering its withholding tax from multinational oil companies. Armed with this information, he put forward a proposal on how he could help the government recover the billions owed in withholding tax by the multinational oil companies. His proposal was approved and he kept true to his promise of recovering the billions of naira owed while earning a fortune for himself.
Barr. Jimoh also worked with International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a tax consultant and was among the team from Harvard that championed the tax reforms in Bangladesh. He started small by executing small scale contracts using his father’s bricklaying material. Recall that we mentioned that his father was a bricklayer.
Here is an astute investor who has investments in several industries; the oil and gas industry, hospitality industry, aviation industry, banking industry, real estate sector, insurance industry, publishing and media industry. Global Fleet Group is the umbrella company Jimoh uses for his investments.
The company first started out as Global Fleet Oil and Gas in August 2004 as a petroleum marketing company. Global Fleet Oil and Gas grew by buying out as many gas stations as possible and in just a year, they acquired 150 gas stations. Oil and gas sales boomed for Global Fleet and they were doing a minimum of $1m in sales in a day. This helped them complete their depot which improved the overall operation of the company.
Currently, Global Fleet has grown into a fully diversified business conglomerate with presence both in Nigeria and Abroad and is now known as Global Fleet Group.The conglomerate has the following subsidiaries:
The Air line, located in Lagos, Nigeria and was established in June 2010 with Jimoh Ibrahim as a major shareholder. Air Nigeria was formerly known as Virgin Nigeria.
Ibrahim is the Group Managing Director of NICON Insurance and also Nigeria Reinsurance corporation; a subsidiary of NICON Insurance both located in Lagos, Nigeria. The hotel was formerly known as Le Meridian Hotels until it was acquired by Jimoh Ibrahim in 2003. The hotel has been home to the members of the commonwealth business forum.
Energy Bank is located in Accra, Ghana. Jimoh Ibrahim founded Energy Commercial Bank in 2009 and the financial institution is an arm of Energy Group which is a subsidiary of Global Fleet Group. Energy Bank Sao Tome & Principle Energy Bank Sao Tome & Principle (STP) was formerly known as Oceanic Bank (STP). A 100% acquisition of the bank was done in June, 2011 by Global fleet under the leadership of Jimoh Ibrahim.
Newswatch is a weekly news magazine formed in 1984 by Nigerian journalists Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbe and Yukubu Mohammed. 51% of Newwatch Communication Limited was purchased by Global Media Mirror Ltd. Global Media Mirror is owned by Jimoh Ibrahim and they are the publishers of the National Mirror.
Jimoh Ibrahim, in 2003, unsuccessfully contested for the governor of Ondo State under the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). Still pursuing his ambition of becoming the governor of Ondo state, he contested again in 2016 under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and was still unsuccessful.
Ibrahim is again making news in the country as he recently launched a plan to build a university in his Igbotako country home. The illustrious Ikale son has since been greeted with laudation from far and near over this progressive and transformative plan for his place of birth.
Author of three books, Jimoh Ibrahim, sources say, he is worth about $1.1billion. He is happily married with kids.