Thursday 21st September, 2017
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Ifeanyi Ubah and the primacy of ideas

Ifeanyi Ubah and the primacy of ideas

In the immediate past years, between 2011 and 2014, to be specific, media handlers of former President Good­luck Ebele Jonathan had been so complacent and ineffective that not even a scintilla of Jonathan’s numerous achievements was seen in the public domain. This triggered a media blitz during which the then opposition party, which controlled more than 80 per cent of the media in Nige­ria, employed the most acidic language in an attempt to dero­gate and to pull down the gov­ernment of Dr. Jonathan. There was no dirty word which was not employed or deployed to at­tack Jonathan. He was described as “clueless”, “incompetent” and “visionless”. This lack of percep­tion management on the part of Jonathan’s core team was to be observed by an uncommon Ni­gerian business mogul and mul­titalented individual called Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah who has a knack for brand management.
In a robust deconstruction of the Jonathan administration, using itself as a philosophic construct and a programmatic agenda, Ubah’s singlehandedly formed and funded Transfor­mation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) consequently redefined the territory of debate and cap­tured the Nigerian public ad­vocacy space to the consterna­tion of players in the media and brand management business. For those who study him at very close range, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah (Ebube Chukwu Uzo), Chair­man and Managing Director of Capital Oil & Gas Industry Lim­ited, Chairman and Publisher of The AUTHORITY Media Group and erstwhile candidate of the Labour Party in the Anambra 2013 gubernatorial election, is more than an institution. He is simply a phenomenon whose corpus requires a large canvas. It is indeed possible to distinguish at least two distinctive though overlapping phases in the critical evaluation of the Ifeanyi Ubah phenomenon. The first centres on the validity of Ubah’s business acumen and political dogged­ness as an adequate rendering of the Igbo spirit of enterprise and deft capitalist ethos. This phase began with his humble background as a son of indigent teachers and his consuming de­sire coupled with determination and extra-ordinary effort to rise above the common herd.
Although specific scholarly argumentative study of the Ifeanyi Ubah phenomenon will certainly evolve with time, the larger-than-life stature this Nnewi-born billionaire busi­ness mogul and politician has assumed in recent months as a virtuoso of the Nigerian econo-political power calculus is sure to legitimatize the claim in some quarters that, in spite of every­thing else, Ifeanyi Ubah is an uncommon icon. In fact, he is tempestuous. The second phase accentuates his looming attempt to become governor of Anambra state in 2013 and his spectacu­lar and superlative domination of the public advocacy space in Nigeria using his Non-Gov­ernmental Organistion, solely funded by him, to rebrand for­mer President Jonathan. TAN brought about a sweeping revo­lution in the public advocacy space in Nigeria between 2014 and 2015. The hitherto narrow space had been broadened by the sudden emergence of the or­ganization. Like a thunderbolt, it took even those who had been involved in public discourses and communication by surprise. At any point in time, over 50,000 Nigerians were found discussing TAN on the Internet. Before the TAN revolution, Jonathan had been at the receiving end of a very bad press, during which he himself confessed, it was impos­sible for him to sleep.
To paraphrase one Dr. Pros­per Ahworegba, writing in P. M NEWS of May 12, 2014: “From acerbic press conferences, and/or statements by international icons to scathing editorials by media houses, both local and foreign, the President has been ridiculed, vilified and maligned using all known literary weapons-carica­ture, burlesque, lampoon, mim­icry, parody, travesty, and even outright abuse to maximum ef­fect.” In fact, the public image of Jonathan then was badly and irretrievably wounded. Then came Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah with the TAN vision from nowhere, with a manifest gusto to canalize all hitherto dangerous proclivi­ties into harmless channels for Jonathan. From well-articulated interviews on television, radio and informed commentaries in the print media to critical in­terventions on the social media and billboard adverts, employ­ing modern ICT to maximum effect, without resorting to abuse or attacks on any individual, or­ganisation or institution, Nigeri­ans now started appreciating the untiring efforts of Jonathan at transforming Nigeria to a better society, through the effort of Dr. Ubah. In fact, TAN had become a household name in Nigeria, especially after its nationwide zonal rallies, and the grand fi­nale which was held at the Ea­gles Square in Abuja. Had the PDP allowed the organization to lead Jonathan in the presiden­tial campaigns, everyone knows what would have happened.
It was therefore not surpris­ing for people in certain quarters to refer to Dr. Ubah as the most hardworking political strate­gist and kingmaker in Nigeria who had succeeded in giving the former President a befitting repackaging. Ubah is not only a super-strategist, the Harvard University-trained businessman is a workaholic and taskmaster who works round the clock to get things done for effective re­sult. No wonder, the young man came to Nigeria from abroad around 2002; started his oil business in 2006 by learning the nitty-gritty of the trade from the cradle and in a twinkling of an eye, he saw himself controlling 35 per cent of the down stream sector of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria through sheer drive and determination. His is the story of a young man driven by ruthless zeal and commitment to create something out of noth­ing. It is therefore not surprising that such a man bobbling with energy would always look for something spectacular to do that would stand him out as a polyva­lent genius.
Today, Ifeanyi Ubah is not only the publisher of one of the fastest growing newspapers in the world (The AUTHORITY debuted on the newsstands in October 2015, just a year ago), he is the founder of one of the fast­est growing football club sides in the world. FC Ifeanyi Ubah formed in 2015, has become the youngest club to win the Nige­rian Federation Cup, after barely two years in existence. Nobody gave the club a chance to sur­vive against the backdrop of a hostile socio-political environ­ment. One newspaper even pub­lished on Sunday with picture on front page how their opponents, Nasarawa United would defeat FC Ifeanyi Ubah in the tension-soaked final match played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in La­gos. But the forward looking and resolutely determined Chair­man, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah would not be deterred. The Nnewi boys confounded the bookmakers. With a consummate mien, the multi-billionaire is seen every­where dazzling with his percep­tion management skills, making things happen. Gone are the days when the tycoons who ran the big clubs around the world were scarcely seen or heard. Now, Ubah has joined the elite club of global soccer czars made up of the likes of Sir John Hall, Alan Sugar and Martin Edwards, who have begun to loom as large in the public eye as their high profile managers and star play­ers. In other climes, this 45 year old brand expert deserves to be celebrated. For him, this is just the beginning. The best is yet to come! All hail Dr. Ubah and his team, the Anambra Warriors!

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