The secret of men are in their stories. In today’s article, we are featuring another colossus in our nation, Nigeria.
So many people believe that hard work in Nigeria is not the route to success, but stories such as that of 45 year old Ifeanyichukwu Patrick Ubah continues to disprove this myopic theory. Success is available to anyone willing to put in the extreme hard work necessary to achieve it.
Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah was born on the 3rd of September 1971, to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Alphonsus Ubah of Umuanuka in Otolo, Nnewi, Anambra State. He is the first son of seven children.
His parents were both teachers and fervent Christians. Thus they instilled in Ifeanyi and his siblings the priceless virtues of honesty, hard work, independence, perseverance, selfless service, leadership qualities and the fear of God. His parents were determined to provide a decent education for their children, they struggled to see Ifeanyi through Okongwu Memorial Grammar School Nnewi.
When Ifeanyi could no longer the continuous struggle by his parents to cater for their needs, he took it upon himself to assist his parents financially and dropped out of OMGS to learn a trade. His decision did not go down well with his parents, who as teachers understood the value of education. But Ifeanyi calmly and confidently assured his father that he would make him proud in the long run; that he would shoulder the responsibility of providing for the welfare of the entire family and that eventually, he will also acquire further education and develop himself, intellectually.
Take note of two interesting facts at this point.
1. Upbringing: This is for our modern day parents. How you bring up your child and the values you inculcate in them at a young age will either be a blessing for you in the future (If you did well) or a curse (if you neglect your duties). Hard work and honesty are virtues that parents should endeavor to build into their kids at an early stage.Failure to do this, you might just be training a dog that will bite you in future or big boys that you will continue to feed at 40 years.
2. At this young age, Ifeanyi is already exhibiting strong leadership qualities and a confident optimistic outlook in life. He already has a vision of a brighter future, in which he will also be able to complete his education. The vast majority of youths have a pessimistic outlook in life, they grow up believing their parents must provide for them, and soon they shift their focus to the government. They are very good in spotting problems and in criticizing. By the time you finish reading this article, you will see some of them telling us that this whole success story is false, and that Ifeanyi Ubah and other successful Nigerians are all criminals (Hope you are not among..lols). But guess what? Life doesn’t give a buck what you think. If you get too angry with life, you will end up poor, old, wrinkled and bitter. I have noticed a common trend among those that succeed, they know the system is bad, but they don’t care. They just go ahead and work as hard as they can, until they succeed. Sometimes, even the bad system will work in their favour. A wise man said, “If life gives you lemon, make lemonade”. So lets us continue.
Ifeanyi Ubah having dropped out of school became an apprentice. Those that know the young man will tell you of his legendary focus and hard work. It is common for him to work 12 hours in stretch. (Students of Millionaires Academy will remember our course on extreme hard work, a quality you must learn as an entrepreneur. See www.register.millionaire.ng )
His rise in business was very swift. He started apprenticeship at 16 years and soon entered tyre business.
By 18 years, he travelled to Ghana, and then began exporting tyre from Nigeria to Ghana. He was among the biggest suppliers of of tyres to Ghana traders, notably Kingsman Enterprises. He made his first million at 19 years, and that year also marked a rapid expansion in his business activities.( Hope you have read my article on how to make your first million, and why making that first million, is usually a springboard for rapid increase. If not read it here ).
Ifeanyi Ubah quickly expanded his business from Ghana to Liberia and Sierra Leone. At this point, life was good, and Ubah decided to settle down in Liberia. Unfortunately and fortunately, the war that began in Liberia affected his business, and he was forced to return to Lagos. You know, sometimes, the good is the enemy of the best. We usually settle into a comfort zone, assuming that we have reached the pinnacle of our success. This becomes an enemy to the greater potential still untouched in our life. Sometimes, it will appear that God shakes our comfort zone intentionally, in order to propel us to a greater height. I wonder what would have become of capital oil and the thousands of Nigerians it employs, if there was no war in Liberia.
Back in Nigeria, Ubah continued to grow; he expanded into auto spare parts, which he began to supply to the DRC (Congo). He was quickly recognized for his leadership abilities, and was thus made the president of the Nigerian community in DRC, a role he did well. When Nigerians fled from Congo Brazzaville, he took care of feeding of thousands of the refugees. Soon his business spread to England, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, Dubai and other parts of the world.
Two important facts that helped to propel Ifeanyi Ubah’s success, apart from his personal drive and excellent entrepreneurial characteristics are:
1. His continuous drive for learning and insatiable appetite for knowledge. Just as he promised his father, He continued to pursue higher education through various means, which included several local and international courses and seminars in leadership and business management. Attendance of international workshops and business exhibitions, including Automotive Industrial week, Las Vegas, USA and Automechanika in Messe, Frankfurt, Germany. Any regular follower of our articles will know by now that almost all great business moguls in Nigeria in every field, acquired some form of business training.( If you have no business training, then quickly join Nigeria’s best online entrepreneurship training platform @ www.register.millionaire.ng )
2. He got himself a good mentor in the person of Chief Cletus Ibeto, founder of IBETO group of companies which includes IBETO cement. I cannot overemphasize the importance of mentorship in personal and career growth. Suffice it to say that a word is enough for the wise. It is only in future that you will realize that some of the things you are doing now, that are wise in your eyes of today, are really very stupid, and also that simple actions you can take today will make great impact in your future. This is what a mentor will do in your life. Almost every great man becomes great by standing on the shoulder of another. This is why we try to offer mentorship to some of our students. Mentorship is priceless, you cannot pay for it, so go out there in all humility and seek for worthy mentors from your community, church or other religious affiliations, etc. Get a mentor today.
It was Chief Cletus Ibeto that advised the young man to go into Oil and Gas. Before launching into the volatile oil and gas sector, his mentor tutored him on the intricacies of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. Ubah heeded his mentor’s advice, and founded Capital Oil and gas in 2011. Just like everything he does, Capital Oil and Gas took off from inception like a rocket. Looking at his vast operations in the oil and gas industry today, one will hardly believe that the company is barely 6 years old. Ubah’s business relationship with Ibeto Petrochemical Nigeria Limited in the oil and gas was very significant and proved to be highly rewarding, especially in providing Ubah the platform to procure products for supplies to Capital Oil SPRL clients in the DRC, which included government agencies.
By 2013, capital oil and gas has extended into haulage, transportation and petroleum products retail. In quick succession, he built three of the largest oil and gas depots in all of Nigeria and acquired a fourth. By 2011, Capital oil’s depot facility was the largest in Nigeria, with a combined capacity to berth 3 to 6 vessels simultaneously and 32 loading arms. The group today accounts for about 30% of daily petroleum product distribution in Nigeria, employs a workforce of over 3000 directly and over 1000 indirectly. Capital oil and gas also owns the largest fleet of marine vessels, barges and tugboats, including a large fleet of oil tankers; A Tank farm with a storage capacity of over 190 million litres; A Fleet of over 400 trucks for distribution of petroleum products nationwide.
But this is not all. Following in the footsteps of Africa’s richest man, Aliko dangote, Ifeanyi Ubah has already acquired land to build his own private oil refinery and his presentation is awaiting approval by the Department of Petroleum Resources.
Ifeanyi Ubah also seats on the board of several other companies, among which are:
• Knoll & Hachfer Engineering Co Ltd
• Chevron Oronite & Chemical Co Ltd
• Hero Communications Ltd
• Authority Media and Publications
• FC Ifeanyi Ubah
• First Nigerian Independent Oil Co Ltd
• Commodity Giants Nigeria Limited
• Capital Group Congo S.a.rl. in the Congo DR
• Oil Force Nigeria Limited Despite all these achievements,
Ifeanyi Ubah is not resting on his laurels. He went on to launch the Authority Newspaper and instead of joining the craze to promote foreign leagues, he bought Gabros International Football Club and rebranded it as FC Ifeanyi Ubah (one of the few privately run clubs in the Nigerian Professional Football League). In keeping with his tradition of scoring firsts, in January 2016, FC Ifeanyi Ubah became the first club in the Nigerian Professional Football League to attract and sign Brazilian footballers and trainers which undoubtedly added value, flair and glamour to the NPFL.
Another first was achieved in August 2016 when FC Ifeanyi Ubah became the first Nigerian club to partner a European club as it signed a partnership deal with West Ham United of England, a team that has one of the best academies that produced the likes of Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole to mention but a few. Dr. Ubah’s midas touch is encapsulated in the fact that FC Ifeanyi Ubah, in just its second year of existence, started challenging the older clubs in the league for superiority, going on a run of 1 loss in 16 games and has remained unbeaten at home in the 2015/2016 league season.
Ifeanyi Ubah’s giant and patriotic stride in home grown sports is a blessing to many Nigerian youths today. He has also embarked on the construction of a multibillion naira games and industrial village crammed with facilities such as:
• Two football stadia with multiple training pitches
• Industrial park
• Sports Academy
• Technology Hub
• 5-star Hotel
• Conference centre
• Women and Youth development Centre
• Indoor Sports Hall
• Shopping Malls
• Residential Estates
• Corporate office complex
• Linguistic school
• Police post
• Fire service station amongst other facilities/basic amenities.
Ifeanyi Ubah was profiled by the Oxford Brookes Magazine as one of the “Forty under Forty 2009”, that is, the top forty young Nigerian business leaders under the age of forty. He has received numerous awards and honours both in Nigeria and abroad in honour of his leadership qualities and outstanding performance in the oil and gas industry.
Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, being an AKAS member of Rotary Club, District 9140, is an avid philanthropist and a motivator par excellence. He established an Educational Foundation that gives students free University education, sunk boreholes for his community, installed electricity transformers and engages in constant repair/grading of community roads.
Ifeanyi Ubah is fondly called “Ebube Chukwu Uzo”, meaning “Placing God First” in all his dealings. In recognition of his numerous contributions to the economic development of the nation and entrepreneurial ingenuity, the Federal University of Technology, Owerri awarded him a Doctor of Management Technology (DMT). I guess I should be addressing him as Dr Ifeanyi Ubah, forgive my oversight.
And so the story of Dr Ifeanyi Ubah continues. Since he is just 45 years old, I know that this is not the end of his story. But I hope that his life so far will be a great lesson for numerous youths in Nigeria today.
Shake yourself and awake from slumber. Resist the great temptation to ascribe every success to favoritism and corruption. It is very seductive and easy to lay blames and find faults with everything and everybody. But what is really hard, is to man up and do what has to be done. I challenge you today, to become a relentless beast, who will not give up and listen to negative people. They are everywhere around us bemoaning their fate. Don’t join the crowd ! Stand straight, chin up and look forward to your brighter future.
Maybe someday, your story will motivate other young people. And I will see you at the top. Cheers!
Engr Ifeanyi Okoro