When on the 3rd of September, 1971, a son was born into the humble family of Mr & Mrs Alphonsus Ubah in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of today’s Abia State, little did the world know that a man that had been destined by Divinity to shape events of men and affect lives in tremendous several ways had just been born.
Right from his early days, as if he knew that millions of lives and destinies depended on his, Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah had become restless and self-compelled to go in search of accomplishing his mission in life. Against the wishes of many including initial protestations from his parents who are from Umuanuka, Otolo Nnewi in Anambra State, Ifeanyi Ubah departed home and started his journey to greatness in a most turbulent and unfamiliar terrain. Despite the many challenges, he weathered the storm and endured several obstacles with his vision focused on reaching The Promised Land no matter the number of Red Seas he had to cross.
From Lagos where he was on apprenticeship to an established spare parts dealer, Ifeanyi Ubah later diversified to tyre supplies. His business dexterity and integrity soon saw him attract customers of international standing to himself within a very short while, to the extent that he was nicknamed The Patron in business circles even as an apprentice. Everybody wanted to do business with him. Some customers would travel all the way from Ghana, Liberia Sierra Leone, Mali, Congo including Lebanese, to Nigeria but would not enter into any business transaction with any other person except Ifeanyi Ubah. Even in the days that he was not readily available, they would rather wait for him before they consummated their transactions.
That was how his honesty and integrity attracted the crème la crème of the automotive parts business to him. When he gained his “freedom”, Ubah applied his experiences as an apprentice to his own business. Although with little or no capital to start off with, he would enter into agreements with major suppliers of tyres in Lagos, who had trusted him so much that they could afford to sell to him on credit, send his goods to Accra, sell off on the spot and return to Lagos few days after with the cash to promptly settle his creditors. And the practice continued until he was able to have enough savings to establish and expand his business enterprise.
As a man who always sees beyond his peers, Ifeanyi Ubah took advantage of the fact that many of his peers in the business circles would send their goods outside the country and rely on agents to help them clear their goods, supply and sell to retailers, a process which was usually not free from encumbrances that delayed the turnaround time for the consummation of this business transactions, what Ifeanyi Ubah usually did was rather than hand over his transactions to agents, he would always travel ahead of his goods or shortly after they had left Nigeria, clear and sell same at the spot of clearance and return to the country immediately after for another round of deals. So while others were still on one deal, he would have completed three to five of such deals within the same period. He was always ahead. Always, always ahead!
So this led him to expand to Liberia but the war there scuttled his plans. He attempted another business start up in Sierra Leone, the war that erupted there also thwarted his efforts, so he relocated to the former Zaire which is today’s Democratic Republic of Congo.
His arrival to Congo was warmly received by citizens, Nigerians and the business community there as leading local and foreign business magnates there already knew him as one business man they could and indeed trusted any time they were in Nigeria. It was therefore not a surprise that just within three years of arriving the country, Dr Ubah became the executive president of the Nigerian community in Congo. Business was swift and sweet in Congo, he therefore decided to settle down there. From there he traversed the world closing multi-million dollars business deals.
After sometime and since there is no place like home, Ubah decided to return to Nigeria and invest. It was time to return home and contribute his own quota to the sociopolitical and economic development of his country of birth. Truly, doing business in Nigeria can be tough and frustrating but Ifeanyi Ubah’s main goal was more of reaching out to his people and touching lives with his enormous wealth. He remembered his roots and those he left behind in search of greener pastures. He just knew he could not pretend they still need him now more than ever. Charity more than profits compelled him to return!
He established Capital Oil & Gas, a now foremost company in Nigeria’s Oil & Gas sector through which he has given thousands of gainful direct and indirect employment to Nigerians while contributing his own quota to the economic development of Nigeria through that critical sector of our national life.
To further engage the youths meaningfully, Dr Ubah bought over Gabros FC and renamed it FC Ifeanyi Ubah of Nnewi. To show how serious he is with all his endeavours, he entered into a historic and strategic partnership with West Ham United FC of England and won the Nigeria FA Cup both feats achieved within just one year of taking over the hitherto lack luster club.
In his immediate community in Nnewi, his town of origin, Dr Ifeanyi Ubah singlehandedly provides light for the people to the extent that there is never darkness in the community. That community is lucky to be arguably the only community in Nigeria that enjoys power supply every night of everyday courtesy of the billionaire oil magnate.
In addition to this, the same community has its roads paved with interlocking stones and functional streetlights providing additional aesthetics to them.
Apart from taking over 80 youths from diverse backgrounds and states in Nigeria to London in an all-expense-paid trip to witness the signing ceremony of the partnership with West Ham FC, Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah confirmed his magnanimity and service to God through his many works of charity to mankind by taking over a hundred youths also from different backgrounds and states on an all-expense-paid trip to the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Russia where he also launched the One Family, One Football (1F 1F) Initiative which is meant to encourage every family in Nigeria to produce a footballer by providing them with complete kits and footballs for a member of every family. This is his own way of building stars for the nation, stars that would be empowered enough when they eventually go professional to in turn take care of their families and do the nation proud.
As a man born into poverty and who knew what it meant to be poor firsthand, Ifeanyi Ubah has tailored all his social and business activities towards helping the youths, women, the vulnerable and the less privileged in our society. He is the one who is also privileged to enjoy the Papal blessing of singlehandedly building the Catholic Cathedral of Nnewi Diocese. He has also done much more for the church beyond building the cathedral, too numerous to mention here.
The widows and orphans have also continued to be beneficiaries of his magnanimities through his philanthropic Foundation and also in collaboration with like-minded organizations. An astute believer in the Igbo cause, a tested and trusted businessman with an indisputable record for touching lives, a kingmaker in his own rights, Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general, are lucky to have such a man as one of ours.
To a highly spiritual man, loving husband and father, astute businessman, enigmatic politician, consummate billionaire, philanthropist extraordinaire, an uncommon achiever, mighty among men and yet so humble and caring, the Capital Oil & Gas CEO deserves many accolades on his birthday.
Men and women of goodwill join their voices to say, Congratulations Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah!
By Jude Ndukwe