Finance: How MKO Abiola made and spent his fortune

How MKO Abiola made and spent his fortune

From South Africa to Libya, Ghana and Nigeria, Italy to the UK, United States of Lebanon, Abiola’s fame and wealth were undeniable.

 

  • Abiola was arguably the richest Nigerian living in Nigeria with a large share of his businesses situated in the country while he was alive.

  • From South Africa to Libya, Ghana and Nigeria, Italy to the UK, United States of Lebanon, Abiola’s fame was undeniable.

  • Abiola’s net worth was arrived at by valuing his major and flourishing businesses which were said to be at over $1 billion in assets. 


 

Late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was arguably the richest Nigerian living in Nigeria with a large share of his businesses situated in the country while he was alive.

A brilliant mind with an impeccable CV, Abiola was widely referred to as a tycoon and the biggest philanthropist in Africa.

He was an African pillar with investments scattered all around Nigeria and some parts of the continent.

From South Africa to Libya, Ghana and Nigeria, Italy to the UK, United States of Lebanon, Abiola’s fame was undeniable.

He supported the Southern African Liberation movements from the 1970s, and he sponsored the campaign to win reparations for slavery and colonialism in Africa and the diaspora. He personally communicated with every African head of state, and every head of state in the black diaspora to ensure that Africans would speak with one voice on the issues.

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By the age of 61 when he died after being incarcerated over his political mandate, Abiola had undoubtedly been one of the richest Africans for the last three decades.

The source of Abiola’s wealth

Abiola was one of the wealthiest men in Africa when he was alive. By the late 1980s, he was recognized as the richest man in Nigeria – a notion he constantly denied, but he agreed that he was the biggest philanthropist in Africa.

His wealth wasn’t only accrued from his involvement in the Nigerian oil sector as a magnate but from a varied number of investments and businesses that included aviation, farming, printing, publishing, communication and well as banking.

While he was alive, he had in his business empire Abiola Farms, Abiola Bookshops, Radio Communications Nigeria, Wonder Bakeries, Concord Press, Banuso Fisheries, Concord Airlines, Summit Oil International Ltd, Africa Ocean Lines, Habib Bank, Decca W.A. Ltd, and Abiola Football Club.

In the 1980s, Abiola’s firms and companies employed over 5,000 people in Nigeria and all over the West African subregion.

Abiola also was chairman of the G15 business council, president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, patron of the Kwame Nkrumah Foundation, patron of the WEB Du Bois Foundation, trustee of the Martin Luther King Foundation, and director of the International Press Institute.

Abiola’s net worth

 

Unconfirmed reports estimated Abiola’s net worth to be over $1 billion before death.

This was arrived at by valuing his major and flourishing businesses which were said to be at over $1 billion in assets. 

How he spent his billions

Abiola was a jolly good fellow and he lived to the fullest. Long before a report that he was one of the richest Africans, Abiola had been flying private jets with several luxurious properties scattered across Nigeria, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

He traveled the world and met world leaders in his private jet and even had the jet repainted to suit his political party’s colour and symbol after he emerged the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.

The late business tycoon devoted a ton of time and money to philanthropy. From charity organisations to religious organisations and African tradition, Abiola spent quite an unaccountable sum.

To this end, the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States of America issued the following tribute to Moshood Abiola: “Because of this man, there is both cause for hope and certainty that the agony and protests of those who suffer injustice shall give way to peace and human dignity. The children of the world shall know the great work of this extraordinary leader and his fervent mission to right wrong, to do justice, and to serve mankind. The enemies which imperil the future of generations to come: poverty, ignorance, disease, hunger, and racism have each seen effects of the valiant work of Chief Abiola. Through him and others like him, never again will freedom rest in the domain of the few. We, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus salute him this day as a hero in the global pursuit to preserve the history and the legacy of the African diaspora.

From 1972 until his death, Abiola was conferred with 197 traditional titles by 68 different communities in Nigeria in response to his having provided financial assistance in the construction of 63 secondary schools, 121 mosques, and churches, 41 libraries, 21 water projects in 24 states of Nigeria, and he was grand patron to 149 societies or associations in Nigeria.

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Abiola’s touch didn’t just end in business and politics, he impacted the sports sector. Aside from investing heavily in the continuous development of sports across Africa, Abiola’s love for the game of football spurred him to invest in the local league with the berth of the Abiola Babes. The football club became a frontline football club in the Nigerian league and Abiola became an icon in the sporting world. The Nigerian national football team, as well as the NFF, are some of the beneficiaries of the late astute businessman and politician.

Nigerian students during Abiola’s time would never forget him in a hurry. In 1990, the benevolent man from Abeokuta, Ogun state gave the sum of N1 million each to all the state universities; N500,000 each to every federal university and N250,000 each to every polytechnic across the country.

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