As Leemon Ikpea Backs Tinubu’s Vision for Nigeria, Says He is a Transformative Leader


Eyeing a New Nigeria, Chief Leemon Ikpea, the founder and chairman of the Lee Engineering Group and Allied Companies Limited backs the governance vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, urging faith and patience in the president’s challenging trajectory, Louis Achi writes

Up close, Dr. (Chief) Leemon Ikpea, emits controlled vibrations of energy. His intensity of focus mirrored in the precision of his numerous, successful project executions is unmistakable. He has certainly proved that entrepreneurship, integrity, philanthropy and hard work fundamentally address human development.

At the level of small talk, you could hardly get the better of the Adolor of Ewato.  He is an   astute, top-notch entrepreneur more at home with analysis and action; and believes that bold leadership requires making tough choices in the interest of society and humanity.

That is why he insists that the tough choices President Tinubu is making are in the national interest. Without beating about the bush, he insists the President’s decision to remove fuel subsidy was a necessary action to head off national bankruptcy and reset the economy for growth, even though it has caused difficulties and hardship for many Nigerians.

Chief Ikpea also picked out Tinubu’s currency reforms to establish a market-determined exchange rate, arguing, this will boost competitiveness, deter corruption and improve transparency.

He perhaps hit the bull’s-eye when he stated that under President Tinubu, the economy has turned the corner.

“Nigeria’s economy has turned the corner. I strongly believe that in the coming months, the economy will roar back to glory. We should have cause to openly acknowledge these positive changes and celebrate by this year’s ending. Mark this. Nigerians must unite, rally around our President and his team,” a clearly elated Chief Ikpea told THISDAY.

Chief Ikpea is the founding Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Lee Group of Companies, a conglomerate traversing oil and gas services, engineering construction, travels and tours, and equipment fabrication and manufacturing. Lee Engineering is now a leading indigenous oil, gas and power services company performing brilliantly and professionally in the league of multinationals.

Worthy of note is that Chief Ikpea is also at the forefront of the promotion of indigenous technology, to take up the challenges of the oil and gas sector, engineering construction, and jobs that were hitherto, the forte of big foreign companies.

Another defining feature of the Ikpea persona is his statesmanship. He rides far above primordial and partisan interests, as his network of relationships cut across tribes, religions and races, both within and abroad.

Always sensitive to his environment, it is perhaps not surprising that Ikpea’s focus firmly remains on deepening the country’s success stories, confronting the multi-hued challenges and building more enormous frontiers for national prosperity. It is against this backdrop that he has expressed his total support for the governance vision of the President which he believes fundamentally targets a new, more secure and prosperous Nigeria.

He shared something of this deep position with THISDAY recently. His words: “It’s not just a cliché that Tinubu redefined the foundation of modern Lagos, which his successors built on. He made bold decisions and executed destiny-defining policies. Such a leader’s past can only illuminate a promising future for the people.”

According to the humble billionaire entrepreneur, genuine transformation of a nation to put it on the path of prosperity is a gradual process. Hear him: “The process is gradual. It’s understood that many of the country’s challenges accumulated over decades. Successive leaders shied away from taking bold decisions until things came to a head.  So, who bells the cat? Courage is a true sign of leadership. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. We can see that in the president.”

Chief Ikpea who covets knowledge-driven innovations, proactive engagement with stakeholders, policy makers and sure-footed action told THISDAY that “It’s no secret that today, the world, Africa and Nigeria stand on the brink of substantial disruptions – and also of considerable opportunity – as new governance, political and business models challenge traditional playbooks.”

According to him, only leaders with bold visions can provide the needed stability and safety as they grapple with the imperatives of transformation. “Clearly, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one such leader on the continent,” he said.

Chief Ikpea takes the pledged creation of a trillion-dollar economy in ten years as one example of Tinubu’s proclamation which he said many are doubting without valid grounds. He recalls that the US State of California recorded over three trillion-dollar GDP in 2023 by leveraging its human and technological resources.

He agrees with President Tinubu’s administration that its Renewed Hope Agenda can indeed leverage Nigeria’s population and resources to build a trillion-dollar economy within the next decade.

President Tinubu had noted that achieving his ambitious goal of creating a trillion-dollar economy in ten years can be further facilitated by ongoing efforts on job creation, access to capital for SMEs, inclusiveness, the rule of law and the fight against insecurity, hunger, poverty and corruption.

The President made this declaration during the opening session of the 2023 National Engineering Conference, Exhibition and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Abuja, last December.

Chief Ikpea readily agrees with the Hon. Minister of Information that Nigerians are reaping the benefits of Tinubu’s reforms, though acknowledging the hard times most Nigerians are currently experiencing. “The difficult times are indeed temporary, but the benefits will be permanent,” he insists.

According to Ikpea, “Under  President Tinubu’s administration which is under a year old, a GDP growth of 3.46% in the fourth quarter of 2023 as against 2.54% was recorded in the third quarter of 2023.

“There was a sixty-six per cent rise in capital importation in the fourth quarter of 2023, reversing a 36% decline in the third quarter, petrol importation reduction by 50% since the withdrawal of the fuel subsidy and the crossing of the 100,000 mark of the Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index mark – its highest ever, mainly due to the pragmatic reforms initiated by the President, which inspired investor confidence in the Nigerian economy.

“Because of Tinubu’s reforms, oil production has risen from 1.22 million barrels per day in the second quarter of 2023 to 1.55 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“It shouldn’t be forgotten that the President has also given a directive for the design of a Social Security Unemployment Programme to cater for the unemployed graduates. This is in addition to setting up of a Social Consumer Credit Scheme to boost the purchasing power of Nigerians, as they make adjustments in view of the temporary economic hardship.

“The government is equally tackling insecurity headlong and more success stories are coming in on a daily basis. Without any doubt, Nigeria is winning the war against insecurity.

“These testify to the bold initiatives taken by Mr. President to reflate the Nigerian economy and return it to the path of growth and sustainable development.

“Recently, President Tinubu approved a revolutionary approach towards reducing the cost of governance through the implementation of the much-talked-about Oronsaye Report – 12 years after the report was submitted to the then President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

“This is a clear demonstration of Mr. President’s unwavering commitment to fiscal prudence and responsible governance by championing a comprehensive review of the government’s commissions, agencies, and parastatals.

“In recognition of the need to rationalise the size and scope of government, the President has taken decisive action to merge certain agencies and scrap others that are redundant or have outlived their usefulness.

“The merger of some agencies and parastatals and the scrapping of others are not decisions taken lightly. It followed careful consideration and strategic planning to ensure that essential services are not compromised and that the needs of our citizens are adequately addressed while putting the interests of the nation first and foremost.

“Through the implementation of Oronsaye’s Report, President Tinubu clearly aims to achieve significant cost savings by eliminating duplication of functions, streamlining administrative processes, and optimizing resource allocation. This proactive approach will enable the government to operate more efficiently, while maintaining quality delivery of services to the Nigerian people.

“It is worth noting that these measures are not undertaken in isolation but are part of a broader strategy to reform and modernize government institutions by leveraging technology, promoting innovation, and fostering a culture of performance and accountability across all sectors.”

The unassuming Adolor of Ewato reiterates his conviction that hard choices being made by the country’s leadership today are a promissory note to a certain productive and prosperous future. Notwithstanding that not many may share his conviction, he holds that if the federal government conscientiously implements its economic policies, making adjustments where they are needed, there certainly will be light at the end of the tunnel.

Chief Ikpea urged Nigerians to exercise more patience with the Tinubu administration. Hear him: “My advice to Nigerians is to be patient. I feel the painful pinch of the reforms. It must be endured with the hope and confidence that things will return to normal. In the interim, we should all support the president and his administration. Normalcy will return sooner rather than later. No sacrifice is too big to make for one’s country.”

  Chief Ikpea is an exemplary nationalist, patriot and philanthropist who is   driven by realism,   optimism and prosperity for his people as he continues to intensify his investments in the nation’s economy. “We have ongoing gas projects, several of which will also increase the government’s revenue,” the champion of local content, especially in the strategic energy sector stated.

Indeed, his logic and nationalistic fervour can hardly be faulted.

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