Born on February 24, 1967 to Alhaji Yakubu and Omofemiwa Jimoh in Igbotako in Okitipupa, Ondo State, Jimoh Ibrahim grew up a very hardworking and courageous young man.
He began his education at St. John’s School, Igbotako and Community Grammar School, Igbotako from which he proceeded to Federal School of Arts and Science, Ondo. From an early age, Jimoh recognized his entrepreneurial leanings and made every effort to give it expression. He gained admission to study Law at the Lagos State University but later transferred to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in Osun State, to focus on International Law and Masters in Public Administration. There, he stood out as a shining star and was awarded the Best Student (International Law) at the LL.B Final class, 1991. He was also Best Student at Masters degree level: Analysis & Decision Making, Advanced Public Administration, Local Government Administration & Management, Ethics & Accountability in Administration, Best Masters Project Dissertation, Management of Intergovernmental relations and Urban & Rural Development Administration.
For Jimoh, life had been an endless struggle and so he learnt early, to be thankful for every milestone; not forgetting the days of little beginnings. His father was a poor bricklayer who had 7 wives and 40 children, and his mother was a fish monger. As difficult as life seemed at the time, Jimoh took the decision to stand as the light bearer of his family, one that would change the narrative and lead the way. He was later called to the Nigerian Bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, before proceeding for his National Youth Service.
In his youthful years Jimoh got minor contracts and used some of his father’s bricklaying materials to execute them. He earned his first million as a Youth Corper. At the time most graduates his age still struggle to compose great CV’s, Jimoh Ibrahim was already envisioning and laying blocks for the foundation of his conglomerate. He talks about his drive in an interview with This day.
Right from secondary school, I was very determined to be a success in business. My classmates in secondary school can testify to this. I never worked for anybody after the NYSC programme. The only thing I did was attachment at late Gani Fawehinmi’s Chamber for a month during the law school programme. After NYSC, I started organizing seminars and lectures in Lagos, mainly for local government officials on the then new local government autonomy. As a youth corper, I built a house in my village. I built four houses in Lagos while doing my NYSC programme. I built a four-storey house in Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos as a corper. Under one year as a corper, I built six houses…
An astute young man, Jimoh took advantage of every opportunity; each time aiming for the laurel on the hills. Even as a corp member, he started delivering paid lectures and organizing seminars across the country. He also held series of workshops, taking advantage of Babangida’s local government autonomy and collaborated with many institutions, including the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria. Indeed, business was thriving. . That same year, he organized about 14 workshops for top public functionaries at all tiers of government and by the time he was finishing youth service, he was N70 million naira richer. And that was just his beginning…
Jimoh Ibrahim is well versed in Tax Administration, Tax Reform and Financial Management. He is just one man who is always dressed and ready to make the most of every opportunity, however presented. At one time, he was appointed as the Chief Consultant to the Federal Government of Nigeria on Petroleum Tax Payment, Collection and Monitoring; member, Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, and Chairman of the Federation Accounts .
Later, he became a Consultant to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tax Reforms in Croatia and Lithuania; Consultant to the Federal Government of Nigeria on Value Added Tax (VAT); a key member of the team that designed Tax Reform for the state of Bangladesh; Head of the Nigerian delegation to the United Nations Conference on “Governance & Public Administration” held in Hong-Kong in 1994. He was also the Commonwealth of Nations Delegate to the United Arab Emirate, to attend the International convention on Governance and Public Administration, at the invitation of the Commonwealth.
A dedicated and forward-looking politician, Jimoh Ibrahim was a member of the National Board of Trustee of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP); National Legal Adviser; Member, Finance Committee; Member Publicity Committee, and Vice-Chairman, Presidential Inner caucus. In 2003, he contested for the governorship of Ondo State under the platform of ANPP, but was unsuccessful. Unruffled, the young politician took his lesson and forged on to implement one of the key items in his manifesto. His idea was to establish Ondo Oil with the aim of assisting to rural development and providing essential products like kerosene for the masses.
In a few years, Jimoh Ibrahim acquired hundreds of filling stations across the nation, principally, in the rural areas of Kaduna, Abuja, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara and Edo states of Nigeria. From a workforce of 26 at inception, it now employs over 4,017 Nigerians.
The magnate has since tried his hands on other businesses, which have thrived exceedingly, creating jobs for many Nigerians. He is top notch in telecommunication, hospitality, industry, banking, real estate, block making, carpentry, roofing tiles, industrial dry cleaning, insurance etc. Jimoh acquired 70 per cent (N46 billion) equity stake at NICON Insurance and staked a claim in the acquisition and control of Executive Airlines Services (EAS), an airline operator that was renamed to NICON Airways. The NICON Group now has eleven subsidiaries: Nicon Properties; Nicon Energy; Nicon Academy; Nicon Trustee; Nicon Insurance; Nicon Investment; Nicon PFA; Nicon Hotels; Nicon Saotome; Nicon Airways and Nicon United Kingdom.
As one who has received much from his society, Jimoh Ibrahim is willing to give back even in a greater measure. His philanthropic gestures have been applauded across the country. In 1994 he awarded 54 academic scholarships to the people of Ilaje-Odo, Okitipupa Local Government. In 2000 & 2001 he offered 500 scholarships to Ondo State indigenes in higher institutions and in 2002 he gave 500 scholarships to Ondo and Ekiti state indigenes in higher institutions. More recently, he built a N100 million Post-graduate hall in University of Ife, Ile-Ife.
Barr Jimoh Ibrahim has one goal- to alleviate the national poverty by creating jobs for Nigerians and thus improving the nation’s economy. And you know he is well on his way to hit the high mark. Today, his group employs over 21,000 people in Nigeria and beyond.
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