Oct 31, 2011 – Jimoh Ibrahim’s Air Nigeria in Crisis– Airline Profit Diverted
According to global news, many will argue that he’s one of the most successful businessmen in the country, while others will call him a killer of ailing business. Whichever of the two categories, self-acclaimed billionaire, Chief Jimoh Ibrahim fits in well. The man who at a time tagged himself Donald Trump ofAfrica, has for some time now been buying into many businesses, especially ailing ones.
He started when he bought into Government-owned African Petroleum (AP) but he was surprised when the ownership was later taken away from him, after which he complained bitterly.
He recently acquired the country’s national carrier, Virgin Nigeria, and he immediately changed the name to AirNigeria. Though at the initial stage he released money for the new company to buy new aircraft to facilitate the running of the airline. This forced many who were sure he would kill the business to think that the airline would not go the way of EAS, an airline he bought which he allowed to die on the allegation that he had a disagreement with the board.
It has been more than a year since he took over the administration of AirNigeria, and unknown to many, the company is at the moment enmeshed in a crisis that may lead to where most of his acquired businesses end up. The crisis is that the man who wants to be the only authority in all his businesses has no regard for due process and has been accused by many of his staff of not being a good administrator. A source informed that he enters into the company anytime he likes to empty their earnings and this, we learnt, has forced his Human Resources Manager (HRM) to resign his appointment. Sources said the man was forced to resign when he realized there’s no present there not to talk of future.
The HRM’s resignation, we gathered, has been a chain reaction as many of the company’s staff are following suit: looking for job even in places where they are expected to be paid less than the airline. And this is threatening the existence of the company, which may soon die as others before it under the ownership of the Ondo State-born businessman.
It will be recalled that not too long ago, he took over the ownership of Newswatch magazine after it had been battling financial crisis for a couple of years. But information reaching us is that the lawyer turned businessman may be planning to pull out of the company he bought some months back. Sources revealed that Jimoh Ibrahim, who had deceptively collected back the money he paid to assume ownership of the company, is even planning to completely pull out his supposed financial commitment from the company on the basis that they should by now be self-sustaining, even when his financial impact has not been felt since he took over the running of the magazine.
The failed companies’ history of the lawyer can also be traced to when he took over the government-owned National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON), which he has successfully run into insignificance since he took over. The company’s fortune took a downward stroll, which confirms why former President Olusegun Obasanjo must have preferred another company’s bid for AP then.
The list of companies this lawyer-businessman has been able to help kill include Oceanic Bank, where he was said to have been a director; the story of the bank is still fresh in our minds. Others include the flagship hotel of Ondo State, Owena Motels, which was in a state of disrepair when he took over but which has worsened under his leadership. The EAS Airline and VCG Communication have also gone the way of others. Some other businesses he bought into in the recent past have also since been laid to rest as they cannot continue due to lack of required funds from the owner.
His ability to help budding or ailing businesses to die and his usual maladministration has earned him the nickname “Undertaker” among his peers in the businesses world. And with the current situation of things in AirNigeria, it is only a matter of time before that one goes the way of the others.