Connect with us

Society

Awwal Garba AD: A Major Player in the Global Business Sector with Investments across Vast Terrains

Published

on

“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” Denis Waitley
Taking a cue from Waitley, it is safe to say since the soul is the power and core of who one is, fulfillment is therefore the feeling of being happy and satisfied with one’s life because of interesting, useful, or important things embarked upon.

Alhaji Awwal Garba is a major player in the global oil and gas sector whose sense of fulfillment is succinctly summed up in the above analogy, as his life for a long time, has been dedicated to meaningful and oftentimes sacrificial commitments to his fatherland as well as to the lives of his countrymen.

With particular interest in Nigeria, Alhaji Garba has been discovering untapped resources within the oil sector upon which he has over the years, successfully built his chain of business interests, under the Magma Group, thereby immensely contributing to the economic growth and development of Nigeria.

With a humble mien, a virtue instilled by his upbringing, Alhaji Garba is a highly self-motivated person with an unbridled and a fervent desire to change the oil and gas sector narratives in ways that will benefit indigenous players and the Nigerian youths.

His words; “I was motivated into the sector by the desire to make a change, especially in the upstream sector of the industry where it is believed that only the oyibos (foreigners) hold sway therein.

“Of course, also in that direction would be the desire to contribute one’s quota to the national economy, in terms of creating jobs, which of course would help in giving the youths a sense of worth and direction.”

Early Years

Born into a family of affluence, Alhaji Garba may well be said to have grown up being fed with a silver spoon. His late father, a traditional title holder ‘Talban Kano’; a king maker, was also an astute businessman, with wide spread interests in commodity trading, exports and imports. It may not be out of place to say that Alhaji Garba cut his entrepreneurial teeth under the tutelage of his father.

However, with strict and disciplined parents, adherence to what is right was the only rule, and this helped in shaping his character and personality, which he himself admits was the greatest gift he received as a child.

“I thought my parents were being hard on us as children, but I have come to appreciate all those moments later in life. It actually made us humble, yet strong. This was the best gift I received as a child because it helped in shaping my character.”

The desire to discover himself spurred him to break away from the comfort and sureties that being under the umbrella of his father provided.

According to him, “I can say that I was born into privilege, but that did not stop me from finding my own niche. The most difficult thing was finding a balance by breaking away from my father’s umbrella in order to find myself. I call it the period of soul searching. It took time to find what makes me tick, and since then, it has become a passion to reach out to greater heights. More importantly, I have worked hard to create and maintain it. And I am still working hard.”

Education

Alhaji Garba had his early education in Kano, Nigeria and spent his early years in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. A Nigerian and British trained Economist of a rare kind, Alhaji Garba attended the Bayero University Kano, Nigeria and the City University, London, United Kingdom, tucking two degrees in his kitty from these institutions.

A Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Business Management UK, Alhaji Garba also acquired a Master’s Degree in Business Economics in the UK. He has in practice been a major player in the oil and gas sector of the global business environment, with particular focus in Nigeria, since gaining his Master’s degree.

Entrepreneurship Drive

Awwal Garba is a man with very strong instincts which, interfaced with his realities have enabled him make life-changing decisions. One of the difficulties he had was deciding whether to go into private or public service. Looking back at the years of successful business entrepreneurship, his instincts to go for the former paid off handsomely, although from hindsight, it is clear to see that should he have chosen the latter, he still would have been profoundly successful.

A global oil and gas business mogul, Garba is an entrepreneur with an innate ability to sniff out business opportunities where many cannot; a rare disposition which has enabled him to excel in countless ventures and investments, especially within the oil and gas sector.

Garba’s major areas of focus cut across sectors like, Telecommunications, Power, Finance, Management Consulting, Marine, Oil and gas Exploration and Production (OEP), oil refinery and real estate development, among others. He is a consummate professional with strong interpersonal and effective communication skills, integrity, tenacity and strength of character.

Awwal Garba’s core area of specialization in the oil and gas field is Exploration, with eight assets so far. He is building a 100 thousand barrel refinery in Akwa Ibom State at the moment, on a hundred hectare land, close to Exxon Mobil, while also negotiating with 3 marginal oilfields from oil mill 370 with Exxon Mobil.

“In the gas area of the sector, we have made proposals with respect to the Brass LNG, into which my partners and I are ready to commit $1bn. This would cut the issue of oil importation and also provide 300,000 jobs for skilled and unskilled workers in Akwa Ibom.”

Alhaji Garba’s companies include Magma Petroleum Investment Limited; Magma Exploration Production Limited, which is working on a JVU with Total Upstream, and also working with MPDC. His other companies include Magma Agro-Allied Limited; Magma Logistics Limited; Magma Gas and Power Spectrum Limited; Magma Pipe and Coating Limited, Rhone Petroleum Limited and H. Oil Limited, among others, all of which are aiding the economy of the country in terms of investment.

“We have Magma Exploration which is working on a JVU with Total Upstream, and also working with MPDC. We have Magma Gas and Power Spectrum working on acquiring the Brass LNG. It is a $1bn project, and already the funds are available.
“We have H-Oil Limited which has assets in Angola as well as South Sudan and Liberia, with offices in Paris and headquarters in Madrid, Spain. Magma Logistics works with the Department of Petroleum Resources. We also have Magma Petroleum Investment in the downstream sector with our downstream partners, having facility in Amsterdam and distributing finished products all over the world.”

With this wide spectrum of business concerns, there are bound to be challenges. These however, are usually viewed by the astute businessman in the context of growth opportunities.

” The challenge of prospecting for and then drilling of oil is something we enjoy doing. On the exploration side especially, we want to expand and never get tired, that is why we are on the brink of acquiring more assets. We love the challenge. To get in there, prospect and drill the oil is something we just enjoy doing.

“Today, what kills the exploration business is greed. Many want to have everything and there’s no way you could do that when it comes to exploration. We engage partners from all over the world and our logic is that ‘half bread is better than none’. We can give out an asset with 5% interest, an asset with 2%, it does not matter. What matters is that when you multiply the 2% x 10, you get 20%. This is our logic.”

Humble Mien

It is not really commonplace to find the virtue of humility in the lives of many of the affluent. The life of Awwal Garba is a marked exception because it is the way he was brought up. Whether it was his father or friends of his father, who included the MKO Abiola’s, the Maitama’s and the Babangida’s, they all pointed to the importance of the virtue and instilled that in him. He also admits that life itself also taught him about humility.

“Life has taught me to be absolutely humble. Life has taught me to be analytical as well as critical with myself in my everyday dealings. My heart will never deceive me into thinking I am anything different or special. Ego is a recipe for failure in life.

“I mean all you have to do is to look around you. The seven-year-old selling sachet water or Moi-Moi on the streets of Lagos in the early morning rush hour could have been you. He, also given your opportunity, could perform as good or even better. There are always two sides of a coin.”

Patriotic Fervor, Leadership and Game Changer

Alhaji Awwal Garba is a de-tribalised Nigerian who sees his country as his constituency. Through his investments, he has been building bridges.

A unique vehicle with which he is stoking the embers of patriotism is ‘Game Changer’, a media established to ensure that the Muhammadu Buhari administration continues to change the whole game; from Agriculture, Corruption to Healthcare and very importantly, to unite Nigerians and give them a sense of belonging.

He uses Ghana as a yardstick in buttressing the importance of patriotism. “You will be shocked to realise the level of their patriotism. A taxi driver always has the Ghanaian flag in his cab as with every household, like it was in America perhaps before the Trump era when American schools taught American history, the need to be patriotic and love for country. So patriotism is very important. Game Changer is here to bring awareness about patriotism.”

His friends call him the preacher and this is not just based on his knowledge and adherence to the tenets postulated by the Quran, but because he never stops preaching the gospel of unity among Nigerians, believing in the oneness of the country as a pathway to wealth creation in a more sustainable way, strength and endless possibilities. No wonder his house is always like a beehive or a Mecca of some kind.

Garba sees leadership as the ability to see beyond tomorrow and to commit to that vision totally, when those around you follow you with absolute commitment even when they do not see what you see.

“Those who do not remember history are certainly bound to be consumed by it. It has happened in many countries before. The Asian tigers, from Singapore to Malaysia, Thailand to China, they have all gone through what we are going through. Mao Zedong closed up China for 50 years before opening up. America’s democracy took over 200 years to get to where they are now. Ours is only 50+ and with such multi ethnic groups, patience is the key.”

Philanthropy and Titles

Awwal Garba is a man with a heart of gold, compassionate, kind and in tune with his people. He believes in creating high-points in his life each day and one of those is the opportunity to make someone happy.

“There are just countless moments with that, but what you can do is to create one every day. Most importantly, put a smile on someone’s face and the picture stays with you permanently.”

It is not surprising then that he has been honored with the prestigious traditional titles of ‘Galadima Talban’, and ‘Talban Dan Hausa Daura’.

Family

Alhaji Awwal Garba maintains a closely knit family even as a very busy person, understanding the importance of family. Despite his busy schedule, which has shrunken some social activities, he still finds time to spend with his family.

“The pressure of work increased with growth, so whatever time I can squeeze out now for personal issues, I spend it with my family. We take the children to game parks when they are on holidays and try to have a feel of their minds by coming down to their level and appreciating them. My biggest fear is not being able to meet up with the expectations of my family and my loved ones.”

Even though Awwal Garba a fulfilled man, he believes in breaking new grounds as long as life permits him.

“I feel fulfilled in life, all the time. Yet, life itself is like sweet nectar from the most beautiful thorny fruit bearing tree. Once you taste it, you cannot but go back for another bite. I am always setting new goals to conquer.”

As Eleanor Roosevelt aptly puts it, “Happiness is not a goal. It’s a by-product of a life well lived.”

It is from that standpoint that Alhaji Awwal Garba says,” I believe in what life has dished out my way and believe me when I say if I have to do it all over again, I would not change a thing.”

Indeed, there must be some unique feeling that comes with blazing trails and impacting lives.

Society

UBA Revamps Kiddies, Teens Accounts; Customers to Get 13th Month Reward, Scholarships, Other Benefits

Published

on

Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is set to reward consistent customers with a 13th month cash reward as well as access to scholarships in the upgraded and revamped UBA Kiddies and Teens Accounts.

To qualify for these exciting rewards, customers need to maintain a minimum balance in these accounts which have been designed to enable parents and guardians save for their children aged between 0 – 12 years for the UBA Kiddies Accounts and from 13 to 17 years for UBA Teens Account, whilst also teaching the kids money management skills.

Breaking this down to both old and new customers, UBA’s Group Head Marketing and Customer Experience, Michelle Nwoga, said, the Children banking proposition have been revamped with new offerings to assist parents imbibe the culture of savings in their kids from a very tender age.

To enjoy the 13th month reward all the customer needs to do is maintain a standing instruction of saving a minimum of N5,000 for 12 months and they are rewarded automatically; in the same vein, for the Scholarship reward of N200,000; the customer simply needs to maintain a standing instruction of saving a minimum of N10,000 for six months to qualify for a bi-annual draw.

In addition to saving for their child’s future, holders of the UBA Kiddies and Teens accounts can also get discounted healthcare plans.

Nwoga said, “Typically, conversations about money start at home, when parents open their child’s first account and the kids start asking questions about money. It’s one of the most important conversations a parent has with their child, hoping to set them on the right track to managing money responsibly.

“And that is why we have introduced exciting benefits and rewards to these account holders to make it easier for parents as they help their kids develop financial and money management skills. Our Kiddies and Teens Account offers parents an opportunity to give their children a head start in life by starting to save for their future early, Nwoga stated.

In a similar development, UBA recently upgraded its mobile and internet banking applications, introducing lots of new, exciting and interactive features to aid banking, while allowing customers to perform unlimited transactions from the comfort of their mobile phones

UBA’s Group Head, Consumer & Retail Banking, Marketing, Jude Anele, who expressed delight with the upgrade said that the bank’s numerous investments into digital transformation has begun to yield good returns for customers, going by the reviews already received.

“I will like to let you know that all the investments we have made over the years in the area of technology will begin to yield now, because already UBA’s new Mobile Banking App demonstrates our resolve to provide unparalleled experience across all our channels is in line with UBA’s vision to dominate Africa’s digital banking space,” Anele said.

 

The United Bank for Africa is a leading pan-African financial institution offering banking services to more than twenty million customers globally. With footprint in 20 African countries and presence globally in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

Continue Reading

Society

Governor Dapo Abiodun’s Great Strides in One Year

Published

on

When my friend, Dr. Dapo Abiodun, told me he wanted to stand for office as Governor of Ogun State I have to admit I was very concerned and said as much to him. I didn’t understand why someone who had achieved his level of success in the oil and gas industry would want to move into politics. Anyone who was familiar with the Ogun State political landscape at the time knew that he had a very difficult fight ahead of him. Almost two years later, I have to doff my hat to Governor Dapo Abiodun.

As I had envisaged at the start, the road to the governorship was indeed a difficult and rocky one but in hindsight, I am pleased that he embarked upon it. Some would say that the fact that he was sworn in as governor on his birthday speaks to the fact that he was destined for the role. Unsurprisingly, when I expressed my concerns about his political ambitions to him he stood his ground firm based on his strong conviction on the role he believed he could play in the development of his beloved Ogun State. I now take it as a lesson to us all that where the vision is compelling, the fight is undoubtedly worth it.
A year after being sworn into office, I am very pleased to see that the drive and the determination that took Abiodun into office is slowly bringing transformation to Ogun State. As we all know from bitter experience, getting into office is one thing; executing on promises, however, is quite another matter.

A key pillar to Abiodun’s transformation strategy is Ogun State’s proximity to Lagos State, the economic capital of the country. Due to the gradual urban sprawl, there are areas of Ogun state already wrongly seen as being part of Lagos State. Instead of sulking, the governor is seeking to capitalise on this by working to position Ogun State as a second economic hub. The five-year Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) developed by the governor and his team is a comprehensive effort that is designed to propel the state into a high-income one that is both inclusive and sustainable.

The programme is expected to lift Ogun State’s gross national income and raise per capita income, meeting the World Bank’s threshold for high income states. A key anchor of OGSTEP is to foster greater private sector participation in the State’s economy with a particular focus on improving the business-enabling environment, strengthening agri-food value-chains and upgrading the skills development and capacity building sectors.

I strongly believe that the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the fact that “government alone cannot do it.” The only way that Nigeria as a whole, and Ogun State specifically, will make the necessary progress is for government, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to work collaboratively together to drive things forward. With this in mind, the intention is that OGSTEP will also be used to implement reforms to the public sector in order to facilitate the smooth implementation of the state’s social and economic plans.

OGSTEP is still in its implementation phase (full-blown project implementation is expected to commence in October 2020) but it’s clear that the governor and his team have already started making good progress on the key focus areas – infrastructure, social development, education, youth empowerment & employment, and agriculture.

On the infrastructure front, the Ogun State government has commenced the construction of some major state roads; the roads from Owode to Idiroko, Osi Otta to Ikola, and Ijebu-Ode to Epe, to name a few. Also, given the importance it holds to the state’s economy, it has also undertaken palliative repair works along the Lagos-Sango-Abeokuta dual carriageway. Given his stated strategy of benefiting from the state’s proximity to Lagos, it only makes sense that there is easy access between the two capital cities.

Still on infrastructure, the government has also successfully restored portable water supply by the Water Corporation to Abeokuta and 14 other communities, including Ikenne. This effort has added 7,000 more homes to the state’s water supply system. I think this is particularly timely given the current pandemic. We’ve all heard so much about the importance of hand-washing to reduce the spread of the pandemic but this becomes “grammar” when people have no access to water. The state still has a way to go to achieve 100% water connectivity but this has definitely been a big step in the right direction.
The second key focus area of social development is a hydra-headed beast; one that cannot be tackled in just a year. Again, for me, the key thing is ensuring that the state is on the right trajectory; not just showing intent but actually beginning to take concrete steps to address the myriad of issues.

First and foremost, especially at a time like this, we must look at healthcare. In the recent past, the governor has installed a molecular lab at Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) as well as commissioning five well-equipped isolation centres in the state. I hope to God that not all the isolation centres will end up being required but this is definitely one area where it is better to be safe than sorry. I read a quote mid-March as the pandemic started spreading aggressively across the globe that, “Only time will tell whether you over-reacted or under-reacted but better to find you did the former than the latter.” With this in mind, Abiodun also increased the payment to health workers by 200%, and provided a special risk allowance and life insurance for personnel treating COVID-19 patients.

To bolster the fight against the pandemic, qualified private hospitals have also been identified and enrolled as incident centres to widen the coverage of COVID-19 support at this time. On the side of the populace, the government has been donating protection masks and distributing palliatives to the people to reduce the risk of contagion and to alleviate the suffering caused by the pandemic.

From a security standpoint, the governor has procured 100 ‘4X4’ patrol vehicles and 200 motorcycles to aid the security officers in their work. The reality is that there can be no serious policing without mobility. We all know someone (even if not our own personal experience) who has called out the emergency services only to be left waiting for an inordinate amount of time as they make their way to the incident location. Thankfully that narrative is slowly changing in Ogun State.
In response to the highly contentious farmer/herdsman issue, the state has inaugurated cattle herders and farmers’ conflict resolution and peacekeeping committee. This rightly moves the conversation away from the usual blame game, to resolving the arising issues on both a holistic and a case by case basis.

Regarding education, Abiodun and his team have also successfully rehabilitated 236 schools over the year – one school per ward, across the state. Given the current social distancing realities, the state has also collaborated with Microsoft to design a remote learning system for its education sector, Ogun Digital Classroom, for primary and secondary schools on OGTV, DSTV and GoTV from Mondays to Fridays. We are all fast reaching the conclusion that aside from the loss of lives, one of the saddest outcomes of the pandemic is the significantly increased number of out-of-school children. Rather than whining about the situation, we need to focus on developing practical and sustainable solutions to the problem.

As a step towards addressing the lingering unemployment issue (which we all know eventually leads to a security issue), the governor approved the absorption of over 1,000 Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) 2018 entrants into the civil service and the payment of nine months’ salary arrears. The state also successfully negotiated a new minimum wage with minimal contention; no mean feat. In addition, the state has undertaken a series of youth empowerment programmes including a graduate unemployment youth scheme and the distribution of palliatives.

Last, but by no means least, is the governor’s work in the agricultural sector. I for one have read with increasing concern, several articles about food security over the last few weeks. With everything going on in Nigeria in particular, and the world as a whole, the country can simply not afford a food security crisis. The human and economic cost is unthinkable. It was, therefore, a huge relief to learn of the various programmes that the state has undertaken in the agriculture sector in the last year. The initiatives include the commissioning of Ogun State Agricultural Technology and Innovation Centre, the facilitation and distribution of funding and inputs to 3,500 cassava farmers, and putting frameworks in place to attract private sector investment to the sector, amongst others.

So a year into his tenure as the executive governor of Ogun State, I am pleased with my dear friend, Governor Abiodun, because not only did he succeed in winning the hearts and minds of his Ogun State brothers and sisters, he is also making good progress in transforming their lives. My prayer for him is that just as he has achieved great success in his first year, may God grant him the wisdom and strength to continue to do right by his people.

BY SEGUN SENBANJO

Continue Reading

Society

COVID-19: Laredo Chops Reach out To The Front-line Workers In Lagos Isolation Center

Published

on

King of small chops, Laredo Chops has reached out to some frontline workers with his sumptuous small chops and finger foods in a way to give his support in the fight against Covid-19.

The frontline workers that include medical doctors, nurses, support staff took delivery of the priceless chops on Tuesday, 19th Of May 2020 with so much gratitude.

According to a letter obtained by us from the Chief Executive Officer of Laredo Chops, Mr. Olanrewaju Jimoh; this move is a way of showing appreciation to all frontline workers who have been on the ‘battlefield’ ensuring the war against Covid-19 is won.

Also, he noted that there is a need to celebrate the frontline workers, hence, the need for his magnanimous move.

The astute businessman however prayed for those who have been affected by the virus, and asked God to heal them.

Furthermore, he urged Nigerians to adhere strictly to the laws and orders that have been put in place by appropriate authorities to prevent this deadly virus from spreading beyond the present level in the country.

It will also be noted that Mr. Olanrewaju Jimoh has been so active in this humanitarian gesture; since the inception of the total lockdown in Nigeria, giving out cash, gift-items, and foodstuffs to support the vulnerable people in the society.

Continue Reading

Trending