(Dr. Howaida Salah Aldin Al- Atabani) - Far to the west of Africa, the plane flew towards Nigeria
, starting the journey in the North from Maiduguri and Kano, then South where Abuja and Lagos. We were not enjoying only the rainy weather and the green landscapes, but also the recognition of a country with a deep-rooted history and heritage.
The invitation was made by Dr. Alhaji Indim; thus, the trip was under his auspices. His main objective was to develop and strengthen the relationship between the International University of Africa led by Vice Chancellor Professor Kamal Obied and the religious and educational institutions in Nigeria. I was honoured to be one of the delegates. It was my second time to receive an invitation from Dr. Indimi, the first one being when he invited me to attend the celebration of awarding him the Honorary Doctorate, by the University of Lynn.
However, it is necessary to recognize the personality of such an extraordinary man, Dr. Indimi who managed to get out of the rubble, when he evolved from being a peddler, to deal in the internal and external trade, to finally ending up as one of the greatest investors in Africa, therefore he has been able to stand out as one of Africa's most important billionaires.
It is worth mentioning that Dr. Indimi used to be an illiterate in his past life, as he had never received a formal education in his life, neither from schools nor universities. Nevertheless he taught himself, until he reached a stage of being a fluent speaker in English, as well as being able to communicate in both Arabic and French, along with his mother tongue languages Kanuri and Hausa. This is undoubtedly an essential addition to a distinguished and unique man, from which we can take an example and good lessons.
Dr. Indimi told us captures of his life. One story was about when he was in Brussels the capital of Belgium. One of the secretaries of the Ministry of Energy contacted him to make an appointment, to let him bid for oil exploration. Nigeria's population census at that time was hundred millions; we can imagine the size of the competition between the groups aiming to win the tender. The result was the selection of ten investors and Dr.Indimi was one of them. He had to spend three billion dollars, of course this made the challenge so dire, so he had to choose one of two options, either to win the round, and hence double his capital or to lose the round and so lose everything he had. However, he accepted the challenge, encouraged by the confidence of the president, when he said "I am sure that Indimi will do it". So Dr. Indimi decided to achieve what he sought, and never gave up (never embarrass the president).
One of the important duties of the Nigerian government is that it supports and facilitates the investments in oil exploration, which does not exist in other African countries, where governments control and dominate this type of investment; however, this is regarded as a good incentive to push forward the investments of oil in Nigeria.
It is not enough for anyone to have a goal in his life; the challenge is to work for making dreams and goals to be concrete realty. Dr. Indimi said that he never thought about oil exploration nor did he have any knowledge about it, nevertheless, he took the risk . He established his company Oriental Energy Resources (OER). The exploration began in 1991 to continue until 2008. For eighteen years waiting for results, Dr. Indimi never forgot that
actions are more precious than words, so he lived those years to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the end, one reaps what one has sown. Now OER produces 40% of oil produced by all private oil companies in Nigeria.
As a matter of fact there are no direct conflicts with the indigenous people who claim their right to the land, as OER explores oil in the ocean. Certainly, this stimulated OER to do some charitable work, such as building hospitals, schools and markets. Moreover, hundreds of local people benefited from being recruited as labor force in the exploration of oil.
Dr. Indimi considers the African man to be capable and qualified, as well as believing in women competence which drew my attention, thus we have seen in OER qualified women occupying prominent positions in the field of information technology, accounting, finance and management.
Generosity brings happiness; the more generous you are the more blessings of God you gain. So how to make other people fortunate, and the world a better place for them?. This is the philosophy and the human aspect that Dr. Indimi adopted, so he dedicated himself and his wealth to make the world a better place for other people, especially people who are in need. From this perspective he chose the way to charity work. One part of his charitable work is to provide scholarships to students, especially those who are studying in the field of oil. Hundreds of scholarships were provided to students of Midoogri University and the International University of Africa (IUA). However, as he is very Keen to strengthen the scientific research part in the oil field, he started to establish the faculty of minerals and oil in the IUA seven years ago, yet he intended to complete the second phase of his great project.
There is no doubt that biography and history which is full of achievements must be documented, thus Dr. Indimi was so eager to write about his life and the lessons learned, to clarify his experience and memories. He intended to publish a book, and translate it in the near future into several languages. One of Dr. Indimi's crucial beliefs, especially after he is over seventy years old, is that he should empower his family, country, and continent.
Concluding what we referred to previously, I think that is an insightful view, looks at the future through prosperous and promising way, in which a man can rises in a ladder of quality, excellence and innovation (the tree is known by its fruit).