The philanthropist, businessman, and entrepreneur, Cletus Ibeto, hails from Nnewi, Anambra state Nigeria. He is the chairman and founder of Ibeto Group, Nigeria’s largest conglomerate in the east.
- Full name: Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto
- Date of birth November 6, 1952
- Home town: Nnewi
- State of Origin: Anambra State
- Country of Origin: Nigeria
- Native language: Igbo
- Wife: Augustina Ifeyinwa Okpala
- Education: University of Nigeria, Nsukka
- Business interest: Automotive spare parts, Cement manufacturing, Real estate
The life of Ibeto is intriguing as well as interesting as the then young boy had a dream of becoming one of the most educated Nigerians. Unfortunately, his father chose another career for him. He ventured into spare parts trading.
Right then, Ibeto started his apprenticeship under Akamelu in Onitsha as a trader in car parts.
As a result, he began his voyage down life’s bumpy path, which would serve as a harbinger of what was to come. To say that Ibeto’s path to fame was paved with guts and drive is an understatement. After all, it took a tragic dream crash for him to finally triumph.
Ibeto, 54 years later, has not only bounced back from that initial setback, but he has also made a lasting impression on the world.
His journey from rags to riches exemplifies the mythical rebirth of the Phoenix. The Ibeto Group, which Ibeto has established from the ground up, includes businesses in real estate, petrochemicals, cement, auto parts, hotels, and oil and commodities trading, among other things. Its revenue is in the billions of dollars.
Ibeto’s apprenticeship in car components was cut short by the civil war from 1967 to 1970, despite his innate business sense and proclivity for innovation. In fact, he was a member of the Biafran Army from the start of the conflict.
The end of hostilities brought him back to the world of business, and he jumped right back in. As a result, Ibeto was already a rising star in the corporate world in 1970.
Ibeto Brothers Trading Company was founded in 1970 by the entrepreneur as its sole proprietor, and the company has since grown into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.
How Cletus Ibeto’s Father Stopped Him From Going to School
On January 22, 1966, the youngster was in great spirits, decked in his school uniform as a new student at Crusader Secondary School, Isingwu Amachala, Umuahia, he was eager to begin a new and exciting chapter in his life.
As he prepared to leave for Umuahia to begin his secondary education, his father said, NO. He was told to divert his attention to trading instead of school, sad right? yes, that was how it felt but it was an important decision to shape his life.
An Event That Made Cletus Wealthy.
A policy shift under President Shehu Shagari gave him a huge opportunity to capitalize on his entrepreneurial acumen. However, as Nigeria’s foreign reserves began to run low during the Shagari rule, products could no longer be imported without an import license.
Many importers were obliged to put a halt to their shipments while they kept tabs on the new rules.
The N3 million import licence was secured at record speed by Ibeto, despite the precarious position. He was able to import 65 containers of essential motor components with the license. It was nearly difficult for any other importers to secure a license by the time they woke up and started applying for it because the government has heightened the procedure from the initial way Ibeto obtained his.
Almost around the same time, the administration of Shagari was overthrown, which made the situation even worse because the borders were shut by the regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
When it came to motor replacement components, the Nnewi-born business magnate practically had a monopoly. He acknowledged that it was a watershed event in his personal and professional life. His markup was about 500%, but people were still purchasing!
For him, it was a turning point in his life, he said ” There was a queue of folks waiting to get their hands on the spare parts from his shops, I was parking money to the bank using boxes, the markup was close to 500 per cent, yet customers still purchased the item. I made four million pounds in the first two days after the containers arrived.”
Ibeto’s transition from an importer of car spare parts to an automobile lead-acid battery and plastic accessory dealer was smooth and blooming.
Later, after the Nnewi facility was constructed and he ceased importing lead-acid battery and plastic motor components, he went into manufacturing. As early as 1995, the company was one of Nigeria’s top producers of car components.
One of Ibeto Group subsidiaries is Union Autoparts Manufacturing Company Ltd., founded on June 2, 1987. Nigeria’s leading manufacturer of automotive lead-acid batteries is the business.
The company’s lead and aluminium smelting factory generates all of the metals needed for its activities on-site, which is noteworthy.
Lead/acid batteries, 120,000 sealed maintenance-free batteries, 5,500 tons of lead, 500 tons of accessories and 1,500 tons of friction components can be produced annually at this plant.
Venturing Into Petrochemical Industry
Ibeto established Ibeto Petrochemicals Industries Limited, a new company specializing in a variety of chemical-related products. His petrochemicals company possesses one of Nigeria’s largest liquid petroleum product plants.
Additionally, since 1996, the company has operated in Nnewi, the “commercial capital” of Anambra State, with a blending factory in the area. Petroleum products are blended and produced in this firm for both the domestic and foreign markets. Nigeria’s largest liquid storage facility for petroleum products, with a capacity of over 60,000 metric tonnes, is owned by the petrochemical firm.
As of 2018, Ibeto Cement announced a reverse merger with Century Petroleum Corporation, a publicly listed oil exploration and production business in the United States.
The goal was to take over the world’s marketplaces and avoid the lengthy and cumbersome procedure of being listed on the stock exchange. When Century Petroleum was purchased by the corporation, Cletus Ibeto was appointed chairman of the board of directors.
Other companies under the Ibeto Group:
- Ibeto Cement Company Ltd
- Hospitality including King’s Palace Hotels Limited
- Ibeto Energy Development Limited
- Palmex Agencies Limited
- Odoh Holdings Limited
How Cletus Ibeto Sat for WASSCE at 48
After being denied formal schooling at the age of 13 by his father, he still had a strong urge to see classroom walls. On his way to earning a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria Nsukka at the age of 54, Ibeto took his WASSCE at 48 years old, he was already a billionaire at the time and passed it. The same university then conferred on him a Doctor of Business Administration degree.
Throughout the years, he has attended various seminars and conferences in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan, among other places. Owerrinta in present-day Imo State was Ibeto’s previous primary school.
As a billionaire, the Ibeto Group chairman has touched many lives and institutions through his activities. Some of them include:
Awarding scholarships to over 200 students
At the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, College of Medicine, Nnewi, Anambra State, he established and maintained a prize award foundation for the top graduating student in paediatrics.
Established a prize award foundation at the Federal University of Technology in Owerri, Imo State, for the best graduating student in the Electrical/Electronics Engineering department and many more
Cletus Honor and awards
- Gold Service Award from the Rotary Club of Enugu, Rotary International District 9140.
- National Honour, Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON.
- Ebonyi State University confers on him Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration.
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Honoris Causa, University of Nigeria.
- National Honour, Officer of Order of the Niger, OON.
- Three-Ruby Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation International.
- Certificate of Merit from the Government of Anambra State of Nigeria.
- Award of Excellence by the Pilgrims Africa Health Foundation.
The Anambra-based billionaire isn’t known for controversies, but the major one that caught the attention of the media on January 27, 2021, was when an old woman named Margaret Onwuelo.
She accused the billionaire of taking over her land and approached charged Ibeto and 14 to the Anambra State High Court accusing them of land grabbing. The complainant requested several billions of naira from Ibeto as compensation.
The real net worth of the founder of Ibeto Group can’t be ascertained. Some people believe that quoting $3.8 billion as Ibeto net worth is undervaluing his real worth. Whether he’s on the Forbes’ Billionaire or not, Cletus Ibeto is one of the richest people in Nigeria and across Africa.
- By Facebook.com