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Notable businessmen who changed the political game in 2019

In retrospect, we look back at the 2019 election, with special focus on some of the business executives who ventured into politics by running for various elective positions.



business executives who ventured into politics

After what seemed like an endless process, the 2019 election season finally came to an end. In its wake are the newly-elected political gladiators, most of whom are already used to the game and others, not so much. In retrospect, we look back at the election, with special focus on some of the business executives who ventured into politics by running for various political posts.

Recall that last year during the peak of the electioneering campaigns, Nairametrics did an article which basically introduced the billionaire businessmen seeking to change Nigerian politics. Months afterwards, this follow-up piece will examine those who actually succeeded in their political aspiration, and those who may have to try again in four years’ time.


Now, let’s get to it; shall we? First, the winners…

Abdullahi Sule, former GM of Dangote Sugar and Governor-Elect of Nasarawa State

Out of all the former business executives who ran for various elective positions during the recently-held elections, Mr Sule is the one who won the most; arguably. This is despite the fact that his foray into politics had taken many people by surprise.

He resigned his MD position around September last year – Until his expression of interest to run for the post of Governor, and subsequent emergence as the APC gubernatorial flag-bearer in Nasarawa State, he served as the Managing Director of Dangote Sugar Refineries Plc. As expected, he resigned his position as the company’s MD, last year, in order to focus on his campaigns. And right now, he has a bigger task at hand – governing the people of Nasarawa State.

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Hopefully, he brings his experience to bear – Abdullahi Sule is an accomplished business executive with years of professional experience to his credit.  He is a graduate of the Indiana State University in the United States of America where he studied Mechanical Engineering (Bsc.) and Technology (Msc.) respectively.

Akin Alabi, former CEO of Nairabet and winner, Federal House of Reps

His success didn’t happen overnight – Mr Alabi’s rise to prominence as as a business mogul didn’t happen overnight. It took hard work and dedication for him to build Nairabet into one of the biggest sports-betting companies in the world. Indeed, his determination is one that could inspire anyone. Little wonder when he announced his political aspiration, many people were quick to believe in him.

Hopefully, he will make a good representative for his people – In 2018, he was selected by his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), to run for the House of Representatives. And now, he has been elected to represent his constituency, the Egbeda Ona-Ara Federal Constituency.

Mr Alabi was born in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, where he lived throughout most of his childhood and early adulthood. He later studied at the Polytechnic Ibadan, before proceeding to the University of Liverpool where he obtained a master’s degree in Marketing. He is also an alumnus of Harvard University.


Akin Alabi


Shina Peller, Founder of Quilox Night Club and newly-elected Lawmaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 

Mr Peller is one of Nigeria’s youngest billionaires. He built his net worth from the many businesses he has established, including Aquila Oil and Gas, as well as Quilox Night Club, which can best be described as Lagos’ Celebrity Nest.

His huge success as a businessman aside, Mr Peller also decided to venture into politics. That decision paid off because in February, he emerged winner of the Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Iwajowa and Kajola Federal Constitunecy seat in Oyo State, under the APC.

Tonye Cole, former CEO of Sahara Group

When Mr Cole declared interest to run for the Rivers State Governorship position, quite a number of people envisage the possibility of him winning the race, although many doubted his chances of defeating the incumbent. Unfortunately, his gubernatorial bid ended in a conundrum, with many legal entanglements that caste doubt over the possibility of him being able to even vote himself.
Long story short, he didn’t win the gubernatorial race, But this doesn’t take away from the fact that he is an accomplished an accomplished businessman who has both the years of experience, a business concern, and an impressive net worth to show for it. He co-founded Sahara Group in 1996, an oil and gas company which has since grown to become one of the biggest companies in the country; with a diversified operation in more the thirty other countries.
Mr Cole was born in Port Harcourt, although he has lived in many places including the United Kingdom. He studied at the University of Lagos and has been involved in business since 1993.

Tonye Cole

Chimaobi Desmond Anyaso, Serial Entrepreneur and CEO of Ceecon Energy Oil and Gas Limited 
Lastly, we have Dr Anyaso, who was also unsuccessful in his bid to represent the people of Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State, under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party. His was a well-thought out campaign strategy. He did all the right things, met all the right people, and got all the necessary endorsements. Yet, he electioneering campaigns failed to make impact.
Nonetheless, he remains an excellent business executive/entrepreneur. His business acumen helped him to accomplish quite a lot even at an early stage in life. As a businessman, his business concerns cut across oil and gas and hospitality. He will now focus on building those companies and making more money.
Chima Anyaso

Successful Nigerian businessmen contesting in 2019


Emmanuel holds an MSc. in International Relations and a B.A in Philosophy & Logic, both from the University of Ibadan. He is a communications professional. As a Lead Business Analyst at Nairametrics, he focuses mostly on quoted companies, their products/services, and the economy in which they operate. Emmanuel is also experienced in the areas of corporate communication, brand communication, corporate storytelling, public relations, business research, management/strategy, etc. You may contact him via his email-



  1. Akeem

    March 19, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Where are Prince Dapo Abiodun, the CEO of Heyden and Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman of First Fuel ?

  2. Azubogu Adaeze Ebele

    March 19, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Will oando pay dividend this year.Azubogu Adaeze.

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Covid-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 27th of May 2020, 389 new confirmed cases and 5 deaths were recorded in Nigeria bringing the total confirmed cases recorded in the country to 8,733.



COVID-19: FCMB reschedule operations

The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to rise as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 8,733 confirmed cases.

On the 27th of May 2020, 389 new confirmed cases and 5 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.


To date, 8733 cases have been confirmed, 2501 cases have been discharged and 254 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory having carried out 48,544 tests.

Covid-19 Case Updates- May 27th 2020

  • Total Number of Cases – 8,733
  • Total Number Discharged – 2,501
  • Total Deaths – 254
  • Total Tests Carried out – 48,544

The 389 new cases were reported from 22 states- Lagos (256), Katsina (23), Edo (22), Rivers (14), Kano(13), Adamawa (11), Akwa Ibom (11), Kaduna(7), Kwara (6), Nasarawa (6), Gombe (2), Plateau (2), Abia (2), Delta (2), Benue (2), Niger (2), Kogi (2), Oyo (2), Imo (1), Borno (1), Ogun (1), Anambra (1).

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

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The latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 4012, followed by Kano (936), Abuja at 519, Katsina (358), Borno (257), Oyo (252), Ogun (242), Jigawa (241), Edo (240), Bauchi (233), Kaduna (215),  Rivers (171), Gombe (152), Sokoto (116), Plateau (97).

Kwara State has recorded 85 cases, Zamfara (76), Nasarawa (62), Delta (51), Yobe (47), Osun (44), Adamawa (38), Ebonyi (36), Akwa Ibom (35), Imo (34), Kebbi (32), Niger (30), Ondo (24), Ekiti (20), Taraba and Enugu (18), Bayelsa (12), Anambra (11), Abia (10), Benue (7), while Kogi state has recorded 2 cases.

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.



READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
April 15, 2020407341211282672
April 14, 202037330111992632
April 13, 202034320100912422
April 12, 20203235100852282
April 11, 202031813103702382
April 10, 20203051770582402
April 9, 20202881471512302
April 8, 20202742260442262
April 7, 20202541661442042
April 6, 2020238650351982
April 5, 20202321851331942
April 4, 2020214540251850
April 3, 20202092542251800
April 2, 20201841020201620
April 1, 2020174352091630
March 31, 202013982091280
March 30, 2020131202181210
March 29, 2020111221031070
March 28, 20208919103850
March 27, 2020705103660
March 26, 20206514102620
March 25, 2020517102480
March 24, 2020444102410
March 23, 20204010112370
March 22, 2020308002280
March 21, 20202210001210
March 20, 2020124001110
March 19, 20208000170
March 18, 20208500170
March 17, 20203100030
March 16, 20202000020
March 15, 20202000020
March 14, 20202000020
March 13, 20202000020
March 12, 20202000020
March 11, 20202000020
March 10, 20202000020
March 9, 20202100020
March 8, 20201000010
March 7, 20201000010
March 6, 20201000010
March 5, 20201000010
March 4, 20201000010
March 3, 20201000010
March 2, 20201000010
March 1, 20201000010
February 29, 20201000010
February 28, 20201100010

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Economy & Politics

Why 2020 Q1 GDP is not a surprise

If the Q1 2020 GDP looks too good to be true, it is because it really is. But Q2 results will be a better representative of our challenges



Why 2020 Q1 GDP Is Not A Surprise

Owing to the novel Covid-19 pandemic, reduced demand in the oil market, and restricted international trade activities, the outlook of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had been expectedly negative.

The  International Monetary Fund  (IMF), for one, predicted that the  plunge in crude prices  could cause  GDP to  contract by 3.4% in 2020, a rate that is by far the highest in  at least  four decades.  The Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed projected a far worse outcome of an 8% contraction.


As such, when the National Bureau of Statistics on its website on Monday, noted that  the country’s  Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded  by  1.87% in the quarter from a year earlier,  many were ecstatic. While the growth, in real terms, represented a drop of 0.23% points compared to Q1 2019 and 0.68% points decline compared to Q4 2019, it has largely been perceived as positive.

For context, the median estimate of three economists in a Bloomberg survey for the quarter was for a 0.8% expansion.  However, just before we doff our hats to the seemingly positive growth rate (albeit comparative to projections), here are a few things to bear in mind:

It’s Still A Major Decline

Nigeria’s Q1 GDP of 1.87% reveals that there are indeed challenges that cannot be ignored. Beyond the effect of the pandemic, the oil price wars driven by Saudi Arabia & Russia, have increased the level of uncertainty in the oil market. While the growth rate for the quarter might not have been as bad as expected, the GDP still contracted from the fourth quarter. Also note that in its 2020 budget, the country had significantly cut the  benchmark price to  $25  per barrel without changing so much in terms of spending, making the nation susceptible to borrowing  even  more.

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(READ MORE: Nigerian economy going into recession, might contract by -8.9% – Finance Minister)

We Amped Up Oil Production

A core reason the country’s GDP growth  rate was higher than estimated  is that it witnessed a four-year rise in oil production. The country had increased its production after crude oil prices started crashing in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the tension between the world’s biggest producers of the commodity. This was in order to curb the crash in income.

Output, consequently, rose to  2.07 million barrels a day, as  compared  to the 2 million in the fourth quarter and 1.99 million barrels in the first quarter of last year – an output that had not been attained since at least early 2016.

Why 2020 Q1 GDP Is Not A Surprise

Q2 will be worse

Let’s face it, the pandemic has taken its toll on the Nigerian economy and very little can be done to hide that. However, the impact of the pandemic has not yet been reflected in Q1 results. This is because the economic impact of the pandemic actually commenced in April. If the projections for Q1 were bad, Q2 will be worse – and there are many reasons for this.


Top on the list is that the non-oil economy will likely not offer the solace we need. The statistics office explained that the slowdown reflects “the earliest effects of the disruption, particularly on the non-oil economy.”


With the oil economy down, the non-oil economy had been expected to ease the burden. However, results in ICT and Trade, two main components of the non-oil economy performed below expectations. For one, Trade contracted by 2.82%. Nigeria’s trade sector ranks as the second-largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP. Consequently, its underperformance has material implications on GDP growth. On the other hand, ICT attained a growth of only 7.65%.

With the typical perils of increasing inflation as well as the continued closure of the border, growth may remain farfetched for the sector. Of course, restrictions in international trade and travel are set to worsen the said outlook. Given the forgoing, there is no gainsaying the fact that bigger challenges will ensue from the second quarter of the year.





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Business News

AfDB bows to pressure from U.S, orders an independent probe of Akinwumi Adesina

The U.S Government, in its letter AfDB’s board of directors, appeared convinced that the ethics committee of the bank did not do a proper preliminary investigation.



Africa Development Bank. AfDB develops Index to aid women empowerment , African Development Bank awards $1.1 million to boost food production in Africa , AFDB increases capital to $208 billion in bid to secure Africa’s future , African Investment Forum: AfDB eye $67 billion deals , ECOWAS backs Adewunmi Adesina’s re-election as AfDB election nears , AfDB bows to pressure from U.S., orders an independent probe of Akinwumi Adesina

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has succumbed to pressure from the United States Government by ordering a new and independent probe of the bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina.

The board of African Development Bank (AfDB) decided to go for an independent probe after the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, openly rejected the decision of the bank’s ethics committee to clear Adesina of all the allegations brought against him by some whistleblowers.


According to a monitored report from Bloomberg, inside sources who want to remain anonymous said that the AfDB, which is Africa’s largest multilateral development financial institution, gave in to the request of the U.S Government, by ordering an independent investigation into the activities of Adesina. Note that many other foreign governments such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland supported the U.S treasury’s stand on the matter.

The U.S Government, in its letter AfDB’s board of directors, appeared convinced that the ethics committee of the bank did not do a proper preliminary investigation in line with standard practices in the other international multilateral financial institutions and the bank’s own rules and procedures.

(READ MORE: World Bank’s statement on Africa’s debt status is inaccurate, misleading, AfDB replies)

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He also raised concerns that the wholesale dismissal of all the allegations without appropriate investigation might tarnish the reputation of the financial institution, presenting it as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance.

AfDB bows to pressure from U.S., orders an independent probe of Akinwumi Adesina

U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin

This view of the United States Government, who is the second-largest shareholder after Nigeria, corroborates the earlier views of the whistleblowers, who claimed that several top officials of the bank including Adesina, worked towards sabotaging the activities of the ethics committee after initially sitting on the allegations for 6 weeks.

The independent probe is coming barely 3 months to the bank’s annual general meeting, where Adesina is expected to be ratified for a second term, having been the sole Presidential candidate.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: AfDB unveils $10 billion facility for Nigeria, others


Prior to the AfDB’s decision to order a fresh probe,  S & P analyst, Alexander Ekbom, was quoted to have said that “If there are questions from major shareholders on the appropriateness of an internal process, clearly it’s not harmful if that is put into a different light and looked at from the outside world with fresh eyes.”


It can be recalled that part of the accusations of the whistleblowers against Adesina include claims of giving contracts to acquaintances, appointing relatives and friends to strategic positions, and giving preferential treatment to Nigeria.

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