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Ondo Politricks: The Potato Race To the Government House.

EPISODE 3: Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim.
Having written about two strong contestants, out of the twenty-something candidate, vying for the governor's seat in Ondo State, we take a look at the possible governor-to-be, in the person of Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim.

His name is a chorus to many. He is one of the richest men in the country, But only a few knows his background. Here we go... Jimoh Ibrahim hails from Igbotako, Okitipupa in Ondo State. Born to a family of 7 wives and 40 children. He knew the color of poverty and it's dress code. His father was an impoverished polygamous bricklayer with 7 wives and 40 children, and his mother was a fish monger. Life for the little village boy was a continuous struggle. Jimoh did household chores and scraped food off a common plate with his siblings with whom he slept on a common mat in their humble home.
Jimoh was educated at St. John’s School, Igbotako and Community Grammar School, Igbotako from which he proceeded to Federal School of Arts and Science, Ondo. Right from secondary school he wanted to be a successful businessman. He gained admission to study Law at Lagos State University but thereafter transferred to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in Osun State, to read International Law and Masters in Public Administration. Jimoh Ibrahim was 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. He was subsequently called to the Nigerian Bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He also earned a Master’s degree in Economics and International Tax at Harvard University.

His rise to stardom is due to his innovative mind, coupled with the faith and energy to carry out his ideas. Bob Ejike,  captured his success story as follows, "In his youthful years Jimoh got minor contracts and used some of his father’s bricklaying materials to execute them. He started earning millions in his mid-20s, making his first million during his youth service period.

He discovered that the Local Governments did not have a law of their own, but the state and the federal government had. So he packaged a local government seminar on law for all the local governments in the country and that fetched him N3.6 million. 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 had about N70 million in his account. He built a home in his village and four houses in Lagos, including a four-storey building in Ikotun-Egbe. By the end of the national youth programme Jimoh Ibrahim had six houses.

It was through one of those seminars that he learnt about the huge amount of revenue Nigeria lost to withholding tax by big oil companies. His further research made him submit his findings in form of a proposal that he could recover the funds as a consultant to the federal government, but with a specific percentage as his commission. His submission was approved and within a short period of time he was remitting billions of Naira to the account of the federal government. He acquired with the money he made from seminars a swampy land at the Victoria Garden City (VGC) gate, which he later transformed into an ultra-modern filling station with two expensive banking halls.

Barrister Jimoh who used to sleep four hours a day when he started, was the one who brought the concept of bringing in banking halls into oil marketing. Though the initial budget for the outfit was N21 million, two banks paid a rent of over N40 million which was too much to build the Station. The surplus was invested in real estate. After the VGC outlet, he opened another station at Ilupeju Bypass. His approach was acquisition rather than construction, that way he acquires filling stations, instead of building from the scratch. Thereafter he got licensed as an Independent Oil Marketer.
Jimoh Ibrahim served as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on tax reforms in Croatia and Estonia, and was part of the Harvard team that went to Bangladesh to form their tax reforms. He ran a law chamber and practiced Law for six years. He had seven attorneys in his Law and Justice Chambers. He is a prolific writer who has authored three books including Indigenous Governance in Nigeria and two biographical volumes on Mohammed Belo, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria. He is also the Chairman, NICON GROUP and it's subsidiaries, which range from oil and gas, to Air Nigeria, to Nigeria News watch, to Banking, just to mention a few.

Jimoh Ibrahim has a wealth of experience in Tax Administration, Tax Reform and Financial Management. At one point he was appointed Chief Consultant to the Federal Government of Nigeria on Petroleum Tax Payment, Collection and Monitoring; member, Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, and Chairman, Special Committee of the Federation Accounts.

Jimoh Ibrahim was also appointed the Commonwealth of Nations Delegate to the United Arab Emirate, to attend the International convention on Governance and Public Administration. He was also the Executive Secretary, African Center for Policy Studies, a policy analysis and capacity building institution which he was also the Coordinator of, and Key Resource person at the First National Conference of Permanent Secretaries and the first Annual Conference of Directors in Public service.

A Philanthropist, a Proprietor of Companies, a Public Administrator, a Prolific Writer, he is also a politician. He was the Governorship candidate of the All Nigerian People's Party (ANPP). He was also National Legal Adviser; Member, Finance Committee; Member Publicity Committee, and Vice-Chairman, Presidential Inner caucus. He contested for the governorship of Ondo State under the platform of ANPP in 2003, but was lost to Agagu. He is the flag-bearer for the Ali Momodu Led PDP faction recognized by INEC.

Due to the current brouhaha in PDP, coupled with the corruption plague on the party, it's going to be tough for him to win the election. His chances are slim. The PDP national house has crumbled and it remains is nothingness which is affecting the party at the state level. He has a case in court with the Markafi led PDP candidate Eyitayo Jegede SAN.

Nevertheless, it's the voice of the people that count. If the people of Ondo State wants him has there governor, it is in their hands, the voter's card is in their hands. They can use it to decide for whosoever they want.
Continue reading... go to episode 4.

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