by Stanley Azuakola
Jimoh Ibrahim is all the rage in Nigerian social media circles these days. And why not? Arguably, the most controversial businessman in the land, Ibrahim recently suspended the operations of both the Newswatch magazine and Air Nigeria. Apart from his legendary business closing abilities, perhaps the most distinctive thing about Ibrahim is his mouth — he shoots when he wants and doesn’t care who is hit by the missives.
We’ve compiled ten of the craziest comments by Jimoh Ibrahim in the last ten years.
1. January 12, 2012. At the peak of the oil subsidy saga and Occupy Nigeria movement, Ibrahim released a statement condemning those who linked him with the fuel subsidy.
“My attention has been drawn to some statements from some miscreants linking my name to subsidy collection from the federal government. Ordinarily, we should ignore such uneducated and uncivilised statements, which is at best the imagination of some lawless gangsters.”
2. February 24, 2012. Jimoh disclosed during an interview with the editorial board of the National mirror, what exactly set him apart from others.
“There is nothing that sets Jimoh Ibrahim apart from others, except that my ways are unusual; unusual to the circumstances that I find myself. To go a bit further, things my colleagues would play with, I don’t play with them, things like discipline, like copying common culture or common behaviour. You will not find me at parties, but that does not mean that I do not eat what they eat at parties.”
3. In the beginning (as told by Ibrahim during that same interview with the editorial board of National Mirror on February 24, 2012.)
“When I started primary school, I must tell you the truth, I was second last in my class. There used to be 24 pupils in a class. I always got the 23rd position. Ade, the son of a reverend, used to get the 24th position. So, we were best friends.”
4. May 2011. Consistently at loggerheads with the governor of his state, Olusegun Mimiko, Ibrahim who nursed governorship ambitions of his own, had this to say about his governor shortly after his (Ibrahim’s) mother was kidnapped in 2011.
“He (Mimiko) said he had made unsuccessful calls to my phone and bowed to apologise to me over my mother’s kidnap. I asked him if he was the kidnapper. Then he went back to the state and started publishing all manner of lies.”
5. Take a minute to meditate on this:
“Corporations are like individuals who naturally will get sick. the usual thing to do is admit them in hospitals either for corporate surgery or for treatment, as the case may be. I’m a corporate surgeon.”
6. May 2011. Still on the Mimiko-Ibrahim feud, Ibrahim famously kicked out Mimiko from his private aircraft and he explained his decision this way:
“Mimiko may burn the state on his own and put anybody’s name on it, but to us, that is not an issue. Our issue is that Mimiko visiting a private aircraft without invitation, when he is not an airport official, is a security risk and amounts to conduct unbecoming of a governor.”
7. Here’s why a major airline like Air Nigeria had to be closed down, from the mouth of none other than the closer himself:
“We had to close Air Nigeria due to staff disloyalty and environmental tension which are not conducive for business in the aviation sector.”
8. August 12, 2012. Premium Times newspaper quoted sources at a meeting with Jimoh Ibrahim, where he preached from the Bible to justify his suspension of Newswatch magazine. He had choice curses for those fighting against him, and of course a powerful analogy with none other for his mentor than God himself.
“I am even more lenient. When God got angry with the Israelites, he unleashed fire on them. I should be praised not criticised. As a considerate man, I’m not unleashing fire but simply suspending the magazine.”
9. March 5, 2001. In an interview with a reporter for the Saturday Tribune, Ibrahim offered the solution which if Baba had only listened, by now the country would have been better.
“If you now talk of monitoring the real sector, there will be lots of jobs for Nigerians to do. I have proposed to Chief Obasanjo and I charged N20 million, but Baba shouted at me and he did not want to pay the fee, so I did not want to give him the key. I said upgrade the Board of Internal Revenue to a full fledged ministry. Call it Ministry of Revenue, direct state governments to also upgrade their inland revenues to full fledged ministries and the country would be better.”
10. August 6, 2010. Asked whether Richard Branson had divested his 49 per cent stake in Air Nigeria (formerly Virgin Nigeria.), Ibrahim made one of his most famous quotes yet.
“I don’t deal with all these ones. What I am concentrating on is Air Nigeria. Air Nigeria is Air Nigeria and not Richard Branson. Richard Branson is only one individual and he is doing only one business which is aviation. I am bigger than Richard Branson. Why are you asking about Richard Branson? He is my colleague. What am I going to do with him? Currently in Air Nigeria, I control both the board and management. Does Richard Branson control anything there? I don’t have any problems with him. He is my friend.”