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Profiles

Profile: Mr. Akintola Williams, Nigeria’s Foremost Acountant

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Akintola Williams was born to the family of Ekundayo Williams, a lawyer and farmer,  son of a wealthy businessman from Abeokuta, Z.A. Williams. His mother, one of the three wives of Ekundayo Williams was from the Fernandez family of Lagos. Williams is the half-brother of the late F.R.A. Williams (first Senior Advocate of Nigeria).

Born 9th August, 1919 in Lagos, the young Akintola started his formal education in 1928 at the Baptist Academy, Lagos and proceeded to the CMS Grammar School, Lagos for his secondary education. In 1939, he was admitted to the only tertiary institution then, Yaba Higher College(now Yaba College of Technology) where he studied commerce.

In 1944, he moved overseas in search of the proverbial golden fleece. He studied Accountancy in London and in 1949, he passed the finals of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He thus became the first Nigerian and one of the first black Africans to qualify as a chartered accountant in the United Kingdom.

Professional Career

After qualifying as a chartered accountant, Williams took up paid employment with the Colonial office in London and was posted to Nigeria. He returned home in 1950 to take the post of Inspector of Taxes where he would work with John Selby, whose advice years earlier had prompted him to consider accountancy.  In March 1952, he established Akintola Williams and Company, the first indigenous firm of chartered accountants in Nigeria.

This decision was a bold one, as he left behind a high salaried job with benefits such as free accommodation for a post with no assurance of steady income and intense competition with established international firms. Demand grew as a result of the Companies Act of 1968, which required that companies operating in Nigeria formed locally incorporated subsidiaries and published audited annual accounts.

The drive in the early 70s to encourage indigenous ownership of businesses also increased demand.  Through astute management the firm has grown in size and scope of services to become the largest professional services firm in Nigeria.

The firm started operations in Nigeria as then Akintola Williams & Co in 1952. Between April 1999 and May 2004, two mergers with existing accounting firms were consummated which resulted in its being the largest professional services firm in Nigeria with a staff of over 600. The firm adopted the business name “Akintola Williams Deloitte” on July 30, 2004. Akintola Williams Deloitte is the oldest indigenous firm in Nigeria.

His Public and Leadership Roles

Mr. Williams played a leading role in establishing the Association of Accountants in Nigeria (AAN) in 1960 with the goal of training accountants. He was the first President of the association.

  • He was a founding member and first president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
  • He was also involved in establishing the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and he is the only surviving signatory to the original Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at the founding of the NSE in September 15, 1960.He served as a member of the committee set up by the Federal Government to carry out a feasibility study on the viability of establishing a stock exchange in Nigeria.
  • Member of the Coker Commission of Inquiry into the statutory corporations of the former Western Region of Nigeria (1962),
  • As a member of the National Council of the Exchange, he contributed in the growth of its listing portfolio and established rules reducing barriers for companies to list on the exchange.He remained actively involved with organizations into his old age.
  • Founder and council member of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation.
  • Chairman of the Federal Income Tax Appeal Commissioners (1958–68)
  • Chairman of the Lagos State Government Revenue Collection Panel (1973)
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Commonwealth Foundation (1966–1975)
  • Chairman of the Public Service Review Panel to correct the anomalies in the Udoji Salary Review Commission (1975).
  • Founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Society of Nigeria.(MUSON)

 His Awards

In April 1997 Williams was appointed as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). Also In 1982 Williams was honoured by the Nigerian Government with the Order of Federal Republic (OFR) and Commander of Federal Republic (CFR) in 2001. For services to the accountancy profession and for promotion of arts, culture and music through the Musical Society of Nigeria ,the Akintola Williams Arboretum at the Nigerian Conservation Foundation headquarters in Lagos is named in his honour.

 

Compiled By: Fikayo Owoeye

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Nairametrics Research team tracks, collates, maintains and manages a rich database of macro-economic and micro-economic data from Nigeria and Africa. Our analysts share some of the data collated on Nairametrics, using formats such as docs, tables and charts etc. The team also publishes research based analysis as articles on a regular basis.

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Profiles

Jimoh Ibrahim: The successes and controversies of a billionaire entrepreneur

With investments in several sectors, Jimoh Ibrahim has had his own fair share of wins and loses.

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One Nigerian businessman who has recently found himself faced with a series of controversies is Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim. An astute investor with interests in the oil and gas, hospitality, aviation, banking, real estate, insurance, publishing and the media industry. Ibrahim recently had a bulk of his assets seized by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over a N69.4 billion debt.

Though his assets are said to run into millions of dollars, everyone is looking to see how the 53-year-old businessman will pull through this major dip. Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim is Nairametrics founder of the week.

READ: AMCON debt could rise to N6.6 trillion by 2024 – Expert  

Education

A native of Okitipupa in present-day Ondo State, Ibrahim was born on the 24th of February 1967 to Alhaji Yakubu and his wife, Omofemiwa Jimoh. The family was a big one with his father having seven wives and several children.

Ibrahim started schooling at Igbotako and finished his secondary school at Saint John’s School before proceeding to bag his Law degree and then, Masters in Public Administration (MPA) at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife (now in Osun State). He then headed for Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA for a combined Master of Laws & International Taxation (LLM/IT).

Ibrahim earned an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and a Master of Science in Programme Management at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

He attended various executive education programmes including the University of Cambridge Advanced Leadership Programme (ALP), University of Oxford Negotiation Programme, University of Oxford Advanced Leadership and Management programme, Harvard Business School Senior Executive Leadership Program for the Middle East and the University of Cambridge programme on How to Lead Successful Projects. Ibrahim also attends the guest category of the annual meeting of the World Bank/IMF.

READ: Oba Otudeko: A self-made billionaire entrepreneur

Early business and career moves

Ibrahim picked an early interest in making money out of his knowledge, even as an undergraduate. He first observed that only the federal and state governments had laws, and so proposed organising law seminars across local governments in Nigeria, to teach them how to make their own laws. Simple as this might have seemed, he made quite some money from it. He also made some money from organising workshops for top government officials.

One might imagine what the young man was thinking as an undergraduate, but it was clear to him even at that age that he did not have to wait till he left school to make money. He also used his fathers’ bricklaying materials to execute some small scale contracts which he secured.

Ibrahim always had his eyes prowling in search of opportunities. When it came to his notice that the federal government was having challenges recovering its withholding tax from multinational oil companies, he sent in a proposal on how he could help recover the funds. He executed the proposal to the letter, recovering billions of naira for the government and earning himself a fortune as well.

In his capacity as a tax professional, he also worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and was a part of the Harvard team that backed the tax reforms in Bangladesh.

The full-fledged entrepreneur

As a businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim is known to have interests in key business outfits across several sectors and uses the Global Fleet Group, where he sits as chairman and chief executive officer, as the umbrella company for his investments. Global Fleet is now a diversified conglomerate with presence in several countries.

He started out the Global Fleet Oil and Gas in 2004 as a petroleum marketing company. The company did not focus on setting up fuel stations, but instead set out to buy out other fuel stations. Within a year, they bought about 150 stations and started averaging about $1 million daily in oil and gas sales. Since then, the company has acquired more fuel stations.

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Ibrahim founded Energy Commercial Bank, Accra, Ghana in 2009 and it is considered an arm of the Energy Group, one of the largest Africa conglomerates with diversified interest in banking and financial investment. The Group also acquired 100% of the Oceanic Bank (STP) in June 2011, changing its name to Energy Bank Sao Tome & Principe (STP) and making it another arm of the Energy Group and a subsidiary of the Global Fleet Group.

Air Nigeria was established in 2010 as Virgin Nigeria, with Ibrahim as a major shareholder. Ibrahim is also the Group Managing Director of NICON Insurance and one of its subsidiaries, Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation in Lagos state.

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In the hospitality industry, Ibrahim acquired the former Le Meridian Hotels in 2003 and changed its name to NICON Luxury Hotel.

Ibrahim is also the owner of Global Media Mirror, publishers of the National Mirror, and has acquired 51% of Newswatch Communication Limited to give him a substantial stake in Nigeria’s media industry.

Ibrahim served as the Chairman of the board of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria, from April 2009 to December 2012. It was quite a turbulent tenure that saw the CAC workers embarking on industrial action in May 2011 to push for his removal.

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In 2011, he was also appointed the Honorary Consul of Sao Tome and Principe to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The controversial loan and seizure of assets

On November 4 2020, a federal high court sitting in Lagos granted an interim order allowing the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to take possession of twelve prime assets belonging to Barrister Ibrahim and freeze all accounts belonging to him and his companies over a N69.4 billion debt.

In compliance with the court order, AMCON took possession of all the assets through its Debt Recovery Agent – Pinheiro Legal Partner, and also took shares belonging to Ibrahim and his two companies as domiciled in Nigerian Re-Insurance Company Plc, NICON Insurance Company Plc, Nigeria Stockbrokers Limited (NSL) and NICON Trustees Limited.

READ: AMCON sets to publish names of prominent Nigerians owing N5 trillion

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The properties affected include the building of NICON Investment Limited at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited building at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja; the building of NICON Lekki Limited also at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos; the building of Abuja International Hotels Limited located at No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; as well as a property at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Abuja.

The former Allied Bank Building on Mile 2, Oshodi ExpressWay, Apapa Road, Lagos; Energy House located on No. 94, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; NICON Building at No. 40, Madeira Street, Maitama, Abuja; a Residential Apartment at Road 2, House A14, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; NICON Hotels Building at Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Lagos as well as the NICON Luxury Hotel’s Building, Garki I, FCT, Abuja were also affected.

Ibrahim and his companies sued to recover the seized assets on grounds of “non-disclosure and misrepresentation of material facts” requesting an indemnity of N50 billion from AMCON, but the Federal High Court declined his application, upholding the subsisting order.

The case between Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim and AMCON has been a longstanding one dating as far back as 2016. The loan was one of the 393 loans AMCON purchased from Union Bank of Nigeria plc during the first phase of Eligible Bank Assets (EBA) purchases. Since then, attempts made to recover the loan have proved futile. AMCON also seized assets belonging to other debtors in the same year, taking advantage of the amended Act, which had been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

READ: NASS pledges support to AMCON on debt recovery 

In his response to the asset seizure, Ibrahim had said there were no grounds for such an action since his organization already had over £220 million as bank deposit in Union Bank. “The order is discharged already as Union Bank is owing us £220 million that is over N150 billion; four times over what AMCON is claiming, so AMCON is pursuing nothing,” he said.

Another hearing has been fixed for March 9, and while AMCON pushes on with its moves, Ibrahim is clearly not going to give up without a fight.

Other interests and Honours

Jimoh Ibrahim has been conferred the honour of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic OFR, and Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic CFR. He has also received honorary doctorate degrees from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State; Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, Oyo State and the Ondo State University.

In 2003 and in 2016, Ibrahim attempted to become the governor of Ondo State, on the platform of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) respectively but was not successful. He has authored three books.

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Profiles

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is redefining the future of startup investments

After founding several start-ups, Aboyeji now manages Future Africa as General Partner of the company.

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It is no longer news that young people especially under 30 entrepreneurs are tackling the world’s biggest challenges with innovative creations. They create companies and organizations aimed at solving the problems confronting society today.

Among them is Iyinoluwa Aboyeji who is a young Nigerian entrepreneur and co-founder of Andela, an engineering and service business that helps companies to build remote teams quickly at a cost-effective rate.

Aboyeji is also the founder and former managing director of Flutterwave, a technology that uses digital payments infrastructure that assists banks and businesses to build seamless and secure payments for their customers.

READ: Andela launches Pan-African technology hub in Kigali for software developers across the continent

In March 2019, he founded Future Africa, an innovation fund that provides capital and coaching to innovators.

As a young boy, he was involved in lots of innovative creations and as such co-founded quite a number of companies. Among them was the Bookneto Inc. alongside Pierrie Alrs, a social learning platform for sharing and organizing learning resources within learning communities. It allowed users to manage course interactions and the ability to see questions, insights, and discussions on course material from students taking related courses at other schools.

In 2014, he met with Jeremy Johnson, a technology entrepreneur and enthusiast who shared the same passion and drive as him. They both started Andela, a company that invests in African software engineers to help companies solve the technical talent shortage and build high-performing distributed engineering teams.

READ: Iyinoluwa Aboyeji steps down as Flutterwave CEO

The rise of Andela attracted investments from both local and international investors. Aboyeji worked with Andela for two years after which he resigned and moved on to his next venture. Before he resigned, the company raised $24 million Series B funding from investors including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and former US Vice President, Al Gore.

In 2016, Flutterwave was launched. Flutterwave is a platform that partners with businesses to process payments globally. It allows for payments to be made and accepted anywhere around the world on its integrated platform.

Aboyeji was the CEO of Flutterwave for two years before resigning in October 2018. Under his leadership as CEO, Flutterwave had become one of the fastest-growing payments technology business of all-time, attracting significant investments from Y Combinator, Greycroft, Greenvisor Capital, and Mastercard.

READ: Meet Omowale David-Ashiru, the first female Andela Nigeria Country Director

Flutterwave is currently valued at $150 million, and it is also Y Combinator’s most valuable startup in Africa.

He moved further to work as the Deputy Director-General on Oby Ezekwesili’s presidential campaign from 2018 to February 2019.

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In March 2019, Aboyeji founded Future Africa and became a General Partner of the company. Future Africa is a platform for providing capital, coaching, and community to innovators and entrepreneurs looking to solve problems throughout the continent.

Some of the start-ups in their portfolio include; Lori Systems, Andela, Flutterwave, Eden, MAX, and Kobo360.

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