Unarguably, Dr Muhammadu Indimi is a distinguished and highly successful businessman in the most real sense of the words, a philanthropist par excellence.
Born on August 12, 1947, into a humble background, Dr Muhammadu Indimi’s parent couldn’t afford to send him to a conventional school. Still, he demystified poverty and excelled above his contemporaries who had western education. Today, he did not just have all the educational requirements in life; he sponsors hundreds of less-privileged children in schools across the world.
At a very young age, Dr Muhammadu Indimi worked with his father in trading animal hides and skins. In 1963, when he has mastered the trade, he became independent and started his own business. The young Muhammadu Indimi managed his businesses so well that it earned him a good reputation among other big traders in the region. With time, he expanded his business activities into the selling of clothes, etc.
Like Richard Branson once said: “Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.” Over the years, Dr Muhammadu Indimi’s businesses have proven the adage that says “where there is a will, there is a way.” And with foresight and commitment, Dr Muhammadu Indimi’s business activities were massively expanded, and have become a household name in Nigeria and beyond.
Today, he is a founder of many successful indigenous companies. He sits on the board of several privately-owned companies encompassing all sectors of the economy notably Oriental Energy Resources Limited, M & W Pump Nigeria Limited, etc.
A meaningful life, they say, is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect. It’s about being real, being humble, being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others.
The above statement succinctly defines Dr Muhammadu Indimi. Being one of Africa’s most prominent men with a magnanimous heart, his charity foundation, the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation (MIF), is focused on lifting individuals and families out of poverty, illiteracy and health challenges not only in the northern part of Nigeria but the country as a whole as well as all the countries where he operates his business.
Believing in a famous saying, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. If you’re not reaching back to help anyone then you’re not building a legacy,” the business tycoon and philanthropist has, through the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation, made positive impacts on the lives of many in various ways in excess of $14 million, about N5 billion.
Primarily, the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation was established to unlock Northern Nigeria’s potential through the alleviation of hunger and illiteracy. The founder, Dr Muhammadu Indimi, holds firm to the belief that charity begins at home.
In fact, the business tycoon and philanthropist said he established the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation to, essentially, provide timely and proactive interventions in education, food, shelter, rehabilitation and empowerment of people in need of assistance.
Thus, the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation has brought succour to the hopeless by providing food and shelter to those who have been displaced by the Boko Haram terrorists, bandits and others whose lives were shattered by environmental disasters, among others.
For instance, the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation has provided numerous relief materials and other forms of assistance to many people whose lives have been disrupted by the insurgency in North-Eastern Nigeria.
The Muhammadu Indimi Foundation’s first project was an intensive provision of direct support to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in their camps in the form of food, medical supplies and cash. It also donated materials to the Federal Government Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Committee as part of its overarching support to persons in need of help.
In 2010, Dr Muhammadu Indimi invested in high-impacts social intervention programmes for over 11,000 persons. He provided food, clothing, schools and clinics for the Internally Displaced Persons. The project has been sustained till now.
In June 2017, volunteers of the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation spent three days visiting more than 10 IDPs camps in Maiduguri, distributing relief items to 28,000 families from 11 local governments who found shelter in Maiduguri IDPs camps. This project has been sustained to date.
The Muhammadu Indimi Foundation has also built a 100-unit housing estate worth N600 million as part of its support to the people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Muhammadu Indimi Foundation also provides scholarship for the children of the less-privileged that covers academic fees, accommodation and sustenance allowances for all the recipients. The annual scholarship has made it possible for many students to be admitted into higher institutions of learning in Nigeria and other parts of the world such as the International University of Africa.
As part of their corporate social responsibility, Dr Muhammadu Indimi’s companies have provided multi-billion naira services to the communities they operate, especially in the southern part of the country.
These contributions, the business mogul said, included a scholarship to students in South-South universities and the provision of infrastructure in some selected schools.
Through his companies and the Muhammadu Indimi Foundation, he built a 100-unit of a modern residential estate in Enwang worth N700 million. He also awarded over 470 scholarships in Akwa Ibom state and created a sponsorship programme for University of Uyo’s Department of Petroleum and Chemical Engineering.
Dr Muhammadu Indimi has also contributed generously to the Nigerian private sector’s response to the humanitarian crises. At the height of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, he contributed a significant amount of money to support government’s effort to fight the spread of the virus in the country.
Apart from his humanitarian gestures, Dr Muhammadu Indimi donated a multi-million dollar International Business Centre to Lynn University in the USA, which was named after him.
Speaking at the May edition of Nigeria in the World Seminar Series at the Harvard University’s Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs in Massachusetts, United States of America, the Nigerian philanthropist brought to the fore the valuable lessons he has learnt in business, leadership and life over the time, as reported by the Forbes, thus: “Life is indeed the best teacher, and the lessons that it teaches are useful in your journey,” he said. “You must learn to endure pain, loss, handle failure, make the right decisions, have the wisdom to learn from mistakes and manage relationships. Life is one institution you never stop learning from.”
He said, to be successful in life and business, one must give one’s best consistently, and believe in one’s vision. “Having a positive attitude has helped me in everything I have done in my life,” he said. “Never give up even if the odds are against you.”
On venturing into the oil and gas industry in 1990 when the federal government launched the indigenous concession programme in response to slumping oil prices and at a time when international oil companies were reluctant to invest in offshore oil blocks in the country, the business mogul said: “It took over twenty years and many false starts and dead ends for me to get to the point where I could produce and reach first oil in 2011. Those twenty years were very uncertain. It required a lot of determination, perseverance and lots of money.”
During the lecture, Dr Muhammadu Indimi also stressed the importance of sustainable development and contribution to the socio-economic wellbeing of communities in Africa by successful people in business.
The philanthropist, who dedicated wealth and resources to empowering people in Nigeria and Africa, said: “There are more than 200 students the Indimi Foundation is taking care of in various stages of education. I visit home often and proudly take my guests along to the city. The displaced people touch my heart deeply, and we will not rest until the people are settled back in their homes, with the support they need to make meaningful livelihoods and rebuild their legacy.”
For Dr Muhammadu Indimi, life has been eventful, fruitful and successful. He has received various national and international awards in recognition of his selfless service to humanity.
These include Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR), 2012; Honourary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Lynn University, Florida 2013; Honourary Doctorate in Business
Administration from University of Uyo, 2017; Vanguard Businessman of the Year, 2017; and Honourary Doctorate in Management Science, Nigeria Defence Academy, 2018; among others.
He remains a role model to the millions of young Nigerians and posterity will be kind to him and his generation as he continues to make positive impacts on the lives of less-privileged people across Nigeria and Africa.