Africa’s rich culture and diversity have made it one of the unique continents of our world. And as one of the fastest-growing economies in this continent, Nigeria epitomizes all that is inherently African. With a growing population, Nigeria boasts of 3 of the top ten richest tribes in Africa. This might come as a surprise to foreigners since African countries have always been depicted as poor in popular western culture. Nothing could be further from the truth. The top 5 richest tribes in Nigeria are a solid example of how far countries in this continent have progressed since the colonial era. The article aims to highlight these 5 richest tribes in Nigeria, hoping to paint a more accurate picture of this country on the African continent.
The Yoruba tribe comprises of, possibly, the largest ethnic groups that reside in the African subcontinent. People belonging to the Yoruba tribe mainly belong to the southwestern Nigeria and the southern Benin region.
Considered as one of the most educated tribes of Africa, the Yoruba people hold prominent positions in politics as well as the corporate sector.
In fact, the Yoruba tribe has also proved its mettle in entrepreneurship with a large number of its tribesmen running successful businesses. It is considered as one of the richest tribes in Nigeria.
The Yoruba tribe is a close-knit community. They have a strong network of connections spread throughout the continent.
They prefer looking internally within the community to fulfill their requirements and needs; thus, ensuring that the tribe prospers.
This is one of the main reasons why the Yoruba is one of the richest tribes in Nigeria. And as one of the richest tribes in Nigeria,
Some of Yoruba prominent people:
Dr. Oba Otudeko – As a successful Nigerian businessman, Dr. Oba Otudeko is credited with the foundation of the Honeywell Group. The Honeywell group operates in multiple diversified businesses that include, agriculture, telecommunications, foods, etc. He has also held prominent positions including the President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (2006) and Director for the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Femi Otedola – Femi Otedola is the son of Sir Michael Otedola, the former Governor of Lagos. Apart from being a prominent businessman and the former chairman of Forte Oil PLC, Femi Otedola is also a philanthropist with a focus in the education sector.
Tunde Folawiyo –Forbes magazine has estimated Tunde Folawiyo’s net worth at $650 million, making him one of the richest people in the Yoruba tribe. A lawyer by profession, Folawiyo is the Chairman of the Yinka Folawiyo group which has interests in agriculture, shipping, energy, and real estate. Businessmen like him make Yoruba one of the richest tribes in Nigeria.
Hausa is the second largest language among the Afroasiatic set of languages. Understandably, the Hausa are the largest ethnic group in the African subcontinent.
Even though the Hausa-speaking communities are spread throughout Africa, making them a diverse group, they are culturally very similar to each other.
Seen largely as farming communities, the people belonging to the Hausa tribe live in villages, towns, and cities.
Their aristocratic heritage and long lineage have transformed the Hausa into one of the richest tribes in Nigeria.
The tribe of Hausa predominantly follows the Orthodox Sunni Islam that is commonly known as Sufi Islam.
Even more, the Hausa tribe is nearly 500 years old and includes some of the most influential politicians, businessmen, philanthropists, and leaders.
Their history is essentially the history of this continent itself, making it culturally and economically one of the richest tribes in Nigeria and Africa.
The famous members of the Hausa tribe:
Umaru Abdul Mutallab – the 80-year-old Nigerian businessman and banker, are accredited with introducing Islamic banking in Nigeria. Umaru Abdul Mutallab has been repeatedly described as Nigeria’s most prominent men by global media houses like The Telegraph and The New York Times.
Aliko Dangote – Aliko Dangote is the owner of Dangote Group that deals in commodities in Nigeria and Africa. In 2013, with a net worth of more than $2.6 billion, he was declared as the richest person of African descent globally. His great-grandfather was Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, who was the richest African during his time.
Zaynab Alkali – Zaynab Alkali is considered as the first women writer in the Nigerian region. At nearly seventy years of age, Zaynab is considered as one of the most successful Nigerian shorty story writer, poet, and novelist. The writer also held the position of a dean in the Nasarawa State University.
Fulani and Hausa are very similar in their traditions and culture. Therefore, they are often clubbed together in articles and journals.
In reality, these are two of the richest tribes in Nigeria, and that form large ethnic groups scattered across the continent.
Most of the Fulani follow sedentary lifestyles where the most common profession is farming. Apart from this the tribe also has numerous merchants and artists, not to mention nobility.
The Fulani tribe has given Africa and Nigeria some of its most prominent politicians. In fact, the current president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, is of Nigerian descent.
Rich, noticeable, and influential Fulanis are spread across Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, etc. making it one of the most culturally diverse and richest tribes in Nigeria today.
Prominent tribesmen are listed below:
Usman Dan Fodio – A leader, revolutionary, writer, and promoter of Islam, Usman Dan Fodio is said to be the founder of the Sokoto caliphate in Nigeria. He wrote numerous works on Islamic science that cover topics like Islamic spirituality, creed, Maliki jurisprudence, etc.
Muhammadu Buhari – Having retired from the Nigerian Army at the post of a major general, Buhari is the serving president of Nigeria. In his former held capacity as the Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari also led many economic and social reforms targeted at reducing corruption and bridging the poverty gap.
Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari – Shehu Usman Shagari was the first democratically elected president of Nigeria. A teacher by profession, Shagari first ventured into politics in 1951. The main agendas in his administration included a focus on agriculture, housing, transportation, and industries.
The Igbo tribe came to limelight with Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, in which the Nigerian author has created the character of Okonkwo, an Igbo.
Today, Igbo is considered to be one of the richest tribes in Nigeria. The people belonging to the Igbo tribe own numerous businesses and are heralded as master economists.
Nearly 70% of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, is run by Igbo people. In fact, some of the most popular Nigerians hail from this community.
However, this is one community that does not have a stronghold in Nigerian politics. Unlike the Hausa and Fulani tribes, the Igbo tribesmen refrain from entering the political arena.
Even though you won’t find many Igbo people in politics, they comprise one of the richest tribes in Nigeria.
Because of their love for making money and their business knowledge, they have entered and excelled in the business sphere.
Understandably, nearly 70% of the private jets in Nigeria are owned by the people of Igbo descent.
The most prominent Igbo community members:
Cletus Ibeto – Born in 1952, Cletus is a Nigerian businessman and the head of the Ibeto Group. The Ibeto Group has always been a pacesetter as it has touched newer heights under the constant leadership if Cletus Ibeto. The group deals in numerous businesses like cement, hospitality, agriculture, etc.
Cosmos Maduka – Cosmos Maduka is the Founder, Chairman, and the President of the Cocharis Group of industries. This Nigerian conglomerate has a diverse portfolio comprising of sectors like telecommunications, manufacturing, automobile, agriculture, petrochemicals, etc. With an estimated net worth of over $500 million, Cosmos Maduka has been interviewed by western media numerous times. Maduka is also a philanthropist, and it is people like him that have made Igbo one of the richest tribes in Nigeria.
Innocent Chukwuma – Chukwuma is a Nigerian investor and business magnate of Igbo descent. He is the CEO and Founder of the country’s first and foremost indigenous automobile manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing.
The Isoko is a tribe that comprises of southern Nigerian regions. Though Isoko is not one of the top 3 richest tribes in Nigeria, it is rich in culture and tradition with vast importance given to fine arts.
With a focus on both farming as well as fishing, the Isoko tribe deals in plantain and palm oil production and distribution.
Unlike the other tribes listed here, the Isoko is not a very close-knit community, and it is perhaps the reason why they don’t feature as the richest tribe in Nigeria.
Personal pride holds an important place in Isoko society. This also hinders them from seeking help or helping others as it can be considered as rude behavior.
As a result, very little wisdom tends to flow down to the younger generations. Unfortunately, they are also not inclined towards entering politics.
While the individual people do well for themselves, as a tribe, Isoko has not been able to attain the number one spot in our list of the richest tribes in Nigeria.
Some of the popular Isoko personalities:
Orezi – Esegine Allen, or Orezi, is a Nigerian musician of Isoko descent. He hails from the Delta State and became popular in this decade because of his 2013 song, ‘Rihanna’.
Solid Star – Solid star is the stage name of Joshua Iniyezo, a Nigerian performer, singer, and songwriter. Released in 2010, ‘One in a Million’ was his debut album that gained immense popularity across Nigeria and Africa. Like most Isoko people, Joshua was introduced to music from a very young age.
Evi Edna Ogholi – As a Nigerian reggae musician, Eva has been active in the music industry since 1985. The 1990s were her most lucrative years in which she released several albums and hit songs.
Richest Tribes in Nigeria Summary
Nigeria is replete with rich heritage, culture, and tradition that has been preserved by every tribe, individually. We have listed some of the richest tribes in Nigeria and seen how each has its unique qualities. While the top three tribes remain as Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo, it is difficult to say which one holds the number one position.