7 richest Nigerian billionaires who were once poor

7 richest Nigerian billionaires who were once poor. Nigeria boasts some of the wealthiest individuals globally, including the wealthiest in Africa. The majority of Africa’s richest individuals hail from Nigeria. These individuals have achieved remarkable success and prosperity.

Recently, popular global media company, Forbes releases new lists of richest people in the world and the checklist contains Nigerian businessmen such as Aliko Dangote worth $13.4B, Mike Adenuga worth $6.7B, Abdulsamad Rabiu worth $5.2B, and Femi Otedola worth $1.4b.

However, their journeys were not without challenges. Many of them emerged from humble beginnings, demonstrating incredible resilience and determination to amass significant wealth.

Mike Adenuga

Mike Adenuga, born on April 29, 1953, is a Nigerian billionaire businessman and philanthropist, ranking as the third richest person in Africa. With a net worth of $6.7 billion, he is currently the second wealthiest individual in Nigeria.

Adenuga’s upbringing was rooted in modest beginnings. His father, Oloye Michael Agbolade Adenuga Sr, was a schoolteacher, while his mother, Omoba Juliana Oyindamola Adenuga, hailed from a royal lineage in the Ijebu community and was involved in business. Adenuga identifies with the Yoruba ethnic group.

After completing his secondary education at Ibadan Grammar School and Comprehensive High School in Aiyetoro, Adenuga worked as a taxi driver to support his university education.

He earned degrees in Business Administration from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University in New York.

Adenuga’s journey to wealth was marked by resilience and hard work. He engaged in various entrepreneurial endeavors, including selling lace materials and distributing drinks.

In 1979, at the age of 26, he achieved his first million, a testament to his determination and dedication.

Throughout his career, Adenuga ventured into diverse industries, notably telecommunications and oil and gas. In 1984, he founded Consolidated Oil Limited and became the first Nigerian to discover oil in commercial quantity.

Subsequently, in 2003, he launched Globacom, a telecommunications company that has experienced significant success.

Adenuga’s business acumen and innovative spirit have propelled him to prominence in the Nigerian business landscape.

His ventures have not only contributed to his personal wealth but have also made significant impacts on the country’s economy.

Tony Elumelu

Tony Elumelu, a prominent Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, is renowned for his significant contributions to various industries, including oil and gas, real estate, financial services, healthcare, and power.

With a net worth of $700 million, as of 2015, he ranks among the wealthiest individuals in Nigeria and is listed among the 50 richest people in Africa.

Elumelu’s journey to success is a testament to his resilience and entrepreneurial spirit. Born in Plateau, Jos, he came from humble beginnings, with his mother supporting the family by running a small restaurant.

Despite the challenges, Elumelu harbored ambitions of entrepreneurship from a young age and assisted his mother in managing the family business during breaks from school.

After completing his education in economics, Elumelu began his career as a Youth Corp member at the Nigerian Bank Union Bank in 1985. He later worked as a salesman before joining Allstates Trust Bank.

However, it was in 1997 that Elumelu gained prominence when he led a group of investors to acquire a struggling commercial bank in Lagos.

Through his leadership, he transformed the bank into a profitable institution within a few years.

In 2005, Elumelu merged the acquired bank with the United Bank for Africa (UBA), significantly expanding its reach and influence. Today, UBA operates subsidiaries in 20 African countries, as well as in the U.S. and U.K.

Elumelu’s entrepreneurial ventures extend beyond banking, as he also holds extensive real estate holdings across Nigeria and a minority stake in mobile telecom firm MTN Nigeria.

In addition to his business pursuits, Elumelu is known for his philanthropic endeavors. He is the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which aims to empower entrepreneurs across Africa through mentorship, training, and financial support.

Through his various initiatives, Elumelu continues to make significant contributions to the economic and social development of Nigeria and the African continent as a whole.

Orji Uzor Kalu

Orji Uzor Kalu (born 21 April 1960) is a Nigerian politician and businessman who is the senator representing Abia North Senatorial District.

He served as governor of Abia State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. He is estimated to have net worth of $330M and one of the 2015 50 Africa’s richest people.

Kalu was born into the household of Mr. Johnson Uzor Nesiegbe Kalu and Mrs. Eunice Kalu.

Orji Uzor Kalu has always been an activist that clamoured for human rights. While in the university, he was actively involved in the school’s political activities which got him suspended due to his participation in the “Ali Must Go” riots, against the then Minister of Education. After this, he gave up on school and ventured into business.

Starting with just $35 borrowed from his mother at age of 19 years, Kalu initiated his entrepreneurial journey by trading palm oil.

Initially, he procured the oil from Nigeria’s eastern regions and sold it in the northern regions of the country. Subsequently, he expanded his business operations by venturing into the large-scale buying and reselling of furniture.

Eventually, Kalu founded SLOK Holding, a conglomerate encompassing several thriving enterprises. These include Ojialex Furniture Company, SLOK Nigeria Limited, SLOK United Kingdom Limited,

Adamawa Publishers Limited, SLOK Vegetable Oil, Aba, SLOK Paper Factory, Aba, SLOK United States Incorporated, SLOK Ghana, Togo, Cotonou, Guinea, South Africa, Liberia, Botswana, SLOK Korea, Supreme Oil Limited, SLOK Airlines, Sun Publishing Limited, and First International Bank Limited.

At 33 years old, Kalu assumed leadership of First International Bank Limited. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in overseeing Nigeria’s commercial ties with China’s SinoPacific Shipbuilding company during his tenure as a principal of SLOK Holding.

Jimoh Ibrahim

Jimoh Ibrahim is a multifaceted individual, excelling as a politician, lawyer, businessman, and philanthropist, with an estimated net worth of $200 million. He is renowned as the founder and CEO of Global Fleet Group.

Born into a polygamous family in 1967 in Ondo State, Jimoh Ibrahim’s upbringing was marked by modest means. His father, a bricklayer with multiple wives and numerous children, and his mother, who sold fish, instilled in him the values of hard work and perseverance.

Jimoh pursued his education at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, where he earned a Bachelor of Law degree (LLB) and a Master of Public Administration (MPA).

During his university years, Jimoh Ibrahim ventured into small-scale building construction contracts, leveraging his father’s building materials. It was during his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) that he identified a systemic issue within Nigeria’s legal framework.

He organized a seminar for local governments across the country, highlighting their lack of legislative autonomy.

The success of the seminar propelled him to organize similar conferences, generating substantial revenue, approximately N3.6 million Naira initially, and later accumulating about N70 million Naira by the end of his NYSC service.

Continuing his entrepreneurial endeavors post-NYSC, Jimoh Ibrahim uncovered discrepancies in tax payments by major oil corporations to the federal government.

He meticulously documented his findings and proposed solutions to the government, leading to the recovery of billions of Naira.

His efforts earned him significant commissions, which he strategically invested in real estate ventures, including the acquisition of land at Victoria Garden City (VGC) and the establishment of petrol stations and banking halls.

With his wealth growing exponentially, Jimoh Ibrahim diversified his investments, founding the Global Fleet Group.

This conglomerate operates across various sectors, including oil & gas, hospitality, real estate, banking & finance, insurance, and publishing, among others.

Jimoh Ibrahim’s journey from humble beginnings to a prominent figure in Nigeria’s business landscape is a testament to his entrepreneurial acumen, resilience, and commitment to making a positive impact on society.

Emeka Offor is a prominent Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, widely recognized for his contributions to the country’s business sector.

Born in 1957 in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, Offor hails from Irefi Oraifite in the Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra State.

After completing his secondary education, he initially pursued a career in education, working as a teacher at his alma mater. However, he soon transitioned into other ventures, seeking greater opportunities for growth and success.

Offor’s entrepreneurial journey gained momentum when he relocated to Warri, Delta State, under the mentorship of Geoffrey Abadi, a family friend. He began his career as a transport clerk at Rivways Lines Nigeria Ltd., a company specializing in bitumen importation.

Through dedication and perseverance, Offor familiarized himself with the intricacies of the business and seized opportunities to expand his operations.

Under Abadi’s guidance, Offor ventured into supplying bitumen to smaller companies, gradually scaling up his business to cater to larger clients. In 1985, he took a significant step by establishing Chrome Oil Services, marking his entry into the oil and gas sector.

This move laid the groundwork for the formation of The Chrome Group in 1994, solidifying Offor’s position as a visionary leader in Nigeria’s energy industry.

Today, Emeka Offor’s legacy extends beyond his business achievements. He is also known for his philanthropic endeavors, leveraging his success to uplift communities and support various social causes.

Through initiatives aimed at education, healthcare, and youth empowerment, Offor continues to make a positive impact on the lives of many Nigerians, embodying the spirit of entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma is a notable figure renowned for his diverse roles as a businessman, politician, and retired Nigerian army lieutenant general.

Born in Takum, Taraba State, Danjuma grew up in a farming community where his parents were also engaged in agriculture. He received his early education at St Bartholomew’s Primary School in Wusasa and Provincial Secondary School in Katsina-Ala.

Later, he pursued higher education with a Northern Nigeria Scholarship, studying history at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Zaria (now Ahmadu Bello University).

However, his path took a different direction in 1960 when he joined the Nigerian Army, embarking on a distinguished military career.

In 1979, Danjuma ventured into the business world, establishing the Nigeria American Line (NAL) to engage in trading activities. Initially focusing on maritime transportation, NAL leased a ship to facilitate trade between Lagos and Santos in Brazil.

The company soon attracted notable clients such as Nigeria’s National Supply Company (NNSC), DICON Salt (Nigeria), and Volkswagen, establishing itself as a prominent player in the industry.

Expanding his business interests, Danjuma founded COMET Shipping Agencies Nigeria Limited in 1984. Serving as an agent for NAL, COMET experienced rapid growth and emerged as one of Nigeria’s leading independent agents by the late nineties.

Danjuma’s entrepreneurial acumen and leadership skills were instrumental in the success of both NAL and COMET, cementing his reputation as a prominent businessman in Nigeria.

In 1995, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma diversified his business interests by founding South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO), a Nigerian oil exploration and production company.

This expansion represented a pivotal moment in Danjuma’s entrepreneurial trajectory, underscoring his status as a forward-thinking leader and pioneer in Nigeria’s business arena.

Through SAPETRO, Danjuma ventured into the lucrative oil and gas sector, leveraging his expertise and resources to capitalize on opportunities in Nigeria’s energy industry.

The establishment of SAPETRO solidified Danjuma’s reputation as a visionary entrepreneur and further propelled his prominence in Nigeria’s business landscape.

Alafaa Kariboye-Igbo

Alafaa Kariboye Igbo, recognized as one of Nigeria’s youngest billionaires, is a dynamic entrepreneur whose wealth is valued at $1 billion.

With diverse investments spanning real estate, oil, gas, auto dealership, and entertainment, he has established himself as a prominent figure in the business world.

Kariboye Igbo is one of few Nigerians living in the Diaspora but have come through thick and thin to become successful and accomplished through hard work and perseverance.

Speaking about his success in life, Kariboye Igbo was quick to attribute it to God, adding that it was the Divine hand of God that was solely responsible for his success, especially for him making it where others failed. “It‘s God’s doing, not my power,” he said.

With influence from the achievers like Birdman, Kanye West, Dr Dre, Jayz and Puff Daddy, Oil Money has been able to develop himself to be an oriented entrepreneur with focus in actualizing his dreams and to develop human talent, hence the setting up of Oil Money Records, a record label that deals with signing and raising young talents.

According to him, the Oil Money Records was set up to make known the young artists, bring them from the obscure to world’s limelight, manages the development of songs, production of music, manufacturing of merchandise, creative marketing and distribution of the products it creates.

Nicknamed Oil Money, the 40-year-old Kariboye Igbo, who is based in the United Kingdom, is defined by his uncommon altruism with the passion to help people around him, and the big dream of being an entrepreneur with a difference.

Oil Money is ranked as No.3 among richest Nigerians in 2021 and has also featured prominently on Wikipedia’s Nigerian billionaires’ list for 2020 and 2021.

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