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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.

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.

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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.

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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



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