Onyekakeyah: Anambra 2014: If I were Ifeanyi Ubah

Ifeanyi Ubah

Ifeanyi Ubah

By Luke Onyekakeyah
AS the days draw nearer and the clock ticks for the scheduled gubernatorial election in Anambra State in early 2014, there is mounting apprehension over how to conduct a free and fair election and who will succeed Governor Peter Obi. Anambra is not like any other state in the country when it comes to party politics. The state is a flash point in Nigerian politics.

In Anambra, contenders for political office are never lacking. There is always a horde of well-qualified and capable men and women – call them juggernauts, who would like to govern the state at any point in time. People invest everything within their power to outwit their opponents. Election in Anambra is usually a do-or-die affair that characterizes Nigerian politics. One must be ready to stake anything (including ones most valuable assets, or turn diabolical) to be able to feature in Anambra politics.

It is not surprising that so far, no less than 27 aspirants may be warming up to slug it out in the forth-coming Anambra governorship election. Mind you, each of the aspirants means business. They are not joking. Each has what it takes to fight the battle. The list includes veterans like Senator Chris Ngige, Senator Andy Uba, Senator Annie Okonkwo, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Chief Akachukwu Nwankpo, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, Chief Paul Odenigbo, Dr. Obinna Uzoh, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and Senator Emma Anosike.

Also included are Pat Nwachi Obianwu, Dubem Obaze, Dr. Godwin Ezeemo, Dr. Chike Obidigbo, Oseloka Obaze, Barrister Chjioke Ndubuisi, Chief Mike Udah, Dr. Emmanuel Okafor, Afam Ogene, Prince Chinedu Idigo, Mr. Chima Anene, Chief Udoka Charles Udoagalanya, Comrade Godwin Ibekwe and Dr. Paul odenigbo.

There is nothing wrong under a democratic dispensation for anyone to seek to contest elective political post. It is left to the electorate to choose who should govern through the power of their vote. This is what obtains in decent climes where politics is devoid of rancour and acrimony; where the contenders are mature politically and are ready to concede defeat without insinuating foul play. Sadly in Nigeria, these ideals are lacking. Politics in this clime is fraught with bitterness. There is always the tendency to destroy political opponents if that is what it takes to win the votes.15168_132425460280663_770430187_n
A peep into the background of most of the aspirants shows that majority are professional politicians, some are technocrats while some were thrown up by the political exigencies in the state at one time or the other. Among the line-up, only Ifeanyi Ubah stands out as a budding business tycoon that has the potential to make the Forbes list of global billionaires if he could concentrate in his business. Chike Obidigbo is also known as a leading industrialist with about 50 products to his credit. What happens to these industrial products if Obidigbo sinks into politics?

There is this thing I call the tragedy of Igbo business, which manifests in two ways. Whereas in Nigeria, the name Igbo is synonymous with business; the Igbo are regarded as the business tribe whose life and aspirations are shaped through business, yet, and it is ironic that in the catalogue of billionaire Nigerian businessmen there is no Igbo man. You may not get an Igbo man in the top ten richest businessmen in Nigeria. That is tragedy number one.

Tragedy number two is that the Igbo are perhaps the only nation of businessmen in the world that does not invest in the homeland but outside. Every other nation around the world that does business concentrates investments in the homeland. The Japanese, Taiwanese, Koreans, Singaporeans, Americans, Chinese, among others, do business and invest in their homeland. That is why those nations are models of development with wealthy and happy citizenry.

But for the Igbo, investing outside is better (Oka mma n’ama). It is better outside. If the entire investments Igbo businessman have invested outside Igboland over the years were put in Igboland, the enclave would have ranked as the Taiwan of Africa. But alas, these investments are all over the place while the homeland revels in squalor. Experience shows that many lose these investments in the event of crisis, as is the case in recent Nigerian history.

My concern is that if Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah delves into the murky waters of Nigerian politics, and Anambra State in particular, he may be inadvertently making way for the destruction of a business he has struggled to nurture over the years. Mr. Ubah should not lose sight of the fact that Nigerian politics is not like what you have in decent societies. Here, the target of one’s political opponents is the destruction one’s business. After all, his financial stamina lies in the business. Once the business is destroyed by hook or crook, including allegations of fraud and probes, arrests and detentions, the one loses his financial muscle. The business may be messed up or truncated to the extent that mounting liabilities could drive the one crazy.

I have lived in Japan where leaders are very wealthy businessmen turned politicians. Normally, the Japanese politician is easy going. There is no bitterness or destructive politics, meaning that one’s business could be operating while the owner is in politics. In Japan, people are begged to take political office unlike here where everybody wants to be there. But one common feature is that a businessman who ventures into politics would most likely spend his wealth and may be poor at the end.

Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, who is the Chief Executive of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited, is an astute and accomplished businessman. His company, which was established in 2001, is wholly indigenous and a major player in the importation, storage, distribution, trading and retailing of oil products. With state-of-the-art oil and gas facilities in parts of the country including a 28-ARM Loading Gantry and biggest private oil jetty in Nigeria, Mr. Ubah has created a business niche yet to be matched by anyone in the downstream oil sector in Nigeria.

The strides of Mr. Ubah made the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to partner with his company in the now popular and innovative KeroDirect service using the company’s fleet of tankers. Under the programme, kerosene, which for a long time became very scarce and exorbitant, was delivered direct to the people across the states of the federation. This service brought excitement and joy to millions of suffering ordinary Nigerians, especially in the rural areas.

Now, for a young man who has had stint in business for barely a decade and gearing towards global lime light, what is to be gained by abandoning this business that is serving the entire country for just one state? Should it be taken that the bug that stifles Igbo business is catching up with Ubah’s business vision? Why can’t Mr. Ubah concentrate in his chosen progressive busineszs and make name out of it?

Today, there is no known billionaire in Igboland. We need a Dangote and a Femi Otedola in Igboland. From all indications, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah is a potential candidate for the Forbes list of global richest people. What is the need tarnishing one’s image in Anambra’s dirty politics when one has already grown beyond that?

If I were Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, I won’t descend low from the height am operating to join the bandwagon of governorship contenders in Anambra State who are out to undo each other. It is good that Mr. Ubah is desirous of serving his people. But he is already serving them – giving them job, improved livelihood, bringing products that are out of the reach of the poor, etc. If I were him and interested in politics, I will not present myself as such but would work behind the curtain to support potential winners at all levels. That is what he should do. That is what the Dangotes, Otedolas and Dantatas of this world are doing. They play the role of godfather and that guarantees them continued good business prospects.

But doing otherwise is to court trouble. You will be victimized whether you win or lose. If you win, you will be accused of using state fund to run your business. If you lose, you lose everything. The recent arrests, detentions and closure of Capital Oil’s operations by the EFCC gives an insight into the troubles that may await a businessman turned politician in Nigeria. It has never been rosy for them. The amiable Chief MKO Abiola would have been one of the billionaires in Forbes list today if he had not delved into Nigeria’s dirty politics that ruined him and his business empire.

Let the politicians do the politics while the businessmen do business and create wealth and employment for the people. My people say if you pursue two things at the same time, one of them must escape. Things have changed. Nowadays, the two may escape. We need more businessmen than politicians.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    your write is astonishingly revealing.I am a pastor and it has been clearly revealed to me that the person that will succed Obi would come from Anambra north but as for Captal oil experience would be his only good teacher people are flocking aroud him because they want to shera his wealth but they know he wil not win.


  2. Ifeanyi olisa says:

    Yes ur publication is very cute $,intresting,my bros Dr Ifeanyi uba(Ebubechukwu uzo Nnewi) ..i must confess that he has a gud vision 2wardz we Anambarians…but I will not say much everything is left to God..


    • Brother ur right. With his age, and think of the number of years it took him to become what he is today. I think Ifeanyi ubah is the right person for anambra state. Charity behings at home. Anybody who is critsizing Dr ifeanyi ubah should go to his home at otolo nnewi to see how rich men should allow his riches to afect people close to him. I wish the south and central should join hand and lift ifeanyi ubah to the seat of being the next governor of anambra state and forget the issue of anambra norths agitation. If u have a quality person who is equal to the task let the person come out and fight the fight and not somebody trying to rull anambra state for another 8yrs again.anambralians should be wise thos time. Let’s support Dr. Partrick IfeanyiUbah (ebubechukwu uzo na nnewi onye oma)


  3. @ onyekakeyah may God bless you for such a wonderful truce, all you said are plain truth if Mr ifeanyi uba will only listen to word of advise an forget about politics he will make it bigger in life. The issue with him is that he doesn’t listen to any one adding to that he has a set af bad advisers. I pray that he realize this before its too late for him cause with people like Mr ifeanyi uba our youths won’t cry because of unemployment


  4. Anonymous says:

    my big ifeanyi uba we nnewi is in your back go on anybody that try to stop you is making a big mistakes god hand is there


  5. Okoye Jude says:

    A righteous man falls seven times and rises seven times though i know you spent a lot of money during your campaign but you don’t have to quiet, all you need to do is to seek good advice from professional politicians and rise again. I strongly advice you to belong to APGA and hold strong relationship with the governor by so doing Anambra state will be yours in some years to come.


  6. egwuatu abuchi peter says:

    i like it


  7. i love what you said about Mr ifaanyi ubah. better tell him the truth than to mislead him..


  8. obijacksonbroda says:

    I master ken Eze 4rm okija nd many of my brodas ar strongly behind u nd we ar asking God 2 grant u dis governorship award in jesus name bcos u ar d right man 4 us in Anambra state


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