By UGO AMADI
Barely in this part of the sphere would you easily find a man like Dr. Gabriel Ifeanyi Ogbechie. OON , an industrialist, seasoned leader, proficient administrator, entrepreneur, oil mogul, engineer, and Group Managing Director of Rainoil Ltd who has shown that life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
For starters, the Rainoil Boss, is not your regular fellow. He ranks well and truly as an unusual businessman and magnate, one who is not only outstanding at what he does, but a man who also stands head and shoulders apart from his peers.
No wonder, recently at the Platform Nigeria this great and ebullient Nigerian did not only engrossed thousands of participants, including policy influencers, representatives of large corporate organizations, players in the Nigerian economy and other business owners but also shared some Practical Insights from his Entrepreneurship Journey an effort to help entrepreneurs overcome challenges in their businesses.
Dr. Ogbechie with his nature and bravura enthralled the audience with his unique speaking style interwoven with practical anecdotes. He recounted memorable events and lessons from his experience in establishing Rainoil Limited, a leading energy company in Nigeria.
Truly, the story of energy sectors in Africa and in his home country Nigeria would be incomplete without a copious mention of the strategic role he is playing. However, it is in chronicling his exceptional journey of well over three decades in various fields of endeavours that some of the unique and exciting qualities that make Ogbechie a rare breed is revealed.
As an irrepressible Nigerian, Dr. Ogbechie identified opportunities in the downstream sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas, and he took the bold step to start Rainoil Limited in 1997. Today, the company ranks among the leading downstream oil and gas companies in Nigeria. Dr. Ogbechie has, over the last 25 years, overseen the growth of the group’s business operations across the entire downstream value chain with huge investments in the agro-allied amongst others.
Rainoil Limited has three ultra-modern petroleum product storage depots which are 50 million litre capacity multi-product depots in Oghara-Delta State, Calabar-Cross River State and Ijegun Egba-Lagos State. The company also has an 8,000 metric ton LPG bulk storage facility in Ijegun, Lagos State; over 150 retail petrol stations and LPG plants spread across the country; and a fleet of over 250 petroleum product tank trucks for efficient delivery of products to the Rainoil network of stations and customers across the country.
A leader by example, Ogbechie leads a workforce of over 2000 employees and he has successfully built sustainable systems and culture in the organization. His unflinching adherence to the organization’s core values of respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and safety has caught up with the workforce and this has been customers’ experience with the organization over the years.
A multiple award winner, Dr. Ogbechie has a couple of prestigious awards in his closet, some of which are the Downstream Company of the Year Award at the 2020-Business Day Nigerian Business Leadership Awards, Downstream Man of the Year Award at the 2018 Oil Trading and Logistics Conference, and a Finalist at the 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Champion Newspapers Corporate leader award in 2021.
It is Stimulating to note that he has tested in all scores to be a wise and smart business person and a revolutionary energy model who has positively impacted Nigeria.
He has enabled oil and gas in a way no other entrepreneur has while his voyage into the corporate world is ornately encrusted and iconic. Indeed, he is one man who has demonstrated a great capacity to show the way to lead men where they ought to be and shown that nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.
As he turns 57 today, May 28, Dr. Gabriel Ifeanyi Ogbechie, continues to displays that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. Also, he has shown that the brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
He has continued to show vigour, brilliance and zeal he exuded in turning ideas into reality in his early years. Born on April 29, 1966, as the fifth of six children in his family., he is a living example of how creative innovative ideas and fortitude can be combined to achieve astonishing results.
He is clearly one of the leaders in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria that has distinguished himself, not only as a dynamic business administrator, innovative director and technocrat, but also shown a high degree of integrity and transparency in both private, religious, and public affairs.
The oil magnate revealed that of all the world’s great figures, he wishes he had met a man like Nelson Mandela because he is a global icon. “A man who was incarcerated for more than 25 years, yet he came out, forgave those who persecuted him. An African, who was elected to be president of his country, ran for one term and said he wasn’t running for a second term.”
In his attempt to give back to the society from the prosperity heaven has bequeathed on him, the Rainoil boss established the Gabriel Ogbechie Foundation.
“We have a lot of people on the scholarship scheme, a lot of people I do not know. We pay school fees, medical bills, and all kinds of support. At the corporate level, we have an annual budget for CSR where we pay all kinds of bills and give support. As God blesses you, you must find a way of giving back to society, it is something I am very passionate about,” he said.
His character and actions eloquently epitomize the true face of right living, patriotism, nationalism, and optimism as he is leading a new agenda for pure corporate governance and integrity in the marketplace.
As the Chairman of Eterna Plc and Founder and Group CEO Rainoil Limited, he has almost three decades cognate experience in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and has also made a strong commitment in the development of sports in Nigeria, through sponsoring of annual Rainoil tennis tournament.
A graduate of Production Engineering from the University of Benin, Gabriel began his early career as a factory engineer between 1989 and 1991, and subsequently joined PricewaterhouseCoopers, a leading firm of Chartered Accountants and Management Consultants.
He also spent four years at Ascon Oil, heading the Sales and Operations Unit. At a time of limited indigenous participation, he identified opportunities within the downstream oil and gas space. In 1997, he founded Rainoil Limited, which he has guided from very modest beginnings to a company with operations across the downstream value chain.
He has been involved in many philanthropic causes through the establishment of The Gabriel Ogbechie Foundation in Delta State which provides scholarships to undergraduates, community healthcare services as well as youth employment initiatives.
Also, through the Rainoil Community Empowerment Programme, he focuses on financial support to orphanages in Lagos and Abuja, and the provision of physical infrastructures and public amenities in local communities in Delta State.
Gabriel Ogbechie is a pioneer member of the Lagos Business School Owner Manager Programme 2002. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (D.Sc.) of Technology Management by Novena University, Ogume, Delta State in 2016.
His company has remained a wholly indigenous-owned company throughout its existence and still plays a fundamental role in bettering both the local economy and society, it also further reflected by the business’s sound and responsible approaches to health, safety, and the environment.
He is happily married to his wife, Godrey Ogbechie, who is also Group Executive Director of Rainoil and they are blessed with children.
Gabriel Ogbechie is one man who is committed to the peaceful development of his community and has made every effort to ensure the peace and prosperity of his people. His commitment to a life of public good has brought so much goodwill and honour to the people of his community and local government area.
The leaders and people of Idumuje-Ugboko, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta Stat where he hails from described Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie, as one of the greatest ambassadors of the community and LGA ever.
The leaders commented that “In spite of his wealth which he uses generously for the benefit of people without regard to gender, language, religion or ethnicity, Gabriel Ogbechie, is a successful businessman in his own right and remains humble and easily approachable.
To them he socialises with the mighty and the downtrodden, dining with the poor and dancing with villagers at local meetings. He participates actively in local functions where he frequently admonishes the young never to give up despite the vicissitudes of life.
He creates a composite image of endeavour and an ideal principle of maturity. Repulse him with every grit in your vein, treasure him with every air you breathe or be apathetic to his style, philosophy and essence, the Rainoil Boss is a man you could vouch is fulfilling his destiny with panache.
As we extol his virtues, the make of this great man of our time is better appreciated in the forte of his leadership commitments, the validity of his dealings, the trustworthiness of his purpose, the quiet valor of his principles, his capacity to suffer and his disposition to endure in order to achieve success and positively impact the lives of millions.
Also, his love for mankind is amazing which stands him out as an outstanding corporate leader, humanist, visionary businessman who has over the years been working tirelessly to support all manner of people, including the less privileged members of society.
Today, we join all his teeming fans, associates, friends and family to appreciate and wish this rare gift of God to Nigeria, and indeed, Africa, Gabriel Ogbechie a blissful 57th birthday.