In the high-stakes world of African business, conflicts among billionaires often take center stage.
While these battles may not involve physical combat, they are fought with legal tactics and strategic moves, driven by the pursuit of immense wealth and untapped opportunities.
Here, we delve into some public disputes that have caught the attention of the public, all involving African billionaires.
Femi Otedola vs. Jimoh Ibrahim: The Battle for AP
In 2007, a fierce corporate showdown erupted between Nigerian billionaires Femi Otedola and Jimoh Ibrahim over the ownership of African Petroleum Plc (AP).
Otedola, then the chairman of AP, accused Ibrahim, the managing director, of using his position for personal gain. In retaliation, Ibrahim alleged that Otedola aimed to wrest control of the company.
The heated battle eventually reached the Supreme Court of Nigeria, where Otedola emerged victorious, securing his position as AP’s new chairman.
Otedola vs. Dangote: Texaco Nigeria Takeover Drama
The feud between Femi Otedola and Aliko Dangote began in 2010 when Chevron announced its intention to divest Texaco Nigeria, a company Otedola had been eyeing.
However, Dangote’s cousin’s company, MRS Holdings, outbid Otedola. This led to a rivalry where Otedola invested $2 billion in sectors that encroached on Dangote’s territory.
Accusations of share price manipulation and other conflicts ensued. Although the two eventually reconciled, Otedola’s wealth took a hit, pushing him off the Forbes billionaire list.
Dangote vs. Abdul Samad over Cement Pricing
In Nigeria’s cement industry, Dangote Cement enjoys a dominant position, but BUA Cement’s rapid growth has fueled intense competition.
This gave rise to allegations of price-fixing and anti-competitive practices have emerged. In 2018, Dangote Cement accused BUA Cement of price-fixing, triggering an investigation by the Nigerian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (NCPC).
In 2020, Dangote repeated the accusations, and the NCPC issued a preliminary report against BUA Cement, awaiting a final ruling.
Dangote vs. BUA: The Okpeila Mining Site Clash
Amidst the cement industry rivalry, Dangote and BUA Cement found themselves in a dispute over a mining site in Obu-Okpella, Edo State.
The dispute escalated after BUA claimed that a Federal High Court in Benin City had granted them the right to peaceful possession and operation of these mining sites, with an order for Dangote Industries Limited and Dangote Cement Plc to refrain from interference.
Dangote Group, in response, vehemently denied BUA’s claim and asserted its legal ownership of the mining lease, emphasizing that the dispute is still under appeal.
This clash between African billionaire tycoons highlights the fierce competition within Nigeria’s industrial sector and the complexities of resource ownership.
Otedola vs. Elumelu: Clash Over Transcorp
A recent and highly publicized feud unfolded between Femi Otedola and Tony Elumelu. It began when Otedola attempted to acquire a majority stake in Transcorp Plc, a Nigerian conglomerate.
Elumelu, already the chairman, blocked Otedola’s bid, leading to a public dispute. Otedola accused Elumelu of betrayal, while Elumelu claimed Otedola sought to acquire Transcorp at a fire-sale price.
Otedola eventually sold his stake to Elumelu, but not before making explosive allegations in May 2023, accusing Elumelu of backstabbing and taking advantage of his past financial challenges.
The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, Lagos State Council, has a…