The Nigerian political landscape is filled with different class of people.
While some take politics as a full time job, others have left the private sector to participate in the political process. But one trend that seem to be growing is established businessmen coming in to the murky terrain of politics.
Political analysts say these men and women who are billionaires in their own right, participate in the process to get connected to the powers that be.
Others say some use it as an avenue for them to secure their businesses and advance them financially. Be that as it may, it is not a doubt that many of Nigeria’s state executives today, were made men before they assumed office.
Below is a list of five governors who were already successful businessmen and known billionaires before they joined politics.
1. Owelle Rochas Okorocha (Imo): The name ‘Rochas’ was synonymous with riches and philanthropy before politics came calling for the 53 year old. His rag-to-riches story began in Gboko, Benue state when at the age of 23, he set up a school and went into cement business. The Imo state governor made his first million as an agent for a construction company. He invested his money into car sales and later diversified into real estate which eventually made him a billionaire. He is the owner of Rochas Group of Companies Limited. A group of companies that are into real estate, importation, education, manufacturing e.t.c
2. Dr Samuel Ortom (Benue): Dr Ortom’s story is quite inspiring. He moved on from being a motor park tout to having a PhD from the Commonwealth University, Belize. His businesses include Oracle Business Limited, the firm that produces the popular Goshen table water; Oracle Oil Mills, Oracle Printing Press, Oracle Farms Limited, Oracle Business Limited, Capital Prints Limited and Achieve Engineering Limited. Little wonder, former president, Goodluck Jonathan appointed him as the minister of state of industry, trade and investment. He is a billionaire by all standards.
3. Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa): He has been an astute businessman since the 70s. He is the chairman of Almakura Nigeria Limited. A company that is into importing and servicing agricultural and industrial machinery. He is also a big player in the real estate sector with his company, Ta’al Nigeria Limited having properties in Nigeria’s major cities and in the United States of America. Al-Makura is also the owner of the prestigious Ta’al Lake Resort, Abuja and the Ta’al Conference Hotel, Lafia. Those who know him well, says he was a very content man before he dabbled into politics.
4. Mr Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger): At 48, Bello has one of the most intimidating Curriculum Vitae you will ever see in Nigeria. Although he is from a very wealthy background, he started out early to carve a niche for himself in the private sector. He has been the chairman of Properties and Estates Limited, Millenium Air, Millenium Travels and Tours, Prudent Health Care Management Limited and Heritage Hospitality Services Limited. Bello has also been an alternate director at MTN Nigeria and the defunct Broad bank, director at Investment Centre Limited, Dana Air and a board member of Broad bank.
5. Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa): The accountant turned-politician has paid his dues in business. The 53-year old started his business in the 90s after working in the Kano state civil service. His company, Talamiz Nigeria Limited has grown into a large conglomerate with subsidiaries like Talamiz Motors, Talamiz Consumer Company, Talamiz Oil Mill Limited, Talamiz Transport, Talamiz Commodities, Socar Talamiz Limited Talamiz Properties, Talamiz Poultry and Farms, and Talamiz Petroleum. He is also the Chairman of RMR shipping Bv, AML Bonded Terminal, ALUAFRIC Cairo and a former director at Sahih Nigeria Limited.