Many people may not know, but the first ever documented, well known billionaire and richest man in Nigeria and West Africa, had his period of influence in that status in the 1950s and 60s.
The South Eastern part of the country produced that popular billionaire Nigerian, by Name: Sir Louis Phillip Odumegwu Ojukwu, (1909 – September 1966)
Louis Ojukwu was born in Nnewi, which is in the present day Anambra State of Nigeria in 1909 and was the second and only male child of four children.
After his graduation from Hope Waddell Training Institute Calabar, in 1928, he had a brief stint at the Agriculture Department and by 1929, at the age of 20 years, Louis moved to Lagos with nothing, but 10 years later, he was already managing his own chain of businesses which included, Ojukwu Stores, Ojukwu Textiles and Ojukwu Transport Company. By 1950, Ojukwu Transport Company had over 200 Trucks in its fleet.
He got to the level when he became the wealthiest person in Nigeria and the whole of west Africa, as well as the first recorded billionaire in the country, with his net worth reaching equivalent of 4 billion dollars using today’s currency estimate.
Some of Sir Ojukwu’s early drivers such as Chief Ilodibe (Ekene Dili Chukwu) also later become Transport moguls.
Sir Ojukwu’s level of wealth was so much that in 1956 when the Queen visited Nigeria, the British authorities had to borrow his Rolls Royce and personal driver to chauffeur the Queen around.
Sir Louis had the following very intimidating CV:
1)The first President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange
2) President, African Continental Bank
3) Chairman, Nigerian cement company (NIGERCEM)
4) CEO, Ojukwu Transport company – over 5000 fleet of trucks
5) Chairman, Nigerian National Shipping Line – over 100 ships and vessels
6) Chairman, Lion Of Africa Insurance Company
7) Chairman, BISCO Nigeria Limited
8) Chairman, Nigerian Industrial Development Bank…founded to specifically give loans to industries
9) Vice President, lagos Chamber Of Commerce
10) Chairman, Palmline Shipping company
11) Chairman, Nigerian Produce Marketing board
12) Chairman, Eastern Nigerian Development Corporation
13) Chairman, Costain west Africa
14) Director, Shell D’Arcy Petroleum
15) Director, Thomas Wyatt & Son
16) Director, Nigerian Coal corporation
17) Director, Guiness Nigeria Limited
18) Director, Nigerian Tobacco Company
19) Director, Daily Times of Nigeria
The man was simply larger than life. Sir Louis also owned numerous buildings, landed properties and stocks.
As a matter of fact, he is one of the greatest and richest entrepreneurs ever produced in Africa.
He died in Nkalagu, the present day Ebonyi state, in 1966.
Sir Louis popular son: Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was the former military Governor of Eastern Nigeria and the leader of defunct Biafra.