Yorubaland, a region in southwestern Nigeria, is home to some of the wealthiest traditional rulers in the country. These kings, known as obas, are not only revered for their spiritual leadership but also for their vast wealth and influence.
Here are the top 5 richest kings in Yorubaland in 2023:
The traditional ruler of Ugbo Kingdom, a town in Ilaje Local Government, Ondo State, southwestern Nigeria, Frederick Obateru Akinruntan, is an oil magnate and founder of Obat Oil, one of Nigeria’s largest and leading privately held oil companies.
Though, he is not the most powerful Obas in Yoruba land, his wealth and assets beat that of the current Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi to emerge the wealthiest king in Nigeria with a net worth of $300 million according to Forbes.
Oba Obateru Akinrutan was crowned the Olugbo of Ugbo land in Ondo state in the year 2009 which makes him one of the most respected Obas in Yoruba land. This wealthy Yoruba monarch is man of taste, class and sure knows how to enjoy his riches. He has a luxury of cars inside his palace. He entered the history books when he became the first black person in 2012 to buy the 2014 model of Bentley which Queen Elizabeth of England rode.
There are rumors circulating that the wealthiest Yoruba King in Nigeria possesses the most expensive yachts in the country due to his fondness for traveling by water. His kingdom, Ugbo Kingdom, is situated in a riverine area where he spent his formative years. Additionally, he holds a position among the top 50 influential individuals in Nigeria.
His current net worth is estimated to be $300 million.
Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi
Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ọjájá II) CFR is the 51st and current Ooni of Ife. He is the traditional ruler and monarch of the Yoruba kingdom of Ile-Ife.
In 2015, he assumed the throne of his ancestors, following the passing of Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the 50th Ooni of Ife.
Ọjájá II is among the five richest kings in Yoruba land. With an estimated net worth of $70 million, the first class king from Osun state undoubtedly ranks among the wealthiest in Yoruba land.
After serving as the managing director of Howard Roark Gardens Limited, he became a significant real estate investor in Lagos.
His company worked on the multi-million dollar Jacob Mews Estate project in Yaba and the Lakeview real estate development in Lekki. He is one of the richest Yoruba rulers and has a plethora of exotic automobiles.
A 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Mercedes-Benz S550, and two Bentleys are all kept in his garage. These and other assets all demonstrate the extent of Oni of Ife’s wealth and net worth.
Oba Rilwan Akiolu
Oba Rilwan Akiolu is the Oba of Lagos state, Nigeria. He is estimated to have a net worth of over $9 million. Akinruntan’s wealth comes from his various business interests, including agriculture and investments.
He is the 21st Oba of Lagos and a retired senior police officer before ascending to become the king of Lagos in 2003.
Additionally, Oba Akiolu has landed properties in certain affluent areas of Lagos. In Yoruba Kingdom, he is a highly wealthy ruler.
Oba Michael Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo
Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo III is the current Alake of Egba, a clan in Abeokuta, Nigeria. He has ruled since 2 August 2005.
Gbadebo is a retired senior military officer before he was crowned the 10th Alake to preside over the Egba land in Ogun state. He also has many successful businesses in the private sector. This king once occupied the chairmanship role of the board of one of Nigeria’s top oil and gas firms, Oando PLC.
He has an estimated net worth of $5 million.
Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi
Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, Odundun II, stands as the 47th and current Deji of Akure, a traditional state in Akure, Ondo State. Proclaimed as Deji in 2015, he adopted the regnal name Odundun II and continues the legacy established by his predecessor, the late Oba Adebiyi Adegboye Adesida.
A real estate developer and architect, the monarch is thought to be worth $5 million. According to reports, he is one of the top Yoruba traditional kings in Nigeria. The wealthy monarch, who exudes elegance, is also among the richest Yoruba kings.
In October 2022, a Nigerian national honor of Commander Of The Order Of The Federal Republic (CFR) was conferred on him by President Muhammadu Buhari.
While the list above showcases a handful of the richest kings, Yorubaland is home to numerous affluent monarchs who have cultivated their substantial assets through a variety of investments, spanning real estate, oil and gas, and other profitable undertakings.
Solid minerals: Oyo going for gold without baying for blood
By Sulaimon Olanrewaju
Governor Seyi Makinde’s comparative advantage is his brainpower. His ability to think through complex issues and come up with unconventional albeit unimpeachable results is mindboggling. He dissects issues with the contemplation of a philosopher, the equanimity of a neurosurgeon, the dexterity of a scientist, the precision of an engineer, the prescience of an entrepreneur and the altruism of a leader. The application of this in his business transformed it into a multinational organisation within a decade. Introducing same to governance made him a trendsetter in less than a year as a state governor. The well-told story of how Governor Makinde’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Oyo State became the national standard still remains music to the ears and balm to the soul.
Following in this tradition, Governor Makinde on October 24, 2023, signed two Executive Orders; one was on the creation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism following the excising of same from the Ministry of Information, while the other was to emplace a structure for the solid mineral sector with a view to taking care of the interests of all stakeholders, especially the host communities and the environment. The two Executive Orders were hinged on the Governor’s determination to leverage both tourism and solid mineral sectors to widen the state’s economy in his second term in office. In his first term, Governor Makinde had grown the economy through the development of infrastructure and agribusiness.
The Executive Order on protecting mining communities is the focus of this piece.
Oyo State is endowed with many solid minerals such as lithium, gold, marble, gemstones, iron ore, tantalite, kaolin and talc. With the large deposits of these minerals as well as their high quality, the state stands a chance of grossing a tidy sum annually from them. According to a report by a mining and exploration company, Oyo State has what is considered to be Nigeria’s most significant lithium pegmatite occurrence. To underscore the growing profile of the state in the solid mineral sector, the Federal Government in May this year, established the country’s first gemstone market in Ibadan to serve as a platform for buyers and sellers to meet, negotiate prices and exchange information about quality, origin and processing of gemstones. So, the stage is set for a revenue haul by the state from the solid mineral sector. Through earnings from solid minerals, Oyo State is poised for an era of greater prosperity, progress and abundance.
But that is on the one hand.
The flipside is that the twin problem of criminality and environmental degradation usually boards the same bus with mineral exploitation. Solid minerals attract illicit miners just as sugar draws bees. Illegal mining births mineral trafficking, trafficking leads to economic crimes, organised crimes, banditry and eventually environmental degradation. So, solid mineral exploitation can breed bloodletting, agony and poverty. The examples are too numerous; from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria where crude oil exploration has become a curse rather than a blessing; to Zamfara State where lead and gold mining has left the people with sorrow and poverty; to Guinea where solid mineral exploitation has pauperised the people; to Liberia, where struggle for control over solid minerals resulted in a civil war. More often than not, the recompense for a mineral deposit host community is grief, grief and more grief.
But that is where leadership is lacking.
According to Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. The only way to prevent anything from going wrong is to take charge of the process. That is what great leaders do. They know that life is governed by the principle of cause and effect. So, they take charge of the cause to determine the effect. Those who take charge of the cause determine the course of event and determine the effect. Therefore, they take their destiny in their hands; they do not subject themselves to the mercies of situations and circumstances. By being proactive, they protect themselves from harmful effects.
This is what Governor Seyi Makinde has done with the Executive Order on solid minerals. The Executive order has five major components; protection of the host communities from exploitation, protection of the environment from degradation, protection of residents from insecurity, collection of state-based levies and taxes and ensuring compliance of all stakeholders with the Executive Order.
With the Executive Order now in force, all agreements reached between mineral deposit host communities and mining companies must be submitted to the state’s Mineral Deposit Agency (MDA) for transmission to the Ministry of Justice for vetting before signing by the relevant heads or representatives of the community. If the Ministry is satisfied with the draft agreements, the MDA will issue a letter of advice to the relevant community. In addition, all mining companies and the host communities must submit all previously signed draft agreements to the Ministry of Justice through the MDA for documentation. The import of this is that no agreement between any community and a mining company is binding without the seal of the state. With this in place, host communities are guaranteed of a good deal from any mining companies. Now, host communities are protected from exploitation by mining companies that may want to capitalise on a few people’s avarice to subject a whole community to penury and bondage.
The Executive Order similarly states that any holder of mineral title in Oyo State must conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before the commencement of any mining exploration or activity to assess the impact of its activities on the environment, while all holders of mineral titles already carrying out mining activities in the state must immediately conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment. It also states that all EIA carried out by holders of mineral titles shall be vetted and approved by the MDA. In addition, all holders of mineral titles are under obligation to carry out restoration and reparation of the land and environment as detailed in their Environmental Impact Assessment reports. The essence of this is to protect the environment from degradation. With this Executive Order any mining company knows that it cannot abandon any mining site without restoring and rehabilitating it.
Going forward, the Executive Order also compels all holders of mineral titles operating in Oyo State to undergo checks by the MDA in collaboration with relevant security agencies in the state to verify their legal status, citizenship and background before settlement in the communities to ensure peace and security in the communities. In addition, every employee of a mining company must be duly registered by the MDA and security agencies. This enables the security agencies to keep a tab on everyone working on a mining site and protect the host communities from the incidence of “unknown gunmen” or bandits.
The MDA and the Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue are to ensure the collection of all relevant state-based taxes, levies, fees, charges, etc related to all mining entities doing business in the state, while the Ministry of Justice, Mineral Development Agency, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue, Local Government Councils, traditional institutions, security agencies are mandated to ensure compliance with the Executive Order and initiate investigation and prosecution of any defaulter in accordance with the Law. So, while ensuring that the state gets its due from mining activities by putting measures in place to see that appropriate taxes and levies are paid into the coffers of the state, the government has also instituted a structure to ensure compliance and guard against anyone gaming the system.
With this Executive Order, Governor Seyi Makinde has achieved two major things. One, he has set the stage for Oyo State to profit from its natural endowments without throwing the people under the bus or putting the environment in harm’s way. Now, the state can look forward to earning good money from its natural endowments without the blood of the citizens being spilled, a community being sacked by criminals or the environment being degraded. Governor Makinde has demonstrated that he cares about the people he leads and that the wellbeing of the citizens forms the fulcrum of his administration. He has shown that solid mineral exploration can be done without people exploitation. He has shown that by emplacing the right structures and systems, the business of solid mineral extraction can be done without bloodletting, armed conflict, brigandage or banditry.
The second thing is that Governor Makinde has also given the nation a template on how to manage natural resources for the benefit of all stakeholders without the people being ripped off or the environment being ripped apart. As it was during the COVID-19 era when Governor Makinde set the national standard, he has set another national standard in natural resources management.
In any society, leadership makes the difference between life and death, safety and peril, growth and decline, joy and grief, freedom and bondage as well as prosperity and penury. The difference is in the ability to think differently.
Olanrewaju is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (middle), signing the Executive Order on the Protection of Mining Communities against Insecurity and Exploitation in the State and the Executive Order on the Establishment of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. With him from left are the Chief of Staff, Hon Segun Ogunwuyi (left); Deputy Governor, Barr Bayo Lawal; Chairman, Oyo State Minerals Development Agency, Hon Abiodun Oni; Secretary to the State Government, Prof Olanike Adeyemo; Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr Abiodun Aikomo, at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.
Prof Adeyemo, Oyo SSG, reappointed to HLPE-FSN’s Steering Committee
Professor Olanike Adeyemo, the Secretary to Oyo State Government, has been reappointed to the Steering Committee of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
This was contained in a statement by HLPE-FSN, on Friday October 27.
The reappointment is in recognition of her immense contribution to food security and human nutrition globally.
The HLPE-FSN is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to global food security and nutrition.
The HLPE-FSN is governed by a Steering Committee of 15 world-renowned scientists drawn from academia, research institutions, the public and private sector, civil society and other constituencies.
Professor Adeyemo is one of the three African members of the Steering Committee, including Mr. Serraj Rachid from Morocco and Hettie Schonfeldt, a national of South Africa. She will serve for two additional years.
You may miss:Breaking:Makinde Appoints UI Professor, Olanike Kudirat Adeyemo As SSG Designate
The letter conveying her reappointment reads in part: “Your reappointment reflects your exceptional experience and expertise, and it is a remarkable achievement that shows the high regard in which you are held within the FSN community.”
Professor Adeyemo, who was appointed the Secretary to the Oyo State Government in July 2023 in recognition of her contributions to the development of the state, has led extensive research works whose results have had positive impact on food security and human nutrition.
Adeyemo bagged the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Master’s degree in Veterinary Public Health (MVPH) and Ph.D. Veterinary Public Health, in 1994, 1998 and 2005 respectively from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
A COMSTECH Distinguished scholar and the Pioneer Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships) at the University of Ibadan, between 2017 and 2021, she joined the services of the university in March 1999 as Lecturer Grade II in the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine. She became Lecturer in 2002, Senior Lecturer/Assistant Professor in 2005 and Reader/Associate Professor in 2008. In October 2011, she became a full Professor.
From August 2013 to July 2015, she was a Schlumberger Foundation-sponsored Visiting Scholar at the Center for Human and Environmental Toxicology, Department of Physiological sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.
A 2013 Fellow of the College of Veterinary Surgeon, Nigeria and a Registered Veterinary Surgeon, Adeyemo is a Fellow of many academies, such as the International Science Council (ISC), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation, the Nigerian Academy of Science, the African Academy of Sciences and the African Scientific Institute (ASI), USA.
She is also a member of many learned societies, including Society of Toxicology (SOT), the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA) and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSDW).
Professor Adeyemo’s scholarship and leadership are around “One Health” trans-disciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms to create novel conceptual, methodological, and translational innovation at the environment-livestock-wildlife-human interface with significant policy implication for Nigeria, the African Continent, and the rest of the world.
She is the host PI on the project (2020–2023) titled “Improving Biosecurity: A Science-based Approach to Manage Fish Disease Risks and Increase the Socio-economic Contribution of the Nigerian Catfish and Tilapia Industries” in collaboration with colleagues at Mississippi State University, USA and WorldFish, Malaysia is facilitated by USAID grant under the Fish Innovation Lab for Fish. The project is aimed at improving Nigerian aquatic animal production bio-security and health management.
Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor
October 28, 2023