Top 12 most successful and richest entrepreneurs in Nigeria: Who are they?

Top 12 most successful and richest entrepreneurs in Nigeria: Who are they?

Reading the success stories of entrepreneurs in Nigeria will inspire and show you that nothing is impossible. Here is an article where Nigeria's top 12 most successful entrepreneurs have demonstrated how to succeed. Learn how these Nigeria's wealthiest individuals have achieved success over the years.

successful entrepreneurs in nigeria
Most successful and richest entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Photo: Christopher Farber, Anna Webber, Cynthia Edorh (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Nigeria is a naturally endowed country. The country has all kinds of natural, mineral, and human resources. Human resources include hardworking and decisive individuals who have earned an excellent reputation in entrepreneurship.

List of successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria

Who is the biggest entrepreneur in Nigeria? Several individuals are considered to be very wealthy from the various business they own.

Apart from the wealth of these successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria, they have also influenced society in entrepreneurial skills. Who are they, and how did they make their wealth?

12. Oba Otudeko - $550 million

entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Oba Otudeko (R) receives the CEO of the Year award from Jay Ireland (L), CEO of General Electric Africa, during the Africa CEO Forum Awards on March 21, 2016. Photo: Sia Kambou
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: August 18, 1943
  • Age: 79 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Ibadan, Oyo State
  • Business interest: Oil, gas, flour and more
  • Education: Executive management training programmes at Harvard University, Hult International School of Business, Accountancy graduate of Leeds College of Commerce Leeds College of Commerce

This entrepreneur is known for being chairman of such huge companies as Honeywell Group and FBN Holdings PLC, specialising in oil and gas, real estate, marine transportation, and flour milling. He was born in 1943, and his native city is Ibadan, Oyo State. Oba Otudeko came from a royal family.

He is an accountancy graduate of Leeds College of Commerce, United Kingdom. He has worked as a banker, accountant, and corporate secretary.

Oba Otudeko is involved in dozens of various businesses and has received a lot of awards. Of course, he is most famous for Honeywell Group, but he has also helped other companies grow.

He also founded the Oba Otudeko Foundation, which specialises in charity and philanthropy. He is happily married to his wife, Adebisi Aderonke Otudeko.

Oba Otudeko's net worth was about $550 million, according to Forbes' ranking in 2014. His net worth has likely increased since then, but there isn't a substantive figure of the same.

11. Tony Elumelu - $700 million

Who is the top 10 richest person in Nigeria?
Tony Elumelu, United Bank for Africa president and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. Photo: Eric Piermont
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: March 22, 1963
  • Age: 60 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Jos, Plateau State
  • Business interest: Investments, banking, agriculture, hospitality, oil production and more
  • Education: Master of Science degree from the University of Lagos

Tony Elumelu was born in 1963 in Plateau State. He attended university in his native country and has 2 degrees in economics. He also has a Master's Degree from the University of Lagos.

Elumelu founded Heirs Holdings, a company that invests in power, real estate, healthcare, hospitality, and oil & gas, in 2010. Tony is also the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. This organisation empowers and supports African entrepreneurs.

Tony is married to Awele Vivien Elumel, with whom he has 7 children. He is also the brother of Ndudi Elumelu, a politician.

Tony Elumelu's net worth is $700 million. He was ranked the 31st richest person in Africa in 2015 by Forbes.

10. Jim Ovia - $900 million

successful entrepreneurs in nigeria
Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank in Nigeria, speaks during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa meeting at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town. Photo: Rodger Bosch
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: November 4, 1951
  • Age: 72 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Anambra State
  • Business interest: Banking, telecommunication, property and more
  • Education: Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, Louisiana, USA, Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA (1977)

Who is the top 10 richest person in Nigeria? Jim Ovia's net worth is $900 million, making him one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Moreover, his net worth is expected to grow, considering his massive business success.

He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Southern University in Louisiana and a Master's degree from the University of Louisiana in the same discipline. He is also a graduate of Harvard Business School.

In 1980, Jim Ovia founded Zenith Bank, one of the most influential banking institutions in the West African nation. He is not just a businessman – he is also involved in philanthropic work.

He founded the Youth Empowerment ICT Foundation, an organisation focused on improving Nigerian youth welfare and helping them embrace new communication and information technologies.

9. Folorunsho Alakija - $1 billion

entrepreneurs in nigeria
Folorunsho Alakija, Founding Grand Matron of the Africa Cinematography Festival, speaks to pressmen on the coming cinematography festival in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo: Adekunle Ajayi
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: July 15, 1951
  • Age: 71 years old as of 2021
  • Birthplace: Lagos
  • Business interest: Oil, transportation and more
  • Education: Secretarial studies at Pitman's Central College, London

Who is the richest woman in Nigerian? Folorunsho Alakija is now the most successful Nigerian businesswoman. According to Forbes, Folorunsho Alakija's net worth is $1 billion. This was in 2020, and it's likely her net worth has increased.

Her career started in the mid-70s when she worked as a secretary. She is mainly known as the group managing director of the company Rose of Sharon Group.

She is the executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited, from which she makes enormous profits. She is also the founder of the fashion label Supreme Stitches, which produces clothing for affluent clients.

Folorunsho Alakija does a lot of charity – for instance, she donates to widows through the Rose of Sharon Foundation. She is the most prominent example of success for young Nigerian women, and she shows how powerful they can be if they work hard enough and believe in themselves.

8. Orji Uzor Kalu - $1.1 billion

  • Date of birth: April 21, 1960
  • Age: 63 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Abia State
  • Business interest: Furniture, manufacturing, and transportation
  • Education: Political Science at the University of Maiduguri

Orji is a graduate of three universities: the University of Maiduguri, Abia State University, and the prestigious Harvard University. Currently, he is the chairman of SLOK Holding and the owner of the Daily Sun Newspaper. The rich and famous Orji Uzor Kalu always knew that he wanted to be the best.

Young Orji Uzor Kalu started his entrepreneurship through the palm oil trade, as he bought the commodities from the eastern regions of Nigeria and then sold them to the northern ones. Orji Uzor Kalu switched from selling palm oil to the furniture trade, which became a huge success.

In the end, he established his own company called SLOK Holding. This business conglomerate blew up, and now it has branches in Nigeria, South Africa, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Benin Republic, Botswana, and even Korea.

Orji Uzor Kalu's net worth is approximately $1.1 billion. He firmly believes that people who want to be successful should have their heart in it and see new opportunities everywhere.

7. Jimoh Ibrahim - $1.1 billion

  • Date of birth: February 24, 1967
  • Age: 56 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Igbotako in Okitipua, Ondo State
  • Business interest: Hotels, airlines, resorts, real estate, banking, publishing, insurance, and oil and gas distribution
  • Education: Law degree from the Lagos State University

The politician, businessman, lawyer, and philanthropist Jimoh Ibrahim always knew that success would come his way one day and that he needed to work hard for it.

Jimoh Ibrahim was a law student at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun State, where he obtained both bachelor's and master's degrees. Afterwards, he went to the United States to study at Harvard University.

After completing his education, he began investing in a lot of profitable sectors. His investment sectors are hotels, airlines, resorts, real estate, banking, publishing, insurance, and oil and gas distribution.

Today, Jimoh Ibrahim is the chairman of the Global Fleet Group, a large, diverse Nigeria-based conglomerate company. It has a vast amount of subsidiaries in different cities of Nigeria, mainly Lagos, and in other African countries – Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe, to name a few.

Jimoh Ibrahim is a published writer – he has been credited as the author of three books. He is also the publisher of the National Mirror Newspaper. Jimoh Ibrahim's net worth is approximately $1.1 billion. Ibrahim is married to Modupe Jimoh Ibrahim, and they have four children.

6. Femi Otedola - $1.8 billion

who is the richest man in nigeria
Femi Otedola, chairman of Geregu Power Plc, during the commissioning ceremony of the Dangote Industries Ltd. oil refinery and fertilizer plant site in the Ibeju Lekki district. Photo: Benson Ibeabuchi
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: November 4, 1962
  • Age: 60 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Ibadan, Oyo State
  • Business interest: Oil, haulage, utilities and more
  • Education: Obafemi Awolowo University

Femi is one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in Nigeria. He is a well-known philanthropist and oil magnate. He has established companies in Nigeria and abroad.

Some of his most prominent businesses are Forte Oil PLC, the fuel production importer, and Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, which specialises in distribution and marketing.

He has made considerable investments in other business spheres, such as finance, real estate, and shipping. Besides that, he invested in power generation, which is supposed to become a part of sector liberalisation.

A considerable part of his wealth comes from the energy sector. Femi Otedola's net worth is estimated to be about $1.8 billion.

Femi Otedola is also a happy family man, and all of his four children are successful in different ways. For instance, his oldest daughter, Florence Otedola, is a famous musician known under the name DJ Cuppy, and she is also a tourism ambassador of Nigeria.

Temi Otedola, her younger sister, is a famous fashion blogger and an aspiring designer. The billionaire Femi Otedola has not just made a name for himself but has also inspired his family to be just as successful as him.

5. Cletus Ibeto - $3.8 billion

Who is the biggest entrepreneur in Nigeria?
Cletus, the leader of The Ibeto Group. Photo: @Igbo History (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: November 6, 1952
  • Age: 70 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Nnewi, Nigeria
  • Business interest: Automotive spare parts and cement manufacturing
  • Education: University of Nigeria, UNN Nsukka

Cletus, the leader of The Ibeto Group, holds the prominent position of heading the largest business enterprise in Nnewi. Cletus Ibeto's net worth is estimated to be $3.8 billion.

Initially, Cletus embarked on his journey as an importer of spare parts, following a period of apprenticeship in the motor parts industry.

In March 1988, after establishing his factory in Nnewi, he transitioned from directly importing lead-acid automotive batteries and plastic motor accessories. By 1995, The Ibeto Group had emerged as one of the country's largest manufacturers of auto spare parts.

Continuing his entrepreneurial ventures, Cletus founded Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Ltd. This enterprise specialized in the blending of oil lubricants and the production of various petroleum products for both local and international markets.

Furthermore, the company possesses one of Nigeria's largest liquid storage facilities for petroleum products, boasting a capacity exceeding 60,000 metric tonnes.

4. Mike Adenuga - $5.6 billion

Who is the richest entrepreneur in Nigeria?
Dr Mike Wale Adenuga during Glo Caf Awards in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo: Andrew Esiebo
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: April 29, 1953
  • Age: 70 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Ibadan, Oyo State
  • Business interest: Telecom, oil, banking and more
  • Education: Master of Business Administration from Pace University

Mike Adenuga is the second-richest Nigerian entrepreneur. Mike Adenuga's net worth is $5.6 billion. He received his higher education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University.

The company founded by Mike Adenuga, called Globacom, is the second-largest telecommunication operator in the West African nation. It also has offices in Benin, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Apart from this, the businessman is the owner of Conoil Producing Limited, one of the country's biggest oil companies.

3. Arthur Eze - $5.8 billion

  • Date of birth: 27 November 1948
  • Age: 74 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Dunukofia, Nigeria
  • Business interest: Petroleum and aviation
  • Education: Degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University

Arthur Eze is a Nigerian business magnate who owns a slew of companies in the country. He owns Atlas Oranto Petroleum, reputed to be one the largest privately owned oil companies in West Africa.

Atlas Oranto Petroleum is not just Nigeria's largest privately held oil business but also Africa's largest holder of oil exploration blocs.

Following the deregulation of the airline industry in Nigeria, Eze created Triax Airlines in 1992, a year after he founded Atlas Oranto. The airline was based at Enugu Airport and had three Boeing 727 planes in its inventory. Arthur Eze's net worth is alleged to be $5.8 billion.

2. Abdul Samad Rabiu - $8.6 billion

Who are the three successful female entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
Abdul Samad Rabiu, chief executive officer of BUA Group, at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: August 4, 1960
  • Age: 62 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Kano
  • Business interest: Cement, sugar, real estate and more

Abdul Samad Rabiu is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria. He was born to Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu, who was also a businessman. He studied at Capital University in Ohio, United States. When he was 24, he returned to the country to run the family business.

In 1988, Abdul established BUA International Limited for commodity trading, importing rice, flour, oil, and iron. Eventually, the company grew and expanded into steel, the production of billets, and construction rolling mills.

Currently, there are 5 subsidiaries of BUA Group, including BUA Ports & Terminals, BUA Estates, BUA Oil Mills Ltd, BUA Sugar Refinery Ltd, and BUA Cement. Forbes estimates Abdul Samad's net worth to be $8.6 billion.

1. Aliko Dangote - $14.2 billion

entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Aliko Dangote listens during a Bloomberg Television interview on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. Photo: Wei Leng Tay
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: April 10, 1957
  • Age: 66 years old as of 2023
  • Birthplace: Kano
  • Business interest: Cement, sugar, flour and more
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts/Science from Al-Azhar University

Who is the richest entrepreneur in Nigeria? Aliko Dangote tops among the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Africa. Aliko Dangote's net worth is around $14.2 billion.

In 1977, when he was only 20 years old, the young man started the Dangote Business Group. To start him off, he got a generous loan of N500,000 from his grandfather, Alhaji Sanusi Dantata.

Aliko Dangote's firm started as a tiny company that specialised in trading. It is now a substantial multi-billion corporation with branches in Nigeria and other African countries like Ghana, Benin Republic, and Togo.

The Dangote Group is famous for being the most influential industrial group in the Western Africa region. It has about 30,000 employees.

Most successful and richest entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Photo: (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Who is the richest man in Nigeria

Below is a summary list of the richest people in Nigeria.

RankNameNet worth
1Aliko Dangote$14.2 billion
2Abdul Samad Rabiu$8.6 billion
3Arthur Eze$5.8 billion
4Mike Adenuga$5.6 billion
5Cletus Ibeto$3.8 billion
6Femi Otedola$1.8 billion
7Jimoh Ibrahim$1.1 billion
8Orji Uzor Kalu$1.1 billion
9Folorunsho Alakija$1 billion
10Jim Ovia$900 million
11Tony Elumelu$700 million
12Oba Otudeko$550 million

Who are the three successful female entrepreneurs in Nigeria?

The top three successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria are Aliko Dangote ($14.2 billion), Abdul Samad Rabiu ($8.6 billion) and Arthur Eze ($5.8 billion).

What is the richest business in Nigeria?

Aliko Dangote has earned too much money from his business, which increases his wealth every year. That is why it is no surprise that his business empire makes the most considerable profits in Nigeria.

The most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria have worked hard to become who they are now, and their efforts are fully paying off. They are a great example to aspiring entrepreneurs that want to create business empires as big as theirs. recently published an article with the richest footballers in the world, giving full details about their net worth. In the captivating realm of professional football, a select group of players have not only conquered the sport but have also amassed unfathomable fortunes along the way.

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