Jibrilla Indimi, is the heir apparent to one of Nigeria’s highlysuccessful business mogul and billionaire, Dr. Mohammed Indimi, OFR,founder of Oriental Energy Resources Ltd.
Jibrilla Indimi, is an alumni of Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, where he bagged a degree in Business Management. And without adoubt he has done well for himself leading the family’s march toglobal prominence. The unassuming younger Indimi is one of the executive directors at his father’s oil company, Oriental Energy Resources Ltd. And Jibrilla isn’t all about his father. He’s also avery successful independent businessman trying to create his own footstep. He currently runs a tea company in Cape Town, South Africa, known as Southern Cape Tea Co. – an organic tea company. Jibrilla is also well-connected in the Arab business community and as well as West Africa.
JJ as fondly called by friends unlike other regular billionaire’s sons is very down-to-earth. As a matter of fact, he loves to be in the background. His billionaire father’s net worth is put at a staggering#550 million dollars, and he’s rated by Forbes Magazine as Africa’s34th richest man. Now that’s enough to make some people play God butnot Jibrilla. He doesn’t carry the billionaire’s son tag on his head.
And to demonstrate his compassion for the less privileged, JibrillaIndimi, is working on a foundation to cater for the poor especially those from the northern region.
And after months of intense chase, the scion of the Indimis welcomes ICON Weekly SEYI ONIFADE to his highbrow Maitama District, FCT Abuja, residence where he opens up exclusively about his business, family, passion, and very private life. It’s an exclusive never-seen-before interview. And you can only read it here. Enjoy!
First, let me welcome you back to Nigeria. Could you please tell me how does it feel to be back home in Nigeria?
Yeah I’m happy to be back you know wherever I go, home is always home. So I miss Nigeria a lot and thank God I achieved what I want to achieve. And now I’m happy.
How long have you been away from Nigeria?
I have been away for 7 months then I came back to Nigeria for 2 weeks. And then I went back for another 8 months, so all in all about 18 months I have been out but I have never stayed outside Nigeria for more than a year. This is my first experience.
I know you have been very busy in South Africa, Cape Town, specifically with a new project; Southern Cape Tea Co. – an organic tea producing company. Can you shed more light on what the project is all about?
Yeah you know interestingly I have some group of friends in Cape Town and one of them has some ideas about tea. And what people don’t understand is that South Africa, they have a very unique tea which is Honeybush and Rooibos tea. It is only produced in South Africa, so I say well why not it is a big market in South Africa. And so I say ok let me use my connections in the Arab world and West Africa; and then see if I can be able to export it.
So how has the patronage been like first in Cape Town, and other South African cities?
It’s been good. We are doing our best to expand, you know it is a new company so we are trying to bring it out there. And yeah business is good. It is a good start.
Can you share some of the challenges you have encountered thus far being a Nigerian trying to set up a business in a foreign land?
It is just unfortunate that we have bad reputation for Nigerians generally in South Africa. It is sad at this moment right now as I’m talking to you, it saddens me you know we have a very bad reputation with scamming, 419, and everybody knows about that globally. Yes at one point, one of my friends outside Nigeria asked me haven’t I ever entered into difficulty with someone because I am a Nigerian and said No but I said now that you are talking about it; now you are attacking me you understand it is sad but I have to move on and do what I have to do.
Considering the population strength here in Nigeria. Are you thinking of expanding back home or is it going to be a mainly South African thing?
It’s a mainly South African thing for now. I’m going to be exporting it from South Africa to other nations. For now it’s mainly in South Africa.
Could you describe who really is Jibrilla removed from your famous billionaire father. Can you let us in on your own kind of personality?
Hmmmm… I’m not very social(general laughter) you know but I like people, I just don’t like any negative things. I like straightforward people and positive people. I just try to stick to the winners; and I don’t walk around with the name of my father on my head. No I’m just myself and that’s just me.
How was life like growing up for you. Can you share your childhood experiences with me briefly?
Well I grew up in a well-to do family. I am the first born and since I was born my father is blessed. So I had an amazing childhood life, you know going to Disney World and all this kind of stuff when I was younger. And yeah I was blessed from day one. I’m just lucky to have a father as my daddy. So it’s been an amazing journey.
Being the first born from such a wealthy family. Are there any special attention been showered on you by your father. Was there any impactful stuffs he was trying to instill in you while growing up so as to lead the family proudly?
Well my father treat us all equally, we are all equal, the children, and the mothers we were all treated equally but of course, yes been the eldest I know its a responsibility on me. And yeah there are some certain guidance growing up that I learned from my father. There are some certain things but the key is just for me to be an honest person, and not that I have responsibility over my younger ones. And I try as much as I can for everybody to be one because we are from different mothers; so ultimately I treat all my brothers and sisters as one from the different mothers but everybody is one to me. I think that’s very important.
I know you have advantages been from a wealthy home. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of been an Indimi son?
The advantages you know having my last name is a key. I don’t go around telling people that I’m somebody’s son but it helps in some certain areas even though I don’t go around telling people but honestly it works. It is a big key, the access is easier been an Indimi’s son. And for the disadvantages I don’t like to hold any grudge or anything like that; so if there are any negativity which as human beings you know there are a lot of eyes and focus on me and things like that. So if its positive that’s good and if its negative then that’s their own problem. I deal with that quite ok silently and I don’t counter. I just stay away from it and its up to them to judge.
I know you have a background in oil business. How easy was it for you to venture into tea production business. Are you just doing that on a part-time? And are you still involved in Oriental Energy Resources Ltd?
Yes I am an executive director at Oriental, and Oriental is not gonna go anywhere. It’s been established about 20 years ago and I grew up knowing Oriental. And on the other ones I do the company, and also with all the crises that we are having in the north I realised the reason behind all that is poverty; we have a lot of poverty in the north and it’s a big problem for us in the north. I believe that’s why there are many violence and things like that happen, so I’m working on establishing a foundation with my foreign counterparts to help the poor, to train them, give them jobs and for them to make a living. I am paying a lot of attention on that aspect because someone needs to do something. I’m working on that and insha allah you will know about it.
Aside Oriental Energy Resources Ltd, do you think there’s still any better opportunities for you out there to create your own footstep?
Yes I’m a director at Oriental but at the same time I am independent. I am an independent businessman, that’s Jibrilla. That’s what I do, I do engaged with Oriental but ultimately I am independent. I run my own business and I’m my own boss!
In terms of material things, do you think you have everything you could ever dream of?
Hmmm… just to be healthy, what else do I need? I thank God I have everything I need, I think so, I believe so. So as long as I’m healthy then I’m fine but I think in terms of material things everything is there! I’m thankful to Allah for that, so my only focus is my health but in terms of material stuff I’m fine.
Mentally, where is your mind at for the future?
Generally I’m just looking at peaceful co-existence between the society that’s what I look forward to. And also for everybody to be well and live a healthier life.
I have been with you for the past few minutes now and I can smell humility all around you unlike other conventional billionaire kids who are mostly snubs and arrogant. What informs your humility? Was it part of the training you were given while growing up?
That’s just me! It might be due to my upbringing because I was trained well and well groomed in my family. But like you say it is true some people can be arrogant because they are from so so family or they are something but no I’m just being myself, and I enjoy it. I like to associate with people generally whether you are poor, rich or whatever everybody is the same for me!
Let’s get a bit personal now, who is the lucky Mrs Jibrilla Indimi?
(Laughs…) I am not married now but you will know her very soon.
How soon should we be expecting the biggest society wedding in Nigeria now? How soon are you looking at marital life?
Yeah like I say I think soon means soon. Its not going to be long, yeah marriage is very important. I want to see my own babies and once the time comes I assure you will be the first to know!
With your busy schedule and globe-trotting, how do you create time to unwind?
I like to spend time on my own, I like to be alone because normally I have always have people around me but I like to spend my own ‘Jibrilla time’ you know. I like to travel alone, go somewhere and have my own break and come back. That’s how I treat myself.
Is there any special thing you do that makes you feel more relaxed maybe champagne or swimming?
Yes I like swimming. I like football and horse-racing. Those are my three top ones. I love horse-racing and you know in Nigeria is more about polo, polo everywhere.
I know you have been to most part of the world, where is your favourite holiday destination?
I like Miami, Geneva and Cape Town. Those three are special.
Considering your frequent globe-trotting, can you marry a foreigner?
My father married a foreigner but I don’t really think about that now. I focus more on getting a wife, not thinking about getting 2,3 or 4 wives. No it doesn’t occur to me.
Don’t you think you are the wanted list of so many women out there being a singe billionaire’s son? Don’t you think it will be hard for you to get someone who will love you for being Jibrilla and not for the billions?
(General Laughter) Hmmm I don’t carry that on my head. Yes sometimes you can see what a woman wants but I don’t talk to women as I’m Jibrilla Indimi or something like that; so I don’t consider that to be a big deal really. No. If she dated me as an Indimi’s son that’sher own thing but I don’t go talk to a woman as Indimi son, so it’s up to her to make her own judgement.
Let’s talk fashion a bit. Are you really a fashion freak person? What does it for when it comes to fashion?
Simple, just simple and not something spectacular.Just simple and casual.
What about automobiles? Are you automobile-crazy? Or anything goes?
I’m not that crazy about automobiles but I have had quite some good ones but I’m not really crazy about it.
Which designer perfumes do you wear now?
Right now I like Versace and 212, those two are my major perfumes.
If your life were a song, what track would it be and why?
There’s this Paul McCartney’s song ‘Let it Be’. I like that song, it inspires me a lot. That’s an inspiring song to me.
Finally how would you like to be remembered by your friends, relatives and siblings?
To remember me as a straightforward person, a positive person and not judgmental and also, welcoming and humble!