The Igbos are known for their industry. They dominate marketplaces in and outside of their homeland. But there are tendencies to confused Igbos as traders who are capable of owning shops, chains of shops, giant warehouses, the Ugwu and Sons Limited format, nothing more. They would have you believe that business, real business, building conglomerates are the duopoly of the west and north.
If you look at the list of the richest people in Nigeria by Forbes and Bloomberg Index, you would be tempted to believe the narrative that at the very top, Igbos are ill-represented. It would seem to you that Igbos dominate the small and medium leagues while the major leagues are exclusive of the Hausa-Yoruba tag team.
So we decided to dig. And dug we did. Our goal, to unearth as many Igbo businesses and brands as possible. It turns out, as these things are wont to happen, we didn’t have to dig too deep; Igbo groups and power companies are all over the place.
We see them in the bank alert we get, in the cars we drive, in the fuel we use, in the drugs we use, in the cables that power our homes, in our computers gadgets, and the beverages we take, etc. If you fail to dominate the top ten and take a chunk of positions 11 to 100, you are no loser whatever the index, whatever the mythical press would like to force down your truth.
In doing this, we firmly refused to play politics. We didn’t discriminate against Igbos living in Anioma and Igbos in Ikwerreland. You can call them Rivers and Delta Igbos and we would point you to Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Abia, and Ebonyi Igbos.
Note that we used the US dollars and the naira to give our worth. We used 510 naira to exchange for one dollar.
20. Cutix Plc
Cutix Plc was founded by Dr. Gilbert Obiajilu Uzodike in 1984 as a cable manufacturer. Uzodike is a graduate of the University of Lagos and the world-famous Harvard Business School. He returned to Nigeria in 1977 and established Cutix in 1982.
To found Cutix, he pooled resources from up to 18 investors and raised 400 thousand naira a big deal in those days. Today the company is worth billions of naira and the number one maker of cables in the country.
Today, near the end of September 2021, Cutix shares closed at 4.70 naira. According to Nairametrics, there are 90,172, 226 units which makes the total share value at 423.8 million naira. The aforementioned source claims the shares represent just 10.24% of the company.
Cutix, therefore, is worth about five billion naira or just under 10 million dollars.
(Note that while the worth of Curtix may look small, it is among the most verifiable company apart from the top three. We suspect other businesses may have over-inflated their worth and we expect Curtix to rise as we verify and demote companies that plucked figures from the earth).
19. ABC Transport
ABC Transport Plc is a road travel company founded in 1993 by Frank Nneji, who is also the managing director and CEO. Route and directories cover the South East, Lagos, and Abuja.
ABC Transport is reportedly worth an estimated 6 billion naira (11.76 million dollars).
18. United Nigeria Airlines
United Nigeria Airlines is the trade name of Private Airlines Services Limited founded in the year 2020. Obiorah Okonkwo is the Executive Chairman of the company. United Nigeria Airlines operates between Abuja, Asaba, Enugu, Owerri, Lagos, and Port Harcourt.
United Nigeria Airlines is worth 15 million dollars or 7.6 billion naira.
17. ThisDay Media Group
This Day was founded in 1995 by Nduka Obaigbena. The media group houses THISDAY Newspaper and its television arm, Arise Television Network. This Day operates in all 36 of Nigeria and other parts of the world. T
The company has an estimate of 4 million dollars which puts their holdings of more than 20 billion in the local currency.
16. Chicason Group
Founded by Alexander Chika Okafor, Chicason Group subsidiaries cover oil and gas, health, transportation, manufacturing, owning the distinction of being the makers of AZ lubricant oil.
Chicason has had high-profile losses such as the gas explosion at his factory, and frauds including losing 150 million naira to Aisha Buhari’s impersonator. There are also whispers of bad investments costing billions of naira.
Ultimately, it is hard to tell the worth of this company. We project it is worth at least 25 billion naira (49 million dollars).
15. Master Energy Group
Masters Energy Group Nigeria was founded in 2015 by Uche Ogah, an Uturu, Abia State-born businessman. Master’s interests cover oil and gas, power, petrochemicals, aviation, shipping, marine, truck transportation, etc. Wikipedia (not the most reliable source) mentioned 15 subsidiaries under the company.
Nigerianinfopedia puts Ogah’s net worth at 85 million dollars. We don’t know how they come about this figure but until we have refutable evidence, we would go with it. Or over 43 billion naira.
14. God is Good Mobility
God is Good Mobility or GIG Mobility is a bus company founded in 1998 by Edwin Ajaere and his wife Stella Ajaere. Started its operation in Nigeria and expanded into Ghana and other West African countries. Chidi Ajaere, son of late Edwin and Stella Ajaere, is the present CEO and Chairman of GIGM.
We estimate the company to be worth around 80 million dollars or just over 40 billion naira
13. Zinox Technologies
Zinox is a Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing Industry founded by Leo Stan Ekeh in 2001. Zinox is the first computer manufacturer internationally certified, indigenous to Nigeria. The company has branched into other fields including e-commerce which saw them purchase a top 2 online store, Konga.com in 2019
The company has been associated with series of conflicting net worth. 145 million dollars is a believable figure. That’s 7.3 billion naira.
12. Peace Mass Transit
In 1996 Onyishi Maduka Samuel founded Peace Mass Transit Ltd as a subsidiary of Peace Group. Dr. Sam Onyishi is also the CEO of the company. PMT has terminals all over the nation with over 4,000 vehicles. Peace Mass Transit is also blessed with dozens of valuable real estate in the Southeast and elsewhere.
The company, we believe is worth about 100 billion naira which amounts to 196 million dollars.
11. Innoson Group
Innoson Group is owned by Chief Innocent Chukwuma Nigerian who began in 1981 as a motorcycle spare parts importer and grew to become the first indigenous African car manufacturer with his Innoson Vehicles, IVM.
Read this – How do Non-Igbos view Innoson?
With countless subsidiary companies including plastic, tyres, and other auto accessories, and dozens of real estate holdings in Nnewi, Enugu, Abuja, Lagos, and elsewhere, Innoson Group is worth not less than 200 billion naira which is about 392 million dollars.
10. Ibeto Group
Ibeto Group is a parent company to seven subsidiary companies cutting across several industries, including oil and gas (chief of them lubricants), hospitality, banking and finance, real estate, cement, etc. Ibeto Group was founded by Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto and started as a spare part import dealer in 1995.
According to Carmart, the company is worth the sum of 3.8 billion dollars, but this is not affirmed by Forbes (not that Forbes knows everything but) we dug beyond Forbes and there is no way Ibeto Group is worth 1.9 trillion naira.
One thing you must understand is that Ibeto as a man is a person of considerable influence, this makes people believe he is a man of bottomless wealth. Our investigation which saw us talking to insiders close to the top 1% reveals that Ibeto is not even among the top five richest men in the town. He is not richer than, for instance, Cosmos Maduka. Coscharis is not worth up to one billion dollars.
Ibeto Group should be worth not more than 250 million dollars or 127.5 billion naira.
9. Air Peace
Air Peace is a private Nigerian Airline founded by Allen Ifechukwu Onyema in 2013. The airline presently flies to eight African countries, with 18 states in Nigeria, and United Arab Emirates. Air Peace’s net worth is estimated. Air Peace has 28 aircraft in its fleet.
At an average cost of 13 million dollars per plane (second hand), Air Peace is worth over 360 million dollars just by its fleet. If we add profit and other holdings, it may amount to about 500 million dollars which means it is worth just under one trillion naira.
9. Emzor Pharmaceutical
Emzor is an indigenous and privately-owned pharma manufacturing group founded by Dr. Stella C. Okoli in 1984. The company has over 140 pharmaceutical products and medical consumables distributed in over 25 countries.
The total assets of Emzor Pharmaceutical are billions of naira. Pinning it down to an exact figure is problematic. There are many figures quoted on the internet ranging from 500 million to more than two billion dollars. We will rather err on the conservative side. At 500 million dollars, Dr. Okoli makes the top ten Igbo brands.
8. Orange Drugs
Orange Drugs Limited was first registered by its founder, Tony Ifeanyichukwu Ezenna, in 1988. It later expanded into Beverages, Personal Care, and Lightning segments, with its products, spread all over Nigeria, Ghana, Indonesia, and India.
Some of their better-known products include Cannon Extra Paracetamol, Delta Soap, Sudrex, etc.
According to Wikipedia which quoted a rather weak source, Orange Group has an estimated value of 430 million dollars. We have also seen 1 billion dollars quoted for the business. We would rather settle for the 430 which is just over 219 billion naira.
7. Atlas Oranto Petroleum
Atlas Oranto is the consortium of Atlas Petroleum International and Oranto Petroleum, founded in 1991 and 1993 respectively. Atlas Oranto Petroleum is a Nigerian largest privately-owned exploration and production group. One of Nigeria’s billionaires, Prince Arthur Eze, is the present CEO of the company.
Arthur Eze is not a billionaire dollars according to Forbes or Bloomberg Index. Therefore, Atlas Oranto Petroleum cannot be worth up to a billion dollars. Generously, we believe his main company is worth 500 million dollars (or 255 billion naira).
6. Coscharis Group
Coscharis Group is a conglomerate founded by Nnewi businessman Cosmas Maduka and named after the blend of his name and his wife, Charity. Coscharis, the fifth Nnewi-owned business listed here, has holdings in technology, agriculture, medical equipment, beverages, and the chief of them, automobile: dealing in Ford, BMW, Rolls-Royce, etc, being the sole importer into Nigeria for some of these.
Coscharis Group spread across the West African region.
According to ThisDay, Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital oil swindled Coscharis of 21 billion naira in 2012. 21 billion naira which would have made one a multi-billionaire just lost to the sewers and Coscharis Group business did not as much as shuddered. This is a testament to its capacity as a giant corporation.
Forbes, in 2015 puts Coscharis net worth at 500 million dollars. He must have grown since then and we saw somewhere the net worth put at 800 million dollars. A middle ground of 650 dollars is more believable. This is more than 330 billion naira.
5. The Chrome Group
The chrome Group was founded by Sir Emeka Offor in 1994. The interest of the company cuts across oil and gas, logistics, power, insurance, broadcasting, and telecommunication. Perhaps the name Emeka Offor does not carry the force it should, and perhaps their interests do not ring a bell. The Chrome Group is the principal shareholder of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company via Interstate Electrics Limited.
The Chrome Group is worth 2 billion dollars or 1.1 trillion naira.
4. Fidelity Bank
Fidelity Bank was founded in 1987 and began operations in 1988. It rose from its status as a marginal, regional bank in the 1990s, one of hundreds, to becoming a top seven bank in Nigeria and a top 25 bank in Africa by 2011.
Led by Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Fidelity is the only financial organization owned by investors from the Southeast and many float the sentiment that it is the only Igbo bank. We disagree.
Fidelity has an assets base of 4.1 billion dollars as of 2017. That is 2.1 trillion naira in today’s exchange rate.
3. Zenith Bank
Zenith bank was founded in 1990 by Jim Ovia. With branches all over Nigeria, Zenith Bank goes beyond the shores of this country, with subsidiaries in Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.
Zenith Bank ability to hit the top five position in Nigeria is largely due to their early embrace of online banking with which they were able to compete with bigger banks with more than thrice is branch network. Zenith Bank went public in 2004. Today, it is one of the few Nigerian ventures traded on the floor of the London Stock Exchange.
In January 2020, Zenith bank’s total assets amounted to 16.1 billion dollars or 8.1 trillion naira.
2. Access Bank
Access Bank Plc is a Nigerian commercial bank owned by Access Bank Group founded in 1989. The company has over 600 branches operating in 12 countries including London. Herbert Wigwe is the present CEO, Group managing director, and largest shareholder of Access Bank Plc.
Access Bank started up as a medium bank but their prudence, over the years (decades actually), saw them swallow bigger financial powers including Intercontinental Bank in 2011 and Diamond Bank in 2020. These swelled the customer and financial base of the company.
As of 2019, the total assets of Access Bank was put at 18 billion dollars or 9.2 trillion naira.
The United Bank for African was established in 1946 as British and French Bank Limited (BFB). It was nationalized after Nigeria became an independent country. Having existed over the decades, UBA is one of the two or three banks in Nigeria with a truly national coverage without the usual rural discrimination that many Nigerian banks have made common.
UBA is a pan-African bank in the truest sense of the phrase. They have Senegal, Benin, Guinea, Mali, the two Congos, Burkina Faso Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, etc. Naming the countries is like a rundown of the countries in the CAF Nations Cup.
UBA is also in London, in France, and the United States.
UBA total assets are valued at 19.2 billion dollars or just under 10 trillion naira, more than Nigeria’s annual budget.
Editor’s note: If you believe we got any of the above estimates wrong or left a really strong company out, or ranked a company or two lower or higher than they deserve, write to us via Anaedoonline@gmail.com and we would, if we ascertain your claims, make the change(s) instantly.
Kelvin contributed immensely to this piece.
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