Where Did These Six Billionaires Make Their Monies From?

Which sector or sectors of the Nigerian economy is or are the most lucrative and provide/s a sure route to the billionaire class?

As a matter of fact, where do the big boys and big girls commanding the mega bucks in the Nigerian economy made their mega bucks?

The Eagle researches have shown that as much as it is not possible to pinpoint all – there are actually many silent ones – even less-expected sectors have at some time, spurn a surprise providing the leeway to the billions.

This profiling restate the matter in some way: Happy reading!

Jim Ovia, Banking & Finance

If you talk banking in Nigeria, it is almost certain that you would mention Zenith Bank, a leading brand in the sector, which was founded by Mr Jim Ovia

He is the chairman and largest individual shareholder in the bank which is reputed for closing blue chips deals involving several billions of naira.

Zenith Bank’s reputation is premium and its serviced delivery cutting –edge, much of these owed to the vision of Ovia . A testament of his prowess in this area of endeavour is demonstrated by the fact that the bank is one of the most preferred in the sector.

Jim Ovia

It is not a surprise therefore that it has been posting impressive results at the end of each operating year.

Ovia’s reputation has continued to soar locally and internationally, and has been featured in the Forbes list of 50 Africa’s richest. Ovia has stakes in a number of other sectors, although banking remains his primary forte. The footprints he has made in the sector is one that cannot easily be erased. So, if you seek an investor who joined the billionaire class via the banking route,  Jim Ovia is it for you..

Folorunsho Alakija, Fashion

It is a common saying in some circles that the fashion business is a serious business. There is no better way to illustrate this than a look at impressive profile, Mrs Folorusho Alakija, a reputable Nigerian billionaire.

Alakija was born in Ikorodu, Lagos State on July 15, 1951, into a large family of about 52 children. The story has been told and re-told that she began early at school, at the age of seven, studying in Northern Wales, Nigeria and London at different times. She had tried out as executive secretary and banking and other positions in Nigerian and overseas but tremendous goodwill and mega bucks have come her way via the fashion lane.

Erelu Folorunsho Alakija
Erelu Folorunsho Alakija

It has equally been reported that one of her major break was from the fashion label with high profile customers like one-time military president, himself now billionaire, Ibrahim Babangida.

A notable philanthropist, Folorunsho is another multi-disciplinarian billionaire. In other words, aside her lucrative fashion business, she is a beneficiary of an oil prospecting license awarded by the federal government in 1993, but this was later converted to an oil mining lease.


The Agbami field has been operating since 2008, and Folorunsho Alakija is vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company with a stake in Agbami Oilfield, a prolific offshore asset. Famfa Oil’s partners include Chevron and Petrobras. Thus, she is your ready example if you seek those who have struck gold via fashion.

Sijibomi Ogundele, Real Estate

If you have been thinking that real estate business in Nigeria is not it, you probably have to look in the direction of people like Sijibomi Ogundele to be reassured.

Sijibomi Ogundele

He is just emerging on the block as a billionaire, but you would agree with us that this is not a feat of one day.

The inspiring side to it is that he is a young man, and at 34 has joined thje class of billionaires, following the estate business route.

He is not loud, but has sealed property deals that speak for themselves.

Also known as Suji, he is a model in venture capital investing and financial management strategy. Following this route, he has joined the distinguished class of billionaires and young at that.


Now on the Forbes Africa young entrepreneurs and billionaires list, Sijibomi Ogundele has become an inspiration to many desiring a slot in the elite class.

In his portfolio are world-class luxury apartments, Medici Terraces, located on Milverton Road, Ikoyi and a number of upscale properties in the elite neigbourhoods of Paris, Accra, Madrid, Dubai and Riyadh

Without the affirmation by Forbes, he probably would have remained a silent billionaire.

Mike Adenuga, Technology

Dr Mike Adenuga

It is difficult, almost impossible to discuss real money and mega investments in Nigeria and indeed Africa without a good mention of Dr Mike Adenuga.

Not only is he in mega billions in Nigeria, he ranks as the wealthiest in Africa following the technology route.

Adenuga has other brnads in his portfolio but his over $5.8 billion dollars worth is made majorly in telecommunications, where, using his leading brand, Globacom, he had demonstrated leadership. With about 36 million subscribers and still counting, Globacom is the second largest telecommunications operator in Nigeria.

Like the good businessman that he is, he has extended the frontiers of his brand to other African countries, notably Ghana and the Republic of Benin and there are prospects of the Globom insignia emerging in other African countries. 

It has also to be noted that ADenuga has his hands in the oil sector, where with Conoil, he has up to half a dozen oil blocks. 

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Manufacturing

Alhaji Aliko Dangote

Although Alhaji Aliko Dangote‘s business interests traverse sectors, 80% of his conglomerate’s revenue comes manufacturing – Cement.

He is thus an encouragement to entrepreneurs who though desire to add value to the local economy by manufacturing but are concerned about local operating challenges. He has demonstrated that with diligence, one could, not only break into the billionaires bracket on the back of manufacturing but actually make premium profit of it.

There are many entrepreneurial lesions to take away from his story. Beyond that he started out at about 21, after borrowing about $3,000 from his uncle to import and sell agricultural commodities in Nigeria, he did not stop there. He let blossom his business instinct and began to latch into other areas of promise.

You cannot become Africa’s wealthiest man three consecutive years if you do not have business insight. Administration change and a single policy somersault could, if not bring ruins to the business plans, totally dislodge the business from its leadership position.

By  2018 rating, he was worth about  $14.1 billion, his business octopus encompassing oil and gas, consumer goods trading and premium products’ manufacturing.

One of the business strategies he had talked about is continuous investing unlike some that would stalk their money in the banks.

Femi Otedola,  Energy

Femi Otedola

Femi Otedola is an investor-billionaire with class. As a matter of fact, the saying, “whatever he does, clap”, speaks a perspective of the investing knack in his amiable self.  It is because his emergency on the billionaires block has followed the path of diligence, not mere,

A graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University, he had his tutelage in the world of print services/products marketing for that was the sector where his father played. He learnt on the job, mastered the ropes enough to launch into his own, soon after. 

By the time he founded Zenon Petroleum Limited In 2003, he had mastered by heart the nitty-gritty of business success.

He is the chairman of Forte Oil Plc, formerly known as African Petroleum, a company that has over 500 petroleum fueling stations across Nigeria.

HE also owns cargo vessels, and had syndicated loans for Nigerian commercial banks, denominated in foreign currencies. These aren’t roles or duties foisted on pretenders, but reposition of trust to one who had been tested.

You cannot mention about billionaires generally, and in oil, without a due place for Femi Otedola

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