31 May 2008

Nigeria: Old Money, New Money

What is old? What is new? Has it not been said that there is nothing new under the sun? Some things never change! Up and down, in and out, round and about, no matter how the liquid shakes in the bottle, it still comes pouring out. Since man invented an acceptable article for the exchange of goods and services, trade and living entered a circle of convenience that has changed many destinies; for good, and bad: The name is money, a constant item of value.

The Bible says, 'money answers to all things', but the same Bible also says that 'the love of money is the root of all evil'. Note, however, that it is not money itself that is evil, but the love of it. Will man ever stop the search for money? Will money ever become irrelevant? Chances are that money will continue to re-invent itself. Now, there is plastic money, giving vent to an environment described as a cashless economy. While many argue that behind every 'big' money, there is a crime, it is the bid to trace this history behind such monies that throws up many questions. The answer? It's blowing in the wind. Certain folks enter a life-long romance with money and generation after generation, money keeps spelling their names right.

But then, every generation has it's own share of the new rich. Their emergence, however, does not often cancel the relevance of many who have had a leisurely walk on cash street.

Old Money But Still Relevant

They are old men with means. Their business interests spread outside the shores of Nigeria. They ride the waves of living in Nigeria decades back. Some of them are known faces that cut across all sectors of the Nigerian economy. They are into real estate, construction, oil and gas, communications, hospitality, law etc. They are also active players in the nation's stock market. Many have built organizations from nothing. Today, irrespective of their backgrounds, they are successful businessmen. They are mostly in their mid 60s while some are in their late 70s and 80s. What do they have in common? They are all Nigerians. They have the Midas touch. And they are super rich. They are men who, despite their old age, still count their money in billions. They live big and are still big time players.

Chief Bayo Kuku

While some people excel in academics, some do in business, but this multi-faceted tycoon has been able to accomplish both. With luck and hard work, he has been able to attain an enviable height on the nation's economic terrain. But out of a characteristic humility, he refuses to flaunt his wealth and achievements. Instead, he maintains a low profile. However loud or intriguing the name Bayo Kuku might sound to you, the truth is that he has affected far too many lives to be ignored.

In spite of his philanthropy, the Ogbeni-Oja of Ijebuland, Chief Bayo Kuku has religiously held on to his slogan of "living a life of moderation".

Royal and majestic are the best words to describe his homes in Lagos and Ijebu-Ode. And for those who have been opportuned to have a glimpse into Chief Kuku's Ikoyi residence located on old Waring Road, since renamed after him as Bayo Kuku Road, you'd marvel at the luxury of his taste. Chief Kuku has been around for decades, yet his wealth and energy haven't waned a bit. He can compete favourably with today's emerging billionaires.

Otunba Olasubomi Balogun

Otunba Subomi Balogun who is regarded as one of the foremost bankers in Nigeria today having established the first indigenous bank, doesn't need introduction. Born in Ijebu-Ode Ogun state, Otunba, as he is fondly called, read law in England and happens to be the first Nigerian to receive special training in Legal Drafting. He is a trained lawyer whose tremendous success in the financial sector has since overshadowed his law profession.

In 1982, he founded the First City Merchant Bank (FCMB). After 18 years of unbroken success as a merchant bank, FCMB widened its doors to retail customers in January 2001 and adopted universal banking. The bank has since changed its name to First City Monument Bank and is one of the leading post-consolidation banks in Nigeria today. There is no doubt that today he is a man with plenty of cash. His eye popping edifice in both Lagos and Ijebu-Ode, his home town, further confirm his style and taste as a man of means. Otunba's case is that of an old money mixed with new money that continues to wax stronger. .

Chief Chris Ogunbanjo

Chief Chris Ogunbanjo is an industrialist, Corporate Lawyer and Philanthropist. The son of a Clergyman, he was born in Erunwon, Ijebu-Ode on the 14th of December 1923. Attended Igbobi College in 1938, obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree from London University in 1949 and was enrolled as a Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in August 1950. Chris Ogunbanjo & Co. was founded in 1960. It is a leading international law firm, with lawyers based around the world who provide a comprehensive global service to national and multi-national corporations, financial institutions and governments. For many years it has been at the forefront of developments in the legal arena. In his mid 80s, the Olotu of Ijebuland is no doubt not a push over when it comes to old money that is still relevant in today's business circle.

Adekunle Ojora:

He has often been referred to as a consummate investor. Adekunle Ojora is an outstanding entrepreneur, industrialist and businessman. This 77 -years-old business tycoon has investments in many segments of the Nigerian economy from oil to food, insurance, to office equipment and the finance industry. Chief Ojora started out with solid educational training in London Polytechnic, London, and Christ College, Cambridge University, England. Thereafter, he became assistant editor, BBC London in 1954 and later returned to Nigeria where he joined the federal civil service between 1955 and 1961. For several years, Chief Ojora held numerous positions of honour both locally, and nationally. He holds the leading single shareholding of many blue chip companies in Nigeria. This has enabled him to hold their directorships for long periods. These include Agip where he was director between 1967 and 1970 and later its chairman until he called it quits with the company. Otunba's investment still runs to billions of naira. Anywhere his name is mentioned, he still falls into the category of yesteryears billionaires who are still in charge of today's business empire.

Mr. Pascal G. Dozie

He is an extremely wealthy man who prefers to be addressed as "Mr." Mr. Dozie is an economics graduate of the London School of Economics and a holder of an M.Sc. from the City University London, Mr. Dozie is a seasoned economist, econometrist, consultant and banker. Mr. Pascal Dozie is the current Chairman of MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd, a former chairman of the Board of Diamond Bank Plc and is a former president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He has extensive experience in capital market and an in-depth knowledge of aviation finance. He is a quiet billionaire who has pulled off strings of successes in today's consolidation of the banking industry.

Chief Afe Babalola (SAN).

Chief Emmanuel Afe Babalola (SAN) is one of the most accomplished legal luminaries in Nigeria. He started from humble beginnings and worked himself to the limelight. His clients are in the big league and his cases juicy. He has been in the forefront of many landmark cases and won most of them both nationally and internationally.

He has the president's ears, no doubt. Apart from their longstanding friendship, it would seem as if the former President Olusegun Obasanjo could sleep with both eyes closed when it comes to certain legal cases. Chief Babalola who is well connected both locally and internationally is also a great philanthropist who many benefited from. Chief Babalola who has been in the legal profession for close to five decades has recorded successes and has made money for himself. And today, he seems not to slow down in his legal profession and can still count his investment in properties and other businesses.

Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide (SAN)

What comes to mind when the name of this renowned lawyer is mentioned is "early achiever". His pedigree and hard work seem to be the potpourri of this successful lawyer, politician and statesman. Chief Akinjide, a minister in the First and Second Republics. He became a Member of Parliament from inception representing Ibadan SouthEast, at the tender age of 27, a position he held until the early coup of January 15, 1966. He later became a minister in his 30s. Between 1979 and 1983 he was appointed Attorney General and minister of Justice of the Federation. And as far back as 1958, his name has been coming out on the front page of the Daily Times newspapers along with his photograph over important cases. Lawyers have always been known to be conservative but Akinjide's style is effusive. A look at his palatial home in Jericho, Ibadan reveals affluence; a large compound and state-of-the-art cars. Even this is small compared to the seven-acre home he acquired a long time ago in Stanmore, Middlesex, England. At close to 77, Chief Akinjide is still very active in his legal profession and extremely rich. He is a core investor in banking and has property scattered everywhere. If you weigh him in both raw cash and property, this legal luminary can rub shoulders with the emerging billionaires without blinking his eyes for a second.

Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas- Chairman CFAO

Ample in size and ample in achievement is a mild way of describing Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas. Since December 1959 when he joined CFAO as an accountant, Molade Okoya-Thomas has been a kind of ambassador for French companies in Nigeria . Today, apart from being the chairman of the company, which is a major French conglomerate, Okoya-Thomas is equally the chairman of six French-related companies, including Transcap Nigeria Limited, Studio Press Nigeria Ltd. and Cica Nigeria Ltd. He is also on the boards of many Nigerian companies. Okoya-Thomas' relationship with the French started with his father who was CFAO's first Nigerian staff in 1902 when it came to Nigeria. As a result of hardwork and diligence, Okoya-Thomas has, today, warmed himself into the hearts of the French. He has been honoured with Chevalier De La Legion D'Honneur, the highest national honour given by France. One of his attributes is humility. In spite of his wealth, he maintains a low profile. He also insists that he is not a rich man. "Whatever I have is for all of us - to better the lot of people." This principle informs his philanthropy.

Mr. Ayoola Obafoluke Otudeko- President Nigerian Stock Exchange

Simply referred to as Oba Otudeko,he is one of the richest men in the country today. Oba Otudeko studied Accountancy at Leeds College of Commerce, Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom. He obtained The Associateship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB) in 1964 and won many prizes in his professional examination. He started his banking career with the Cooperative Bank Limited, Ibadan in 1960. He had a robust 23-year banking experience, rising to become the deputy chief executive officer of the bank before retiring into private life. In private business, Oba Otudeko carved out a niche as a foremost entrepreneur and a consummate investor through his participation in the key sectors of the Nigerian business landscape and in corporate governance both in Nigeria and abroad. He is an industrialist, an economist and chairman of the Honeywell group, which comprises eight major companies. He currently chairs the Board of Honeywell Group of Companies (an indigenous Nigerian conglomerate) operating in Oil & Gas, Flour Milling, Engineering, High Sea Trawling, Real Estates and Marine Transportation. And even as a foremost entrepreneur and a keen investor through his participation in key sectors of the Nigerian economy and beyond. Otudeko is a core investor in First Bank Nig. Plc. And he sits on the board as a non-executive director. His business interests also spread to Guinness where he is one of the largest investors. He recently dabbled into hospitality. His hotel, Radisson on Victoria Island which has gulped close to two billion is nearing completion. There is no doubt that Oba Otudeko is a billionaire who will be around for decades to come.

Chief Sunny Odogwu

Calling Chief Odogwu, Ide Ahaba, a wealthy man is an understatement. In his late 70s, Chief Odogwu, is a well known business mogul with business interests cutting across vast sectors of the economy, telecommunication, shipping, and publishing. Grand Hotel owned by Sunny Odogwu, is simply in a class of its own and is reputed to be the best in the southern part of the country.

Chief Sunny Omoregie Asemota

Among businessmen in the automobile industry, Chief Sunny Omoregie Asemota, chairman and executive director, Sunny Motors stands out. Asemota was born in Benin City, Edo state on April 21, 1935. After his secondary education at Government School, Benin, he worked briefly with his father before quitting his job in 1958. His career in automobile business began in 1958 when he joined Star Motors Apapa. He later worked with Yinka Motors before floating his company "Omoregie Motors in the 60s. Ever since, he has not looked back. He is a dealer of Toyota and Mercedes Benz. His motor mart parades the latest cars and his house in Ikoyi befits a man of his status. He still has cash that can dare today's billionaires.

Chief Rasaq Akanni Okoya

Chief Razaq Okoya is a successful businessman, a philanthropist and a man of monumental wealthy. Although good academic pedigree is often believed to be the key to opening the gate of fortune, in the case of Alhaji Chief (Dr.) Rasaq Akanni Okoya (CON), chairman and chief executive of Eleganza Group, whose academic background didn't go beyond primary school, the rules have to change. Having found his feet in business early, Chief Okoya has made a success out of it. From a company which started with less than 50 pounds, the Eleganza group has become a conglomerate; employing thousands of Nigerians spread over six factories. Its products have also become household names, not only in Nigeria but in African markets, especially within the ECOWAS zone. His Oluwaninsola Estate located on Lekki-Ajah express way is massive and its modern architectural design and state-of-the-art facilities second to none. He is a heavy weight in property development. From Ikoyi to Ikeja, Orile-Iganmu down to Wharf Road in Apapa, his properties are conspicuous. The Eleganza boss added another kitty to his sprawling estates with the commissioning of Eleganza Gardens and shopping Mall in Ajah, a well maintained and comfortable setting which boasts of modern day facilities. Judging by his vast investment in estate, the emerging billionaires will need to tighten their belts to compete with this great philanthropist.

Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu

Chief Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, publisher, Champion newspaper is an elder statesman and renowned businessman. He was born September 4th 1942 in Atta, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State of Nigeria. He studied Civil Engineering at the University of Nigeria and thereafter set up the Hardel and Enic Construction Company. His business later grew into a conglomerate of over 20 companies. As a politician, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and coordinated the party's campaign for the South-East zone during the 2003 Presidential election. He founded the Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club which won several national and international championships. He is married to Eudorah and they have three sons and five daughters.


Sayyu Dantata

Dark complexioned Sayyu Dantata is related to business mogul, Aliko Dangote. He runs M.R.S, a major Petroleum products supplier. Sayyu studied Mechanical Engineering in one of the Ivy-league universities in U.S.A. An ardent Polo player, he started his business over twelve years ago and today, he has a success story to tell.

Chuka Eseka

He is the CEO of Vetiva Capital Management Limited. He has overseen the affairs of Vetiva from its inception and has guided the company to evolve from a fledgling institution into one of the most respected, efficient and innovative investment banking boutiques in the country today. Chuka is a graduate of Accounting from the University of Lagos, and also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers.

Tajudeen Dantata

This young Turk is the Group Managing Director of Dantata Group of Companies, a conglomerate of over 50 companies. The Group's annual turnover runs into several billions of naira.

Tunde Folawiyo

He is one of the most respected players in the corporate world. Tunde earned his respect not because he is the son of Alhaji Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo, the Baba Adini of Nigeria, but because he has been able to add value to his father's business empire. You only need to engage him intellectually to realize that Tunde is a very bright fellow. What do you expect from a young man who is an Economist and also a Lawyer. He is the Group Executive Director of the Yinka Folawiyo Group. He is the one who led the Group to move into the Oil and Gas, Telecoms and Banking sectors. He is on the board of Ecobank Group and also MTN Nigeria.

Edward Boyo

He is an Airline Captain who runs Landover and overland Airlines. Captain Boyo is doing exceedingly well.

Ibrahim Dustsinma Boyi

With over 18 years practical experience in the downstream Oil and Gas sector, Boyi is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Eterna Oil and Gas Plc, a pioneer natural gas distribution company. An Accounting graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Boyi became the Managing Director of Gaslink Nigeria Ltd in January 2004 after he left Unipetrol Nigeria Plc (now Oando) in June 2001 as Executive Director, Corporate Planning and Investments.

Ibrahim Dikko

He is the son of late Yahaya Dikko, former Petroleum Adviser to ex-President Shehu Shagari. Ibrahim is an Executive Director at Resourcery Ltd. He obtained an LLB from the University of Buckingham, England, in 1987, and LLM (Corporate & Commercial Law) from Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. He is on the board of many blue chip companies.

Ladi Balogun

He is the M.D of First City Monumental Bank. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, and also an MBA from Harvard Business School, USA. Ladi has well over 15 years experience in Investment and Commercial Banking. Prior to joining FCMB, he worked with Deutche Bank AG and Citibank, New York. He is also a Director of FCMB Capital Markets Ltd, Primrose Property Investment, S & B Inc. Ltd, Interswitch Nigerian Ltd, Ladi is also the Chairman of the Otunba Tunwase Foundation.

Wale Tinubu

Talk about one guy who is passionate about what he does for a living and Adewale Tinubu's name fits the bill. This British-trained lawyer has since left the practice of Law to dominate the Oil sector. He not only championed the setting up of the Ocean and Oil trading and Shipping, he also led the Group that took-over Unipetrol (now Oando), and later AGIP, all at great cost. The interesting thing is that Wale is just 40. He bagged a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Liverpool, England, in 1988, and completed an LLM at the London School of Economics, specializing in International Finance and Shipping in 1989.

Mohammed Sheriff

He hails from Bornu State and is the younger brother of the former Governor of the State. He is said to have independently made his money from the building and construction of Radio and Television stations in the North. Mohammed, who schooled in the United Kingdom, has built broadcast stations in Jigawa and Taraba states. Married to an Italian- Somalia, Mohammed mostly socializes with his business associates.

Mike Adenuga

Call him one of the biggest corporate players in Nigeria and you won't be wrong. The Guru, as he is fondly called, has his fingers in very many pies. He is big in Oil and Gas. He also plays big in Telecoms, not to talk of Banking. He is one man who sits atop a flourishing business portfolio.

Aliko Dangote

Talk of one big businessman who has a seemingly weak exterior, but who is made of inner steel and the name of the Kano-born Trader-turned-Industrialist will come up. Aliko sits atop a flourishing business empire that is forever growing. It is to his credit that he has successfully transformed what began as a small trading business in 1977 at the age of 21 into the multi-billion-naira business, which now spans the West African sub-region.

Jim Ovia

His colleagues call him the Super Banker. He truly deserves that appellation. Or how else do you describe a man who sits atop Zenith, one of the most successful commercial banks in Nigeria. From practically nowhere, Jim Ovia has built Zenith to become the leading most profitable bank in Nigeria in terms of Size and Profitability, pre-consolidation.

Dayo Lawuyi

His name is quite synonymous with Dunlop Nigeria Plc, which he runs efficiently. But that is not all there is to Dayo Lawuyi. He also runs DN Meyer Plc as Chairman.

Remi Olowude

He is one of the leading players in the Insurance sector. He is the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of Industrial and General Insurance (IGI). He led IGI to an industry record of N3 billion in Premium income in less than five years of operations. IGI today, is a conglomerate, which has diverse business interests spanning Insurance, Telecommunications, Banking, Aviation, Forestry, Computers and Construction.

Leo Stan Ekeh

He is a business mogul whose investment spans across Insurance, Information Technology and Manufacturing. Ekeh, who is the Chairman of Task Systems, also presides over Zinox Computers.

Tayo Aderinokun

He is the MD/CEO of the wave-making Guaranty Trust Bank, with a current capital base of about N35billion, plays big not only in Nigeria but The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Akin Akinbowale

He is the MD/CEO of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc. Vitafoam is the undisputed leading manufactures of foam products in Nigeria.

Tony Elumelu

Many call him a whizkid because of the smooth ways he does his things. He used to run STB before it merged with UBA in one of the big banking consolidation moves years back.

Erastus Akingbola

He is certainly a long-distance runner. He is the Vice/Chairman/CEO of Intercontinental Bank, one of the most capitalized banks in Nigeria.

Wale Babalakin

Many people often don't know that B.O.B. is a big businessman because they see him more as a Corporate Lawyer. Though he practices Law he has huge investments in many companies. His construction firm is currently handling the Lagos/Ibadan road reconstruction and the Local Airport while he is also eyeing the Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge contract.

Otega Emerhor

He is one businessman who has his hands in several pies. He has investments in many lucrative sectors including Banking, Real Estate, Telecoms, Hotel and Insurance.

Gbolade Osibodu

His name is synonymous with Vigeo, a business which he started with marketing corporate gifts but one which he has since taken to another level with substantial interests in Banking, Oil & Gas, Shipping, etc.

Emeka Offor

He is one of the most successful Igbo businessmen. The Chairman of Chrome Group is into Oil and Gas big-time. He has handled a few Turn-Around Maintenance of Nigeria's refineries. He is also into Oil exploration in neighbouring countries.

Tony Ezenna

He is the CEO of Orange Drugs, which is a dominant player in the Pharmaceutical business in Nigeria. He has succeeded in transforming what was like an obscure pharmaceutical company into a blossoming outfit. Orange Drugs has risen to become the foremost Pharmaceuticals, Soaps, Cosmetics and toiletries marketing company, which represents major industrial groups in Indonesia and Italy in Nigeria.

Fola Adeola

He has built a very good reputation for himself in the business world. He together with Tayo Aderinokun built up GTBank to what it is today. Fola has since moved on to other things a few years back. He was the former MD/CEO of Transactional Corporation Ltd., (Transcorp). Now he is the Chairman of Eterna Oil.

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede

He is the MD/CEO of Access Bank Plc. Very easygoing, Aig is a quintessential banker.

Tayo Ayeni

He is one of the leading auto dealers in Nigeria. He is the Chairman/CEO of Skymit Motors, a leading automobile company incorporated in January 1986. He is a qualified Electrical Engineer. He had his post secondary and tertiary education in Italy. One of the institutions he attended was the prestigious Fronsynly Polytechnic, Italy.

Gbenga Oyebode

He is not only a leading Corporate Lawyer, but also one of the big investors in Corporate Nigeria. He is the Chairman of Okomu Oil Plc, a big player in MTN Nigeria and Chairman of Access Bank to mention just a few.

Biodun Shobanjo

He is the Chairman of Troyka Holdings, which is a huge conglomerate that includes Insight Communications. He is one of the biggest players in Nigeria's Advertising world.

Tayo Amusan

He is a big businessman who has done well for himself. He is heavily into Properties and Oil. Along with some investors, he recently bought over a fantastic Shopping Mall in Lagos called The Palms.

Sani Dangote

He is the Vice Chairman of Dangote Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in Nigeria. He also runs his own outfit, aside from being part of his brother's business.

Olusola Adekanola

He is Nigeria's Mr. Tax. He is one man who handles everything that has to do with Tax from Tax collection to General Consultancy.

Funso Lawal

The Otunba from Ogbomosho is a silent operator in the world of business. Very many people don't know that he is rock solid investment-wise. He is a big player in Insurance, Oil and Gas, while his property portfolio is humongous.

Cosmos Maduka

If you draw up a list of the 5 biggest players in the business world, his name will rank tops. This is because he sits atop an empire that is into everything from car parts retail, to auto business, Insurance and even banking. So huge is his portfolio that his wife co-runs it with him.

Sunny Aku

He is the man behind the Novena Majesty Furniture business in Nigeria. With the ban on the importation of furniture, he has established his own factory in the Oregun area of Lagos, where he produces top-of-the- range furniture that is comparable with imported furniture.

Bolu Akin-Olugbade

He doesn't hide the fact that he is a successful businessman. Though he and his siblings inherited the Akin Olugbade fortune, he has added value to it. He has emerged a big player in Oil and Gas and owns about 12 Oil vessels carrying crude. He is also into Transport and Haulage business, what with his fleet of trailers.

Deji Adeleke

He is one businessman who is into a lot of things. He is into Banking. He is into Trading. He is also into Haulage business amongst other things.

Adewunmi Ogunsanya

He is the Chairman of Multichoice, the cable company. This Lagos lawyer has made stupendous money from his businesses. He has a lot of top-drawer investments in Corporate Nigeria.

Ahmed Dasuki

The son of the former Sultan of Sokoto is a successful Architect who runs his firm. He also has shares in choice sectors like Telecoms and Banking. He owns considerable shares in MTN and IBTC.

Moses Ayum

He owns Bay Dorchester Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos, Edge Waters Resorts, Cherrywoods, and Kaduna Lodge in Lagos and Abuja. Dark and handsome Moses is doing wonderfully well.

Deji Akinyanju

He is the young guy who is currently making waves in the fast food sector. He is the guy behind the Chicken Republic.

Yomi Sonuga

He is the big auto dealer who owns BRAS Motors. His showroom along Lekki-Ajah Road, Lagos is simply magnificent.

John Obayuwana

He is the stylish man behind POLO wristwatches. He caters to the need of the A-Class. He also does other big business. He owns CAT Construction Company.

Ayo Adedoyin

Ayo Adedoyin runs Peacegate Oil &Gas, Daayard Autos in Lagos. He is a very brilliant businessman who has his fingers in all the lucrative pies of the Nigerian economy. Extremely rich and well focused.

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