By Temitope Adebayo
As Nigeria celebrates her 63rd independence today. There is a need to celebrate some entrepreneurs, who have contributed positively and largely to the economic growth of the nation and also put Nigeria on a global map.
Nigeria has all kinds of natural, mineral, and human resources. Human resources include hardworking and decisive individuals who have earned an excellent reputation in entrepreneurship.
The country has built many entrepreneurs in the past 63 years and they all need to be celebrated but there are some big 12 in the entrepreneurship market that we have to celebrate.
The question is who is the biggest entrepreneur in Nigeria? Some are considered to be very wealthy from the various businesses they own. Apart from wealth who can we have consider a successful?
The wealthy and successful entrepreneurs are the ones who have influenced society in entrepreneurial skills. Who are they, and how did they make their wealth?
The 12 entrepreneurs that would be considered in this piece includes: Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola; Abdul Samad Rabiu; Tony Elumelu; Mike Adenuga; Folorunsho Alakija, Oba Otudeko; Jimoh Ibrahim; Jim Ovia; Orji Uzor Kalu; Cletus Ibeto and Arthur Eze.
Dangote is a businessman and an entrepreneur which has been named twelve times in a row as the richest person in Africa with a net worth of $10.7 billion in 2023.
Dangote Group is one of the largest private-sector employers in Nigeria as well as the most valuable conglomerate in West Africa. Today, he is one of Africa’s leading industrialists and philanthropists.
Dangote’s fortune is primarily built from his company, Dangote Cement, although he started his business empire by selling commodities such as sugar, salt, and flour.
While he grew up upper-class, he was entrepreneurial from a young age and started his first business with a loan from his uncle.
Dangote’s Lagos (Nigeria) oil refinery is the largest industrial project in the history of Africa.
Otedola is among the top 10 richest men in Nigeria in 2021, with a net worth of around $1.8 billion.
He is a businessman and the former chairman of Forte Oil PLC, an importer of fuel products.
Otedola is the founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd. and the owner of several other businesses in shipping, real estate, and finance. He has recently invested in power generation as part of the liberalization of the sector in Nigeria, Africa’s wealthiest nation.
Abdul Samad Rabiu
Rabiu is the chief executive officer of BUA Group, he is into Cement, sugar, real estate and more. Rabiu is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
In 1988, Abdul established BUA International Limited for commodity trading, importing rice, flour, oil, and iron. Eventually, the company grew and expanded into steel, the production of billets, and construction rolling mills. Currently, there are 5 subsidiaries of BUA Group, including BUA Ports & Terminals, BUA Estates, BUA Oil Mills Ltd, BUA Sugar Refinery Ltd, and BUA Cement.
Elumelu is an entrepreneur and investor and the founder of Heirs Holdings, a company that invests in power, real estate, healthcare, hospitality, and oil & gas.
Tony is also the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. This organisation empowers and supports African entrepreneurs.
Elumelu also owns extensive real estate across Nigeria and a minority stake in mobile telecom firm MTN Nigeria, among other assets.
Adenuga is Nigeria’s second richest man, with a net worth of $3.5 billion. He built his fortune in telecom and oil production. His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third largest operator in Nigeria, with 55 million subscribers.
He made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.
Alakija is the richest woman in Nigeria and the most successful Nigerian businesswoman. According to Forbes, Folorunsho Alakija’s net worth is $1 billion.
She is the group managing director of Rose of Sharon Group and the executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited. She is also the founder of the fashion label Supreme Stitches, which produces clothing for affluent clients.
Otudeko is an entrepreneur known for being chairman of Honeywell Group and FBN Holdings PLC, specialising in oil and gas, real estate, marine transportation, and flour milling.
He has worked as a banker, accountant, and corporate secretary also helped other companies grow. He is the founder of the Oba Otudeko Foundation, which specialises in charity and philanthropy.
Ibrahim is the chairman of the Global Fleet Group, a large, diverse Nigeria-based conglomerate company. It has a vast amount of subsidiaries in different cities of Nigeria, mainly Lagos, and in other African countries – Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe, to name a few.
Jimoh Ibrahim is a published writer, he has been credited as the author of three books. He is also the publisher of the National Mirror Newspaper.
Jim Ovia’s net worth is $900 million, making him one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Nigeria. He is the founder of Zenith Bank, one of the most influential banking institutions in the West African nation.
He founded the Youth Empowerment ICT Foundation, an organisation focused on improving Nigerian youth welfare and helping them embrace new communication and information.
Orji Uzor Kalu
Kalu is an entrepreneur, he started through the palm oil trade, as he bought the commodities from the eastern regions of Nigeria and then sold them to the northern ones. Orji Uzor Kalu switched from selling palm oil to the furniture trade, which became a huge success.
The business empire blew up, and now it has branches in Nigeria, South Africa, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Benin Republic, Botswana, and even Korea.
Orji firmly believes that people who want to be successful should have their heart in it and see new opportunities.
Ibeto is the leader of the Ibeto Group. holds the prominent position of heading the largest business enterprise in Nnewi. He deals in automotive spare parts and cement manufacturing.
The Ibeto Group had emerged as one of the country’s largest manufacturers of auto spare parts. Continuing his entrepreneurial ventures, Cletus founded Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Ltd. This enterprise specialises in the blending of oil lubricants and the production of various petroleum products for both local and international markets.
Furthermore, the company possesses one of Nigeria’s largest liquid storage facilities for petroleum products, boasting a capacity exceeding 60,000 metric tonnes.
Eze is into Petroleum and aviation, he is a Nigerian business magnate who owns a slew of companies in the country. He owns Atlas Oranto Petroleum, reputed to be one the largest privately owned oil companies in West Africa.
Eze created Triax Airlines in 1992, a year after he founded Atlas Oranto. The airline was based at Enugu Airport and had three Boeing 727 planes in its inventory. Arthur Eze’s net worth is alleged to be $5.8 billion.