This year, 2020, has been painted in different hues. In the end, good results in the fields of career, business, education and marriage has been predicted. KOLAWOLE OMOLOJU compiles some of the Nigerian financial players to watch this year.
Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO, Access Bank
Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe was born on of August 15, 1966 to Ikwerre parents from OmuekeIsiokpo. He is a consummate Nigerian banker and an entrepreneur.
Wigwe is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc., one of Nigeria’s top financial institutions, succeeding his business partner, AigbojeAig-Imoukhuede, in January 2014.
The graduate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka holds a post-graduate degree from Harvard Business School, University of London.
He is one of the top 20 financial players that will influence Nigeria’s business ecosystem this year.
Through a business combination deal with the defunct Diamond Bank, Wigwe has repositioned Access as a leading financial powerhouse in the country. The bank is breaking barriers in other African countries with more acquisitions.
Wigwe spearheaded the recent acquisition of Transnational Bank Limited of Kenya and announced plans to set up a subsidiary in Cameroon.
Presently, Access is among the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets size, deposits, loans and branch network.
Segun Agbaje, MD, GTBank
Segun Agbaje, born in 1964 in Lagos State, is currently the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank and a director on MasterCard Advisory Board, Middle East and Africa.
Agbaje attended St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos State, and St. Augustine Academy, Kent, for his secondary education. He then proceeded to the University of San Francisco where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy and master’s degree in Business Administration.
He has repositioned GTB, formed in 1988 by over 35 young Nigerians in their 30s, spearheaded by Tayo Aderinokun and Fola Adeola. The bank is one of the leading financial institutions in Nigeria and one of the best brands in the country. Under Agbaje’s watch,it delivered innovative financial solutions that resulted in its geometric growth in key financial indices and clientele base.
This year, Nigerians expect more innovations from GTB, just as it has done with the Habari application.
Abubakar Sulaiman, MD/CEO, Sterling Bank
Abubakar Sulaiman is the MD and CEO of Sterling Bank Plc. Until his appointment in 2018 as the MD/CEO of Sterling Bank, he was the director of finance and strategy.
Born on August 19, 1973, Sulaiman holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Abuja and master’s degree in Management from the University of Oxford. He also attended Harvard University and Said Business School.
He has strategically positioned the financial institution as an education-friendly bank.
Sterling Bank has come a long way with its landmark Sterling Agent Banking Edu-Finance Scheme,which seeks to ease school fees payments on parents through overdrafts, while providing funding for schools to run their businesses.
Through Sulaiman’s consistency in the support of the education sector, Sterling won the ‘Banking in the Community Award’at the Bank of the Year 2019 Awards by TheBanker in London, United Kingdom.
Chibuzor Opara, CEO, DrugStoc
He is CEO of DrugStoc, a secure and interactive procurement platform that gives healthcare providers access to safe and quality pharmaceutical products through their supply chain.
Mr. Opara is a graduate of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, where he got his first degree and followed it up with a master’s degree inHealth Policy, Economics and Management from Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
Drugstoc is changing the way health providers interact with pharmaceutical supply chains not just in Nigeria but also in Africa. It has a robust cloud-based, easy-to-use and internationally-accredited pharmaceutical procurement platform, which provides access to quality pharmaceutical products for healthcare providers.
This year, Africa should expect the availability of more quality drugs courtesy of DrugStoc.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder, LifeBank Nigeria
Born in Ila Orangun in Osun State, to a professor and school-teacher on December 4 1985, Temie Giwa-Tubosun bagged two degrees from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, and Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, from where she graduated finally in 2010.
The Nigerian-American health manager foundedLifeBank (formerly One Percent Project), a business enterprise in Nigeria working very hard to improve access to blood transfusion in the country. So far, it has moved 19,464 products and served 942 hospitals.
Through Giwa-Tubosun’s advocacy, LifeBank has been able to get 5,822 donors and saved 6,724 lives. This year, it is expected to make blood more accessible to the hospitals by getting more people to sign up as donors There is a possibility of doubling the figures by December.
Abasi Ene-Obong, CEO, 54gene
Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong is the founder and CEO of 54gene, an African genomics company building the world’s first pan-African bio-bank.
Born in Nigeria, Ene-Obong holds a doctorate degree in Cancer Biology from the University of London, having bagged a master’s in Human Molecular Genetics from the Imperial College, London. He also has a master’s in Business Management from the Claremont Colleges, California.
54gene provides genetic testing and molecular diagnostic services to patients and physicians, to expand access to precision medicine in Africa.
Ene-Obong has extensive experience operating in the United States, United Kingdom and Nigerian healthcare industries.
The company strives to build the world’s first pan-African bio-bank while targeting cancer, as well as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. This will most likely come to fruition this year.
Adetola Nola, CEO, Veritasi
Adetola Rilwan Nola is the founder and CEO of Veritasi Homes and Properties Limited.
Born in 1990, this entrepreneur and real estate investor also founded Nola Travels.
Nola was named in Forbes’ 30 Under-30 list for 2019.
Veritasi is selling out Star City Estate where more than 1,000 real estate consultants are marketing. It is one of the fast-rising real estate firms in Nigeria with a sales record of over N2bn in three years.
EtopIkpe, CEO, Cars45
EtopIkpe is the founder and CEO of Cars45. He was commercial director in Konga, one of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce platforms, and CEO/Co-MD of DealDey, West Africa’s answer to Groupon.
Cars45 has over 60 retail inspection centres across Lagos, PortHarcourt, Abuja, Ibadan, Kano and Benin City. It also has over 200 locations across these cities where consumers can get verified cars to buy at very affordable prices.
The company has disrupted the used cars industry by offering Nigerians a fast and convenient way to sell, buy and exchange cars.
This year, Cars45 should be able to cover the whole country.
Obi Ozor, CEO, Kobo360
Obi Ozoris co-founder and CEO of Kobo360, a global logistics platform in Africa.
With a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, Ozor manages all key aspects of Kobo360, including operations, investments, compliance risk management and product growth.
He was recently named the ‘Young Business Leader of the Year’ and ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the 9th All Africa Business Leaders Awards held in partnership with CNBC Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa.
With over six years of logistics and supply chain experience, Ozor and his team have raised $37.3m in institutional investment from global venture capital funds and built a truly pan-Africanlogistics brand. He is committed to building a world-class organisation that will drive efficiency, reliability and affordability across the global supply chain ecosystem.
Mitchell Elegbe, MD/CEO, Interswitch
Mitchell Elegbe is the MD/CEO of Interswitch, an integrated payment and transaction company in Nigeria.
The graduate of Electrical Engineering from the University of Benin was awarded the West Africa Business Leader Award at AABLA organised by CNBC Africain 2012. An Ernst and Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award recipient, he won the Harvard Business School Association (Nigeria) Leadership Award in the General Management Category in 2015. He is also a Bishop Desmond Tutu fellow of the African Leadership Institute.
Interswitch has carved a niche for itself in technological innovation. In September 2014, the company acquired a majority shareholding in Paynet Group, an East African payments provider, and in 2015 it launched a $10m investment fund for African start-ups in the payments sector.
Its Verve classic card is accepted in Nigeria and 21 African countries, while the recently launched Verve Global Card is accepted in 185 countries, including Nigeria and favourite travel destinations such as U.S., UK and Dubai. Africans anticipatemore innovation from Interswitch this year.
Shola Akinlade, CEO, Paystack
Sola Akinlade, co-founder and CEO of Paystack, is among the disrupters moving boldly to revive the Nigerian payment system.
Born in Lagos, he bagged a degree in Computer Science from Babcock University in 2006.
The entrepreneur spent five years working on a software called Precurio, an open-source collaboration platform like Dropbox, which was used by over 200,000 organisations. While working on the software, a few banks reached out to him to help them build softwares.
His quest to figure out how to make payments easier for businesses in Africa birthed Paystack, a modern payments platform that allows Nigerian merchants to receive funds from anywhere in the world.
Paystack is poised to make it easy for businesses to accept secure payments from multiple local and global payment channels. The platform serves over 17,000 businesses, and processes over 15 per cent ofall online payments in Nigeria. It is ready to power more African businesses and enable new business models across Africa in five years’ time.
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Co-founder, Andela
Born on March 28, 1991, Iyinoluwa Samuel Aboyeji co-founded Andela, a talent accelerator company. He was MD of Flutterwave.
The alumnus of Columbia International College where he earned a degree in International Development, Legal Studies, and Economics, also has a bachelor’sdegree in Legal Studies from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
In 2014, he co-founded Andela, which was weaned from Fora. He is listed among Africa’s 30 Under-30 by Forbes. In 2016, he co-founded Flutterwave, a payment infrastructure that makes it easier for banks and businesses to process payments across Africa. It was inspired by the payment challenges Aboyeji encountered in card, mobile, Automated Clearing House and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data payments at Andela.
Mark Essien, CEO, Hotels.ng
Mark Essien from IkotEkpene, Akwa Ibom State, was born on December 18, 1980. The Nigerian entrepreneur, software developer and start-up investor is the founder and CEO of Hotels.ng, one of the first online hotel-booking websites in Nigeria.
Before founding Hotels.ng in 2013, Essien had built a file-sharing software called Gnumm (acquired by Snoopstar.com). Hotels.ng is Nigeria’s major online hotel-booking agency, which lists over 7,138 hotels from 320 cities in Nigeria.
Tayo Oviosu, CEO, Paga
Tayo Oviosu is the CEO of Paga, a mobile payments company he founded in 2009 to enable universal access to financial services for Nigerians.
The graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Southern California also also has a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, California, in 2005.
Paga boasts of over 200 employees, 11,000 agents across Nigeria and six million users. It is one of the most successful financial services companies in Nigeria.
Oviosu dreams of listing Paga on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the American stock exchange known as National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations System in the nearest future. He hopes to transform lives by delivering innovative and universal access to financial services.