It has always been speculated that starting a new business in Nigeria is very tough but notwithstanding the harsh terrain and business challenges involved with starting a new business in Nigeria; these successful entrepreneurs listed below held their ground and fought their way to the top. The list below is compiled based on the value of their shares in their respective companies. Here is the list of the top 10 richest individuals in Nigeria.
1. Alhaji Aliko Dangote: Born on 10 April 1957, Dangote, the first on our list of richest individuals hails from Kano state in Nigeria from a lineage of highly successful businessmen. Just like his great grandfather, Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, who at the time of his death in 1955 was the richest African, Aliko Dangote is currently ranked by Forbes magazine as the richest individual in Africa and the 67th richest in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$14.9 billion. Aliko Dangote owns the Dangote Group, a multi-trillion-naira business empire which started out as a small trading firm in 1977. With business bases currently across many African countries including Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia, the Dangote Group is a dominant industrial umbrella covering several sectors including food processing, soft drink companies, breweries, sugar processing, confectioners, cement manufacturing, and freight.
2. Mike Adenuga: Born on 29 April 1953, Michael Adeniyi Isola Adenuga ranks number 2 of the top 10 richest individuals in Nigeria. He got his secondary school education at the Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria before proceeding to the North-Western University in Oklahoma and Pace University, New York, both in the USA where he studied business administration. Adenuga ascend to wealth and associated popularity is an interesting story. He has an inimitable skill for risks and absolute tenacity of purpose. While in United states of America he worked as a taxi cab driver and security guard to support himself at the university. At age 26, Adenuga became a millionaire with connections in high places and is the second richest individual in Nigeria, with a net worth of about $4.1 billion. He is the owner of Equatorial Trust Bank and Consolidated Oil, which performs crude oil drilling, refining along with marketing. Adenuga´s estate business and company bases is currently across several countries in Western European countries, North America and the Middle-East.
3. Femi Otedola: He ranks number 3 of the top 10 list of richest individuals in Nigeria. He was born in the year 1967 at Epe, Lagos State of Nigeria to Sir Michael Otedola, the former governor of Lagos State, Nigeria. Femi Otedola is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Forte Oil Plc. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of Zenon Petroleum and Gas limited. This company supplies most of the powerful companies in Nigeria with the fuel they use to power their companies including Cadbury Nigeria Plc., Coca Cola, Dangote Group, Nigerian Breweries, MTN, Unilever, Nestle, Guinness Nigeria Plc etc. Otedola is also the founder of Atlas Shipping Agency, Swift Insurance, FO Properties Limited, FO Transport and Seaforce Shipping Company Ltd. He has a net-worth of about $1.06 billion.
4. Orji Uzor Kalu: Ranks number 4 of the top 10 richest individual in Nigeria. Born on 21 April 1960, Kalu became the youngest Nigerian to receive the National Merit Award from President Ibrahim Babangida, at the age of 26 in 1986. He once served as the governor of Abia State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007. Prior to his election, he served as the chairman of the Borno Water Board and the chairman of the Cooperative and Commerce Bank Limited. He is currently the chairman of SLOK Holding, the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers in Nigeria. He was selected as the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce’s Industrialist of the Year, and awarded the Humanitarian Award of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka’s Humanitarian Club, the Volunteer Award of the International Association of Volunteers, the National Merit Award, the EU Special Award in Brussels, and the World Bank Leon Sullivan Award. His net-worth is about $1billion.
5. Cosmas Maduka: Ranks number 5 of the top 10 richest individual in Nigeria. Dr. Cosmas Maduka was born in Jos, Plateau State, to Mr. and Mrs. Peter and Madam Rose Maduka in 1958. He hails from Nnewi, Anambra state of Nigeria. Chief Cosmas Maduka went on from just being a young apprentice and a serving boy at a very tender age of 7, having lost his father at the age of 4 to finding his own company, Coscharis Motors, which from its humble beginning is now a large conglomerate to other businesses. He also served as a non-executive director in Access bank board.
6. Jimoh Ibrahim: Born to poor parents in a family of about 17 siblings, Jimoh Ibrahim is rated number 6 of the richest individuals in Nigeria. He made his first million while studying law at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Osun State, Nigeria when he ran seminars for all local governments on taxation. He came into the limelight in 2002/2003 when he contested for the Governorship post in Ondo State on the platform of the ANPP. After that he quit politics, and started Global Fleet-a petroleum marketing company. His strategy was to acquire rather than build-so he acquires filling stations, instead of building from scratch. As of this month, he has over 250 of such stations and recently he got licensed as an Independent Marketer. He also in the last 1 year bought Great Nigeria Insurance-sold it for profit, then bought Nigeria’s number 1 Insurance firm-NICON. He also bought EAS Airlines and renamed it NICON Airlines. And bought the Meidan Hotel in Lekki-renaming it NICON Hotel. He equally has a furniture making company in VGC that brings in income in the hundreds of millions.
7. Jim Ovia: Ranks number 7 in the top 10 lists of richest individuals. Born on 4 November 1951, Jim Ovia holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, USA in 1979 and a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Louisiana, USA (1977). He is the Founder of Zenith Bank Plc where he retired as pioneer Group Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer after two decades of meritorious leadership which positioned the bank as one of the largest and most profitable banks in Africa. As an accomplished banker with over three decades’ experience, he introduced a great deal of innovations into the Nigerian banking industry. Jim Ovia is also the Founder of Visafone Communications Limited, Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI), National Information Technology Advisory Council (NITAC), Cyberspace Network Limited, Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE). His net worth is about $850 million.
8. Pascal Dozie: Mr. Pascal G. Dozie is the founder of Kunoch Limited and Diamond Bank Plc and also a Non-Executive Partner at African Capital Alliance. He is rated number 8 on our list of top 10 richest individuals in Nigeria. He served as the President at the Nigeria Stock Exchange and the Chairman of MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd. He also served as a Member of Advisory Board at Kaizen Venture Partners, Commonwealth Business Council board, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Nigerian Stock Exchange, etc. Mr. Dozie holds an M.Sc. in Econometrics from City University, London and a B.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Mr. Dozie also holds Honorary Doctorate degrees in Law, Management Technology, and Business Administration from three Universities.
9. Oba Otudeko: Born on 18 August 1943, Oba Otudeko hails from Ogun State, Nigeria. He is the Executive Officer of Honeywell Group, Airtel Nigeria and Fan Milk of Nigeria Plc. Oba Otudeko, the ninth richest individual in Nigeria is an achiever and a distinguished Business man whose expertise and experience cut across banking, telecommunications, hospitality and Food Processing. Oba Otudeko is alumni of Harvard Business school and holds management certifications from several institutions across the globe. Oba Otudeko, Nigeria’s ninth richest individual was one-time chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. In recognition of his achievements, he was at various times awarded National Honors by the Federal governments of Nigeria. These National Honors include: Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), awarded in year 2000, in November 2002, Oba Otudeko was confirmed with the Title of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) By the Olusegun Obasanjo-led Federal Government and in November 2011, awarded Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) by the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led Federal Government of Nigeria.
10. Alhaji Sayyu Dantata: Number 10 of the top richest individuals is Alhaji Sayyu Idris Dantata. Alhaji Sayyu Idris Dantata is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MRS Holdings Ltd (Formerly, MRS Group). Mr. Dantata started his career as Director of the Engineering and Transport Division of Dangote Group – considered the Largest Nigerian conglomerate. Mr. Dantata has been the Chairman of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc since March 20, 2009. He serves as a Director of Hydro Alternative Energy, Inc. Mr. Dantata has been a Non-Executive Director of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited since August 2008. Mr. Dantata served as a Director at MRS Holdings Ltd (also known as MRS Group). He served as a Director at Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc. He is a seasoned mechanical engineer by training at the Morris Brown College Atlanta- Georgia, USA.