BY Abu Mubarik, 11:00am July 04, 2024,

Meet Cletus Ibeto, one of the richest men in Nigeria who got his secondary school certificate at 48

Cletus Ibeto. Photo: Facebook/Chief Dr. Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto; CON.

Dr. Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto is a Nigerian entrepreneur and businessman behind the Ibeto Group, one of Nigeria’s most successful and highly diversified indigenous industrial conglomerates. Born in Nigeria’s Anambra State, he started his business career as an automobile spare parts dealer under the Igbo apprenticeship system, commonly called imu-ahia.

After his apprenticeship, he set up shop and started the Ibeto Brothers Trading Company, importing and distributing automotive batteries and plastic motor accessories. While running Ibeto Brothers Trading Company, he opened his factory in Nnewi to stop direct importation. After 10 years, he became the owner of one of the largest auto spare parts manufacturing outfits in Nigeria. 

Between the Shehu Shagari administration and the time he was toppled, Ibeto had a monopoly over the importation of spare parts. After the Shagari administration introduced a policy restricting importation without a license, Ibetu moved quickly to secure the license which cost millions of naira while other importers were hesitant, waiting to see what would become of the policy. Later when these importers were ready to apply for a license, the process had become choked. With his license, Ibeto was able to import as many as 65 containers of spare parts. 

“There was a line of people wanting to get their hands on replacement parts from my businesses,” he recalled, according to Nairametrics. “I was using boxes to store money at the bank. Even though the markup was close to 500%, people still bought the goods. The first two days after the containers arrived, I made four million pounds.”

He used the money he was making from his spare parts business to start Union Autoparts Manufacturing Company Ltd., which would become the leading manufacturer of automotive lead-acid batteries in Nigeria.

He also ventured into the petrochemical industry, establishing Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Ltd. The company would grow to become one of the leading players in producing a wide range of chemical-related goods and oil lubricants for domestic and international markets. The company also became the largest liquid storage facility for petroleum products, with a capacity of about 60,000 metric tons.

The Nigerian businessman also established Ibeto Energy Development Company in 2008 in response to the federal government’s move to harness natural gas in the Niger Delta. He also followed in the footsteps of Aliko Dangote and established a cement factory called Ibeto Cement.

Today, Ibeto Group has subsidiaries, including Ibeto Cement Company Limited, Ibeto Industries Limited, Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Limited, Union Auto Parts Manufacturing Limited, Odoh Holdings Limited, Cottenwooden Gas Limited, Max Shipping Services Limited, CMI Communications Limited, and Ibeto Hotels Limited.

Ibeto has an accounting degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He got his degree at the age of 54. Also, he received a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Honoris Causa, from the same institution in recognition of his business experience. Ebonyi State University also conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration on Ibeto.

To acknowledge his contributions to the socio-economic development of the country and service to humanity, he was also honored several times by the Federal Government of Nigeria with Office of the Order of the Niger (OON) and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 4, 2024

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