Low-key is a terms that means simple and not attracting attention. The term low-key billionaire applies to some super rich Nigerians who do not pop up on the radar regularly like the likes of Dangote, Folorunsho Alakija, Femi Otedola and Mike Adenuga. We all know who Dangote is, who Otedola is. They are constantly in the news for one reason or the other. The Nigerian billionaires who are the focus of this article keep things on the low. They are hardly in the media. So let’s dive in and reveal who these low-key billionaires in Nigeria are.
Jimoh Ibrahim – Nicon Insurance, Global Fleet
The story of Jimoh Ibrahim is an inspiration to anyone from a humble background who desires to be successful in life. He comes from a very poor family and had about 17 siblings to make things worse. However, this great man rose above this challenge and became a millionaire while he was still studying law at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) running seminars for local governments on Taxation. In the 2002/2003 General elections, he contested for the office of governor in Ondo State but lost after which he started Global Fleet, a petroleum marketing company. Today he is one of Nigeria’s billionaires with numerous investments spread across several sectors such as oil and gas distribution, hotels, resorts, airlines, banking, real estate, insurance, publishing and investments. He delivers free lectures monthly at Excellence Hotel located in Ogba, Lagos through City People on how Nigerians can make millions from any business they venture into.
Chief Ade Ojo – Elizade Motors Nigeria Ltd
Chief Michael Ade Ojo was born on the 14th of June, 1938. He was one of the pioneer students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1965. Together with his late wife, Chief (Mrs.) Elizabeth Wuraola Ojo he founded Elizade Independent Agencies in 1975. Hence the name of the company Elizade which is coined from his wife’s name Elizabeth and his own name, Ade. Today, the company has evolved into ELIZADE Group of Companies with as much as seven subsidiaries. He has also established a polytechnic known as Elizade Polytechnic, Ilara Mokin. This is his own way of contributing to the educational system of Nigeria and ensuring the average Nigerian child gets access to quality education.
Jim Ovia – Banking and Communications
Mr. Jim Ovia is a co-founder of Zenith Bank Plc and also served as its Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for 10 years. Zenith Bank is one of the largest banks in Nigeria as of today. He recently returned to the bank as chairman of Zenith Bank Group and he remains the bank’s largest individual shareholder with a 9.3% stake. He is also the founder of Visafone Communications Limited which he has since sold to MTN. In August 2014, he started construction on a $1.5 billion petrochemical complex located in Akwa-Ibom, Nigeria. Jim Ovia is a holder of the Member of the Order of Federal Republic (MFR), a national honour.
Chief Raymond Dokpesi – Daar Communication, AIT
Chief Raymond Dokpesi hails from Edo state but was born in Ibadan, Oyo state on the 25th of October 1951. He is the founder and chairman of DAAR Communications Limited. In 1994, he launched Nigeria’s first independent radio station, Ray power. Later in 1996, he also launched the first Afrocentric Global Television Station, Africa Independent Television (AIT). AIT is the first African broadcast station to transmit from and into the United States of America.
Pascal Dozie – MTN Nigeria, Diamond Bank
Pascal Dozie comes from a very humble background. He was born to a country court interpreter in Owerri Imo state on the 9th of April 9, 1939. He founded Diamond Bank, one of the banks currently operating in Nigeria in the year 1991. The bank has grown and is today a leader in the industry. He pioneered electronic transfers in Nigeria to enable traders transfer money easily without having to carry it around. He became really wealthy when he partnered with South African company, MTN to setup a cellphone network in the Nigerian market. Taking a huge risk at that time, he raised the necessary funds with MTN completing the rest and today Nigerians can attest to the success of MTN Nigeria. Currently he is the Chairman of MTN Nigeria and is a founding partner of Africa Capital Alliance, the first Nigerian private equity fund manager.
Leo Stan Ekeh – Zinox Computer
Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh was born on the 22nd of February 1956 in Ubomiri Mbaitoli of Imo State. Fondly referred to as the Bill Gates of Nigeria due to his exploits in the field of information technology in the country, he is currently the chairperson of Zinox Technologies Limited. He started his business several years ago with his school fees and this cost him the chance to sit for his LLM in Business Law which he had prepared for, for well over a year. He started Task Systems Ltd, a company now under the Zinox Group. In addition to Zinox, he has also been involved with companies such as ICT Brokers, TD Plus, ICT Connect and Buyright AFRICA Dotcom.
Prince Samuel Adedoyin – Doyin Group
Samuel Adedoyin hails from Kwara state and is the founder of Doyin Group of Companies. The Doyin Group of companies is a wholly indigenous conglomerate comprising of 15 subsidiaries. He started out as a small trader and he has successfully grown his business into a conglomerate. The group’s business interests includes manufacturing, real estate, banking, hospitality and energy.
Oba Otudeko – Honeywell Group Nigeria
Oba Otudeko is a Nigerian royal from Oyo state. He is the founder and chairman of Honeywell Group and also the chairman of Airtel Nigeria, and Fan Milk of Nigeria. He was born on the 18th of August, 1943 and is one of Nigeria’s most successful investors and entrepreneur. He was Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Plc and retired after 12 years on the Board of the Bank. He served as the 16th President and Chairman of Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange between September 2006 and August 2009. His business interests spans across several sectors such as oil and gas, flour milling, real estate and marine transportation.
Fola Adeola – GTBank
Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola is a businessman and politician. He alongside Tayo Aderinokun established Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) in the year 1990 and he was the director/CEO until July 2002. The bank was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1996. He is a member of the Commission for Africa, and is also the founder and chairman of the FATE Foundation a non-governmental organisation which aims to encourage entrepreneurship among Nigerian youths through trainings, mentoring, loan support and consultancy.
The people on this list are not always in the media even though they are moneybags in their own rights. This is why this article is written to help publicize these low-key billionaires in Nigeria.