Home LATEST MAGAZINE President Buhari honours Jim Ovia on the launch of his memoir: Africa Rise and Shine
LATEST MAGAZINE - Profiles - September 18, 2018

President Buhari honours Jim Ovia on the launch of his memoir: Africa Rise and Shine

Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank, on Monday, released his much-awaited memoir, Africa Rise and Shine, a personal account of the author’s journey from his days as a modest but wide-eyed youngster to the founder of Nigeria’s most successful and revered name in banking and finance.

Ovia who rose from a humble background to become chairman and founder of Zenith Bank Plc, one of the few giants in the industry wrote in his 250-page book that; “Never allow the perceptions of others to play a substantial part in your own vision of yourself and your future. “It is imperative to rely on one’s own instincts in taking stock of one’s own capabilities, and in evaluating a new business opportunity.”

President Muhammadu Buhari commended the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank for his contributions to entrepreneurship in Nigeria. e gave the commendation in a message at the public presentation and launch of Jim Ovia’s book at Eko Hotel Convention Centre saying;

“It is my pleasure to convey my congratulations to you on the publication of the book ‘Africa rise and shine,’ which you authored. I commend you in this contribution to the knowledge base of Nigeria’s entrepreneurs, particularly the Nigerian youth.”

“Your journey in building one of our country’s most iconic enterprise is an encouragement to our fellow citizens. Congratulations on this achievement,” Buhari wrote.

The Special Guest of Honour, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said: I’m impressed, not surprised about Jim’s success. The book has captured the Nigerian dream, especially where he said: ‘If I can do it, you can do it’. We need to rebrand Africa. Economies driven by technology will always blossom. The book is a civic tax that Jim has paid to better the society.”

The Lagos State Gov., Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, highlighted the contributions of the Ovia to the accountancy and banking professions in Nigeria. Governor Ambode called on leading entrepreneurs in Africa to take time to expose the younger generations to their inspiring stories with a view to showing them how to become successful business owners.

“Obviously, the truth is there is no person that has actually gone through the profession of accountancy that would not have had something to do with Jim Ovia,” Ambode said.

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, a former CEO of Zenith Bank, described Ovia as “a true giant of our time, obviously not in size, but in all else!

“In Africa Rise and Shine, Ovia shares very important words of wisdom, drawn from his more than 38-years experience as an undeniable trailblazer in Nigeria’s banking sector, as well as his experience in the telecommunications and insurance sectors. The book conveys an inspirational message on universal principles that are applicable in every country, which can serve as a guide to millions of young Nigerians on how to succeed, especially not only because of the opportunities around you but also despite the challenges in your environment,” Emefiele said.

He listed some of the attributes as devotion to knowledge, commitment to excellence, and courage to dare where many fear. “As you will find in the book, these factors were instrumental in enabling him to build a US$16 billion conglomerate from barely N20 million at start-up of this empire. For those of us who know him and have worked under him, Mr. Jim Ovia is a stickler for knowledge and is deeply committed to excellence,” Emefiele said.

“In my role as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, these qualities have served as a guiding principle for me and were very useful during the economic downturn that Nigeria faced between 2016 – 2017.  Under the glaringly distinguished but often unacknowledged leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, these qualities propelled me and the rest of the economic team to remain focused, to work assiduously, and to reach out to relevant stakeholders in developing solutions that eventually led to Nigeria’s recovery from the recession by the 3rd Quarter of 2017.”

Ovia said that what inspired him to write the book was the need to change the narrative of the African continent.

“The narrative of Africa has been something so pathetic. When you Google about Africa then, the first things that come out is that it is a continent of complex, a continent of corruption and of coups.@

“That was played out very dramatically when The Economist magazine had on their front page that Africa then was a continent of coup and a continent of corruption. But after two decades, that narrative started changing. Today, we now know that Africa is truly rising,” he said.

Ovia said that African countries had recorded GDP per capita of above 1,000 dollars, whereas about 20 years ago, it was below 500 dollars.

“So, for me, Africa is rising. Twenty years ago, only a few African countries had mobile phones, but today, all the African countries, not only have mobile phones, but they also have broadband technology and internet penetration is high.

“Africa is rising by embracing technology. Amazon is now over $1 trillion. This Amazon doesn’t have a factory anywhere. They don’t have any oil well at all but has over $1 trillion in market capitalisation and richer than Nigeria and twice the GDP of Nigeria. It is because they embraced technology and the internet,” he said.

Dignitaries at the event included Governors Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Ibrahim Shettima (Borno), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti Governor-elect), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Adams Oshiomhole, Chief Segun Osoba Christopher Kolade, Emeka Anyaoku, Chief Akintola Williams, Tony Elumelu, Folorunso Alakija, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu.

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