Where the Richest People in Nigeria are Currently Making their Money

What amazed me most in the recently released list of the 21 Nigerian richest men by Forbes magazine, as controversial as the list may be was the fact that according to published findings, most of the people that were found on the list were rated by some certain criteria. The most popular among the criteria used is the value of shares these individuals hold in quoted companies. The others standards deployed for the ratings includes the size and market share of their companies, number of companies they own and its assumed value, and the impact their companies is making on the Nigerian economy and it antecedents.
Apart from the fact that most of these guys are investors who have built their companies over time and got them quoted on the stock exchange, some of them got their rating when they bought into the shares of some risky companies they found viable and this gave them the opportunity to get into the Forbes list.
Two good example are Sayyu Dantata who bought over the share diversion of Texaco/chevron Plc, a downstream sector of oil giant, chevron and Femi Otedola who cornered the shares of African Petroleum Plc from the stock exchange some years back.
Looking at the list critically, even though the stock market took the fundamental platform in determining who gets into the Forbes list, their core businesses differs, 64% of the guys that made the list made their money from oil and gas, and importation business.
Top on the list is Aliko Dangote who started his business life as an importer/trader before dabbling into manufacturing. Mike Adenuga, Femi Otedola, Ifeanyi Ubah and Sayyu Dantata all started out with Oil and Gas business, others like Cosmos Maduka and Cletus Ibeto are heavy importers.
The financial and telecom sector also produced its own money bags from guys who took advantage of opportunities when others were sleeping. One of such individuals is Fola Adeola, who bounces back on the list as a result of the flourishing fortunes of GTBank on the floor of the Nigerian and London stock exchanges. Another banker to look at is Jim Ovia, a man who went round all his uncles to look for money to start Zenith Bank, but they all turned him down, not believing in his dreams at that time. Today, Jim is the highest unit holder in Zenith banks even as a retiree; he is a regular face on Forbes list of richest Nigerians.
Looking at the list of 21 Nigerian richest men according to how they stand right now, is Aliko Dangote who seat on top as the founder of Dangote Group, richest man in Africa and probably the richest black man in the world. This is followed behind, though with a long gap by Mike Adenuga, owner of Conoil, telecom giant, Globacom and former Equatorial Trust Bank. Adenuga whoes brand and sponsorship spendings has created massive wealth for many celebrities, up coming artist and football activities in Nigeria has been growing his personal businesses without so much noice. Femi Otedola comes third on the list with his ZENON Oil and Gas with a large holding in Forte Oil. Surprisingly, Orji Uzor Kalu of Slok Group deviled all the political oppression to make the list. Cosmos Maduka of Coscharis Group, the popular Igbo business man who never saw the four walls of the university, but employs hundreds of graduates across his chains of companies was next. Jimoh Ibrahim of NICON Insurance and Global Fleet oil, a man who started out as youth Corper is sixth on the list. Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank and owner of Visafone followed closely with the power of diversification. Pascal Dozie of MTN Nigeria and Diamond Bank, is next on the line up. When nobody gave MTN a chance in Nigeria or in South Africa, Mr. Pascal saw beyond his nose and took the risk and now he is on Forbes list.
Oba Otudeko started Honeywell Group in Nigeria recently when a lot of people were scared of the dominance of Dangote and Flour Mills Plc in that sector. Oba Otudeco knowing the power of the stock exchange also got his company quoted in no time. You never can tell, what you start today can take you to the top if you keep at it.
Yes, a lot of folks might say Sayyu Dantata of MRS Group was helped by Dangote to get to the wealth list. Who will not do the same, one good turn deserves another. Dangote’s history cannot be written without his uncle Dantata who gave him the start-up he needed many years back. A lot of folks out there have received money and support from their relation like Dangote did from his uncle, but squandered everything on frivolities.
Surprisingly on the list is a retired banker, moving from First bank chairman to Mutallab Group, Umaru Abdul Mutallab has proven to us that you don’t retiree; you re-fire to stay on top. Even with your personal business you can still go places in Nigeria. Samuel Adedoyin of Doyin Group is one of the guys who business has been bastadised by PHCN, but has beaten all the odds to stay on top.
Next on the Forbes list is Dele Fajemirokun, Chairman AIICO Insurance who has proven that having multiple streams of income is not a bad idea. With his Xerox Nigeria, Chicken Republic, Kings Guards and many more small companies on his stable, money strolls in from all angle and the guy has not stop floating them for the good of all Nigerians.
Cletus Ibeto of Ibeto Group is also on the list, I like the Ibo guys very well when it comes to business. They keep at it with all they have. When Raymond Dokpesi took Daar Communication, AIT to the stock exchange, it was unbelievable. I don’t know how he survived it, but he is on the list.
The Forbes list boast of personalities like Tony Ezenna of Orange Group or orange drugs and Molade Okoya Thomas, chairman CFAO Nig and owners of six French companies, including real estate franchises across high brood areas of Lagos.
The controversial Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital oil and gas is on the list and another smart Nigeria, Leo Stan Eke of Zinox Computer also cut my attention. Fola Adeola of GTBank, the father of modern banking is in the list and finally, Ade Ojo of Elizade Motors Nig LTD, the man who brought Toyota cars into Nigeria couldn’t have been left out of the list. And because of him the list was upgraded to 21.
Now, it doesn’t matter how you start, just start and get starting. You will definitely get there. And in case the list is expanded to 50million or even 100 million richest Nigerians your name can only be on it if you are doing something about business or investment and most importantly your future.
Since I know my name is not on that list for now, whether the findings are correct or not, or the list genuine or not, the facts remains that the guys are rich anyway. The best I could do is to be part of the companies these guys are investing in, no matter how small my capital is. “Capital na capital even if na N10k” Or I could try my hands on the business they are doing right now. Be it oil and gas or importation or even investing in Banking stock or selling recharge card, I must do something, instead standing there and telling myself I can never get there or explaining away the fact that the information is not true. After all, they all started small and most of them without their own money which we all know.
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Analysis by Hope Eno, investment expert and business opportunity consultant

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