Chairman, Capital Oil & Gas Ltd, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah in this piece presents the restlessness and vision of someone, who early considered his humble background as a box that should not determine how far he would go in life. In discussing the big moments leading to his prominence in the society, Uba believes certain defining decisions he made along the line could be useful for anyone.
I am from a humble background. It was very tough but God in his infinite mercy favour me and it has been great so far. Sometimes, Ifeanyi Uba is highly misunderstood and people try to make the name look controversial. I thank God for his grace upon my life and I know that the blessings of God will get back to humanity. If someone who God has blessed forgets his people, God can take back the blessing. I am the son of a teacher. I was doing very well when I was growing up but at a point, I looked at my parents and I advised myself that I have to be more useful.
At the age of 17, I was already struggling to see how I can put food on the table. It is very important for people to aspire to be great in life but while aspiring to be great, they must have the fear of God. I am the first son of my parents, I have three elder sisters. I have always been known as someone who stands for the truth. When I was growing up, there was a day my mother was at loggerheads with my grandmother over who should harvest our breadfruit in the village, knowing very well that my grandmother had always been the one who harvested it and shared with others, my mother felt it was time for the harvesting responsibility to be passed on to her. To her surprise, I stood on the side of my grandmother and she was very embittered. She even labelled me a traitor. I explained to her that my grandmother played a very important role in the family, because without her, neither my father nor she would have been born into the Ubah family. That was how the responsibility of harvesting the fruit remained with her.
Disappointed and downcast
When I was young, I played a great deal of football as a goalkeeper both at school and in my community. On one occasion, I sneaked away from the house to play football at the camp. My parents began to search for me at home. When they did not see me, my father headed to the coach’s house where he found me. He angrily asked me if I could not stay at home and help with the chores. At the time, football was not as profitable and fashionable as it is now. My father angrily asked what I wanted to do. He asked if I wanted to go to school, learn a trade or play football. I told him that I preferred business. He was disappointed and downcast. He asked me if I expected him to tell his colleagues that a teacher’s son wants to become a street hawker. I told him not to worry that I would make him proud. Even though I could hustle to earn money independently, I just couldn’t see myself allowing my father to go through the stress of paying the school fees of my elder sisters, my younger ones and myself from his meagre salary. I took a decision so that we would not, in the end, go into farming to sustain our family. I felt it was time for me to step out and assist my parents.
I struggled hard. I left Nigeria at 19 and I became a millionaire when I bought my first car. At 20 , I became a dealer in liquid diamond at the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the time, I would go all the way to South Africa to sell my products. I made it so big that I started to charter an airplane. Along the way, I was heartbroken by the woman I wanted to marry, this made me angry and as God would have it, at 21, I met my wife and the same day I met her, I proposed to her. I told my parents that I wanted to get married.
Rich single man
They tried to discourage me, saying that I was still very young and that marriage should not be my priority. I explained to them the problems of being a rich single man and living in the DRC, with the associated dangers of loose women frolicking around me. In those days, DRC was known for Beer, Music and Women, BMW. With my explanation, they had no choice but to respect my decision to get married, to avoid me being distracted. Marriage was the only option to help me concentrate and focus. In all, I did not have the opportunity to enjoy the days of my youth as most people did. However, I don’t regret that, since God blessed me with a wonderful partner who has always been there for me, without whom I would not have achieved all that I have today. I don’t seek to have the whole world and lose my soul.
My political value is not only known in Anambra State but across the country. Our major task now is to take the YPP to other states in the South-East zone and beyond. I have fought for the interest of the Igbo all over the country. I have given so much to All Progressives Grand Allinace ,APGA, in the past including making sure that the party continues to exist.