School! School!! School!!! The ultimate dream of every Nigerian parent is to see their children pass through school, earn a degree, get a high paying job and live happily ever after.
This was the dream we were sold on as kids, “To graduate and get a good job” and most parents / children pursued this dream vigorously. But unfortunately, the dream of go to school, secure a good job and live happily is now a fairy tale to the average Nigerian youth.
With over 40million+ unemployed graduates in Nigeria, most youths are now waking up to the reality on ground that having an academic certificate or degree is not the gateway to escape the hardship and struggles of life. However, what irks me is the fact that we Nigerians are yet to learn from our predicaments.
Today, I still see parents advising their kids to go to school and get a good job. I still see multitude of teenagers struggling year after year to gain admissions into their choice higher institution; and the most painful part is that these admission seekers are being exploited / milked by the various institution while still being denied admission.
Sometime ago, I published a list of the richest people in the world that dropped out of school. As expected, the list was dominated by Americans; so I came under heavy criticism from my fellow countrymen. I was told that the economy and the system of governance in America favored these individuals. Some even told me that Bill Gates and the likes wouldn’t have made it if they were Nigerians and resident in Nigeria.
So in response to this, I decided to carry out some research and the aim of this research was to uncover successful men and women in Nigeria who built giant enterprises without even seeing the four walls of school or holding a degree.
My mission for publishing this article is to re-emphasize the message that success is a product of hard work. I want people to stop seeing school as a gateway of escape from poverty. I want Nigerian youths to take their destiny into their hands and stop being dependent on the government.
Our forefathers never gave a damn about the government and they had no need for jobs since they were not schooled. Yet, our forefathers were successful and self dependent; taking care of their large extended family singlehandedly. They were successful farmers, traders, medicine men, hunters, builders, blacksmiths, etc.
“I have nothing against education. But at times, education gives people false confidence. It makes people relax, trusting in the power of their certificates rather than in working hard.” – Rasaq Okoya
I believe that if we can look inwards, just like our ancestors and leverage the existing technology on ground; we as youths can do better than our ancestors. In fact, I believe that Nigeria has the highest number of successful people that neither went to school nor earned a degree.
Go to places such as Lagos Island, Ladipo, Trade fair, Alaba International, Nnewi, Aba, Kano, etc and you will see thousands of successful entrepreneurs without formal formal education.
So without wasting your time, below is a list of the richest successful Nigerian that never attended school (some attended school but never graduated from university, while others never saw the four walls of school). These men and women started from scratch and became extremely rich by virtue of hard work and good business relationships.
Top 15+ Richest Nigerian Entrepreneurs that Never Finished School
1. Late Alhaji Alhassan Dantata – Kolanut trader. He was the wealthiest man in West Africa during his time. He started the Dantata dynasty and his descendants are some of the richest people in Nigeria (Dangote / Dantata family).
2. Olorogun Michael Ibru – founder of the Ibru Organization and head of one of the richest family in Nigeria.
3. Orji Uzor Kalu – billionaire founder of Slok Group. He was rusticated from university for his participation in a student protest. Though he was later granted Amnesty by the school authority, he rejected it and chose to become an entrepreneur.
4. High Chief Olu Benson Lulu Briggs – silent billionaire founder of Moni Pulo.
5. Femi Otedola – Chairman of Forte Oil, SeaForce, etc (largest diesel importer in Nigeria, also owns the largest fleet of ships).
6. Rasaq Okoya – founder of Eleganza Group. Did not attend university
7. Cosmos Maduka – founder of Coscharis Group (sole distributor of BMW vehicles in West Africa), dropped out of elementary school
8. Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto – founder of the Ibeto Group (Petrochemicals, Cement manufacturing)
9. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma – Founder of Innoson Group, manufacturers of IVM motors and Innoson Plastics.
10. Sir Tony Ezenna – CEO of Orange Drugs, Inherited a patent shop from his father and grew it into a conglomerate.
11. Vincent Obianodo – founder, The Young Shall Grow Motors (the largest transport company in Nigeria), RockView Hotels.
12. Emmanuel Isichei Ugochukwo Ojei – Nuel Ojei Holdings LTD (Sole distributor of Mazda, Nuel Autos, Emo Oil). Did not attend university
13. Ladi Delano – CEO of Bakrie Delano, (a $1billion investment firm). Did not attend high institution
14. Bode Akindele – (Modandola Group). Did not attend high institution.
15. Michael Collins Ifeanyi Enebeli Ajereh (aka Don Jazzy) – famous music producer and co-founder of defunct Mo’Hits Records. Now CEO of Marvin Records. Dropped out of Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma after his first year.
16. Mrs Folorunsho Alakija – (Famfa Oil) – Richest woman in Africa, did not attend university.