By Elvis O. Ogar
Today, we wish to take you on a journey into the world of business and politics. For a start, it is pertinent to state that business people are also citizens with inalienable political rights and responsibilities. Being citizens, irrespective of their wealth, they too are affected by constraints in the public service delivery.
Although, in most cases, we discover that wealthy business men, particularly in Nigeria, try to use their financial muscle to insulate themselves from the problems faced by ordinary masses. Today’s gist however, is centered on those who choose to get out of their cocoons and participate in the murky waters Nigeria politics.
Here are our Top 10 Nigerian Business Tycoons turned Politicians:
- BEN MURRAY-BRUCE
Benedict Murray-Bruce was born on February 18, 1956 in Lagos to an Ijaw parent Mullighan and Margaret Murray-Bruce from Akassa, Bayelsa State of Nigeria. He attended the famous Our Lady of Apostles, in Yaba, Lagos and St Gregory College in Obalende. He studied Marketing and Business at the University of Southern Carolina.
His foray into business began when he started Silverbird Productions in 1980 with a borrowed capital of N20,000 (Twenty Thousand Naira Only); a desk in a small corner of the Domino administrative office, six staff and only two business activities, pageant and programme syndication. Today, with hundreds of staff, the company has turned to a conglomerate – three radio stations, Rhythm 93.7 in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt; Silverbird television; the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria; Silverbird Cinema, Silverbird Entertainment and Silverbird Galleria. Silverbird Cinema, the first and only Cinema multiplex with five screens, has been a huge success.
Ben delved into politics in 2011. He ran for Governorship of Bayelsa State but was unsuccessful as he was screened out of the race under the umbrella of the PDP. On 27 October 2014, Ben later declared his intention to represent Bayelsa East Senatorial District at the National Assembly under the umbrella of the PDP. He won and he is currently a Senator representing the good people of Bayelsa East Senatorial District.
- IFEANYI UBA
Ifeanyi was born September 3, 1971 as the first son of 7 children to Mr. & Mrs. Alphonsus Ubah. He hails from Otolo, Nnewi, Anambra State. Due to his relatively poor background, he had to drop out of school to become an apprentice at a tender age.
Upon the completion of his apprenticeship, Ifeanyi became an international exporter of motor tyres and spare parts majorly in West Africa including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and DR Congo before he expanded his business ventures in some countries in Europe including Belgium and the UK.
In 2001, he founded Capital Oil and Gas Limited which has since went on to become one of the largest distributors of petrol products around Nigeria with a combined capacity to berth 3-6 vessels simultaneously and 32 loading arms. He is the founder of The Authority Newspaper, a Nigerian daily newspaper and also the owner of Ifeanyi Ubah F.C., a football club in the Nigeria Premier League.
Though, this Billionaire businessman turned politician is yet to occupy any political office, he is no doubt a political colossus who must be listened to especially in South East Nigeria. In 2014, he unsuccessfully contested at the 2014 Anambra gubernatorial election under the platform of the Labour Party. He has now declared his intention to represent the Anambra South Senatorial District at the upcoming 2019 general elections. Ubah disclosed his intention during a stakeholders’ meeting of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Anambra South zone at Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area.
- ADEMOLA ADELEKE
Adeleke was born to the family of Ayoola Adeleke – a Muslim father and Nnena Esther Adeleke – an Igbo Christian mother on May 13th, 1960 in Enugu. His father was Late Senator Raji Ayoola Adeleke the Balogun of Ede land in Osun State, a politician, second republic Senator and political leader of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) working alongside the premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He is an Uncle to Nigeria’s popular music star, David Adeleke, aka Davido.
Ademola Adeleke is an accomplished business man and administrator, he was the Group Executive Director at his brother’s company, Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001-2016. Prior to joining Pacific Holdings Limited, Ademola had worked with Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, USA as a Service Contractor in 1985-1989. He progressed to Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, a flavor and fragrance manufacturing company as Vice President from 1990-1994. He and also served as a Director for Six years in Guinness Nigeria Plc. from1992-1998.
Ademola Adeleke began his political career in the year 2007 alongside his late brother Senator Isiaka Adeleke. He fully went into politics when he ran for the post of Senator in the Osun West Senatorial District, he ran for the post in a bid to replace his brother Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke who died in April 2017. He was subsequently elected as Senator of the Osun West Senatorial district to replace his late brother, in the July 2017, bye-election. Adeleke is now the PDP flag bearer and would be contesting to become Governor of Osun State.
- CHIMA ANYASO
The youngest on the list, he is just 38. Chimaobi was born in Igbere, Abia State to the family of Chief Anyaso. His father was equally a successful and popular businessman in Aba. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature form Ebonyi State University, a Masters Degree in Management at the University of Lagos, and masters in Petroleum Marketing Management from Atlas University, Philadelphia. He is married to the daughter of Nigeria’s famous politician Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe.
Chima became a Billionaire at the young age of 30 and emerged as one of Nigeria’s young entrepreneur and business leader. A seasoned professional marketing expert with years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He has worked with Emline Nig Limited., South Globe Limited., and Aquitane Oil & Gas Limited. He is currently the CEO of Ceecon and its subsidiaries which he established in 2006. His company has since generated a turnover in excess of $1 billion, consulting for such international companies as Addax and Vitol and engaging with such renowned multinationals as Total, Mobil, Oando, AP, Wabeco.
He alongside others founded the New Nigerian Movement NN19, a political pressure group committed to advancing the inclusive participation of youth in politics. The group became instrumental in the advocacy that latter resulted to the passage of the Not Too Young to Run Bill which was recently accented into law by Mr. President. He has since declared his intention to run for Federal House of Representatives, under the platform of PDP to represent Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State.
6.0 Abubakar Sani Bello
Born on 17 December 1967. He is the eldest child of the Nigerian Billionaire and former military Governor of old Kano state Col. Sani Bello (RTD). Abubakar Sani Bello attended St. Loius primary school, Kano from 1974 – 1979 and later went to Nigerian Military School from 1980 – 1985. He got admitted into the University of Maiduguri in 1986 where He obtained a B.Sc. in Economics in 1991.
He is arguably the richest Governor in Northern Nigeria. He was the Chairman and founder of Properties and Estates Limited, Millennium Air, Millennium Travels and Tours, Prudent Health Care Management Limited and Heritage Hospitality Services Limited. Bello has also been a Director at MTN Nigeria and Dana Air. The Bellos are involved in various kinds of business activities including construction, oil and gas, and communications. His Abubakar Bello senior, is said to own 40% of MTN Nigeria. His in-law is also one of the richest Africans, as his brother, Ibrahim, is married to Aliko Dangote’s daughter. He also is married to Dr. Amina Abubakar, daughter of Nigeria’s former head of state Abdussalami Abubakar and former first lady Justice Fati Abubakar who themselves run a multi-billion business empire.
Abubakar Sani Bello took a break from his business concerns and contested the Niger Governorship. He won the Niger State APC gubernatorial primaries for the 2015 election where he defeated Senator Musa Ibrahim. He later went ahead to win the general election scoring 593,709 votes to defeat his closest rival from the PDP whom had 239,772 votes. He was declared winner by the INEC on 13 April 2015. He is currently the Executive Governor of the North-Central State, Niger.
- Bamanga Tukur
He was born 15 September, 1935, in Jeda, Gongola, (Now Adamawa). He attended the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and later proceeded to the popular London School of Economics (LSE) where he read Transportation and Economics in 1965. He went on to obtain a Master’s Degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburg in the United States of America.
Alhajo Tukur has being into full scale entrepreneurship since the early 1980s, when he founded BHI holdings that later expanded to DADDO group of companies with interest in Logistics and Travels; Construction; ICT; Insurance; Agriculture and Manufacturing; Maritime; Voyage.
Alhajo Tukur threw his hat into the political fray when he contested and won the governorship election of the defunct Gongola State on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1983. He served in that capacity as governor for three months before the military truncated the second republic on December 31st 1983.
He went on to become the chairman of NEPAD business group. He had served at different times as a Director in the Nigeria Railway Corporation, the Nigerian Shipping Line, the Nigeria Army’s Central Water Transportation and the Board of Custom and Excise. From 1993 to 1995, he served as a member of the Federal Executive Council and Minister of Industry of Nigeria and later PDP National Chairman at a time.
- Umaru Tanko AL-Makura
Al-makura was born 1952 in Lafia, Nasarawa State. He attended Dunama Primary School, Lafia (1959–1966), Keffi Teacher’s College (1967–1971) and then Government Teachers College of Education, Uyo (1972–75). He then went to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1975–1978), graduating with a Bachelor of Education Degree.
He has been an astute businessman since the 70s. In 1978 he formed Almakura Nigeria Limited, importing and servicing agricultural and industrial machinery. Later he ventured into real estate and property development as owner and Chairman of Ta’al Nigeria Limited, with high net-worth properties in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Washinton DC, USA. He owns the Ta’al Lake Resort, Abuja and the Ta’al Conference Hotel, Lafia.
Almakura dabbled into politics in 1980 when he became the youth leader of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the old Plateau State. He was elected to the constitution Assembly of 1988–89, representing the Lafia–Obi Federal Constituency of what is now Nasarawa State. He was state secretary of the National Republican Convention (NRC) party in Plateau State from 1990 to 1992. He was elected Governor of Nasarawa State, Nigeria on 26 April 2011, running on the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). He is the current Governor of Nasarawa State.
- Badaru Abubakar
Badaru Abubakar was born 1962 in, Jigawa State. He is a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria where he obtained a B.Sc Accounting degree. While studying at the University, he became involved in community activism and business. He is an alumnus of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Jos.
Badaru is an accomplished industrialist and self-made Billionaire long before his foray into politics. He started his business in the 90s when he founded Talamiz Nigeria Limited. The company grew into a large conglomerate with subsidiaries like Talamiz Motors, Talamiz Consumer Company, Talamiz Oil Mill Limited, Talamiz Transport, Talamiz Commodities, Socar Talamiz Limited Talamiz Properties, Talamiz Poultry and Farms, and Talamiz Petroleum. He is also the Chairman of RMR shipping Bv, AML Bonded Terminal, ALUAFRIC Cairo and a former director at Sahih Nigeria Limited.
He also was a gubernatorial candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria who lost to Sule Lamido. Abubakar in 2011. He later contested for governorship under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 along with PDP contender Mal. Aminu Ibrahim Ringim. The Independent National Electoral Commission on 13 April 2015 declared him the winner of that election. He is currently the Governor of Jigawa State.
- Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha
Rochas was born on 22 September 1962 in Ogboko, Ideato South, Imo State. He attended Juladaco High School, Jos (1976-1981). He studied at the University of Jos (1990-1991), obtaining a diploma in Public Administration. He returned to the University of Jos (1993-1994) to obtain an advanced diploma in Public Administration.
Rochas became a billionaire at a very young age. He is without a shred of doubt, the wealthiest Governor in Nigeria. His expedition into business started in Gboko, Benue state, when at the age of 23, he ventured into cement business with the old Benue Cement Company (BCC). He however made his first million as an agent for a construction company. He consequently invested his earnings into car sales and later diversified into real estate which eventually made him a billionaire. He is the owner of Rochas Group of Companies Limited. A group of companies that are into real estate, importation, education, manufacturing amongst others.
In 1999, Rochas contested in the PDP primaries to be its candidate for Imo Governorship but lost to Achike Udenwa. He moved to the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), and was an unsuccessful in his bid to be the party’s presidential candidate in 2003. President Olusegun Obasanjo later appointed him as Special Adviser on Inter-Party affairs. Okorocha went on to campaign as APGA candidate and won as Governor in 2011. He decamped to the All Progressive Congress in 2013, contested for presidential primaries which he lost. He re-contested the Governorship slot and won in 2015. He is currently the Executive Governor of Imo State.
- Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada village of Adamawa State. He started Jada Primary School at age 8. After his primary school, was admitted into Adamawa Provincial Secondary School Yola in 1960. He later finished his Secondary school in 1965. Atiku proceeded to Nigerian Police College, Kaduna. Later he got admission to study at the School of Hygiene Kano in 1966. In 1967, he graduated with a Diploma. That same year, he was admitted for a Law Diploma at Ahmadu Bello University, where he graduated in 1969.
Abubakar started out in the real estate business during his early days as a Customs Officer. In 1974 he applied for and received a 31,000 naira loan to build his first house in Yola, which he put up for rent. From proceeds of the rent he purchased another plot, and built a second house. He continued this way, building a sizeable portfolio of property in Yola. In 1981 he moved into agriculture, acquiring 2,500 hectares of land near Yola to start a maize and cotton farm. He then ventured into trading, buying and selling truckloads of rice, flour and sugar. His most important business move came when he established Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES) with an Italian businessman.
NICOTES would later be rebranded INTELS. Atiku’s business empire also includes a beverage manufacturing plant in Yola, A University, as well as an animal feed factory.
Atiku’s first foray into politics was in the early 1980s, when he worked behind-the-scenes on the governorship campaign of Bamanga Tukur. He met Shehu Musa Yar’Adua around the late 1980s; Yar’Adua had been second-in-command of the military government that ruled Nigeria between 1976 and 1979. It was Yar’Adua who introduced Atiku into mainstream politics. Atiku won a seat to represent his constituency at the 1989 Constituent Assembly. In 1998 Atiku launched a bid for the governorship of Adamawa State on the platform of the PDP. He won the December 1998 elections, but before he could be sworn in he was tapped by the PDP’s presidential candidate, former Head of State Olusegun Obasanjo, as his vice-presidential candidate. The Obasanjo-Abubakar ticket won the 27 February 1999 presidential election with 62.78 percent of the votes. Abubakar was sworn in as Vice-President of Nigeria on 29 May 1999. He has just won the primaries on the platform of the PDP to run for the office of the president of Nigeria.
I hope you are motivated by the entrepreneurial spirit and investment drive of our 10 Business Men turned politicians in Nigeria. We encourage our esteemed readers to register a business today and establish an enterprise, even if it’s on a small scale. You may just find yourself on Forbes’ list someday.