By Henry Umahi



Robert Azibaola is soft-spoken and has a gentle mien. But the zest and fervency with which he pursues anything he is interested in belies his looks. For him, no mountain is too high to climb and no terrain is too rugged to navigate.

Azibaola could be described as a man of many parts. He is an entrepreneur, industrialist, lawyer, innovator as well as human and environmental rights advocate.

Born on February 13, 1969 in Otakeme community, Bayelsa State, he rose to the position of vice president, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in 1993 at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, where he studied Law. In 1999, he founded Mangrovetech Limited, a civil engineering company that metamorphosed into Kakatar Group, which has expanded its frontiers to become one of Nigeria’s largest indigenous construction and engineering companies.

In 2018, he founded Zeetin Engineering to produce high-end technology and heavy-duty equipment to produce the first electrical automobile in Nigeria. Based on his giant strides in engineering and sciences, he was referred to as “lawyer with engineer’s DNA.” The Nigerian Society of Engineers conferred on him, fellowship of the society in 2021.

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Azibaola is a passionate campaigner for the preservation of the Niger Delta rainforests and its diverse wildlife. To this end, he initiated a campaign to preserve rainforests and wildlife in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta region through the Niger Delta Human and Environmental Rescue Organisation (ND-HERO), which advocates peace and environmental justice in the Niger Delta region.

He underwent a 14-day expedition into one of the region’s deep forests, with his team aimed at showcasing the impact of climate change on the entity as a result of the adverse environmental practices, by the inhabitants of the region in partnership with ecological enthusiasts, government, and mission-aligned organizations.

The expedition was a journey of 25 kilometers, from human civilization, while the team covered over 400 kilometers to explore the forest. At the end, a two-hour documentary-film series, which highlighted the story of his people and life in the creeks was produced.

A lover of nature, he laments that the rainforest is being pilfered as people are hunting animals and logging trees, thereby depleting the oxygen in the environment even as his people are losing their identity.

He said: “This thing that is happening in Ogbia is not happening here alone. It’s all over the world and the Chinese, Americans and others, are taking charge by stemming the impact of climate change and deforestation.”

He is also an advocate of youth empowerment, maintaining that youths in the country were yet to unleash and exploit the potentialities of the social media to use them creatively to make money.

Based on his advocacy on the adverse environmental practices and other ventures, he has been recognized and honoured severally. The Sun Public Service Award, 2023 is yet another honour.