Nigeria’s Top 10 Wealthiest Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

by Opeoluwa Falodun

Everyone aspires to be wealthy and to have an endless supply of money to spend however they like. It is said that wealth is a prerequisite for happiness. The most important query, though, is: How much money does it take to be wealthy?

These ten first-generation Nigerian business owners had modest beginnings but, with the correct combination of cunning, drive, tenacity, and dedication, they were able to turn their fortunes around. Their stories of adversity, perseverance, and triumph set new standards and inspired people long before Nigeria’s economy took off.

Nigeria’s most successful businesspeople have continued to benefit from their creation of profitable companies with current valuations in the billions of naira. The full list of Nigeria’s wealthiest businesspeople is provided here.

1.Aliko Dangote.

Aliko Dangote is the richest person in Nigeria and all of Africa, with a net worth of more than $12 billion as of 2018. Aliko Dangote, who was born on April 10, 1957, is the proprietor of the “Dangote Group,” which is Africa’s biggest manufacturer of sugar and cement.

At the moment, his company is the market leader in several nations, including Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Benin, and Cameroon. The “Dangote Group,” which runs the largest sugar refinery in Africa and the third-largest sugar refinery globally, currently holds about 70% of the country’s sugar market.

2. Mike Adenuga Jr.

Born on April 29, 1953, Michael Adeniyi Adenuga is the second richest man in Nigeria and a billionaire businessman. Mike Adenuga is the third richest person in Africa with an estimated net worth of $4.2 billion as of March 11, 2018, according to the most recent Forbes list.

The second richest man in Nigeria, Adenuga, made his money in the oil and telecommunications industries. With 37 million users, his mobile network, Globacom, is the second-biggest in Nigeria. Six oil blocks in the Niger Delta are controlled by his oil exploration company, Conoil Producing.

3. Femi Otedola.

Femi Otedola, a Nigerian businesswoman, philanthropist, and chairman of Forte Oil PLC, an importer of fuel goods, was born on November 4, 1962. Michael Otedola, the former governor of Lagos State, is the father of Femi Otedola.  Forbes estimates that in 2016 he had a net worth of $1.8 billion.

In addition, Otedola founded Zenon Petoleum and Gas Ltd. and is the proprietor of several other companies in the financial, real estate, and shipping industries. As part of Nigeria’s industry liberalization, he just made an investment in the production of electricity.

4. Folorunso Alakija.

Born on July 15, 1951, Folorunso Alakija is a wealthy entrepreneur from Nigeria, ranking among the wealthiest African and Black women globally. She briefly dethroned Oprah Winfrey as the wealthiest African American woman in the world in 2014. As of March 11th, 2018, Forbes assessed her net worth to be $1.7 billion.

Vice chair Folorunsho Alakija is a member of the Nigerian oil exploration business Famfa Oil, which owns a portion of the lucrative offshore resource Agbami Oilfield. Among Famfa Oil’s partners are Petrobras and Chevron.

One of Alakija’s first clients was the wife of former Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida, who owned a fashion label.

5. Abdul Samad Rabiu.

Born on August 4, 1960, Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu is a Nigerian businessman who founded BUA Group, a conglomerate involved in port operations, real estate, cement manufacturing, sugar refining, and logistics. Forbes estimates that in 2016 he had a net worth of $1.1 billion.

BUA Group and Olam Group of Singapore reached a $275 million agreement in January 2016 to sell the former’s flour milling and pasta-making operations. The businessman’s son Rabiu received land as a legacy from his father. In 1988, he started his own company and imported iron and steel rods, rice, sugar, and culinary oils.

6. Theophilus Danjuma.

Born on December 9, 1938, Theophilus Danjuma is a former minister of defense for Nigeria and the founder of South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO), an oil exploration company with upstream holdings in Madagascar, the Republic of Benin, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic. Forbes estimates that in 2015, he had a net worth of $0.75 billion.

In addition, he owns real estate, stock in the urea fertilizer business Notore Chemical Industries, and stock in NALComet, one of the biggest shipping firms in Nigeria. His net worth decreased from a year ago as a result of the ongoing decline in oil prices.

7. Tony Elumelu.

Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu is a Nigerian economist, businessman, and philanthropist who was born on March 22, 1963. In addition to founding the Tony Elumelu Foundation, he serves as chairman of Heirs Holdings, Transcorp, and the United Bank for Africa.  Forbes estimates that in 2015, he had a net worth of $0.7 billion.

Tony Elumelu gained notoriety in 1997 when he spearheaded the takeover of a little, failing commercial bank in Lagos by a group of investors. In 2012, Forbes named him one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People.”

8. Orji Uzor Kalu.

Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia State and chairman of SLOK Holding, was born on April 21, 1960. The newspapers Daily Sun and New Telegraph are among his other assets. Forbes estimates that in 2015, he had a net worth of $330 million.

A conglomerate based in West Africa, Slok Holding is owned by Orji Uzor Kalu and has holdings in the media, manufacturing, finance, shipping, and oil trading. At the age of 19, he began his career in business after being expelled from a Nigerian institution for organizing several student disturbances.

9. Jim Ovia.

Born on November 4, 1951, Jim James Ovia is a Nigerian businessman who founded Zenith Bank, one of the country’s biggest commercial banks. With a little over 9% interest, he is both the largest individual shareholder and the chairman.

Forbes estimates that in 2015, he had a net worth of $550 million. In addition, he owns luxury real estate in Nigeria as well as the mobile telecom company Visafone Communications Limited, which MTN later purchased.

10. Oba Otudeko.

Born on August 18, 1943, Oba Otudeko is a Nigerian businessman. In addition to being the chairman of FBN Holdings Plc, he founded and serves as chairman of the Honeywell Group. The company operates in the fields of real estate, maritime transportation, grain milling, and oil and gas.

A portion of his wealth is also held by the Radisson Blu on the sea in Lagos, Nigeria. The Oba Otudeko Foundation was founded by him as well. His estimated net worth in 2014 was $550 million, according to Forbes.

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