Cletus Ibeto: Biography, net worth, family life, achievements
Cletus Ibeto is a Nigerian entrepreneur, manufacturer, and philanthropist. He is the founder and Chairman of Ibeto Group, the largest conglomerate in the Eastern part of Nigeria and a diversified conglomerate with interests in automotive parts, cement, petrochemicals, hospitality, real estate, and more. His humanitarian gestures have lifted thousands of people from poverty and his success story is truly that of from grass to grace.
Cletus Ibeto was born on November 6, 1952, in Nnewi, a city in Anambra State that is known for its entrepreneurial spirit. His early life and education were marked by challenges and perseverance. He was the youngest of three sons and had a dream of going to secondary school. However, his father decided that he should learn a trade instead of pursuing formal education. So, at the age of 13, he sent him to Onitsha to be an apprentice under an auto spare parts dealer named John Akamelu. Cletus was reluctant at first, but he soon developed a passion and skill for the business. Cletus later survived the civil war by selling leather bags and tablets but he never gave up on his dream of formal education, and eventually obtained his WASSCE at the age of 48 and his Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from University of Nigeria, Nsukka at the age of 54. He also received a Doctor of Business Administration degree from the same university as an honour.
His life challenges during the civil war
Cletus Ibeto faced many hardships during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), which disrupted his apprenticeship and forced him to flee to different places. He survived by selling whatever he could find, including a leather bag, a Biafran suit, and some tablets he picked from an abandoned hospital. After the war ended, he returned to Onitsha and resumed his trade. He worked hard and saved enough money to start his own business in 1978.
Cletus’ venture into importation and manufacturing of auto spare parts
He began by importing auto spare parts from Japan and other countries. He soon realized that there was a huge demand for locally made products that were cheaper and more accessible. He decided to venture into manufacturing and established his first factory in Nnewi in 1988. He started producing lead-acid batteries and plastic accessories for vehicles. He expanded his product range and market share over the years and became one of the largest auto spare parts manufacturers in Nigeria.
His business diversification
Cletus Ibeto did not stop there. He diversified his business interests into other sectors, such as cement, petrochemicals, hospitality, real estate, and more. He acquired controlling stakes in several companies, such as Union Bank of Nigeria, Orient Petroleum Plc, Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, and Century Petroleum Corporation. He also established Ibeto Cement Company Limited, which became one of the leading cement producers in Nigeria. He faced some challenges along the way, such as regulatory hurdles, legal battles, market fluctuations, and competition. However, he overcame them with resilience, innovation, and strategic partnerships. He also invested in research and development to improve his products and services. He maintained a high standard of quality and customer satisfaction.
Cletus’ Philanthropic Activities
He also gave back to society through his philanthropic activities. He supported various causes such as education, health care, sports, culture, religion, and community development. He sponsored scholarships for students, donated medical equipment and supplies to hospitals, built churches and mosques, funded sports teams and events, and empowered youths and women through skill acquisition programs. He also contributed to peace and security initiatives in Nigeria. The Ibeto Group chairman has touched many lives and institutions through his activities. Some of them include:
- Awarding scholarships to over 200 students
- At the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, College of Medicine, Nnewi, Anambra State, he established and maintained a prize award foundation for the top graduating student in paediatrics.
- Established a prize award foundation at the Federal University of Technology in Owerri, Imo State, for the best-graduating student in the Electrical/Electronic Engineering department and many more
Cletus’ Honor and awards
- Gold Service Award from the Rotary Club of Enugu, Rotary International District 9140.
- National Honour, Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON.
- Ebonyi State University confers on him Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration.
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Honoris Causa, University of Nigeria.
- National Honour, Officer of Order of the Niger, OON.
- Three-Ruby Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation International.
- Certificate of Merit from the Government of Anambra State of Nigeria.
- Award of Excellence by the Pilgrims Africa Health Foundation.
He is married to Charity Ibeto and has five children: Chibuzor Ibeto (son), Ifeoma Ibeto (daughter), Uchenna Ibeto (son), Chukwuma Ibeto (son), and Chinyere Ibeto (daughter). He lives in Nnewi with his family.
Cletus Ibeto Net worth
Cletus Ibeto has an estimated net worth of $3.8 billion. He is among the richest people in Nigeria and across Africa.
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