Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has spoken glowingly of Jim Ovia, Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, especially on his philanthropy and humility.
Osinbajo made the kind remarks at the public presentation and launch of Ovia’s book “Africa Arise and Shine” on Monday in Lagos.
According to him, the most economically successful people owe the society three taxes; the first is income taxes– personal income and corporation taxes.
“The second tax is the social tax-philanthropy-the obligation of the wealthy to give back to society; Jim Ovia is discharging the obligation of giving back to the society especially his investment in education and the training of thousands.
“I can testify personally because he is the Chair of the North –East Children Fund, a fund with which I am associated; a fund for building comprehensive learning centres for thousands of orphans in the North East of Nigeria.
“The third tax is civic tax; the obligation of the successful to write the stories; to share their experiences in order to admonish and to inspire the present and the future.
“The tax is a difficult one because the honest account of the life of the truly successful may not necessarily be from glory to glory.
“ I am personally impressed but not surprised by Ovia’s great success in the discharge of this particular obligation,’’ he said.
The vice president said he was not surprised that Ovia told his story honestly because despite great wealth and achievements, he was an exceedingly humble and self-effacing man.
He said that Ovia’s story captured the Nigerian dream-a man from nowhere to six trillion Naira enterprise.
Osinbajo said that like Ovia, the vast majority of Nigerians who were successful entrepreneurs did not begin from families of great wealth, great education or great privilege.
The vice president said that Ovia had nurtured a lot of people who became successful without fear that that might be greater than him.
Earlier in his remark, Ovia said that the narrative of Africa had been pathetic as it was always portrayed as a dark continent.
The author said that, in the past, Africa was presented as continent of military coups, corruption, conflict, hunger, among other negative things.
He said, however, that the narrative had changed as Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD) had improved while internet penetration was high.
Ovia said that Africa had embraced technology same as Europe, Asia and America.
“Today, no African country is ruled by soldiers; most African countries are democratic.
“There are great indicators to show that Africa is truly rising; we need to rebrand Africa,’’ he said.
The governors of Lagos, Taraba, Delta, Akwa Ibom alongside dignitaries from the political and business communities graced the occasion.