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Life after Covid-19; Lessons and Prospects-Aregbe Idris

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According to an old adage, ‘in every challenge there is an opportunity’. In crises situations the human mind is usually open to new thinking and new ways of doing things once thought impossible or too bold to imagine. The world has witnessed a spate of innovations on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also brings another well-worn saying to mind, that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’.

The COVID-19 crisis has not only been disruptive, but has created a “big reset” as the rapid changes taking place will last for years to come.

In just a few months, the world has changed, with the advent of the pandemic, rendering humans, economies, social life weak and fragile in a ravaging wave of viral global attack.

However, the crises has also offered some vital lessons in human existence going forward; lessons which are a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the ugly.

For the good, the pandemic brought out the humanity in a whole lot of people, who hitherto may not have known they possess the milk of kindness, helping one another in a time of dire need. It also extended to nations, laying differences aside to come to the aid of others needing help. The pandemic showed that humanity can indeed stay in peace, with even warring nations, or warring factions within nations all sheathing their swords to face a common enemy with one resolve. Humanity seemed far more connected than ever before the crisis. Every single story has been that of courage, collaboration, and action.

The importance of savings was brought to the fore, especially for the rainy day, which COVID-19 happened to be. Nigerians lack a savings culture and more people were financially caught off-guard by the pandemic. Given the fact that in this part of the world, savings is observed more in the breach, it only made a bad situation worse.

With the lockdown of economic activities occasioned by the crises, though now gradually being relaxed globally, working online has become quite comely and profitable for a number of firms. Going digital has become imperative with several companies urgently doing a digital transformation; involving tools, norms, culture, and behaviors.

Remote work has become a ‘new normal’ with a number of companies adopting the novel way to work. It has also opened up the prospect of having physically challenged people, many of whom are wizards in their vocation, but who up until now were mostly found unfit for regular work employment by a host of firms, now a very viable option for employment, with the prospect of increased quality and work output.

Online learning is also becoming a convenient alternative for a number of schools, that are providing tutorials for pupils and students all over the world; a defining experience in education going forward. People have learnt how to use their phones for multiple functions, they most likely would not have cared to before the pandemic; with many already profiting therefrom.

COVID-19 exposed some chinks in our armor as a nation, with particular reference to the great despondency birthed by a lack of health infrastructure and capacity to deal with seen and unforeseen health crises. There is a global consensus that human, health, and safety issues are paramount. This has manifested in subtle ways during this pandemic, with the shaking of hands going extinct, social distancing in every circle of human endeavor, wearing of face masks, etc.,

Preventing diseases is better than having to try and cure them. The pandemic has forced us to think about our mortality more than at any other time. It reminds us how important certain health safety nets are, especially in dire circumstances.

People are forcibly faced with the fear of death, making the place of health one important lesson to be taken from all of these.

 

To have a well-designed and functioning health system demands a deliberate policy and effort. It requires a large amount of investment and long-term planning. In 2001, African leaders pledged to invest around 15% of their budgets in health. Sadly by 2020, only five countries have fulfilled this promise, excluding Nigeria.

Seeing how we reacted to the COVID-19 outbreak shows just how little prepared we were for this pandemic. This is why it is crucial to take seriously the need to begin working at a comprehensive health system in the country. This is not for the benefit of the poor masses but for the benefit of all, as lessons from COVID-19 have offered. The situation could have been different with some high-profile deaths in the country of the disease.

Africa’s poor pharmaceutical capacity has been a source of ridicule, especially by foreigners, and no better time to address this anomaly than now. Bangladesh, a poorer country than many African countries, produces 97% of the national demand for medicines, in contrast to Africa which is almost 100% dependent on imports.

Things just have to change. The health sector in Africa and Nigeria particularly, should be strengthened by COVID-19. This is a decision that can no longer be postponed.

Crisis response is another big lesson from the pandemic. Crises response is something that our country will have to urgently embrace going forward. The COVID-19 pandemic is a Black Swan for African nations, as it speaks to health and the economy.

Even when there was a willingness by some states and the Federal Government to provide palliatives to cushion the effects of the disease, the lack of a comprehensive data base, was inimical to the exercise.

A continent feared for the worst in the pandemic, Africa was still deprived access to COVID-19 essentials, given the excessive global demand, which relegated it to the back of the queue. This is an early warning and lesson for Africa. Nigeria as with a host of African nations, needs to have in place social protection systems to mitigate the suffering of the continent’s most disadvantaged, especially in times of crises .

Coming on the back of the pandemic was a crash in global oil prices, which made nonsense of the country’s budget, passed less than two months earlier, once again pointing to the important lesson of  agriculture as the mainstay of the country’s economy.

According to The African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa will lose between $35 and $100 billion due to the fall in raw material prices caused by the pandemic, while the World Economic Forum (WEF) puts the continent’s global losses at $275 billion, which all show that Africa’s inequality gap will worsen in the coming years.

There will be layoffs, restructuring, and many difficult financial and human decisions ahead. Indeed, there will be many difficult decisions to make. But there must be plans in place for “things going wrong” as part of our everyday life going forward.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, the world’s social, economic and political resilience is surely going to be tested. Leaders will have to rethink many prior assumptions and find new balances for individual and collective behaviour.

As terrible as COVID-19 has been, we have to recognize that this may be the new normal. It may not be out of place to say that “Black Swan” events are here to stay, considering also the continuous looming impact of global warming and sea water rise, for example.

As a nation, we must be deliberately be geared in readiness for  responses to other future threats that have equal or greater potential for disruption. The present pandemic provides us the opportunity to once again take a peek into the causes of our underdevelopment and come up with strategic and in-depth approaches to human development, digitalization, industrialization and economic diversification.

Needless to say that opportunities will also emerge, with innovative minds enervated to the challenges that we collectively face, if the will to move forward is mustered and sustained, with lessons learnt from COVID-19.

 

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Everyone can make a difference in the fight against Covid 19 pandemic – Aregbe Idris

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Coronavirus came like a bolt from the blues. No one saw it coming, and even where scientists predicted an ominous pandemic, governments that have always been at the forefront of nipping such potential disasters in the bud, were numbed by exertions and postulations of superiority on political and economic terrains.

 

There is no doubt that economies are hibernating, interest rates have fallen to lowest possible levels, millions of jobs are projected to be lost, people are dying in rates only comparable to wartime situations, families and friends are being separated, the best hospitals and health tech facilities in the world are crumbling under the weight of overflowing casualties. All over the world the figures are increasing and here in Nigeria we listen to updates twice daily with frayed nerves.

A partial lockdown in our dear Lagos came into force a week before a total lockdown was announced by President Buhari to begin Monday March 30, 2020.  With 19 states of the Federation affected by the virus, different States have adopted different measures at curtailing economic activities. Some are on partial lockdown, some have imposed curfews, while some are even opening up their economies. The reality of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja has gradually played out in more ways than imagined or thought of, as more and more Nigerians find it excruciating staying locked in their homes with no food to eat and other essential needs, no water, even with its dire necessity at this time, and the traditional epileptic power supply which otherwise could have kept people more comfortable and also abreast with crucial information in the Covid-19 fight.

In the face of the lockdown, there have been agitations where people have expressed their annoyance with the government for ordering a lockdown without appropriate cushions to mitigate its effects.The worst part of the lockdown perhaps is the reported cases of daylight looting by miscreants and robbery by night marauders, incidents which have rocked parts of Lagos and Ogun States, turning residents into vigilante groups at night to ward off robbers, leaving others with one eye open while asleep.

These acts of thievery are totally unacceptable and must not be condoned, even with the fact that palliatives and other measures announced to cushion the stricture of the lockdown by the Federal Government are hardly felt by the larger society, over 70% of whom work in the informal sector and have to fend daily for their survival. The situation also underscores the urgent need to put quite a few things right in our country, and in alignment with acceptable global standards; for example, our health care facilities; which remain in deplorable condition with a long string of successive governments. It is time to seriously ponder automating processes of governance in the country. If the country had a comprehensive data base, at a time of emergency such as now, it would have made for easier, methodical and successful planning and implementation of whatever palliatives to dish out before locking down the country or more specifically the states locked down. As it were however, with an extension of the lockdown for another two weeks until April 27th, and with the waning hope of most Nigerians on the Federal Government to provide any reasonable relief, it does not cut a comfortable picture.

The Lagos State government’s palliatives was way ahead and a good intention it must be said. The Sanwo-Olu government has been the at the forefront of the fight and the model other governments have emulated in the Covid-19 fight. Indeed the effort of the Lagos State governor and his team in trying to ameliorate the bite of the lockdown must be commended, perhaps with little reservation in quantity and the manner of distribution.

At this point it is imperative to note that this fight goes beyond the government. The food distributors themselves and everyone involved in midwifing palliatives to the people must be honest and selfless in their approach and do the right thing, the right way. The effort of Nigerians at showing care and love is praiseworthy, even though the intention of some is just to get attention. In any case, It is not just a fight that demands support from only the Otedolas’ Dangotes’, Alakijas’ the Adenugas’ or Elumelus’ but also from the Yahayas’, Demolas’, the Uches’, Yetundes’etc. It demands all hands to be on deck. Every community has varying levels of wealthy people; while some have truly been showing care and love, more others need to be compassionate to the poor lot around them, as well as those who may not be considered poor but are in dire straits at this moment due to the pandemic.

Throughout history, every lifetime comes with its peculiar crisis or challenge, often requiring the efforts and contributions of every citizen to overcome. Covid-19 happens to be the crisis we face today, which requires the patriotic zeal of every Nigerian in the effort to put it behind us and move on with our normal lives. It may be likened to watching a horror movie, patiently waiting for ‘the end. Everyone is in a certain degree of fear and no one knows when it will end. That ending requires everyone to step up and contribute their quota and help in taking this war headlong.

While over 70% of Nigerians live from hand-to-mouth on less than $1 daily, many workers in the semi-private and SME’s sectors are yet to be paid their wages for March, as some employers are taking cover under the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, these people cannot stock up on food or other essentials, which all project deep concerns about the financial implications of the lockdown.

It is important to note that every country has different structures and capacities, and are also being hit by the virus in different ways, with some highly hit and some not as bad. Many nations of the world have risen from the desolation of adversity to attain remarkable heights of greatness. This pandemic being a time of solitude and introspection for many,  without doubt offers a world of lessons to individual citizens as well as leaders and governments, but it might well be said that, only the wise ones however, will be able to pull out some lessons from this unprecedented disaster.

It is a time different people are taking solace from different things to stay happy. While some find happiness with their phones, some cannot even turn on their phones. While some cannot afford data, some others are dealing with network and other related issues. While some don’t mind staying indoors, others love it out in the daylight. Much as some would prefer physical engagement with people, others find the isolation a time for reflections and re-arranging their priorities. It’s just a case of different folks, different strokes.

There are businesses that are making great profit at this time as well as those which are grounded. I have been in touch with a number of people in the last three weeks and I know friends who can afford to eat more than three square meals daily and others who are having difficulty having one per day. I have spoken with some friends to whom N500 means a lot to at this time and to others to whom N50,000 is nothing to. I have seen families left in anguish with nothing to fall back on, worsened by the fact that they cannot step out. I see 24 hours running like 72 hours daily.

Apparently a lot of people are increasingly getting despondent. It is therefore a time that well meaning individuals, corporate and responsible citizens should show some level of responsibility, in complementing government’s efforts at defeating this enemy, not just for the government, but for us all.

Our campaign at staying home and staying safe implies a directive for people with homes. However, how about those without homes? These people are also our brothers and sisters who need our support and help, and there couldn’t be a more opportune time for that than now.

As an nation, we must rise up and help ourselves. It is not the fight of the government alone. The government has set the ball rolling so, we must stand firm, continuing to follow all given directives to ensure a successful curbing of the virus; we should reach out in genuine love to one another. This goes beyond just donating money to the government, but also looking and touching areas that the lives of ordinary Nigerians could be impacted the most. You might just be doing it for your own good.

As Mrs Ibukun Awosika, who has also stepped out on this issue rightly coins it, “every one of us holds a piece of what is required to build the right world where we can all survive.”

That piece in your hand might just be the needed bit to make the difference in lives of the needy at this challenging time.

I dearly hope that we’ll learn some lessons in the aftermath of this pandemic and become even more united than ever. I also use this opportunity to implore security operatives drafted to enforce the lockdown not to get trigger-happy or assault innocent Nigerians who are going through a lot right now, but to remain friendly while carrying out their lawful assignment.

 

We’re all in this together, Together we’ll end this pandemic, Together we’ll be stronger, Together we can reset our our minds on the paths of genuine patriotism, and Together in love against Covid-19, victory is sure.

 

Once again, I am Aregbe Idris, willing and PLAYING MY PART; PLAY YOURS!

 

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China to Lagos, the frightening timeline of a deadly virus

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By Olusegun Fafore

Fatality rate across the globe since the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Chinese town of Wuhan on December 31, 2019 has signalled that this is not the best of times for humanity.  With about 8, 988 deaths and 220,877 people infected in 176 countries since the first death was recorded in China on January 11, 2020, the pandemic has boisterously announced its immensity.

Frighteningly, the virus claims human lives daily while science is still struggles with an absolute response to the scourge.  More than before, humanity has become vulnerable, and at the mercy of government policies. From one end of the world to the other, governments and political leaders are facing a whirlwind that is testing their leadership. Leaders are subjected to unusual trials and are desperate for solution(s).

In search of safety from the grip of the easily transmittable coronamicrobe, man is turning to the State for actions that will stem the tide, and provide succour at this difficult period. Sadly, no nation is capable of shielding the other. The ravaging disease does not regard the medically and scientifically advanced nations in its manifestation, so it is every nation to herself first, hence the increasing instances of border closure and entry restrictions.

To humble humanity and heighten our fears, the epidemic started its cudgelling from the most advanced to the not-so-advanced countries of the world.  Nations like China, Italy, USA, Spain, Iran, Germany and France are the worst hit, while African countries like Nigeria, Togo, Somalia and Congo have had minimal impact. Only 12 deaths out of the 590 reported cases have been reported so far in Africa.

It may be safe to argue that the worst-hit countries, with records of deaths in thousands since the outbreak of the deadly disease, are ‘host country’ and ‘high-traffic areas’, but a different perspective will be that China is where the virus originated from, other countries classified as high-traffic areas, are inheritors like Nigeria and other sub-Saharan Africa countries, and should have had lesser impacts as well.

The truth is that danger is looming and humanity is under attack. While the response strategies by Nigeria and some other countries may have contained the spread of the deadly disease, especially in Africa; this terrifying development has justified the need for increased collaboration and support amongst the nations of the world. Humans have to come together to protect their turf.

The hurried spread of Coronavirus across the globe has shown that we are closer than the flight time from one region to the other suggests. People from one continent are just one person away from contingents from other continents. Asians are not far from Africans, so are Australians close to Americans, because there is no distance in human linkage(s).

We now know that the world is one small circle that can be covered in just few days. There is no better authentication of this statement than the number of human victims succumbing to the lethal calls of microbes globally. The fact that a disease starts in a remote part of the world and travels across the hemisphere to other parts in hours proves that we are not as isolated as we had always thought.

Outbreaks of pandemics like HIV/AIDS, Ebola and Coronavirus are compelling enough for us to rethink our humanity. More than wars, epidemics are greater threats to humankind. It is therefore important that global leaders, multilateral agencies and international organisations align on investment in critical health infrastructure and scientific breakthroughs to sustain our reign on planet earth.

Microbes and diseases are interested in our world. These horrible impostors are keen on displacing us in our hundreds, thousands and millions, if we continue to live the way we have always lived and refused to exploit our mutual strengths. For pandemics, the fate of Africa is always a concern to the global health community. This is because of the continent’s history of poor investment in health care and hindered scientific advancement.

The African continent was not known to stand-up to its health challenges, or any global health problems. Until the containment of Ebola outbreak in 2014 when Nigeria offered the best of Africa to the world, no one ever thought that there could be a coordinated response to a pandemic by Africans.

As one of the immediate destinations of the hemorrhagic fever (Ebola) which originated from Liberia when thousands were sick and dying in the West African regions of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (28, 616 cases and 11, 310 deaths), Lagos was gripped by fear and thrown into panic because of the devastating statistics.

The epidemic claimed the life of Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, the Lead Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at a private hospital in Lagos, who remains the heroine of the battle against the Ebola pandemic in Nigeria, but the capacity of the State to speedily deploy resources to contain the spread of the deadly disease and limit casualties to 8 deaths out of the 20 cases was globally commended by the time we defeated the outbreak in September 2014.

Lagos State Government showed the world what Africans could do in times of crisis to forestall a continent-wide spread of dreaded diseases. The promptness and efficiency of the State response system protected Nigeria’s over 22 million population, occupying a landmass of approximately 3345km2 , from the highly infectious disease.

The averted calamity, considering that Lagos population density was 20, 000 per persons per square kilometre in built up areas, would have been colossal. Poor management of the situation would have spelt a total disaster for the country, and perhaps Africa’s over 1.2bn people.

That was a global tragedy contained. Really, such an incident should attract and induce multilateral support, in form of capacity building and investment in health infrastructure in certain areas of the world. Weaknesses or lack of capacity in certain locations in the face of pandemic outbreaks endanger the whole world, no matter how distant anyone may be from the originating country.  Before Coronavirus, China was very far, right?

Locations like Lagos are central to global wellbeing and progression of human health agenda for a number reasons. Notable amongst these is that the world cannot afford a weak link in the aggressive campaign for health security and wellbeing.

For a destination with two domestic airports, an international airport and two seaports, which are adjudged to be the largest and busiest on the African continent, a national or subnational government can only do little in combating security, socio-economic and health challenges or threats, when they emerge from the interconnectedness of our world.

Lagos is only exemplary in fighting the scourge of COVID-19 because of deliberate government policy and leadership commitment to quality public health.  The Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, before the outbreak had taken a strong position that made the State response to the menace adequate.

As Incident Commander, his outlook inspired great confidence in the Lagos State Incident Command Team battling the menace of the deadly disease in Lagos, but would this have been the story if Africa was the origin of this deadly virus?

What would the pressure on Lagos facility and the outcomes of the unanticipated stretch of the State health facility and preparedness for incidents, which have drawn commendations from far and near, especially by the World Health Organisation (WHO) been?

Yes, since the detection of the first case of Coronavirus on February 27, 2020, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu has remained resolute in curbing the spread of the virus and preventing human casualty. But in reality, megacities like Lagos and other densely populated regions in the world require increased global support and collaboration towards improving healthcare and proving world-class facility. This will not only strengthen the State’s capacity to combat situations such as this, but also bolster its ability to provide support for other destination in the region during emergencies.

So far, Governor Sanwo-Olu’s decisions and actions have significantly moderated the possible spread of the microbe and doused fears that Coronavirus could sweep the entire country in matter of days. To manage the situation, Lagos State activated its emergency health management and response framework, embarked on a mass enlightenment campaign about the importance of personal hygiene, closed schools and prohibited public engagements with more than 50 participants at a single location in the State.

Some of these decisions are tough because of the socio-economic texture of Lagos. But indeed, times are hard, and only tough decision could help humans chase microbes off our streets. As social animals, the chances that these aliens will creep into our system are very high, and definite, if we fail to demonstrate a certain level of watchfulness over ourselves. We need to help the response system work by following simple guidelines. When government demonstrates political will, citizens should reciprocate with commitment.

But more importantly, it has become better known that our spaces in the world are shared facilities. Therefore, we need to increase our humanity. Leading nations, global leaders, civil society activists, well-meaning individuals, international organisations and multilateral agencies, need to rethink what our investment priorities should be. The focus of innovation and scientific advancement need to shift to healthcare infrastructure and systems in high population density regions of the world.

#coronavirus

Fafore is the Executive Assistant on Public Relations and New Media to the Governor of Lagos State.

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Ibeto: An Enthralling Story of an Achiever

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By Ingram Osigwe

If you are 13 years old and in your mind’s eye, you were already seeing yourself among vivacious crowd of age mates resplendent in their forget-me-not secondary school uniforms, chattering away heartily in a classroom, and just when that dream was about to berth on the shores of reality, your own biological father rudely abort it, what will you do? Crestfallen and disappointed, will you turn your back on life and bemoan your fate for ever?
Some people with fickle spirit will. But the likes of Dr.Cletus Madubugwu who are made with sterner stuff and blessed with a can do spirit that does not yield to despair will soldier on with life, turn the disappointment into a blessing in disguise and later in life have an inspiring story to tell.
And that was the exactness of what the then young Ibeto did when his dream for secondary education crashed on January 22, 1966.
On that day, the young lad was in high mood. He looked forward to a new and exhilarating life as a fresh student of Crusader Secondary School, Isingwu Amachala, Umuahia.
Gaily dressed in his school uniform and armed with his school box, Ibeto was set to depart for Umuahia to begin a life as secondary school student and then suddenly his father made a shattering proclamation that would leave hot tears cascading the young man’s cheeks, crestfallen, disappointed and embittered: He was to make a detour to trading rather than education.
There and then, Ibeto was parceled, willy nilly, to Onitsha to begin apprenticeship in auto spare part szas a trader under the tutelage of one Akamelu.
And so began his journey through life’s pumpy road which would dramatically signpost his subsequent rise to the top.It will be safe to say that Ibeato’s eventual road to prominence was watered by grit- determination to succeed and excell after a devastating and unsettling dream crash.
Fifty- four years down the lane, Ibeto has not only shrugged off that initial life hiccup but he has also left bold imprints on the sands of time.
His zero to hero story typifies the rise of the proverbial Phoenix.From grand zero, Ibeto has built a multi- billion dollars business conglomerate, the Ibeto Group, spanning real estate, Petro-chemical, cement, Auto parts, hospitality, oil, commodity trading among others.
Naturally blessed with business acumen and fecundity of ideas, Ibeto’s apprenticeship on auto- spare part was abbreviated by the civil war. He was himself a combatant in the war having joined the Biafran Army at the outbreak of hostilities.
Surviving the war by the whiskers, he launched himself back into the world of trading at the end of hostilities. Thus, at the end of the civil war in 1970 Ibeto was already an enterprising young businessman. Ingenious and enterprising, Cletus Ibeto had started his business career in 1970 stepping into what has now become a massive business dream with the establishment of Ibeto Brothers Trading Company as its sole proprietor.
However, his major business break came during the administration of president Shehu Shagari, profiting massively from a policy change during that era. There was a policy that goods could be imported without import licence but as Nigerian’s external reserves began to dry up, the Shagari government had to introduce import licence.
The uncertainty forced many importers to suspend importation in order to monitor the new policy.
But braving the uncertain situation, Ibeto moved quickly to secure the N3 million import licence at a time a dollar sold for 68 kobo. With the licence, he imported 65 containers of vital motor parts. By the time other importers could wake up to get the license, the government had tightened the screws and made it almost impossible for anyone to obtain the license. Almost at the same time, the Shagari’s government was toppled which made matters worse as it resulted in borders being closed.
The Nnewi born business mogul then virtually became a monopolist for motor spare parts. He confessed that the moment was a turning point for his life and business. He was selling at almost 500% mark up and people were buying!
His words: “That was the turning point for me.Come and see the line-up of people who wanted the spare parts. I was packing money with cartons. There was no armed robbery then, no kidnapping. It was a seller’s market. And the mark up was almost 500% but people were buying! In fact, within two days of the arrival of the containers, I made four million pounds”
Diversification was flowery and seamless for Ibeto, swiftly moving from an importer of auto spare parts to automotive lead-acid batteries and plastic accessories merchant. Then in 1988, he delved into manufacturing when he completed his factory in Nnewi and stopped direct importation of lead-acid automotive battery and plastic motor accessories. By 1995, the company had become one of the largest auto spare parts manufacturing outfit in Nigeria.

A year later, Ibeto would further expand his business operations by diversifying into other sectors thus establishing Ibeto Petrochemicals Industries Limited. His petrochemicals industry owns one of the largest liquid facilities for petroleum products in Nigeria.
Subsidiaries under the Ibeto group are legion and they include Union Autoparts manufacturing Co. Ltd which was incorporated on 2nd June 1987.The company is a major player in automotive lead-acid battery manufacturing in Nigeria. The interesting thing is that the company produces locally, from its lead and aluminum smelting plant, all the lead and aluminum required for its operations.
It has the capacity to produce, annually; 300,000units of lead/acid batteries, 120,000 units of sealed maintenance-free batteries, 5,500tonnes of lead, 500 tonnes of accessories and 1,500 tonnes of friction parts.
There is also the Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Ltd. It was established in October 1996 with a blending plant in Nnewi, Anambra State. The company blends oil lubricants and produces various types of petroleum products for local and international markets. The Petro-Chemical company also owns one of the largest liquid storage facilities for petroleum products in Nigeria with a capacity of over 60,000 metric tones located at Apapa Wharf and Ibru Jetty Complex, Lagos.
Ibeto Cement Company Ltd produces bagged cements at its bagging terminal at Bundu Ama, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Ibeto Cement commenced operation in 1997 with the importation of bagged cement from Portland before establishing Ibeto Cement in 2001.
In 2018, Ibeto Cement Company Limited announced a reverse merger with Century Petroleum Corporation, a United States (U.S.) publicly-traded petroleum exploration and production company. This was aimed at taking the global markets by storm and bypass the complex process of listing. The company was to acquire a 70% controlling stake of Century Petroleum and thus Cletus Ibeto was subsequently made the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Ibeto’s foray into cement business saw him establishing Eastern Bulkcem Company Ltd
The company is also engaged in the importation of bulk cement and bagging of same in its factory premises in Rumuolumeni waterfront, Rivers State.
Eastern Bulkcem equally owns 60% of Nigeria Cement Company Plc (NIGERCEM), Nkalagu, Ebonyi State.
NIGERCEM was very important for Ibeto; if he was to remain an importer of cement, he needed to own a cement manufacturing plant as it was the requirement. Owning NIGERCEM did not come easy as the then Ebonyi state governor, Martin Elechi was against the acquisition. Ibeto fought him head-on like a wounded lion until he had NIGERCEM secured. NIGERCEM gave him the initial stability he needed to continue in the cement business.
King’s Palace Hotels Ltd was established in March 1985 and has become synonymous with hospitality. Kings’ Palace is located at the heart of Nnewi and has played a significant role in the economic and tourism development in Anambra State.
Ibeto Energy Development Ltd is Ibeto’s response to the energy need of the country. The company was established in April 2008 in line with federal government’s aspiration to exploit the available natural gas in the Niger Delta Region for economic development.
Palmex Agencies Limited was incorporated in September 1998 and engaged in general merchandising. The company imports and distributes commodity items like rice, sugar and fertilizer.
Ibeto Industries Ltd is the flagship. It was incorporated in 1984 to serve the Nigerian public in their quest for colour print and photographic processing. Ibeto industries have modern printing machines that meet the need of customers and they have branches across Nigeria.
Odoh Holdings Ltd made a debut in March 1985.It is the real estate arm of the Ibeto. The company owns properties in prime areas of Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha and Nnewi.
Ibeto Hotel Abuja is a 100-room four-star property which was commissioned early in 2013 and the company has interest in replicating Ibeto Hotel Abuja in other major cities in Nigeria.
Ibeto believes in ethics in business even if its application or observances will cause him money and business opportunities.A veteran journalist, Mike Awoyinfa tells an enchanting story of how Ibeto elected to lose millions of dollars during the gulf war than compromise on business ethics: “Ibeto said that during the Gulf War II, his company received a lot of pressure from Saddam Hussien’s officials who badly wanted Union Recycling Plant to export the lead products refined by his company at very lucrative terms, but the company turned down the tempting offer because Ibeto believed that such leads would go into production of dangerous weapons of war by Saddam. This was far more ethical than a business decision, but Ibeto argued to his astonished management that even though the group desperately needed the fund to inject into the the construction of the cement terminals at Bundu Ama Creek.
Born on November 6, 1952 in his home town, Obiofia Umuenem, Otolo Nnewi in Anambra State, Ibeto is humble, unassuming and focused.Through his philanthropic gestures Ibeto has lifted thousands of people out of poverty. He has also helped other top business persons from Nnewi.
A large hearted and ever kindly disposed community developer and human capacity builder, Cletus Ibeto has to his credit the following notable philanthropic milestones, amongst several others:
The award of over 200 secondary and university scholarships to deserving, indigent Nigerian youths.
Instituted and maintains in perpetuity a prize award foundation for the best graduating student in pediatrics at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, College Of Medicine, Nnewi, Anambra State.
Instituted and maintains in perpetuity a prize award foundation for the best graduating student in the department of Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State.
Extensive Community Support Services in: Rural Electrification projects with donation and installation of transformers, borehole water projects to communities and institutions of learning.
Constructed and maintains a 20km road and a multipurpose hall for Nnewi community.
Constructed the biggest but yet-to-be commissioned N650 Million-worth Medical Diagnostic Center at the University of Nigeria (UNN), Enugu Campus (renowned to be the largest in the West African sub region).
Constructed and donated Departmental buildings to Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi.
On the construction of the most modern and contemporary Catholic Youth Village located in Amansea (near Awka) in Anambra State, Dr Ibeto was acknowledged as the single largest donor and developed 250 number self-contained rooms of hostel accommodations within the Village designed to mitigate the accommodation challenges of students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
Constructed and donated a world class church building, chancery and Conference Centre to St. Cletus Catholic Church, Otolo Nnewi, Anambra State.
Sponsors annual comprehensive medical/surgical outreaches to communities that have restored health to thousands of sick and helpless Nigerians and prevented death for many.
Extensive development programme for host communities to his numerous businesses.

Though denied access to formal by his father at 13, that burning desire to see the four walls of a classroom remained aflame. Ibeto for he would later sat for his WASSCE at the age of 48 and got a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from University of Nigeria, Nsukka at the age o f 54. He was subsequently honoured with a Doctor of Business Administration degree from the same University.
Over the years, he has had numerous trainings at seminars and conferences within the country, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Japan.
Ibeto had earlier attended St. James Primary school, Owerrinta in the present day Imo state.
Come March 2020, another enchanting feather will be added to Dr.Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto’s crowded crown and another honour done him yet as the Ebonyi state University confers on him Honorary Doctorate Degree on Business Administration.
Before the EBSU honour, Ibeto’s gallery of Honours brimmed with assortment of awards and recognitions, including:
Gold Service Award from the Rotary Club of Enugu, Rotary International District 9140.
Three-Ruby Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation International.
Certificate of Merit from the Government of Anambra State of Nigeria.
Award of Excellence by the Pilgrims Africa Health Foundation.
National Honour, Officer of Order of the Niger, OON.
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Honoris Causa, University of Nigeria.
National Honour, Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON.
And friends and business associates who have followed Ibeto’s life trajectory testify that the Honorary award is a fitting, proper, deserving and eloquent recognition and testimony of of his years of entrepreneurship, hard work, tenacity of purpose and service to humanity.

Ingram Osigwe is the MD/CEO of Full page international communications Ltd writes from Lagos.

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