IFEANYI UBA: PATRIOTISM AND PHILANTHROPY REDEFINED

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By Eric Elezuo

“I will not be part of this sabotage against our fatherland or fold my hands while Nigerians suffer because few people want higher profit.” Ifeanyi Uba.

Patriotism and reputation are qualities that come with step by step achievement, and sustained attitude. They are qualities men of goodwill keep for life, and they are honoured for it. And so it is for the ebullient and indefatigable multi-entrepreneurial skilled Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah.

Born on September 3, 1971, to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Alphonsus Ubah of Umuanuka village in Otolo town of, Nnewi, the highly industrialized and commercialized city f Anambra State, Uba’s beginning was a typical replica of the proverbial humble. From a very young age, Uba’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alphonsus Ubah, who were teachers, instilled all kinds of virtues needed to succeed in life in him and his other siblings.

He was to coordinate his parent’s down to earth moral teaching with formal education when he enrolled and attended Okongwu Memorial Grammar School, (OMGS), Nnewi. More so, as a result of his vision for greatness, he sought and got admitted to prestigious Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA, an Ivy League Institution in the Owner/President Management Programme, from where he graduated successfully.

Uba, whose name means wealth, developed the knack for trading or buy and sale at very tender age, and by the time he was 18, he became an apprentice to a tyre dealer, and performed exceptionally, creating avenues to set up his visionary conglomerate. When he finally established his own business, he was credited with being the founder of a network of successful regional business enterprises.

By the time he was 19 years old, he had consolidated his tyre business, which he exported to Ghana, and made his first million at that age, and was credited with the prestigious tag of a millionaire.

His business interests later expanded to include the supplies of auto spare parts to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country which later became the primary base of his business activities in the African Continent for a reasonable number of years.

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He was so much in the front burner of business in the DRC that his achievement in that country led to his being accorded the recognition as the President of the Nigerian Community in Congo. He was relatively very young age then.

As the President of the Nigerian Community in the DRC, Ubah’s humanitarian tendencies began to show forth as he was saddled with the responsibilities of providing food and housing for Nigerian refugees who fled the neighboring Congo Brazzaville due to political crises and instability. In this herculean function, he did not fail.

Uba was not one to sit at a particular place, or watch the masquerade from a spot. So, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he began to spring forth, and spread his tentacles, thereby establishing strong business presence in Belgium, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates; South Africa, United Kingdom and a host of other countries.

Consequently, his company related with the following international companies and business organizations: AE, Payen, Kolben Co., Anglo American Industrial Co-operation, Belgolaise (Brussels), Belgium, and AE Automotive (Leeds) UK; a feat only well established conglomerates can boast of. His feet were well planted, preparatory to affecting a whole lot of people, create jobs and boost the economy of Nigeria.

Still basking in the euphoria of geographical expansion, Ifeanyi Ubah began to dip his lucrative hands into other pleasurable pies, and later ventured into the Oil and Gas industry where his proficiency became more expressed, and its utility more encompassing. He is today known as a business mogul as well as an oil and gas magnet.

His growth can be traced to his decision to embrace and tap into the potential but risky opportunities in oil and gas sector. As a result, he floated Capital Oil and established a business relationship with Ibeto Petrochemical Nigeria Limited. The company specialized in supplying Oil and related products to clients in DRC which include government agencies.

Between 2003 and 2004, his Midas touch expanded Capital Oil into haulage, retail of petroleum products and transportation.  By 2006, the company had succeeded in building its first strategic depot, and the facility was commissioned in March 2007.  He followed it up with another depot, which was successfully completed and commissioned a year later in 2008. And like an avalanche of expansion, the third depot came to fruition in 2010.  In 2011, Uba’s Capital Oil increased its number of depots to four.

Very early in his life, Ifeanyi Ubah was remarkably resolute in a determination to face the challenges of human existence and to achieve significant success in his chosen field of human endeavor. Consequently, he achieved immeasurable success despite all odds, and contributed immensely to the development of the Nigerian economy due to his entrepreneurial ingenuity. His achievements necessitated the conferment of an Honorary Doctorate of Management Technology (DMT) by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State.

He is married to Uchenna Uba, and they are blessed with wonderful children.

Uba is also said to be a patriotic Nigerian, whose love for his country is more like a passion. This was brought to the fore when in 2015, the petroleum marketers embarked on a strike that paralysed the economy for days. Uba did not only denounce the cabal responsible for the artificial scarcity, but went ahead to crush it, thereby earning the admiration of President Mohamadu Buhari. In his reaction, he said through a press release which read in part:

On Saturday 16th May 2015, we received an SMS ordering the suspension of loading activities in all depots from Monday 18th May 2015. We later realized that this directive was as a result of unpaid funds owed to transporters by oil marketers who in turn are owed by the Federal Government. This development has resulted in immense hardship to our fellow country men and women. We believe that a better solution can be pursued towards solving this problem in a way that does not adversely affect our dear citizens.

Capital Oil and Gas has watched with so much pain, the suffering and hardship our citizens have been subjected to as a result of scarcity of petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and house hold kerosene. We are deeply pained to hear that hospitals cannot perform surgeries, laboratories are unable to carry out much needed tests especially for emergency patients leaving such patients at risk of dying, radio stations are shutting down, communication is being affected as MTN and other telecommunications company have announced an impending shut down while homes, offices and key facilities nationwide are experiencing blackouts.

We are constrained at this point and have decided that two wrongs cannot make a right. We will not be part of this sabotage against our fatherland. Therefore from this minute, we shall take the risk of opening our facilities and commence swift loading and distribution of products Nationwide.

Uba extended his humanitarian gesture with a call to the Federal Government to grant him an opportunity to restore the falling Naira to N200 to one dollar. This he did, putting his property worth over N500 billion on the line in case he fails. He has an attitude of one who knows what he is doing.

“Nine years ago, I was able to put up a structure in the downstream sector of the economy that has not been beaten till date; a structure that has continued to be above 35% of Nigeria’s daily petroleum consumption is a feat that has remained unparalleled industry wide,” he said.

As his corporate social responsibility, he floated a premier league soccer team named Ifeanyi Uba F.C. The club, which was bought from the former Gabros F.C. is said to be one of the best funded clubs in the premier league.

Recently, the club surpassed all all expectations and won the Federation Cup, beating Nasarawa United in the finals played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. And in a show of sheer philanthropy, he showered love and wealth on the team. More than that the people of Anambra State, Nnewi in particular will be part of continental football fiesta come next season.

Sir, for your manifold achievements in all your areas of endeavour, you are our boss of the week. Congrats!

 

 

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