Nigeria is made up of more than 300 different tribes that are very prosperous and rich in culture. The various tribes in the country have produced some of the richest people on the continent like Aliko Dangote, Wale Adenuga, and Femi Otedola, who have been constant features on Africa’s Forbes richest list for the past decade. Many more wealthy people like them come from different tribes across the country. But while they might not be as rich as them, they have still accumulated mouth-watering wealth that can change generations.
Collectively, Nigeria can brag about producing wealthy people, however, there are some tribes that have wealthier people than others. Prosperity is not determined by tribe, but development and the number of wealthy people to have come out of each tribe are determinants for considering the richest tribes in Nigeria. The most famous and populous tribes in Nigeria are the Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa, which account for 60% of the country’s population, so it does not come as a surprise that the three tribes rank in the top 3. Find out which other tribes make the list as well as the names of the richest people from each one.
The 10 Richest Tribes in Nigeria
1. Yoruba Tribe
The Yorubas are located in southwestern Nigeria. They predominantly reside in states like Ogun, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Kwara, Ondo, and Ekiti. They can also be found in parts of Delta state, Edo state, and Kogi state.
Historically, the Yorubas were considered among the most skilled and productive craftsmen in Africa. They were very good blacksmiths, leatherworkers, glassmakers, etc. Having accepted and embraced western education, they today hold education in very high regard and are considered to be one of the most educated people in Africa as a whole.
Yoruba people have been able to use education to escape poverty and acquire wealth that makes them the richest tribe in Nigeria. They can be found in very high places in different economic sectors, from the corporate world to politics, and business. Cities like Lagos and Ibadan in the Yoruba states are also some of the biggest and most developed in Nigeria.
Notable Rich Yoruba People and their Net Worth
1. Mike Adenuga – $7.3 billion
Adenuga is a billionaire businessman who built his fortune in the telecommunications and oil industry. He is notably the CEO of Globacom and Conoil.
2. Femi Otedola – $1.8 billion
Femi Otedola is a business magnate who gained wealth through his dealings in the oil and gas sector. He has gone on to establish and acquire a number of other businesses in finance, power, and real estate.
3. Folorunsho Alakija – $1 billion
Alakija is a businesswoman and philanthropist who serves as the executive vice-chairman of the oil exploration company Famfa Oil.
2. Igbo Tribe
The Igbos are primarily located in south-eastern Nigeria. They makeup close to 100% of the population of states like Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyi but can be found in other states like Rivers and Delta.
Igbo people have enjoyed great success in the world of trade. They have a reputation for being very successful businessmen and this can be traced back to the times after the Nigerian Civil war when the community-run apprentice scheme commonly referred to as “Igba-Boi” or “Imu-Oru” emerged. Here, young boys go on apprenticeship for some years after which they are rewarded with cash and other support to start their own business.
A number of very wealthy people have risen through this scheme as is evident with the number of successful businesses established by Igbo people around the world. Igbos also make up the majority of traders in markets across the country, dealing in all kinds of things from spare parts to electronics and so on.
Notable Wealthy Igbo People and Their Net Worth
1. Arthur Eze – $5.7 billion
Arthur Eze is a businessman with major interests in the oil sector. He is the CEO of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, the largest privately held Nigerian exploration and production group.
2. Cletus Ibeto – $3.8 billion
Cletus Ibeto is a businessman serving as the Chairman of Ibeto Group, a cement manufacturer and one of the largest auto spare parts manufacturers in Nigeria.
3. Innocent Chukwuma – $1.5 billion
Innocent Chukwuma, popularly known as Innoson, is a businessman and investor who rose to prominence by founding Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Nigeria’s first indigenous automobile manufacturing company.
3. Hausa Tribe
The Hausa people can be found in different parts of Northern Nigeria. Among the many northern states where they are located, they are present in Sokoto State, Bauchi State, Borno State, Kano State, Katsina State, Plateau State, Taraba State, Niger State, and Adamawa State among others.
Historically, the Hausa people made a living through farming, commerce, and manufacturing. They produced a lot of merchants but also had a few scholars who embraced western education and were able to rise to the top in various professions like politics. Today, the bulk of the richest Hausa people have made their wealth through these avenues.
However, even though the tribe has very notable rich people, a majority wallow in poverty and most of the cities in the Hausa-dominated region are yet to experience a 21st-century type of development. This is why Hausa is ranked third among the richest tribes in Africa.
Notable Rich Hausa People and their Net Worth
1. Aliko Dangote – $14 billion
Aliko Dangote is a business magnate who has for many years ranked as the wealthiest person in Africa. He is the chairman and CEO of Dangote Group, an industrial conglomerate with interests in cement, sugar, oil, etc.
2. Abdul Samad Rabiu – $2.5 billion
Abdul Samad Rabiu is a businessman. He is the founder and chairman of BUA Group, a conglomerate with interests in manufacturing, infrastructure, and agriculture.
3. Theophilus Danjuma – $1.6 billion
Theophilus Danjuma is a retired Nigerian Army Lieutenant General and politician who amassed his fortune through shipping and petroleum.
4. Fulani Tribe
Like the Yoruba and Hausa people, the Fulani are scattered throughout West Africa. In Nigeria, there are located mainly in the northern states, the same states where Hausa people can be found. The two tribes share many similarities in their traditions and culture and as a result, are often clubbed together by people. But the truth is that they are different.
In origin, the Fulani are nomadic pastoralists. They are also farmers who have produced numerous merchants and artists, not to mention nobility. Some of the most prominent politicians in Nigerian history are Fulani people. The most recent Fulani people to rule Nigeria are Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari.\
But while a look back at the history of the Fulanis will reveal that they are wealthy people, a majority of their kin, and the cities that are primarily their home, much like that of the Hausas, can be categorized as impoverished. Their towns and cities have a long way to go before reaching the levels of areas like Lagos or Ibadan.
Notable Rich Fulani People and their Net Worth
1. Olubukola Saraki – $2 billion
Bukola Saraki is a trained medical doctor turned banker who later became a politician. He served as Governor of Kwara State for two terms before he was elected to the Senate where he rose to become Senate President.
2. Muhammadu Buhari – $110 million
Muhammadu Buhari is a retired Nigerian Army Major General turned politician. He previously served as military head of state before becoming a democratically elected president.
5. Isoko Tribe
The Isoko people are located in southern Nigeria. They predominantly reside in states like Delta and Bayelsa. Isoko people are not very close-knit unlike those from other Nigerian tribes but that has not affected how rich of a tribe they are.
The Isoko tribe has a very rich culture and heritage. They are historically known for their work in fine arts. Over the years, they have also become known for fishing and farming, with their involvement in plantain and palm oil production and distribution. Individual members of the tribe have been able to attain huge wealth and prosper in life but the tribe, in general, has a long way to go to be able to knock off others as the richest tribe in Nigeria.
Notable Rich Isoko People and their Net Worth
1. Benedict Peters – $2.7 billion
Benedict Peters is a businessman who founded the Aiteo Group, Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil-producing firm.
2. Ned Nwoko – $1.2 billion
Ned Nwoko is a politician, businessman, and lawyer with strings of businesses across the world.
3. Jim Ovia – $980 million
Jim Ovia is a businessman known for being the founder of Zenith Bank, one of the profitable banks in Nigeria.
6. Edo Tribe
The Edo tribe is another one of the many tribes located in southern Nigeria. They are mainly found in Edo State and are descendants of the ancient Benin Empire which was one of the oldest and most developed states in West Africa.
Historically, Edo people were farmers and artists/sculptors. A rainforest was located in the area and this provided a lot of fertile land for farming to be done. Edo people would later take up art as they had gold, ivory, and bronze. As a result, they produced art pieces widely known as Benin Bronzes that were traded and can now be found not only in various parts of Nigeria but in other countries around the world. Some of the notable Benin Bronzes include the mask of the Queen Mother Idia among others.
Today, Edo people are not only traders and artisans but also very educated people. This has allowed them to prosper in various professions.
Notable Rich Edo People and their Net Worth
1. Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion – $250 million
Gabriel Igbinedion is a businessman and traditional aristocrat who holds the chieftaincy title of the Esama of the Benin Kingdom. His business empire includes a property portfolio in and outside Nigeria as well as a private bank, oil refinery, diamond, gold, and marble mines around Africa.
2. Mitchell Elegbe – $200 million
Mitchell Elegbe is an entrepreneur and businessman best known for his role as the MD/CEO of Interswitch, an integrated payment and transaction company in Nigeria.
3. Lucky Igbinedion – $190 million
Lucky Igbinedion is a politician and businessman best known for serving as Governor of Edo State.
7. Ijaw Tribe
The Ijaws are located in southern Nigeria. They reside mainly in the Niger Delta in states like Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers but can also be found in other states like Ondo, Akwa Ibom, and Edo.
Being residents of areas close to the seas and oceans, Ijaw people were one of the first to have contact with Westerners. As a result, they were not only traditionally farmers and fishermen but were also involved in a trade. They would later transition to become merchant shippers before the advent of oil and gas exploration in their territory. This would lead to a majority of them gaining employment in the sector.
Most of the wealthy people from the Ijaw tribe can trace their wealth to either politics or the oil and gas sector, however, there is still abject poverty in their homeland. The territory has been neglected for years by the Nigerian government despite the continuous exploration of oil in the region.
Some Notable Rich People from Ijaw Tribe and their Net Worth
1. Ben Murray-Bruce – $710 million
Ben Murray-Bruce is a business magnate, media mogul, and politician best known as the founder of Silverbird Group.
2. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan – $100 million
Goodluck Jonathan is a politician who has held various positions in government. He most notably served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015.
8. Tiv Tribe
Tiv people are located in the Central Nigerian region. They can be found in states like Benue, Nassarawa, Plateau, and Taraba. The land in these areas is very fertile and so the Tiv pride themselves on their farming abilities. They are subsistence farmers who produce crops like yams, cassava, and sweet potatoes.
Over time, many Tiv people embraced education and were able to attain prosperity through the high positions they got in the military and other professions. Some of the wealthiest people from the area made their wealth through these means unlike other tribes in Nigeria that have produced businessmen.
Notable Rich Tiv People and their Net Worth
1. Betty Abah – $10 million
Betty Attah is a journalist, novelist, and women and child’s rights advocate. She is the founder and Executive Director of the girl-child rights and development non-profit organization, CEE HOPE.
2. Benson Abounu – $8 million
Benson Abounu is an engineer, management consultant, and politician. Before serving as the Deputy Governor of Benue state, he held positions like the sole administrator and CEO of the Nigerian Mining Corporation, Jos, and executive director at the Nigeria Coal Corporation, Enugu.
3. Professor Jerry Agada – $5 million
Prof. Jerry Agada is a Nigerian educator and politician who once served as a Minister of State for Education of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was the first Fellow of the Association of Nigerian Authors in Central Nigeria and the Vice-Chairman of Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko.
9. Kanuri Tribe
The Kanuri people are located in northeastern Nigeria. They reside in states like Kaduna, Adamawa, Borno, Kano, Niger, Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba, and Yobe. Historically, they made a living by engaging in farming, fishing in the Chad Basin, and processing and trading salt. Today, the Kanuris largely still engage in these activities but they have produced a few notable and influential people who have amassed massive wealth.
Rich Kanuri People and Their Net Worths
1. Sani Abacha – $10 billion
Sani Abacha was a military general who became the military head of state of Nigeria in 1993, ruling the country until his death in 1998.
2. Waziri Ibrahim – Unknown
Waziri Ibrahim was a businessman and politician best known as one of the original founders and financiers of the Nigerian People’s Party.
3. Baba Gana Kingibe – Unknown
Baba Gana Kingibe is a diplomat, politician, and civil servant who has been active in politics since the 1970s. He has held several high-ranking government offices, including that of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
10. Ibibio Tribe
The Ibibios are another southern tribe whose people are located in the coastal areas of Nigeria. They are mostly found in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
Because of the rainforests that exist in their territory, the Ibibios cultivated palm plantations whose oils and kernels were exported. They also cultivated lots of tuber crops (yams, cassava, and taro). However, they were most noted for their skillful wood carving ability.
Like other tribes around them, the Ibibios embraced western education and have since produced a few notable people to be considered among the richest tribes in Nigeria.
Rich People from Ibibio Tribe
1. Godswill Akpabio – $550 million
Godswill Akpabio is a lawyer and politician who has held various government positions, most notably as Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Which Tribe is the Richest in Nigeria?
The richest tribe in Nigeria is undoubtedly the Yoruba tribe. While their land and territory may not be abundantly blessed with natural resources like those of the Ijaw and Tiv tribes, they have produced very educated people that have gone ahead to achieve success on different levels. They have also extensively developed their territory, making their position as the richest tribe in Nigeria undeniable.