Today, we shall be looking at a list of top 10 Igbo billionaires in 2015. This list will be restricted to entrepreneurs only. Politicians and individuals whose source of wealth cannot be traced are excluded from this list.
We compiled this list based on the following criteria:
- By the value of their shares held in quoted companies.
- The size and market share of their companies
- The number of companies they own and its estimated value
- The market value of their company’s brand
- The impact of their companies on the Nigerian economy
In a country with a population of over 160 million inhabitants and millions of businesses; these 10 Igbo entrepreneurs diligently carved their names in the sands of time by taking advantage of the fastest growing business opportunities in Nigeria.
Below is our list of the top 10 Igbo Billionaires (entrepreneurs) in 2015.
Orji Uzor Kalu– Slok Group (Aviation, Shipping, publishing, manufacturing)
Orji Uzor Kalu is the chairman and founder of Slok Holding, a West African conglomerate with interests in shipping, banking, oil trading, manufacturing and the media.
Orji Uzor Kalu is also the chairman of the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers in Nigeria, he served as the governor of Abia State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007. Prior to his election, he served as the chairman of the Borno Water Board and the chairman of the Cooperative and Commerce Bank Limited. Kalu was also a member of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and the chairman of the PPA Board of Trustees. He was the party’s candidate for president in the April 2007 general election.
He got his start in business at age 19 after being expelled from a Nigerian university for spearheading a series of student riots. He borrowed $35 from his mother and started trading commodities like palm oil, rice and sugar. He diversified into furniture manufacturing and transportation and became a millionaire by the time he was 20. He hit the big time in the early 80s when the Nigerian military government awarded him lucrative contracts to import and supply arms and ammunition to Nigeria’s military and defense forces. He was previously a governor of Abia state in Nigeria’s southeast.
Kalu is involved with the Njiko Igbo Movement, whose purpose is to help secure the presidential seat for a Nigerian citizen of Igbo extraction; an Igbo has only held the presidency for six months since Nigeria’s independence. The movement has branches and support groups throughout the diaspora.
Cosmas Maduka– Coscharis Group (Automobile, manufacturing)
With only $1, Cosmas Maduka has managed to build a Multi Million dollar business empire spanning automotive spare parts, technology, medical equipment and agriculture.
His success story is quite an inspiring one and as he graces the cover of the November 2015 issue of Forbes Africa. For the magazine he is dubbed ‘The $500-Million Survivor’. His feature outlines his success story – Seven years without pay, showering in the street, scrapping with his brother, fired by his uncle, fired at by his wife’s uncle and more. Cosmas Maduka shares how he survived war, tragedy and family fights to turn $1 into $500 million.
Today he sits on a business empire which is embarking on building the first assembly plant for Ford pick up trucks in Nigeria as well as a multimillion dollar agriculture project. Coscharis group is also a franchise holder of luxury car brands Rolls Royce, Range Rover, Jaguar and BMW.
Chief Cletus Ibeto– Ibeto Group (Trading, manufacturing, oil & gas)
A grass to grace billionaire, Cletus Ibeto, grew from an apprentice in a spare parts shop to the owner of the largest conglomerate in Eastern Nigeria. He is head of The Ibeto Group, the largest business enterprise from Nnewi, a city unique for its entrepreneurial spirit. In the early 1980s, when the oil crash and a controversial import licensing system was making a dent on the Nigerian manufacturing environment, Nnewi went through a growth period. The Ibeto Group under the leadership of Cletus Ibeto was a pace setter in the region and nation’s trading and later manufacturing development.
Cletus Ibeto started out as a spare parts import dealer, after spending some time as an apprentice in the motor parts business, a gradual step taken by many eastern traders. In March 1988, he stopped direct importation of lead acid automotive battery and plastic motor accessories after completing his factory in Nnewi. By 1995, The Ibeto Group had become one of the largest auto spare parts manufacturing outfits in the country. On October 2, 1996, he established Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Ltd. which is engaged in the blending of oil lubricants as well as the production of various types of petroleum products for local and international markets. The Company owns the largest liquid storage facilities for petroleum products in Nigeria with a capacity of over 60,000 metric tones located at Apapa Wharf and Ibru Jetty Complex, Lagos.
Tony Ezenna– Orange Group (Pharmaceutical, oil & gas)
Tony Ezenna, as he is often called, started out with a family chemist shop, Eastern Industrial Chemist in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State as an intern in 1975 and worked there for thirteen years before he opted to chart a course for himself. Having been well honed in the art of drug sales, the young Tony on July 20th 1988, he registered and incorporated his personal company, Orange Drugs Limited.
The company started out from its office in Ikenegbu, Owerri, Imo state in 1989, but the urge to play in the big league brought him to Lagos, starting off from Okupe Estate, Mende, Maryland, Lagos. It was from the Maryland base that the company, in 2001 relocated to its present Head Office at Town Planning Way, Ilupeju, Lagos.
Orange Drugs Limited started off with an authorized fully paid share capital of N5 million and engaged in the importation, marketing and distribution of drugs, manufactured in Indonesia, Italy, India, Germany and the United States of America and later joined the beauty care segment through the importation of soaps, creams and other beauty products. By 2006, the company commenced the local production of different brands of soaps in Lagos.
Leo Stan Ekeh– Zinox (Computer, technology)
Mr. Leo-Stan Nnamdi Ekeh, FNCS, OFR serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zinox Technologies Ltd. and Buyright Africa Dotcom Limited. Mr. Ekeh is the Founder at TaskDirect. Mr. Ekeh is a first rate Indian trained economist and risk Manager, was honoured as an ICON of Hope by President Olusegun Obasanjo October 1st, 2002 for his sustained pioneering effort in the area of Information technology and also as a pride to modern Nigeria.
He has a record of incisive entrepreneurship and his vision to computerize Nigeria has reshaped the history of information Technology in the Third World. He pioneered Desktop publishing and Computer graphics in Nigeria with Task Systems Ltd in 1989. He also pioneered ICT products distributions in West Africa with – Technology Distributions Ltd – which is the No.1 ICT distribution company in Sub Saharan Africa.
He pioneered the First Nigerian Internationally certified Computer brand, Zinox Computer, and recently SUPER WIFI with the launch of Zinox Telecom amongst other pioneering efforts He known for leading a team that delivered the largest single ICT project in Nigeria within a record time has earned several awards for his industry few of which are, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic, OFR; Fellow Nigeria Computer Society, FNCS; Fellowship of NPAN; Distinguished Fellow of the Nigeria Law School; Life Membership of the Institute of International Affairs; over 15 Honorary fellowship awards from Federal and State Polytechnics.
He hold Doctor of Business Administration (Honoris Causa) Imo State University, Doctor of Technology (Honoris Causa) Federal University of Technology, Owerri; Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi etc. Mr. Ekeh holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Punjab University, India, and a Post Graduate Degree in Risk Management from Nottingham University, England.
Sir Emeka Offor – Chrome Group (Oil & gas, marine)
Sir Emeka Offor serves as Chairman of the Board of GUINEA INSURANCE PLC.
He is the Group Executive Vice Chairman of Chrome Group. A dynamic and articulate entrepreneur with nearly three decades of business experience, he has built a vast business empire with interests in oil and gas, insurance, power sector, telecommunications and logistics, both in Nigeria and overseas. A member of the board of directors of many blue-chip companies among which are Chrome Oil Services Limited, Chrome Engineering and Environmental Services Limited, Choffan Communications Limited and Nimek Investments Limited, Kaztec Engineering Limited, Global Scansystems Nigeria Limited.
He was the chairman of the board of ERHC Energy Inc., USA; a Houston, United States of America based independent Oil and Gas Company focused on oil and gas exploration, and production in the Gulf of Guinea.
He has been honored by many corporate bodies, nongovernmental organizations, governments and countries. He was honored a few years ago by the Romanian Consulate in Nigeria for his invaluable contribution towards the development and enhancement of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Romania.
He established the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, a nongovernmental organization, a couple of years ago. The Foundation seeks to alleviate the suffering of the less privileged in society through philanthropy, but focusing primarily on giving hope to the hopeless. He is a member of the governing board of Books for Africa worldwide.
Chief Arthur Eze– Atlas Oranto Petroleum (Oil & gas)
Arthur Eze is a Founder, Owner and serves as Chairman of Atlas Petroleum International Ltd which has assets in Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, and the Gambia.
Arthur Eze is a Nigerian business man and reputed to be one of the wealthiest men in Africa. In 1970, Eze attended secondary school in Nkwere, Nigeria. He studied chemical and mechanical engineering at California State University, Long Beach from 1974 to 1978. In November 2015, Prince Arthur Eze, bought himself a brand new Falcon airplane and it was delivered to him at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu State
Vincent Amaechi Obianodo– Young Shall Grow Motors, RockView Hotels (Transportation, hotels)
Vincent Amaechi Obianodo Founded The Young Shall Grow” Motors Limited a wholly owned Nigeria Transport Company which has been in operation since the early 1970s and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman.
Tony Elumelu – hospitality, agriculture, oil production and power generation
Nigerian entrepreneur and investor Tony Elumelu owns a controlling interest in Transcorp, a publicly traded Nigerian conglomerate with interests in hospitality, agriculture, oil production and power generation.
Tony is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. Elumelu holds the Nigerian national honours, the Commander of the Order of Nigeria (CON) and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). In 2011, New African magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in Africa and a year later, he was recognised as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People in 2012” by Forbes Magazine.
He came into the limelight in 1997 when he led a small group of investors to take over a small, floundering commercial bank(Standard Trust Bank) in Lagos. He turned it profitable within a few years and in 2005 he merged it with the United Bank for Africa. That banking group now has subsidiaries in 20 African countries and in the U.S and U.K. Elumelu also owns extensive real estate across Nigeria and a minority stake in mobile telecom firm MTN Nigeria, among other assets.
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