Cover Stories

Richest Nigerians poorer under Buhari

– Lose a huge chunk of their fortunes

– Two billionaires still off the list

Only three blessed Nigerians are left on the world’s most prestigious list cataloguing wealth…and the trio’s losing streak is unabating even as President Muhammadu Buhari spends his 20th month in office following his May 29, 2015, swearing in.

The economy is  nosediving  with all indices stacked against Nigerians as oil prices are still at half their previous level, foreign exchange market is facing challenges, stocks are struggling with market capitalisation slightly higher than N9 trillion, inflation is nearer 19 percent and our country is plagued by an unforgiving recession.

Our three well-heeled moguls – Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jnr. and Mrs Folorunsho Alakija – still represent us on Forbes rich list with a combined fortune of  $20 billion on Friday, January 27, 2017.  But at their peak, their total net worth stood at $38.9 billion.

That Friday, January 27, here’s how our wealthiest stood on Forbes real-time rich list – Dangote, $12.4 billion (from $25 billion), Adenuga, $6 billion (from $11.4 billion) and Alakija, $1.6 billion (from  $2 .5 billion).

Meanwhile, in 2015 when Buhari became President, there were five Nigerians on the coveted list. Mr. Femi Otedola and Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu stood proudly there then with the three compatriots. But as the economy worsened, they were kicked off as their assets skidded southward well below the $1 billion mark.

Though the slide in the net worth of our most financially endowed citizens became noticeable towards the end of 2014 as the clueless and inept regime of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan plunged us into more economic crisis, the effects are still with us as President Muhammadu Buhari appears confused with no financial masterplan to rescue us from this crushing recession.


* From number 23 with $25 billion on the rich list on November 5, 2014, the captain, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, dropped to number 96 with $12.4 billion.

Troubled oil market, anaemic foreign exchange policy, voodoo stock market, insecurity fueled by Boko Haram insurgents and heated polity over the then  forthcoming elections of 2015 damaged our economic outlook with devastating repercussions.

We watched in consternation as the fortune of the Kano born 59 year old father of three daughters, who is President of Dangote Group, plunged.

By March 2, 2015, his net worth was $14.7 billion. And when that year’s ranking was concluded, he had slid to number 67.

In February 2016, he was worth $14.1 billion. And by March 2016, he grew his assets to  $15.4 billion, and was on number 51.


* For the 63 year old Chairman of Globacom and Conoil, Dr. Michael Adenuga, Jnr., it is a different story. His peak on the list was in April 2016, when his fortune danced around $11.4 billion at number 99.

He was credited with $4.2 on March 2, 2015. But by February 2016, the bulky billionaire with a property portfolio spanning the length and breadth of Nigeria and beyond had only  $2.8 billion against his name.

By March 2016, it had jumped to $10 billion at number 103. And less than a year later, on Friday, January 27, Adenuga perched on number 254 with $6 billion.


* Famfa Oil’s Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, 65, has retained her $1.6 billion net worth for a long time. On Friday, January 27, 2017, with the same figure, she lounged at number 1,283 on Forbes list.

On March 2, 2015, the former fashion designer (Supreme Stiches and Rose of Sharon) and a dresser to serenade who led Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria for many years, nestled with $2 billion. By February 2016, she was worth $2.5 billion.

The 2016 ranking of the Lagos-born magnate was at number 1,121 with $1.6 billion.


* Forte Oil’s 52 year old Mr. Femi Otedola’s highest net worth on record was $1.8 billion in March 2016, where he featured at number 1,011.

On March 2, 2015, the tycoon from Odoragunshin near Epe (Lagos) who wears only white brocade buba and sokoto was credited with $1 billion, after a long disappearance from the list.

By February 2016, he had lept from $1.6 billion to $1.72 billion.

But by September 9, 2016, he was no longer listed after the forex market lost hugely against major currencies.

Recently, his fortune was calculated at $330 million.


* Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu’s case is similar to Otedola’s.  The 55 year old commodities big player had $1.2 billion net worth around February 2016.

By the time the 2016 ranking was caliberated, he was on number 1,577 with $1.1 billion.  As the months rolled by, he was thrown off the list of billionaires.


While Africans are losing huge chunks of wealth, the same cannot be said of Americans and Europeans whose fortunes are growing astronomically.


By Friday, January 27, 2017, here’s how the world’s wealthiest stood:

  1. Bill Gates, 61, with $85 billion
  2. Warren Buffet, 86, $74.1 billion
  3. Jeff Bezos, 53, $72.1 billion
  4. Amancio Ortega, 80, $71 billion
  5. Mark Zuckerberg, 32, $55.6 billion
  6. Larry Ellison, 72, $49.5 billion
  7. Carlos Slim Helu, 76, $49.3 billion
  8. Charles Koch, 81, $44.9 billion
  9. David Koch, 76, $44.9 billion
  10. Michael Bloomberg, 74, $44 billion



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