+Why He Postponed His 50th Birthday
Billionaire businessman and politician, Jimoh Ibrahim has announced why he postponed the grand celebration of his 50th birthday which ought to have taken place last Friday 24th February 2017.
Many of his friends and well wishers were surprised when Jimoh, who is currently rounding up his Master’s programme at Oxford University, postponed the celebration. He told City People’s SEYE KEHINDE that he had to cancel it because his birthday clashed with the day he was to write his final paper.
How do you feel turning 50?
The age 50 yeas looks strange to me. It looks funny. I am just looking at it. It is like putting on a clothe that is bigger than your size. But, reflectively, it is something that makes some form of engagement. I used the opportunity to have a description of my Yesterday. I did an analysis of how I got here and the trajectory moments and what is the next plan of action. And what sort of plan do I have to move forward. And what conclusions.
For me, it looks a more matured age. When I reflect on it, I see that it slows you down naturally, to think, and it is in thinking that you can actually improve you congruitive intelligence. That is why I said its engaging. I love it. It is nice to step into some other shoes. And its nice to see a lot of responsibility to the individual, my own responsibility to myself, and my friends and to my country and perhaps to the world at large. It is a feeling I like. It is like a movement from a class to another class. It is a very important Paradigm shift from kindergarten to standard life behaviour. It is good and promising. I feel challenged. I feel there are a lot of responsibilities in front of me. I feel challenged by the enormousity of the present happenings. I feel terrified when I see what is happening in my state, in my country and see myself at 50 below my country. I see my country’s interest, my state’s interest higher than my interest. I also often ask myself the question: to what extent can you go, really? I struggle with body chemistry and the genealogy of the new engagement, because they are not related, with the last engagement of age 01-49. But in the midst of it all I am more challenged and I am more determined that there is a lot I can do in this 2nd stage of my life. The first stage is gone. The 2nd stage here we are.
For someone who made his 1st million at the age of 24, how do you feel looking back at your life?
Money will not drive life, Knowledge will do. So it was quite good that I made my 1st million at the age of 24 and it was also very nice that I realize money can’t drive life. What will drive life is Knowledge. When you have Money and not knowledge you are empty. When I look back I see money as an instrument and the currency you spend to achieve what you want to achieve in terms of Knowledge. I see money as something that you don’t need to have as an ambition.
Money will always come if your focus is right. So, as a young man, Yes, I made it at that age. I was able to deploy it in the right direction in terms of achieving my strategies and objectives, of improved knowledge. I think the problem here is Money is not sustainable if there is no Knowledge to which it can be situated.
If you have money and you do have knowledge you are empty. You have nothing.
It is dangerous to have Money and not have Knowledge because Money will come if you have Knowledge.
As a young man of 24, when I made my 1st million, I was very ambitious. I was ambitious about how far I can go in life in realizing my ambition. I was not ambitious about the billions I could make. I never for one day lost touch with academics and knowledge.
Take the example of Bill Gates. When he dropped out of Harvard he was one of the best students, but he was intoxicated by his ambition. When he got to a comfortable stage in life he realized that there was a shortfall, which is Knowledge, that he never completed at Harvard. So he went back and employed all his classmates to fill up the gap. He was not done. He took his private jet and was flying round the world to employ University Professors, giving them Microsoft shares to join him as employees. All of these was to catch up with the knowledge gap. If Bill Gates was a victim of anything today he is a victim of gap in knowledge. Despite how wealthy he is today it does not remove that stain that he does not have a University degree even after he has been given a doctorate degree by Harvard. If you ask Bill Gates for his regrets today. I think it will be more of he didn’t get enough of what he would have gotten in terms of education.
So, to me my priority is Knowledge. After God is Knowledge. And that has historical connotation. And the Bible says my people perish because of lack of Knowledge.
Looking back, I thank God for those great opportunities he gave me to excel. But I thank God more importantly that I was able to direct the money in the right course to get good education.
And I am still doing that right away. I am still not losing touch. I am not yet done. I can’t stop looking for more Knowledge.
My Post-50 ambition is to manufacture many degrees from many universities.
Already, I have degrees from Harvard Law School, I have from Cambridge, Oxford, Ife. So, may be I will be looking at MIT, Yale, and Stanford. And for the next 10 years add more companies.
I have also learnt a lot from the (GE) General Electric Model. That was the template I formed my Global Fleet Group on. The truth is that 45% of Jack Welch’s company didn’t succeed, but the 555% that succeeded gave him the money, that his generation can never finish spending in his life time. Where is Jack Welch now. He is in a private University he set up in Chicago teaching Entrepreneurship. You can see the Value and Importance of Knowledge. Upon all his money he is back to Knowledge.
He started with Knowledge, made money and he is back to Knowledge. Those are the kind of examples you can borrow. That is the importance of Knowledge to the engagement of Money. So the way to go is: get your ambition right, pursue it with determination, set a long educational vehicle fuel to drive the ambition. I guess what kills a nation is individuals knowledge-gap. To make impact is to have education. You hardly can make any impact that will be sustainable without education.
So what will drive me in the next stage of my life is Education. That is No 1 priority. Then Education is 2nd Priority. Then Education is Priority No 3.
So, that is the way I see it. Looking back, reflectively, at those days when I made my 1st N1 million at age 24 and my first N1 billion at the age of 29 and multi-billion at less than 32. All these milestones are no longer important to me What is Important and Significant to me is how much Knowledge are you committing to your ambition. What distinguishes Success from Failure is the amount of Knowledge that you have that can drive your ambition.
So even if you have all the millions and you don’t have Knowledge, you are holding the billions for somebody who will come and take it away from you in no distant time.
Why didn’t you celebrate your 50th birthday last week 24th?
I will be celebrating it. But not on the actual date because the 24th of February which is my birthday coincides with the day I will be finishing my course work at Oxford University. So it’s the last day of class before I start my presentation.
Its not convenient for me. I don’t want to miss my class and go and celebrate. I can always celebrate on another day. But If I miss the class I will miss that Knowledge for life.
This my Masters degree in Major Management and Project is about Globalisation. It has to do with mega projects that are about a billion dollar in conceptualization. Things like how to fund infrastructures and facilities like Airports, Seaports, Roads, building new towns. How do we globarize it. As at now, it consumes 45% of the entire world GDP. There are less than 400 to 500 professionals that have been certified globally as major programmers to practice it. And it is only Oxford University that offers the course at Masters Level. No. University in the world offers it.
So, it makes admission into the programme extremely very competitive. There are about 4,000 applicants from all over the world and may be they will take 25 or 45.
About 15% of the class will not graduate while some of us will come out, top level of the class.
At this time, I am completing the Module 8 which we started 2 years ago. The last class is on my 50th birthday. I am the one that will give the key speech on behalf of my set.
Again, I will be going to Cambridge on March 8 for my 2nd to the last diet of my MBA programme.
So, I will be going from Oxford to Cambridge and I will be graduating on the 20th of May 2017 from Cambridge. My birth day celebration will be coming up about this time. So, this is not the time to party. Let me face my studies and come back to celebrate. I have 2 academic work to pursue, from Oxford and Cambridge. We would have our Champagne party in the next few weeks, in May. I will then take a break before, I go back for my Ph.D in June.
Right now, I am in the cross fire of disengagement, academically. We would continue from there. I will then go on for another Ph.D. It’s a continuous process. It is difficult to have Knowledge than to have Money. People don’t want to write exams. When you write exams here, you will go to exam college and put on your robes to write it. You are to robe to write exams at Oxford. There is an Ambulance outside to take those who collapse to the hospital. It is a tough exam. Many people don’t want to read. Many people collapse. People don’t prepare for exams. That’s why they collapse. I don’t see why anyone should collapse. In all my papers, I came top of the class.
In my first exam. I scored 70% Top of class. In my 2nd exam on Innovation I scored 69% Top of class. I am usually ready 2 weeks ahead of exams. I usually stay 2 weeks here, ahead of examinations
My 1st exam in Oxford was Corporate Finance I had 76%, in the exams, top of the class. I don’t like to rush in and rush out.
I would have done all these courses in Nigeria but the distractions will be too much. That’s why I decided to come here to read my book.
We read a lot here. You have to study a lot of Case studies and read your Graphs . By the time you start in the morning it goes on atimes till the next day and you take coffee to keep going. I enjoy it. Its very challenging. I will be home soon to celebrate my 50th birthday.