Why People think I am fronting for Obasanjo & IBB—Jimoh Ibrahim + Why Nigerians are cursed with Private jets

Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim (OFR) Who is he fronting for? IBB or OBJ?
In
the continuation of the exclusive interview Ovation Magazine had with self acclaimed turnaround magnate, Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim (OFR) he discussed
about the issue of his fight with former Ondo state governor, Dr. Segun Mimiko, his relationship with
ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, President
Muhammadu
Buhari and some other
politicians in the country. The Harvard trained tax expert spoke about his
humble beginning in Igbotako
town—Ondo State (South West Nigeria) and why he is investing big in the Nigeria
media business sector. Asabeafrika
brings you more of his chat with Ovation magazine in full details. Enjoy the
excerpts

 You
had this famous altercation with the Governor of your state, Gov. Olusegun
Mimiko what is the relationship with him like now.

Chief Jimoh Ibrahim, the ‘turnaround’ guru of our time?


I think that
incident has come and gone. The Governor (now out of power) is my friend and it
was not something serious. It was overblown by the Commissioner for
Information. The Governor was with me at the airport, and he was asking for my
mum during the kidnapping episode.
Ex-Ondo Governor Segun Mimiko with wife, Folake

Then I told him, “Look, you cannot ask for my mum at the Airport. If your mum was
kidnapped, I will close down my activities until you recover your mum. I will
personally go out and search until your mum is back. When she returns, I will
pay a visit because this is a mother that knows you and they
(including my
father) are with the Labor Party”. Though,
I am with the PDP, It was nothing serious and the governor appreciated it and
he was worried. Civil servants know to blow things out of proportion and they
have forgotten that I am a Publisher. By the time they were writing their press
release, they blew it out of proportion and before I knew it, my boys too had
replied them.

How would you assess his performance so far?
The Governor is
my friend and I cannot assess his performance because I have not had the
opportunity to visit him and take him on concerning his projects.
There is this talk in town that you want to be
Governor of Ondo state
Well, that is
certain.  It is not a talk.
But he is your friend, what if he has a candidate
Ex-Ondo State Governor, Segun Mimiko, Jimoh Ibrahim’s friend turned foe

I am a young man
and there is not a definite time but I am certain that I will run for Governor
of Ondo state. Only God knows the
time (He ran last year and lost out). As far as I am concerned, my desire is to
fix things properly in that state and I want to do it as soon as possible.
What are the things you wish you can do for a state
like Ondo if you have the opportunity

Jimoh Ibrahim….Adjust his thinking cap for ‘turnaround’ exploits

Number one, you
have to make Ondo State financially
sufficient, I will start from tax. You have to entirely eliminate any form of
tax. I am a tax expert and a tax graduate of Harvard University. The next thing
is to eliminate both the company income tax and personal income tax- it is
called tax integration. You either do partial integration or full integration.
Partial integration means that you will eliminate either personal income tax or
company income tax. The State does not have control over company income tax,
what we do is personal income tax, which is PAYEE. If I am the Governor, I will
cancel it the day I am sworn-in.

Jimoh Ibrahim….Always thinking of how to turn around dead companies and make more people rich?

The best way to
do it is to go through the hard road. We will sit down and design financial
models for the State. You could set up Ondo
oil
, and then make sure every local government is involved in that venture.
It is clear that you are having entirely generating revenue which is enough to
pay salaries and show concern for development instead of relying on Abuja, so we need to stop all these cap-in-hand
way of doing things.
What is development levy? How much are
you generating from development levy when you compare it to the project you
want to do? Right now, I advise the Federal Government, this is not the right
time to use tax to run the economy. Do not continue to say that you make your
money from tax. How can you make money from tax? That means you are milking the
people because we have recession all over the world today. In America when you employ somebody, they
give you a tax credit so why are you now saying they must kill a company
because they are not paying tax?

Jimoh the tax expert….Would have cancelled PAYE tax in Ondo if he became Governor

This is a difficult time and you see, if the
companies are alive, they will pay tax forever. So, if you kill them, they will
not pay anything. These are the issues and when we get to Ondo, there are 27 ideas of generating money that I have in my
notes here. I have given you just two. Ondo
is a very rich state when we get there, we will unveil all these things and
then the money will start rolling in. we have the mental capacity, the
experience  and expertise to make Ondo work in the most creative and
unique way without inconveniencing the people, money must come from development
engagement. Look at the University at
Akungba
, it can be self sustaining. I told University of Ife, that
you are complaining you are cash-strapped, if we create a server and you make
every graduate of the University to be hooked on it and then make them have
personalized email for a small charge of say N100, you would generate millions
easily. I for example would like to have [email protected]. You can even
put class 91. So, for me to buy this email address from University of Ife, I would pay N100; now multiply N100 by the
number of people that have graduated from the University since 60 years ago.

Jimoh Ibrahim….The man who loves graduates and hates illiterates

Currently, if they have 16,000 students, if we multiply it by N100, we would
get 160 million. You are saying the University is not rich; you are waiting for
the government to come and do something. That is just for one email, you can
imagine what university branding items can bring to its purse. Things like
engraving the University logo in the ring at graduation and then let the ring
be 18 carat gold and then put the name of the student inside the ring and year
of Graduation and the course of study during graduation. It is like having your
certificate inside your ring. They do that at Harvard, I do not know why it is difficult for us to do it in Nigeria.

Why your sudden
interest in the media

The ‘Turnaround’ expert showing one of his success stories ‘Newswatch Magazine’

It was not sudden; we had a policy in
2007 after our encounter with NICON that 25 per cent of our group balance sheet
will be invested in the Media. If the group is worth 1billion, 250 Million must
be invested in the Media. That is our decision and that is what we are doing.
We have not even reached 10 per cent of the balance sheet; we still have room
to accommodate more.
I understand
that you also bought sketch, is it a rumor
Well, I do not know about that. What is
not in my hands, I cannot claim that I have bought it.
Okay, so it is
just a rumor
I do not know anything about it. Maybe,
it is a rumor or not, just wait, in time, you would know.
I just want you
to clarify

Ovation’s Michael Effiong searches Jimoh Ibrahim’s heart

I cannot say anything about that, I am
sorry. When the time comes, you will know. We have changed Newswatch, we are doing a good job with Mirror and I Know we are going to have other media investments.
Sketch is
technically dead which meets your investment criteria
Sketch qualifies as
one of those things I am interested in but I cannot tell you that I have bought
it at this time.
Okay, have you
heard the rumour that you are fronting for former President Olusegun Obansanjo

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo….Many thinks  Jimoh is fronting for him

Well, there are lots of rumours that I
have heard. It is not about Obansanjo
alone. I have been a Millionaire before I met Obansanjo. I think the first rumour then was that I was fronting
for Abacha, later it was Buhari, when he came to my home town and
spent 4 days. They said, ‘oh’. After
that one, it was Babangiga, because I
can bear Ibrahim (laughs) and I have never seen Babangiga in my life time. The last one I heard was that of Obansanjo. In one day, there was a
drama.

Ex-Military Ruler, Ibrahim Babangida with late wife, Maryam. He shares ‘Ibrahim’ with Jimoh Ibrahim

One of the magazines had published that they had discovered that Obansanjo is the mystery investor that I
was fronting for. So that day, I had gone to the villa for a meeting, so after
dinner, Baba said to me “Jimoh, they said you are fronting for me o,
where is my money?”
I said, “Baba, I
think that you yourself can front for yourself
”. Obansanjo has children that make first class from Cambridge, Seun made a first class honours, Gbenga made a first class, Iyabo
made a second class upper in Veterinary
Medicine
. So, these people cannot help their father, if he need help, it
should be Jimoh Ibrahim from Igbotako?.

President Muhammadu Ibrahim….Once slept at Jimoh Ibrahim’s house for 4 days

If you ask me to front for
you I will chop your money, because I can’t front for you and give you the
money. If i am fronting for you, I will have my private jet, I have my own
house in the Bishop’s Avenue, you
that is the owner of the money, where is your own? Lazy people do not see the
power of reasoning and intellectual capacity. I have said it that the money of
this world belong to those who are educated. People with ideas. Any illiterate that
is rich is holding his money in trust for the educated one to come and collect.

Sir, you just
mentioned a bit now about your upbringing, how did your upbringing shape you
for the challenges that you are facing today

Jimoh Ibrahim….The boy from Igbotako

 I
am from the village and you know what life in the village looks like. We eat
together in a plate, about 10 to 15 people eating dinner. We have to go to the
farm after school; we greet each other very freely. We are focused and
resilient. The village has been a very good source of inspiration to many of us
and we appreciate it that way. I do not lose touch, I enjoy being a village boy
and I am still a village boy. Till today, I go to the village almost every
weekend.
What kind of
leader are you
  I am a level five leader.
What does that
mean to the ordinary person?
 A
servant who has seen it all, one who has graduated from a boss to a leader, at
that leadership level, you become a servant. Because you are like a control
tower for several years, but now, you are at the level where people will
control you: That is the kind of leader that I am.
Who are the kind
of people that interests you, the kind of people you are attracted to and what
are the characters in people that you do not like.

Can anyone really think like Jimoh Ibrahim?

The only thing I want is for you to be
intellectually capable. If you are not intellectually capable, you cannot be my
friend. I cannot like anything in you. Why did you not go to school? Especially
when you had the opportunity to go and you are now behaving like someone that
went to school. If you go to school and you are a University graduate, you will
be my friend forever. I will always like you and would have respect for you
because I know that even if you are poor now, you will definitely make it. God
have respect for the graduates more than the illiterates. God love graduates
and hate illiterate, particularly illiteracy that is cause by self affliction.
There are some genuine illiterates, fantastic people, we love them. They are
those who did not have the opportunity to go to school and whose fathers could
not afford to send them to school. They wished they went to school, but for
someone who did not go to school and is behaving like he went to school; that
is the problem.
How has the last
two years been as a major investor in Nigeria? President Jonathan had said that
all Nigerians should assess him, what is your assessment of this government

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan….Gave Jimoh Ibrahim OFR title

The president cannot be wrong in all
things in fairness. It has been a long time I saw Jonathan, but I can tell you one thing, he has not been disturbing the
private sector. I am not saying I am assessing him or I am scoring him. I do
not think he is interested in taking over people’s business or creating
problems. I have not seen anyone complaining about that during this government
and that is a credit to this government. We have a humble president but I think
the president needs to make sure that he does not have issues with any of his
constituencies. Leadership is a challenge, the country is a challenge and he
needs to face the challenges. It is normal, it is not something that is
extraordinary and if there is any problem at all, morally speaking, the rancor
between him and Obasanjo must be
settled because it is uncalled for. I have heard the President saying on one
occasion when he just came in as president of Nigeria that it will be difficult
to produce another Obasanjo.

Former President Umar Musa Yar ‘Adua….Saved Jimoh Ibrahim from losing NICON Insurance to Northern Cabals

Because
of the enormous level of the intelligence and the records that Obasanjo had set as president. So past
leaders should be respected. I think Babanigida
has paid his dues and nobody can rubbish him. Buhari has been a fantastic leader, whether you like it or not, he
is a disciplined leader. I saw one of the State Council meetings and was
surprised to see that Buhari was able
to attend this function. I expect him to build more on that. He should steer
clear of sycophants because he is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and there is no argument about that. A
lot of leaders have come by, they are countless. Atiku, Azikiwe, Obansanjo, Legendary Awolowo, unblemished Nnamdi Azikiwe, we have many of them
that were there and I think we should respect them. This country has produced
impeccable leaders and our very wonderful Yar’adua.
They have offered Nigeria one or two
things, the only thing is just that everybody had one challenges or the other.

Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim with his former Editor now Lagos State Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde (L) with News of The People Magazine Publisher, Dr. Loye Amzat (R)

Even God had a challenge when he created the world. In Genesis, when God created man and everything, He decided due to the
problem that man gave to him that He would destroy man. He destroyed the world,
that was the time he told Noah to
build an Ark and he destroyed
everything on earth for 550 years. God went through-out that turbulence and that
turbulence took God for 550 years. He destroyed all He created and started
again. So, we are far away from that, we must face turbulence and  we must be calm to over come them. A leader
should be calm in crisis.  The president
uses good statements. I think we should unite to build the nation, so I think
we should make carefully-worded statement and not war statements. Good
statements build a nation. Nigeria is doing very well, remarkably well, a 50
years old country. You want to compare it to America of 1776. We are talking
about centuries. This is a young country and it is promising and doing well. I
am very proud to be Nigerian and I
expect everyone to be like that. Let us take it easy, we cannot get there in
one day, it will take some time.

You saw the new
guidelines on private jet what is your opinion on these policy

Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim’s private jet parked in the hanger at Kotoka Airport, Accra

There is no opinion, it does not concern
me; my jet is America registered. If
you did not want me to park in Nigeria
I will go and park it in London or Ghana. What is so special about the
guidelines? The thing is, we about 167 million people, the number of real
jet  that can fly very well are, not the
one that will be having problems are on air are than less than 20, in fact 15.
Out of these 15 jets those that were not
bought with over draft facilities are less than 10, so others are refinanced.
167 million people, 20 jets, it is a curse to the nation. Is that what they
have in other country in the world? Do you know that the number of private jets
in Ghana now is almost getting to the
number of private jets in Nigeria? And they are expanding the terminal for
private jets; when they are supposed to be praying that their children buy
private jets they are criticizing private jet owners, it is so strange to me.

One of ‘Turnaround’ expert Jimoh Ibrahim’s success story, Air Nigeria

If you say one cannot carry your
relations on your plane, no problem, you can park it in Ghana: you can board a plane from here to Ghana and you will carry your relations from Ghana to London. So i do
not understand some of these regulations. Maybe they have their reason. For
instance, when they said private jet pilot to declare their manifests, I agree
with the government completely on that. There is no reason why we should carry
people that the government will not know about or the control tower will not know
about. Except you are doing something illegal, what will stop you from telling
them who you are carrying? Government just wants to know who is inside the
private jet and there is nothing bad about that. In fact, when you go with your
private jet to other countries, they come and pick you at the tarmac. Owner of
private are given special privilege in the world, you can fly Paris without a visa and just inform the
authorities that you are coming with someone in the plane that does not have a
visa and they will arrange it for you at the Airport.

The ‘Turnaround’ guru, Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim alighting from his private jet at Kotoka Airport, Accra

All they would need to do
is to come and stamp the passport. If I have a business meeting today in Paris and my visa has expired, I will
just phone the immigration there and ask for visa. If you are an individual and
you buy a jet, whatever business you do to buy a jet and nobody stopped you
from buying a jet, then it must be a genuine business. I see some pastors also
flying private jets. I do not know whether their church members buy them fuel
but there is nothing wrong in a pastor flying a jet. If a pastor has branches
all over the world then it makes sense. Whosoever buys the fuel does not matter,
it has to be maintained. Owing a private jet for me is not a luxury. People
always term it a luxury. There are many places where we have our businesses and
they do not have regular commercial flights. If you are going to Sao Tome without a private jet, you will
spend four days to get there and you will go through four countries and you
need their visas too. I must say however, that just 20 jets in a population of
167 million people is a curse.

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