How Much Does It Cost To Build A 30-Story Building Building Great Businesses In Nigeria: Lessons From Jimoh Ibrahim

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Building Great Businesses In Nigeria: Lessons From Jimoh Ibrahim

Nigeria is blessed with many outstanding capitalists and wealthy industrialists who own multi-billion dollar conglomerates with assets in excess of trillions of naira and who collectively employ thousands of Nigerians in their various business operations thereby contributing significantly to the size, scope and direction of our country. the economy

Notable among the lot is Aliko Dangote, the founder and chairman of the Dangote Group, which holds large-scale interests in the commodities, agriculture, real estate and petroleum sub-sectors of our economy and is now ranked by Forbes magazine as the richest man in Africa. With a net-worth of US$20.8 billion, in November 2013, Otunba Mike Adenuga, the telecommunications magnate whose operations now span West African hubs and was worth US$4.3 billion as of March 2013, as well as Tarun Femi Otedola, founder of Fort Oil Plc and CEO, who was ranked by Forbes in 2009 with a net-worth of US$1.2 billion.

However, among these enviable lot, none is as inspiring to me as Jimoh Ibrahim, a 46-year-old lawyer turned oil baron from Ondo State, South West, Nigeria, who now considers himself worth several crores. dollars, and is the founder of a large Nigerian conglomerate, which has interests in the insurance, hospitality, oil and gas and media sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Unlike Dangote or Otedola, Ibrahim is a man who had a humble beginning as he was born without a silver spoon and came from a very rough background with many deprivations during his growing up days. Reportedly from a polygamous family, Ibrahim, against all odds, managed to get into university and eventually graduated as a Barrister in Law in 1991 from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University.

So while the Dangots and Otedolas of this world had the privilege of being born with a silver spoon (Dangote, from a wealthy northern industrial family and Otedola, the son of a former civilian governor of Lagos State), Ibrahim had no such luxury but a strong will and determination to succeed in life. Conviction, he concluded in his mind that obtaining a university degree was the only promise of a better life and a fruitful future.

The story of this great entrepreneur is one that I think every young Nigerian and aspiring entrepreneur must pay close attention to because it can serve as the inspiration needed to make great strides in business as well as great achievements in life. After graduating with a Bachelor of Laws degree from OAU, Ibrahim saw that waiting to gain work experience as an attorney by interning at an established law firm, as is the practice among many young lawyers in Nigeria today, could take many years so he decided to specialise. on taxation, which was the subject of his undergraduate studies and even some of his dissertations.

With this wealth of information on taxation practices in Nigeria, Ibrahim, unlike many new university graduates in Nigeria, some of whom believe that securing a paid employment first after graduating from school can be the only way to determine a successful future, was set by management. . Training and workshops on taxation for local and state governments and later the Federal Government of Nigeria, becoming a nationally acclaimed tax consultant.

Honoring his expertise in tax administration, reform and financial management and later earning his Masters in Public Administration and International Taxation from OAU and Harvard University in America respectively, Ibrahim was at one time the Chief Executive Adviser to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Petroleum Tax Payment, Collection and Monitoring, Member, Member of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, Advisor to the IMF on Tax Reforms in Croatia and Lithuania and a key member of the Tax Reform Planning Team for the State of Bangladesh.

Needless to say that by the time he turned 30, while some of his peers were still looking for jobs, Jimoh Ibrahim was already a multi-millionaire! So when he decided to form his party in 2003, after a failed bid to become the Executive Governor of Ondo State on the platform of the old All People’s Party (APP), he was armed with a rich experience of how business works. In Nigeria, how government policies are formulated and implemented and how to raise enough capital to start a business.

For many budding entrepreneurs, what are the lessons learned from Barrister Ibrahim’s journey and strategies for building great businesses? For me, one of these is that when planning to start a business, going out to raise all the necessary capital may not be the most important thing and may even amount to putting the cart before the horse at times.

This is because, in a country like Nigeria, banks dream of raising capital to start a business using loans or debt equity, without taking the business to a significant stage where sound financial management and ambitious growth plans can be adequately demonstrated to financial institutions. Or angel investors, may seem like a mirage!

Looking at the phenomenal growth of some of Mr. Ibrahim’s business ventures, one is interested to note some of the principles he imbibed, which have contributed in no small measure to the growth of those businesses today. Some of these include sound financial management, diligence, short, medium and long term planning, effective utilization of credit as well as prompt repayment of such credit when taken.

However, while Barrister Ibrahim’s passion for building and growing large business enterprises that will positively impact our economy and provide gainful employment for thousands of Nigerian youths must be commended, it must be seen that the emphasis on clear Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) what Some of these businesses and how they impact better lives and people and communities rather than just creating jobs.

It is worth noting that many big corporations and large scale businesses in Nigeria like Ibrahim, Dangote or Otedola make huge profits through the general patronage of Nigerians and even return such profits to the country at little or no cost, in the case of multinationals, only a few of them provide scholarships, schemes and life- It does little to give back to society through transformative programs that can benefit the entire population. Few of Nigeria’s richest capitalists or industrialists own significant foundations like Bill Gates, the world’s richest man and Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, as well as notable American businessmen such as Henry Ford or John D. Rockefeller.

Another important thing to note among the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria is the lack of a system or framework where adequate mentorship can be provided to build an ecosystem of great entrepreneurs and remarkable young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. To this end, many budding entrepreneurs are often confused about how to set up their business, what tools to use and what to leave out, and how to tap into the brains of these great entrepreneurs going forward. It is through such efforts that great Nigerian entrepreneurs like Ibrahim, Dangote, Otedola or Adenuga can leave a worthy legacy because as far as Nigerians are concerned, the legacies of all these men still remain largely obscure if not completely unknown or undefined!

Email: [email protected], Twitter: @ayomidepraiseng

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