This piece is a special tribute to my extraordinary friend, the Prince of the Senate, Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah who clocked 49 on Thursday September 3, 2020.
I encountered this unique personality some 10 years ago in Lagos when he took me on a tour of his humongous business empire, Capital Oil and Gas Ltd. Then he was in his late thirties.
At our first meeting, we talked excitedly like we have always known each other. We talked about the economy, politics, culture, religion, leadership , the Igbo question, Nigeria, Africa and the world. It was easy to converse with him. He was vivacious. As a host he entertained lavishly. It was at that meeting that he took the decision to become an ‘Uba’ with ‘h’, by adding ‘h’ to his last name so as to differentiate him from also the other famous ‘Uba brothers’(Chris and Andy).
When we eventually departed at the wee hours, we had struck a friendship that has become mutually beneficial since then. He left me with deep impression about himself as a possible Igbo leader; he is young, hard-working, rich, generous, smart, wise, intelligent, brave, feisty, enlightened, exposed, independent, practical, controversial and full of ideas. Ifeanyi, all times is himself, honest and remarkable. He never give up a cause without a fight.
Ifeanyi is a man blessed with uncommon wisdom, wonderfully tenacious and methodical, like whenever he sets his mind to get what he wants , he sinks his whole teeth in the world of possibilities.
As senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District, he has shown capacity and proven his mettle as a born leader, a great achiever and a visionary leader. Though, a first timer and coming from the minority of minority political party, he has successfully moved several motions and sponsored couple of bills which has been given assent by the President. Ifeanyi wants to be governor of Anambra State. One more shot, he could be governor to give a new face to the state. I believe he can be governor. He has what it takes to achieve his ambition and will make a successful governor if given the opportunity.
Who is Ifeanyi Ubah? Wikipedia described him as Nigerian entrepreneur, business mogul and a philanthropist. He is the chief executive of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited, one of the major players in the Oil and Gas industry in Nigeria operating in downstream sector. Ifeanyi Ubah is also, the owner of Ifeanyi Ubah F.C., a Nigerian football club.
He was born the first son of seven children on the 3rd of September, 1971 in Anambra to the family of Alphonsus and Patty Ubah who were school teachers. He hails from Umuanuka village in Otolo town of Nnewi, the highly industrial city of Anambra State.
Ifeanyi has attended on many business courses and conferences which has helped in sharpening his entrepreneurial pursuits. He also studied Owner/President Management Program at Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA.
Ifeanyi is married to Uchenna Ubah, an Executive Director at Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited. Uchenna holds a Bachelor’s of Science B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Ahmadu Bello University. They are blessed with five children.
Ifeanyi didn’t just become an emergency billionaire neither did he inherit any fortune from his father. The mother who played an important role in his life was an elementary school teacher. Ifeanyi is a product of Igbo apprenticeship which has produced thousands of self-made billionaires in pounds and dollars across the globe. Upon the completion of his apprenticeship, he started trading in auto spare parts and tyre supplies. Barely three years into this business, he began exporting tyres from Nigeria to Ghana and later expanded to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
At this point, business was booming and life was good for young Ifeanyi so he decided to settle in Liberia. Unfortunately, the civil war in Liberia affected his business and made him relocate back to Nigeria. Back in Nigeria, Ifeanyi Ubah expanded his auto spare parts business and started supplying to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In DRC, his business thrived making him one of the major importers of auto spare parts in the country where he developed a close relationship with the government in Congo. He later expanded his business to other parts of the world including South Africa, Dubai, Belgium
One key success factor for Ifeanyi is that he continued to pursue knowledge in his chosen field by attending international workshops and business exhibitions including Automechanika in Messe, Germany, world’s leading trade fair for the automotive service industry.
Having built the needed capacity, Ifeanyi ventured into oil and gas business by establishing Capital Oil SPRL in DRC, through which he imported oil and gas from Ibeto Petrochemicals Nigeria. His major customers were transporters and industrial establishments.
When civil war broke out in DRC, he returned to Nigeria and with support of his mentor Chief Cletus Ibeto, he commenced his business operations in Nigeria having established his flagship, Capital Oil and Gas Ltd.
Capital Oil is a growing operator in the downstream sector of petroleum industry. With rapid business growth, the company extended into haulage, transportation and petroleum products retail. By 2011, the company had the largest depot facility in Nigeria.
Within few years into the business, Ifeanyi led his company to a vantage position of becoming a dominant leader in downstream sector of oil and gas industry in Nigeria. Ifeanyi Ubah founded the Authority Newspaper on the 19th of 0ctober, 2015.
He also founded Ifeanyi Ubah F.C., a Nigerian football club in 2015. This he did following the acquisition of Gabros International Football Club. In 2016, his football club became the first Nigerian club to sign Brazilian footballers and trainers. The club also partnered with an European club, West Ham United FC of England and within one year of its acquisition, Ifeanyi Ubah F.C. won Nigeria FA Cup. Driven by the desire to give back to the society, Ifeanyi established Ifeanyi Ubah Foundation. Through his foundation, Ifeanyi gives scholarships to students, drills bore holes for communities, repairs and constructs roads in Anambra State.
He also built and donated a student’s hostel at Nnamdi Azikwe University, Akwa and an ICT Centre for the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. His foundation also donated Anglican Bishop’s Court to Akwa Diocese, built a cathedral for the Roman Catholic Church in his native Otolo-Nnewi and donated 150m to Anambra State Football Association where he is also the Chairman. In 2018, his foundation partnered with Tin Foundation to give free legal services to some inmates at the Nnewi prison
Ifeanyi will always be a gift and inspiration to all the lives he has touched and will touch. I feel blessed to have known a wonderful person like him. As he celebrates his 49thbirthday , I am pleased to join his family, friends and well-wishers to tell him how much he means to the world. I am very proud of him and his achievements. I thank God for making him the type of leader that he is. I wish him all the best in his aspirations. Happy Birthday Senator Ifeanyi Ubah and God bless you.