Dr. Collins Ugochukwu Jumbo is a businessman, philanthropist and a part-time pastor. A widely travelled man, he has trained many African leaders and corporate leaders as a facilitator. Jumbo has experienced penury at its worse as a young man in Lagos, including living with tuberculosis patients in one room, for he had nowhere else to go. Today, he is the CEO of three companies, Jincol Ventures, Jincol Multi Services and Collins, Destiny Movers Foundation, with headquarters in Lagos, which are into oil and gas logistics, product branding and training of leaders across the African continent. Noted for his philanthropy, he spoke with Saturday Sun how he grew from grass to grace and how he has ensured that the needy are catered for by his foundation. He also gives the scriptural interpretation of the coronavirus ravaging the world at the moment and what it holds for Nigeria.
Let’s begin with your formative years. How did it pan out for you as a young boy growing up in the village?
I wouldn’t say I was born with a silver spoon. I came from an average background. But while growing up, one day, something motivated as a schoolboy: I told myself I must be great in life. At first, I wanted to be a reverend father. I tried all my best to be one, but my parents refused, for I was the first son, and they insisted I had to marry. Rather, they sent my younger brother to seminary school. But I have always told myself I must be great in life; I must succeed.
Sometimes in 1984 or ’85, one of my uncles died. We were all crying, and I asked them, “What killed this man?” I was told he was down with malaria, and there was no money to buy drugs for him. That incident made me sit down in a place crying, and I told God, if you make me great, this should be the last time anybody in the community would die for lack of money to go to the hospital or buy drugs, except I had no knowledge of it. I grew with that.
I started early looking for money to live my dream. At a point in my life when I met Jesus, I said to God, “I don’t want to go up and crash when I am there; I want to start from the scratch and go up.” So I left my home and every comfort, and moved to church and started living there with two men. One was suffering from tuberculosis. We were sleeping on one cabinet bed without foam. We would spread cartons on top it and sleep. When you woke up in the morning, you would see carton marks on it. Our towels were as good as rags. We drank from the same cup. These two people died the same day, the same time. The second person contracted the TB from the other one, yet I did everything with them, but I never I contracted the disease.
I really went through hardship in my early years in Lagos. If I saw garri to drink, it was like eating a delicious food. I am talking about 1998-99. I never rented my own house for more than ten years in Lagos. I was squatting with different people. When I joined the church, Jesus Law Bible Church, Ejigbo, Lagos, I went to Bible school from there. I remember my monthly allowance then was 500 naira per month. That was my all and all. I remember, too, when we used to buy Cowbell milk for 5 naira. If I got a cup of rice, I would boil it and buy a sachet of Cowbell milk, mix it with water and add sugar to it; and that would become my stew (laughs).
When you see somebody doing well, who is blessed by God, you might think it just happened overnight. If you go deeper, you will find out that the person has gone through difficulties. I recall one day when I had prepared my “concoction”, and one lady walked in, she said, “Brother, this food you are eating is like a German food.” I said, “Yes, it is a German food” (laughs). I continued like that until I met Dr. Pastor Panam Percy Paul…
The gospel singer?
Yes. That was in the year 2000. I met him at a college of music he organised in a church at Ikeja. I saw the handbill and attended. From there, we had a one-on-one contact. God joined us together, and we started doing things together, like the Festival of Trumpet every year. Through him, God linked me to a lot of people I never knew. By God’s grace, the grace he had, he also transferred it to me, and I started getting breakthroughs until I got married in 2003.
Before I got married, I was living in a church office, which was my bedroom and my kitchen. There was no toilet, no bathroom. I used to move to the back of the church building to take my bath before people would wake up. It was when I was going for my traditional wedding that I first rented a room and palour in Lagos.
I remember one day during that time I was living in the church when I was approaching my wife for marriage, her family members asked her where I was residing, and she told them in a church office. They couldn’t believe it. Recently, I asked her what she saw in me that she wanted to marry me. She told me there was something in me. Today, we are living happily together with our children. I have been to many African countries on programmes and as a facilitator that trained African leaders and company leaders. Leadership books are the highest property I have. I study a lot.
Gradually, I went to Apostolic College of Morris Cerullo. Morris Cerullo, an Israeli evangelist who conducts crusades worldwide. After Benny Hinn, you count him. The time I graduated from the college corresponded with the time Obasanjo was the president of Nigeria. I continued with theological education. I wasn’t bordered about making money. The first money I made was when I connected a friend who bought a land in Lekki. I handed it over to my pastor for the roofing of the church building.
I wanted to sow a seed to God. I was the secretary of the Church Building Committee. I wasn’t working then, and my contribution was more of commitment. I never learned how to do a mason work, but I followed them to cast pillars. One day, I was carrying a pan of mixed concrete and it was raining. I fell from the ladder together with the mixed concrete on the floor. I still stood up and climbed up again to continue the work. I gave all my life to the service of God. I told my wife every blessing am receiving now is a reward for of my service rendered to God.
I remember when I used to sleep in the church 24 hours. My people complained to my father, and he wrote a stinking letter, calling me a church rat. But I prayed for him and asked God to forgive him, for he didn’t know what he was doing. But that same my father, I remember when a friend of his was sick, they took him to different hospital, yet he couldn’t be resuscitated. My father was the one who directed them to take him to me for healing. They obeyed, and God used me to heal the man.
Along the line, I travelled to Ghana. While in Ghana, I went to the camp to pray for seven days. One early morning, the Lord showed me a revelation where they were packing and releasing money. He told me, “From now on, it’s time for financial breakthrough.”
When I returned to Nigeria, I came in contact with an NGO that ran a programme called Grant. The Lord directed me to join them. From there, I started getting contacts. Meanwhile, I have been a major contractor with an oil company, Sterling Oil, building structures, from flame stand to perimeter fencing to, flow station, oil reservoirs, control room, and others.
My company also do packaging for company products. I was the marketing manager for Pastor Panam Paul for 15 years. I was the one doing the mass dubbing of all his CDs. You will see my company’s imprint in all the jackets. I got some contacts in Abuja that God used to expand my business today. From being a man known for trekking for decades, God has blessed me with a fleet of cars I could only dream of.
As a kid, you told yourself you must be a great man. Since God answered your prayers, how have you been able to live up to the philanthropist dream you have always wanted?
At a point, I didn’t visit village for four years, because I told myself I won’t visit village unless I had a project to carry out in the village. I was tired of hearing stories of those making it from my mother. It wasn’t until recently that God unleashed His blessings on me. The first thing I told myself was to complete the police station in my autonomous community, Mgbala Agwa, Imo State. I also provided bore holes for many places in my community and gifted the needy bags of rice during Christmas period. I also ensured that the army personnel in my community are kept mobile.
What of in the area of education?
O yes, I was approached by the building committee and the school principal of Agwa Secondary School with the sad story of the school building, including the science laboratory, which had made Waec to notify the school authorities that this year’s Waec exams wouldn’t hold there. I was saddened that the school would be removed as a Waec centre. Promptly, I committed a huge sum of money to restore the science laboratory to its original glory. I still have many things in mind to do, like awarding scholarship for indigent students. Let me tell you the truth: until I am a blessing to somebody I don’t have peace. Right now, I am liaising with NDDC to see how it can create some projects for the people.
So what drives you?
In the book of Genesis Chapter 12, God called Abraham and said, “Leave your father’s house and your kinsmen, to the place I will show you; and there I will make you great; I will bless you and make you a blessing to all nations.” That scripture is what drives me. I believe that the only reason God blesses a man is to make him a blessing to others. Once you are doing that, you will carry out God’s law; and if you continue like that, you can never go down. Abraham never became poor until he died. In fact, his wealth is what all of us are enjoying till today. He kept to God’s rule. I don’t want to hear that somebody I know is sick. To everybody that has called me over sickness I have always responded. Blessing should be a blessing. I am not only supporting individuals, communities and school; I am also supporting churches. What I will never do is to support evil.
So, why the focus on your hometown?
They say charity begins at home. I also believe the highest security a man will have is his home. When you are in the record of your home, it becomes your security. You have to start from your Jerusalem. When your home is happy with you your home can take you out; your home can announce you. I have a mind to be in a position to bring development, to not only my community this time around but to communities beyond Oguta Local Government and across the states in Nigeria. I do it as I am led. There is no blessing that doesn’t attract blessings. The more you give the more you receive.
With what you are doing, I won’t be surprised if your people call upon you to serve in politics…
If God leads me into politics to serve the people, I will gladly serve the people, and it would be basically for development. However, everything has its own time.
The Covid-19 pandemic is ravaging the world right now, including Nigeria. Is there any hope for the country as a minister of God?
I see this plaque as something biblical. The Bible specifies that you don’t eat any meet with blood. But, in China where this virus started, it is a day-to-day way of life, eating animals live with the blood; and there is a punishment for that as contained in the Bible. Do you know that coronavirus has brought a level of calmness to the entire world? The warring nations are no longer fighting. No more protests. Nobody wants to move about again. The super powers have been humbled, and nobody is discussing anything apart from coronavirus. Only one plague has made everybody come closer to God, praying every day. Everybody now is talking about his life. Nobody is talking about the society again. Even doctors are confused.
To me, it is scriptural. God wants to correct some things in humanity so that the world will know there is God. The virus has put a physical and spiritual check on us. It has made us understand now that everybody is equal. Money cannot find answer to it. The same God will give us a solution to this. I believe it will unite the whole world more than the fights. I will tell Nigerians not to panic because it was not designed for Africa. They contract the disease, but you won’t see people dying as you see in the West.