By Hon. Victor Afam Ogene
I can wager that at first mention, his name is not known within political circles. It sounds esoteric and so, would not elicit much interest, beyond the ‘Rich’ appellation attached to it.
But if anyone has heard about the name Belemaoil, chances are that given Nigeria’s oil propelled economy, the company, though hardly a household name, sure rings a bell.
Yet, the name, Tein Jack-Rich and Belemaoil share an affinity. They are consanguineous. One and the same; the former is the promoter of the latter. The big name behind the oil giant. By way of recapitulation, Jack-Rich is the President/Founder of Belemaoil Producing Limited, arguably the first indigenous oil exploration and production company in Nigeria to emerge from an oil-producing community located deep in the heart of the Niger Delta: Kula in Akuku-Toru LGA of Rivers state.
Born on January 28, 1975, the Jack-Rich personae however does not revolve only around Belemaoil as the Operator of the NNPC/Belemaoil OML-55 Joint Venture. At 47, he is rather focussed on reengineering Nigeria and has therefore indicated interest in the 2023 presidential contest. His vehicle: The All Progressives Congress, APC.
Of the about half-a-dozen aspirants jostling for the APC presidential ticket, only Jack-Rich comes seemingly ready and well made, through what the famed novelist, the late Professor Chinua Achebe termed, “solid personal achievements.”
I wonder how many Nigerians have heard Jack-Rich speak. Perhaps, with the possible exception of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, one can vouchsafe that no other aspirant, across party divide, can match Jack-Rich’s oratorical prowess.
Unarguably, he can hold his audience spellbound and mesmerize them with the sheer mellifluity of his own expressions, dissecting and deconstructing otherwise complex issues in very sensible and practical ways.
As a matter of fact, he possesses the added advantage of enunciating and canvassing policies and programmes that resonate with the mass of society.
While one is compelled to say that the other aspirants either had their palm kernels cracked for them by benevolence or benefited over time from public funds as former/current public office holders, it’s not so for Jack-Rich.
From the relatively tender age of 10, the challenges of adulthood was inexplicably foisted on Jack-Rich. Having lost both parents at that tender age, he had to meander through a labyrinth of the most chronic level of penury, and deprivation.
Toiling night and day, through thick and thin, fishing in the cold, rumbling seas of the Niger Delta was, for the most part of Jack-Rich’s adolescent life, the only means of eking out a living for himself and his siblings.
Through unwavering perseverance and abiding faith in God, a window of opportunity opened for Jack-Rich at the age of 21, in 1996, when a Louisiana, United States of America, USA-based oilfield firm, Dickson International, offered him employment.
Twelve years afterward, through a combination of hard work and honesty, Jack-Rich founded J+G Global Gas & Oilfield Limited. Several other subsidiaries quickly followed, each providing specialised services in “oil and gas related fields such as pipeline works, oil field personnel supply, oil-producing facilities upgrade, gas processing facilities installation and production operations profiling for oil flow optimization, both offshore, swamp and onshore for USA, UK, Norway, Singapore and Nigeria based international operators and service providers.”
Goaded by his philanthropic disposition, and a desire to give back to society, he established the Belema and the Jack-Rich Foundation, through which he awarded scholarships to thousands of students, many of whom have graduated from schools in Canada, Ghana, Ukraine, the USA, UK, Malaysia, Nigeria, North Cyprus, and the Philippines.
Notedly, he has extended same selfless support across Nigeria, with footprints of industrial type potable water for struggling communities in three locations in each of the about 12 states chosen by his Foundation across the six geo-political zones.
The completed and ongoing projects are located in Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Katsina, Sokoto, Enugu, Osun, Ondo and Rivers.
A multidimensional strategic thinker, motivator and firm believer in a Greater Nigeria, Jack-Rich holds the view that Nigeria is the economic trigger required to set the African continent on the path of sustainable growth and development.
Whenever the question about his foray into the seemingly murky waters of politics arises, Jack-Rich appears to have a ready made answer: “I’m not the owner of the wealth brought into my care; it is to impact generations positively and to serve humanity for the good of all. Wealth stockpiled without placing it in motion to create more wealth is stagnant wealth capable of causing toxins. It is destructive and can be a curse to me if I fail to create wealth for others.”
Would members of the APC, nay Nigerians, offer Jack-Rich the opportunity to live up to his name: jack up the rich potentials of the country?
The answer is tucked in the womb of time. But for sure, someone with the necessary prerequisites and appropriate credentials for the top job can be found in Jack-Rich.
Hon. Ogene, a former member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC.