Silent Billionaire Families in Nigeria
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Billionaires - March 18, 2023

Silent Billionaire Families in Nigeria

Nigeria is a home to several billionaire families. While some of these families are well-known and often celebrated, others have chosen to keep a low profile and keep themselves away from the public eye.

These families who are calling the shots in terms of wealth have amassed their wealth for decades from different businesses and positions. They often avoid media attention and rarely participate in social events or public functions. In Nigeria, there are several families that fall under this category.

Michael Ibru Family

The Ibru family is one of the most prominent and influential families in Nigeria known for their success in business and their philanthropic contributions. The families are behind the Ibru Organisation established in 1956 with diversified business in Agriculture, aviation, shipping, banking and oil and gas.

At the center of the Ibru family’s success is Michael Ibru, the patriarch of the family. He started when he worked at the United Africa Company in the 1950sin Lagos, before he later founded the Ibru Organisation, which became one of the largest conglomerates in Nigeria. The company’s success made Michael Ibru one of the wealthiest men in Nigeria.

In 1957, he expanded by distributing frozen fish in Nigeria through the Ibru Sea Foods, a company through which he imported frozen foods and sold them using the back of a truck. The business grew, which made him a partner with a prominent Japanese firm.

Other prominent members of the family are Micheal’s eldest son Olorogun Oskar Ibru, Felix Ibru, Alex Ibru, Oboden Ibru and Cecilia Ibru.

Felix Ibru is the founder of an architectural firm before he became a Delta State governor.  Alex Ibru is the chairman of Rutam Motors and an ex minister of Internal Affairs between 1993 and 1995. Cecilia Ibru was also the Former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic Bank.

Okoya- Thomas Family

The Okoya-Thomas family  is also one of the most prominent and influential families in Nigeria. The family is known for their success in business, sports, and philanthropy. At the center of the Okoya-Thomas family’s success is Molade Okoya-Thomas, the patriarch of the family.

Molade Okoya-Thomas was the Chairman of CFAO Nigeria Limited before his demise. His father had earlier served the company as the first local staff for 52 years. Molade was a trained accountant before he came to  begin his career as an accountant at CFAO.

He eventually became the Chairman of the company and also the Director of Transcap Nigeria Limited, NFI Insurance Company Plc, Gateway Bank Plc and some other organizations.

Other prominent members of the family include Princess Olajumoke Abidemi Okoya-Thomas, a member of the Federal House of Representatives of Nigeria representing the Lagos Island Federal Constituency of Lagos State.

Igbinedion family

The Igbinedion family is one of the prominent families in Nigeria, known for their success in business and politics. The family is based in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, and is led by Gabriel Igbinedion, the patriarch of the family. A title called the Esama of Benin was conferred on him by thethen Oba, Oba Akenzua II

Gabriel Igbinedion who is a businessman with different business empires which include oil refinery, diamond, gold,private bank, a private University, a private TV Station, a radio station and several hotels and real estate.

Another prominent member of the family is Lucky Igbinedion, a former governor of Edo State.

Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu

Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu was a prominent Nigerian businessman and pioneer of modern transportation in Nigeria. Ojukwu was one of  the first Nigerian millionaires and the founder of the famous Ojukwu Transport Company (OTC), which was one of the largest transport companies in West Africa during the 1950s and 1960s.

Ojukwu Transport Company (OTC), he became a significant player in the transportation industry in Nigeria. The company provided transportation services to passengers and goods between Lagos, Onitsha, and other major cities in Nigeria. Ojukwu’s company was the first in Nigeria to offer insurance cover to passengers and goods, and the first to introduce comfortable air-conditioned buses to the country.

Ojukwu’s business success and reputation made him a respected member of society. He was conferred with the title of Eze Ukwu II of Ngwa, a traditional title in the southeastern part of Nigeria, and was also a member of the Eastern House of Chiefs. He used his wealth and influence to contribute to the development of his community and supported education and healthcare initiatives in his hometown of Nnewi.

His son, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, later became a prominent figure in Nigerian politics and led the breakaway state of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War. 

Today, the Ojukwu family remains one of the most influential families in Nigeria, with several members continuing to make significant contributions to business and politics in the country.

Ibrahim Babangida

One of the richest political families in the country is Ibrahim Babangida. Ibrahim Babangida is a retired Nigerian Army general and statesman who served as the military President of Nigeria from 1985 to 1993.

Babangida joined the Nigerian Army in 1962 and quickly rose through the ranks. He participated in the Nigerian Civil War and played a significant role in quelling the attempted coup against the then military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, in 1983.

Another prominent member is his first son Muhammed Babangida, who is a businessman and a former military officer. Halima Babangida, his youngest child is a writer and journalist who has worked for several media outlets in Nigeria, including the Daily Trust and Newswatch. 

Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola

Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was a prominent Nigerian businessman, philanthropist, and politician. He was born Abeokuta, Nigeria, and died in prison custody in Abuja, Nigeria. Abiola was a highly respected figure in Nigeria, known for his immense wealth, philanthropy, and political activism.

His father, Alhaji Salawu Abiola, was a successful trader and businessman who was highly respected in the community. 

Abiola had several children, including his son Kola Abiola, who is also a successful businessman and political figure in Nigeria. Kola Abiola has continued his father’s legacy of philanthropy and political activism, working to promote education, healthcare, and economic development in Nigeria.

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