Born February 24, 1967 to the family of Alhaji Yakubu and Omofemiwa Jimoh in Igbotako in Okitipupa, Ondo State, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim’s story is what you could call grass to grace. His father who had seven wives and 40 children is a bricklayer and his mother a fish seller.
He had his early education at Community Grammar School, Igbotako and from there to Federal School of Arts and Science, Ondo. He proceeded to study Law at Lagos State University and later changed to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in Osun State, for a degree in International Law and Masters in Public Administration. He also obtained a Masters degree in Economic and International Tax at Harvard University. He worked as a Consultant to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on tax reforms in Croatia and Estonia. He was also part of the Harvard team that went to Bangladesh to build the tax reforms.
With seven lawyers in his Law and Justice Chambers, he practiced Law for six years, appearing in various courts from the magistrate to the Supreme Court. He authored Indigenous Governance in Nigeria and published two volumes on Mohammed Bello.
He was a Special Adviser to the first Military Administrator of Bayelsa State, a member of the exclusive Federation Account Allocation Committee and was Chairman of FAAC News, the first monthly magazine that published the activities of that Committee. He was Executive Secretary, African Center for Policy Studies; consultant to various bodies and multilateral institutions; Chairman Global Fleet Companies and Group Managing Director, NICON Group.
As a youngster he got petty contracts and used some of his father’s bricklaying materials to execute them. He started making millions in his mid 20s, making his first million during his youth service period.
He discovered that the Local Governments did not have a law of their own, but the state and the federal government had. So he packaged a local government seminar on law for all the local governments in the country and that fetched him N3.6 million. That same year, he organized about 14 workshops for top public functionaries at all tiers of government and by the time he was finishing youth service, he had about N70 million in his account.
It was through one of those seminars that he learnt about the huge amount of revenue Nigeria lost to withholding tax by big oil companies. His further research made him submit his findings in form of a proposal that he could recover the funds as a consultant to the federal government but with a specific percentage as his commission. His submission was approved and within a short period of time he was remitting billions of Naira to the account of the federal government.
He acquired with the money he made from seminars a swampy land at the Victoria Garden City (VGC) gate, which he later transformed into an ultra-modern filling station with two expensive banking halls. Barrister Jimoh who used to sleep four hours a day when he started, was the one who brought the concept of bringing in banking halls into oil marketing. Though the initial budget for the outfit was N21 million, two banks paid a rent of over N40 million which was too much to build the Station. The surplus was invested in real estate. After the VGC outlet, he opened another station at Ilupeju bypass.
He contested for the governorship of Ondo State under the platform of ANPP in 2003 and lost to Chief Agagu. Global Fleet Oil and Gas came as a result of his political experience. When he was contesting in the gubernational elections, setting up Ondo oil was an item on his manifesto, so when he didn’t win, he decided to go ahead with the idea. The only difference was change of name.
When it was finished, three banks wanted it at the same time. In less than a month the VGC and Ilupeju Stations built the Shomolu Station and a bank paid the rent on it. Within a few years, he was able to acquire hundreds of filling station and has vowed never to stop until he gets to one thousand. He currently imports petroleum and has a big storage depot in Apapa.
Today, he has ventured into several businesses. They include hospitality industry, telecommunication, banking, real estate, block making, carpentry, industrial dry cleaning, roofing tiles, insurance etc. His has 70 per cent (N46 billion) equity stake in NICON. He also staked a claim in the purchase and control of Executive Airlines Services (EAS), an airline operator which was changed to NICON Airways. He also acquired majority stake in Virgin Nigeria, and changed its name to Air Nigeria. Air Nigeria is poised to become the National carrier. The NICON Group now has eleven subsidiaries: Nicon Properties; Nicon Energy; Nicon Academy; Nicon Trustee; Nicon Insurance; Nicon Investment; Nicon PFA; Nicon Hotels; Nicon Sao Tome and Nicon United Kingdom.