By: Douglas Imaralu
AFRICANGLOBE – There are super rich Nigerians you never get to hear about.
Business is booming in the oil-rich West African nation and its entrepreneurs are thriving. According to World Bank’s Nigeria Economic Report, Africa’s second-biggest economy, with an estimated population of 170 million, has achieved an annual growth rate of about 7 percent. From more media friendly billionaires like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia or the charismatic Africapitalism proponent, Tony Elumelu, the country’s illustrious businessmen boast of a stupendous amount wealth and influence that resonates across the continent, and the world! However, there are some billionaires within the country who are under-the-radar, media shy or even oblivious to journos. In this piece, our wealth team uncovers 10 Nigerian billionaires who have amassed a fortune running world-class businesses without constant media apperances.
- 1. Igho Sanomi
Source: Oil trading, Construction, Power
Sanomi, 38, is the founder and CEO of Taleveras Group, a Nigerian energy, power and construction conglomerate. Taleveras is one of Africa’s largest energy trading companies, trading close to a billion barrels of crude oil and millions of tons of condensates, gasoline, jet fuel, condensates and LPG every year.
Taleveras also owns substantial stakes in two oil blocks in Nigeria as well as lucrative production sharing contracts (PSCs) in three offshore oil blocks in Ivory Coast. The group Power subsidiary constructs electrical substations in Nigeria and recently acquired a majority stake in the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company.
Taleveras has an annual turnover of several billions of dollars. Igho Sanomi is the controlling shareholder of the group.
- 2. Ernest Azudialu
Source: Engineering, Oil
Azudialu is the founder of Nestoil, a Nigerian company that provides leading Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services to the biggest players in Nigeria’s upstream space such as Shell, Exxonmobil and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
He is also the chairman and leading shareholder of NECONDE, a Nestoil-led consortium that owns a 45 percent stake in OML 42, a large license containing developed oil fields and gas reserves in the Niger Delta area of onshore Nigeria.
- 3. Emmanuel Ojei
Source: Oil, Automobile distribution
The mysterious businessman started out working at Rutam Motors, an auto distribution company, but left in 1976 to establish his own business. Today, he is chairman of Nuel Ojei holdings (NOH), a conglomerate with interests in oil, automobile distribution and natural resources, construction, banking, insurance, manufacturing, hotel management, automobile distribution and petroleum development and marketing.
His Emo Oil (a subsidiary company of Nuel Ojei Holdings) is involved in oil and gas exploration and production, pipeline construction and oil services in Nigeria while the auto distribution arm of the group is the sole authorized distributor of Mazda vehicles in Nigeria.
While Nuel Ojei’s exact shareholding in the company is not known, sources at the company say annual revenues at NOH exceed $1 billion.
- 4. Albert Esiri
Source: Oil, Hotels, Beverages
Albert Esiri, a reclusive businessman is the Executive Chairman of Ashbert Beverages Ltd, a bottling company located in Abraka. He also owns Abraka Turf and Country Club, a high-level luxury resort in Delta State, Nigeria.
From 1998 to 2008 he was the Non-Executive Chairman of Veritas Geophysical (Nigeria) Ltd, the Nigerian subsidiary of CGGVeritas, where he played an important role in helping the parent company reach an annual turnover in excess of $2.5 billion.
He is the Executive Chairman of Ashbert Oil and Gas Ltd, an indigenous player in Nigeria’s upstream Oil & Gas sector with interests in a number of blocks.
- 5. Sanni Bello
Source: Oil, Telecoms
Col. Sani Bello (rtd) – a former military governor of Kano State – is the cofounder of AMNI Petroleum, an oil exploration company with a 50 percent interest in the Okoro and Setu oil fields, situated in shallow water offshore Nigeria.
The Niger state-born businessman is also owns a minority stake in MTN Nigeria, qualifying him a seat on the board.
Sani Bello is also a farmer, saying he spends his spare time “visiting his Cattles and sometimes talking to them”.
- 6. Ladi Jadesimi
Source: Finance, Oil and Gas
Ladi Jadesimi is the Executive Chairman of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) – a modern 24/7 fully integrated, secure and independent engineering and logistics base for deep offshore oil and gas projects.
With the recent discovery of mega oil fields, it has been reported that operators will invest in excess of $20 Billion in the fields, a move that will surely yield greater profit margins for LADOL.
The Oxford University graduate was also a former partner of Arthur Anderson of Nigeria – a subsidiary of multinational accounting firm, Arthur Anderson, and is on the board of directors of Niger Delta Exploration and Production Plc.
Mr Jadesimi also serves on the board of several companies, including First City Monument Bank (FCMB) as a Non-Executive Director.
- 7. Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide
Source: Aviation, Engineering, Oil
Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide is the owner of Nigeria’s flag bearer, Arik Airlines – West Africa’s largest commercial airline. It operates a fleet of 23 state-of-the art regional, medium haul and long haul aircraft including two Airbus A340-500, making the airline the ‘first operator of the wide bodied aircraft in Africa’.
The business mogul is also the founder of Rockson Engineering Ltd that provides services in construction, oil and gas and manpower supply, he is also reported to have lucrative interests in the country’s thriving, yet controversial oil industry.
- 8. Victor Odili
Source: Maritime, Oil Services, Telecoms
Chief (Dr) Victor Odili (OON) is the chairman and executive director of Aeromaritime Group, a parent company to over 8 member-companies operating in different sector across Nigeria including shipping, stevedoring and oil and gas.
Aeromaritime owns more than 500 container vessels, 1,400,000 containers and a private-owned terminal to ensure reliable worldwide maritime services for importers and exporters alike.
The London School of Economics trained businessman is also the Director of a several successful companies including Baco Line of Germany and MTN Nigeria Limited.
- 9. Mohammed Asibelua
Source: Oil, Energy
Mr Asibelua is the Executive Chairman of Quinox Group Ltd, a global company with subsidiaries actively operating in oil trading, services, and real estate, partnering with significant international corporations such as Gazprom, Sinopec, British Gas and PetroVietnam in numerous upstream projects.
In 2011, Mr Asibelua agreed to accept the position of chairman, Board of Directors of Mira’s Resources Corp, the whole owner of Equinox TSB Development (Nigeria) Limited.
Mr. Asibelua holds a majority equity interest in OML 14 Tom Shot Bank Field through Associated Oil & Gas Services.
- 10. Uju Ifejika
Source: Oil and Gas, Shipping, Engineering
A lawyer by profession, Mrs Ifejika previously worked in the oil and gas industry for 20 years in Texaco, which later merged with Chevron, rising from junior counsel up to regional company secretary before retiring early to focus a building an enterprise for herself.
Mrs. Catherine Uju Ifejika is also the Chairperson/CEO of Brittania-U Nigeria limited – an affiliate of Brittania-U Group – an indigenous and Integrated Oil & Gas Company. Its core business is Petroleum, with operations covering the entire spectrum from exploration to production, refining, trading, supply & distribution.
It has interests in Upstream (Exploration & Production), Downstream (Supply & Trading), Shipping and Sub-Surface Engineering Affiliate Companies.