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Profiles

Profile: Gbenga Oyebode, the Nigerian multi-millionaire lawyer

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Gbenga is perhaps Nigeria’s richest lawyer. Described as a proper businessman and astute deal maker, Gbenga is the type of lawyer every Nigerian lawyer aspires to become.

Born on the 30th of March 1959, He is one of the founding partners and Chairman, Management Board of Aluko & Oyebode a full service commercial law firm in Nigeria.

An alumnus of Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti, he obtained his first degree from University of Ife now known as Obafemi Awolowo University in 1979 and was admitted into the Nigerian bar as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1980. He went further to bag a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982. He is also a member of the New York State Bar.

Gbanga started his career at an American law firm White & Case before moving to Gulf Oil now know as Chevron in Houston Texas. In 1992, he formed a partnership with Bamidele Aluko, Odein Ajumogobia and C.N Okeke to practice law in Nigeria. In 1993, he and Aluko broke out from the partnership and started Aluko & Oyebode which runs till date. His practice areas include oil and gas and power projects, foreign investment and privatization, telecommunications, project finance and aviation.

Gbenga is a highly rated lawyer with vast knowledge and experience in business and law. According to the International Financial Law Review IFLR 1000 (the guide to the World’s leading Financial Law Firm) he is one of Nigeria’s most prominent lawyers. Chambers Global another legal guide, also regards him as a consummate deal maker who has received pundits from clients and peer alike for his corporate expertise. This is clearly evident in the several accolades and awards he has received both individually and through his law firm.

Currently, in addition to his position as Chairman of Aluko & Oyebode, he sits on the board of several companies in various capacities including Nestle Nigeria Plc, Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc as Chairman, Asset Management Group Ltd as chairman, Combined Industrial Agro Consultants Ltd as Chairman, Timbuktu Media Ltd as chairman, Socfinaf S.A as director, Crusader Nigeria Plc as director, MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd as director. He is also on the Africa Advisory Committee of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Some of the high-profile transactions he has been involved in include advising on the Brass LNG Project, the sale by Exxon Mobil Dil Corporation of its 60 per cent equity stake in Mobil Dil Nigeria Plc to Nipco Plc and the US$360 million Lekki Concession Infrastructure Project for the construction of toll roads and bridges in Lagos State which is the first major PPP initiative in Nigeria. He also advised on the US$1.25 billion financing of the Exxon Mobil Natural Gas Liquid II Project, the US$1.06 billion financing of trains four and five of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Plant Expansion Project and the development, financing and implementation of the first Independent Power Plant project in Nigeria.

Gbenga is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the International Bar Association. He is a past chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law.

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Gbenga who was bestowed the national honour of Member of the Federal Republic in 2001 and the Belgian Royal Honour of Knight of the Order of Leopold is happily married to Aisha Mohammed-Oyebode, the daughter of late General Murtala Mohammed and they are blessed with children.

Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

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    Billionaire Watch

    Meet King Maha of Thailand, the richest royal figure in the world

    The Thai king, Maha Vajiralongkorn is several times wealthier than his British counterpart.  

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    When it comes to monarchies and royal families, the British Royal Family is easily the most revered of them all. One might begin to think they are the wealthiest. Well… they are not! 

    They are not even in the top five list of wealthiest royal families. 

    In today’s article, we will look at a monarch who is several times wealthier than his British counterpart.  

    READ: The UK Royal Family is worth $28bn, here’s how they make their money

    Meet King Maha Vajiralongkorn 

    The 63-year-old king of Thailand who took over his father’s throne is currently the wealthiest royal figure in the world. His late father King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed in 2016 and was the longest-serving monarch in the world. 

    After the coronation of the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn, a strange communique was published on the royal website. The entire portfolio of the Crown Property Bureau was to be transferred into the hands of the new king.  

    Before this announcement, The royal portfolio worth over 40 billion dollars was held by the king on behalf of the nation but now it was to be transferred to the new king. Subsequently, King Maha officially became the richest monarch in the world with a personal net worth and assets valued at $43bn according to the South China Morning Post.  

    READ: There are only 15 black billionaires in the world, here are the top 10

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    King Maha’s major assets  

    The bulk of King Maha’s net worth comes from three major assets:

    • A 23% stake in Siam Commercial Banks, one of the largest commercial banks in Thailand. The bank is valued at $1.7bn according to the Financial Times.  
    • A 33.6$ stake in Siam Cement Group which is the country’s largest industrial conglomerate.  
    • 16,000 acres of prime Thai land and over 40,000 rental leases with developers. 

    READ: Queen Elizabeth II Isn’t As Rich As You Think

    A call for change  in Thailand

    According to Financial Times, recent protests and critics have called for a serious review of the monarchy’s grip on the country and its finances. The protesters led mostly by students are of the opinion that public funds should not be made available for a king.  

    Thailand runs a system of government known as Constitutional Monarchy where the king is the Head of State.  

    King Maha’s lifestyle of luxury  

    King Maha spends most of his time in Germany and has a stunning fleet of 38 aeroplanes and helicopters. His second wife Queen Sineenat is a trained military pilot.  

    King Maha owns the largest faceted diamond, a 546.67-carat brown diamond.  

    READ: A Look back at Jay Z’s Road to Billionaire Status

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    What you should know  about the Thai economy

    Thailand is the eighth largest economy in Asia and the 22nd largest export economy in the world.  

    The GDP of Thailand is calculated as $505 billion, which results in a GDP per capita of $7,274.  

    King Maha is the richest royal figure in the world and he is closely followed by the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and the king of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.  

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    Profiles

    Ibiene Okeleke: A diva in HR and Management

    Ibiene Okeleke is an Executive Coach passionate about people development, career development and youth empowerment.

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    With about three decades of a rich and boisterous career across the financial and the energy sector, Ibiene Okeleke has earned bragging rights not just for her skills but her results and accomplishments across human resources and retail banking.

    Through the years of working in different firms, Okeleke has shown skills in business development, negotiation, succession planning, talent management, organisational development and job evaluation.

    READ: Nigeria’s Energy boardrooms: Why are the women outside? 

    Education

    Ibiene got admitted into the University of Lagos in 1989 and obtained her first degree in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lagos in 1993. Okeleke got a quick career start immediately, obtaining the rest of her degrees while working.

    She completed an MBA at the IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Spain in 2002, and also got an Advanced Human Resources Executive Degree from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

    Okeleke has also completed a Strategic Human Resource Training course at Harvard Business School, and she is a certified Prince 2 Practitioner.

    She has a LinkedIn certification in Leadership Foundation: Leadership Styles and Models; Creating a Communications Strategy; and How to Create and Run a Brilliant Remote Workshop. She also has a Coursera certification in the Electric Industry Operations and Markets.

    READ: 7 female executives under 40 in FinTech

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    Career Progression

    Okeleke started out her career in 1994, at Inlaks Computers as HR Officer and spent 5 years in the position.  She joined FSB International Bank Nigeria as a Human Resources Officer and spent nine months in the role before heading the Liability Generation Unit of the bank until Feb 2001.

    She went on to lead the Human Resources department at Bond Bank Nigeria for the rest of 2001 and later, at Assurance Bank Nigeria Ltd between 2002 and 2006.

    Her foray into the energy and power sector started with a role as the Group Head of Human Resources at the Sahara Group in 2006. After the privatisation of the power sector in 2013, she moved to Ikeja Electric as the Chief Human Resources and Administrative Officer and positioned the company to become one of the most notable and leading distribution companies in Nigeria.

    In May 2019, she resumed at Energy Training Center (ETC) as the Managing Director. As the leader of this strategic learning academy, she has positioned the institution to provide a wide range of learning interventions for the entire Energy sector. The Academy is focused on capacity building through bespoke learning experiences with the perfect blend of technologies and techniques to achieve organizational and personal success.

    Ibiene Okeleke is also an Executive Coach passionate about people development, career development and youth empowerment, and serves as an adviser on some Not-For-Profit Boards.

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