Top 10 CEOs of the year 2022


There was no breathing space in the flow of operating challenges facing company chief executives from the Covid-19-propelled downturn in 2021 to a host of adverse operating forces that generally besieged the business terrain in 2022.

Company CEOs faced deteriorated macro-economic conditions defined by historic inflation, marked increase in energy cost, massive naira depreciation with unusual foreign exchange scarcity, aggressive raising of interest rates – which are capped by further heightening and spread of insecurity across the nation.

These developments afforded little room for company leadership to activate recovery and growth functions of their organisations that was the key focus of corporate strategists in 2022. Pressure from local currency depreciation registered adversely by way of increased cost of input slashing margins down the line. Corporate strategies changed drastically from pursuing recovery and growth to preventing further loss of operating momentum.

High inflation hindered the drive-in volumes, as limited consumer spending constrained corporate earnings against major increases in operating and financing costs. That made the CEOs’ job of growing the wealth of shareholders extremely difficult in 2022.

The challenge also did give birth to opportunities for bringing in innovative approaches in defying the general trend of slowing growth momentum and rapidly rising cost in the corporate world.   Business disruptions do occur but companies experience them in various magnitudes depending on how swiftly CEOs can take protective actions, stem the downward tide and chart a decisive course for prompt responses to forge ahead.

Fiscal 2022 has turned out to be a year of exploring innovative ideas of how to match costs and incomes to defend and possibly enhance corporate targets. Outstanding corporate stories in 2022 therefore centre on people and organisations that found innovative routes to extract growth and attain new corporate goals out of a weakened marketplace for themselves and for their clients.

In other words, they applied counter cyclical approaches that injected stimulatory forces around their operations by offering effective solutions to their clients, thereby injective positive multiplier effects into the productive system.

While the overall economy and business activities were downcast in 2022, some sectors, industries and business activities registered positive growths that helped moderate the declines in the others. Who is who on the positive growth functions of the economy in 2022 constitutes the basis for the construction of the year’s Top 10 CEOs of the Top 10 Magazine.

The effort focused on locating CEOs able to navigate their organisations to swiftly adapt and remold operations and services to address the needs of customers and stakeholders. Through the operating storm of the 2022 fiscal year, Top 10 Magazine’s lenses yet captured organisations and their leaders that stood out from the crowd to attain new goals for stakeholders and injected stimulatory forces to the overall economy.  

In the group is a company that responded to the enthroned safety consciousness of the present time and the need for cost saving solutions through the supply and application of a wide range of specialty chemicals for domestic and industrial wastewater treatment, industrial plant cleaning and sanitation, municipal and domestic cleaning, treatment and disinfection as well as the application tools, equipment and accessories.

The group welcomes a new member of a growing list of Nigeria’s home-grown automotive manufacturers. The company has rolled out not less than five different car models of made-in-Nigeria automobile brands in its positive response to the federal government’s effort for Nigeria to take its prime position among automobile manufacturers in Africa.

A systems solutions provider made an entry in the group for technology-driven innovation that enables operators deploy diverse angles for revenue generation, market penetration and cost minimization as well as simplify processes and procedures to bring in efficiency and enhance productivity in a rapidly challenging business world.

The white flag is up for an outdoor agency that made it to the 2022 Top 10 listing. The media company is behind the most ambitious and stunning project in the world of advertising – the construction of a multi-billion-naira billboard – the largest in the world, beating by far the existing record held by Dubai.

A construction and consulting company that specializes in delivering integrated architectural, engineering, procurement, security and construction services within and outside Nigeria, is also in the 2022 Top 10 group. Undeterred by economic difficulties, it rather braced the odds to undertake life transforming projects by pooling huge investments together to create a major destination for economic, residential, leisure, sporting and other social activities with job deliveries to society and multiplying property values for the investors.

The next is a business conglomerate that excelled by focusing on the critical drivers of societal development and sustainability through major investments in the downstream oil and gas industry and electric power generation. The company responded to the collapse of the nation’s local crude oil refining capacity with its springing refinery technology and has also built electricity generating plant all in a bid to achieve self-sufficiency and sustainability in energy, electricity supply and infrastructural development.

Real estate developers maintained their annual presence on the Top 10 CEO’s listing with the entry of a company that launched an aggressive investment drive to build the most luxurious apartments and maisonette and one of the wealthiest estates in the world in Nigeria’s Banana Island. The ambitious investment package created one of the most attractive offers for foreign investment inflow that helped to mitigate naira depreciation and dollar scarcity in 2022.

Another real estate developer made an entry into the list for its dedication to impacting the housing ecosystem in Nigeria by offering affordability, optimized care and technical know-how for ordinary people, including children to become landlords. Its uniqueness lies in the innovation to reach new markets through price appeals, which worked to keep its growth momentum advancing, reaching new highs with new impacts despite the economic and operating difficulties of the 2022 fiscal year.

Another white flag is up for a private sector-led commodities exchange and warehouse receipt system pioneer that made it to the Top 10 CEOs listing for 2022. The company is leading the value chain development in the agricultural sector and designing physical and derivative contracts for commodities across markets in Africa. It is charting the way forward to resolving the critical problems hindering the agricultural sector in Nigeria – the knowledge gap, limited access to capital and inefficiency of the market system.

Onboard the Top 10 CEOs of the year 2022 is also a beverage company that has witnessed a tremendous all-round growth through a combination of specific company building strategy with outward oriented general industry and sector development programmes for enhanced stability and continuity of all the operators. The inclusive leadership style has impacted the entire sector positively, charting the course for survival and growth in defiance of the operating difficulties in the macro-economy.

The Top 10 CEOs of the year 2022 stand out for their innovative ways and leadership styles and techniques that worked in providing solutions to the heightened challenges that people and businesses faced in 2022. By devising alternative courses for handling the complexities and challenges of markets and living conditions by way of defending/growing incomes and saving costs, the corporate chieftains have shone the light on the path to surviving an extremely difficult year. 

Isikilu Soyinka: Group Managing Director/CEO, Adeptal Limited

Mr. Isikilu Alade Soyinka, group managing director/CEO, Adeptal Limited, heads a fast-growing technical solution providing company that has braced up to fill the operational gaps in industries created by the multifaceted challenges facing the economy.

In the enthroned safety consciousness of the present time, the company’s services have assumed greater importance. Adeptal specialises in the supply and application of wide range of specialty chemicals for water treatment (domestic and industrial waste water), industrial plant cleaning and sanitation, commodity chemicals for industrial, municipal and domestic cleaning, treatment and disinfection as well as the application tools, equipment and accessories.

The company’s services also cover safety trainings and materials supply and environmental management services – including environmental auditing, air sampling, water analysis and waste management. The industrial and institutional range provides effective practical hygiene solutions for the control of micro-organisms to safeguard the public in their recreational, residential and work environments.

The company’s key promise on deliverables is to help customers minimize energy and water usage and lessen waste through process optimization, safer application and renewable products. It assures of high expertise of its technical team that works with customers to develop tailor-made solutions to specific requests for cost-efficient and improved quality standard.

Soyinka brings in the much-needed expertise in the area of water and wastewater treatment solutions, oil and diesel filtration technology, chemicals and cleaning solutions, legionella detection and rapid test solutions. His mission is delivering efficient systems and products for resolving critical challenges for operators on oil, diesel, water and wastewater, chemicals and legionella attacks across sectors and industries.

His company’s role comes quite timely to offer cost saving solutions where companies otherwise would have to spend fortunes on maintenance of machines and replacement of engine oils due to contaminations. Adeptal offers an alternative and efficient diesel and oil filtration technology to various types of systems where these assets are paramount with the objective of driving sustainability, cost savings, systems life span elongation, waste reduction and environmental protection.

The company promises robust capacity big enough to meet clients’ needs across the entire operational waterfront. These include industrial and housing water space, oil filtration technological needs of industrial, mining, power and maritime service providers, industrial chemicals supply and hygiene services and water risk analysis for hospitality and health care industries with the use of legionella rapid detection.

Soyinka holds his company out to a firm commitment to deliver exceptional values to clients with a combined knowledge of world-best technology solutions and partnership with some of the global technology providers. The company has a technical and commercial working alliance with domestic and global providers of various water treatment specialty chemicals, water purification equipment, commodity chemicals providers, hygienic chemicals manufacturer, safety and environmental engineers and consultants.

Adeptal assures the capability of its unique systems and products that integrate the best of technologies from global organizations such as C.C. Jenson -Denmark, Tech-Solutions – Denmark, Thermax Limited -India, and Hydrosense Limited -Scotland to offer solutions with after-sales support to customers.

The company has made great impacts in the Nigerian economy by delivering a number of critical projects in key sectors and activities of manufacturing, households, mining, construction, cement production, power plants and maritime operations.

These benefits derive from Soyinka’s extensive training and experience in environmental management and toxicology in Nigeria and overseas, including certification as occupational safety and health professional. He has over two decades of experience in environmental management, water treatment, chemical supplies, supply chain management and frontline customer service.

In the face of tough challenges of how to balance widening cost-income gaps facing business organisations, the Adeptal’s CEO has emerged a dependable advisory and management consultant service provider to industries on cost optimizations, productivity enhancement and high return on investments, bringing in his start to finish cost- saving analysis to meet specific needs.

The company’s products are designed to address specific needs of clients such as government for optimizing public safety in city parks and public places, high pressure machines and detergent for washing concrete sidewalks or street sweeping. To industries, it offers corrosion inhibitor, degreasers, cleaning detergents, HVAC cleaners, scale inhibitors, biocide and resin cleaners for maintaining machinery and mechanized equipment. It also offers corrosion, scale and microbes preventives and preservatives to maintain the functionality and lifespan of equipment.

The company has anticipated the increased need for specialised cleaning products by food service and beverage industries and now provides a line of food service chemicals designed to provide tailored cleaning and maintenance to equipment for the operators. For schools, the company provides chemical solutions for cleaning floors, degreasing cooking components and eliminating fire ants on playgrounds among other tasks.

Tailor-made products of the company are also available for correctional centres, hospitality industry, health and senior care and entertainment centres. Others are unique products for automotive care, agricultural activities, worship centres’ maintenance, retail shops care and janitorial supplies.

Wale Adeyipo: Group Managing Director/CEO of CWG Plc

Mr. Wale Adeyipo is group managing director/CEO of CWG Plc, a Lagos-based ICT conglomerate with operations in four countries. The proficient technology enthusiast with extensive experience in strategy, management and leadership, is actively deploying these qualities to enable technology advances in Nigeria as in the rest of the world.

His role in strategic initiatives has become of greater importance in achieving dynamic work design that organisations everywhere need to simplify rigorous processes and procedures in the workplace, bringing about efficiency and enhancing productivity in today’s challenging world.

Operators in both public and private sectors need the diverse angles of technology-driven innovation for revenue generation, market penetration and cost minimization of which Adeyipo ably leads the way. He has established a reputation across the sub-Saharan Africa in the application of technology as an enabler for business growth and expansion.

CWG is a systems solutions provider that specializes in a wide array of IT services, including communications and integration, infrastructures, managed and support operations, cloud services and software. It operates an established partnership network that connects businesses, governments, customers and consumers, utilizing value-added services to help them drive processes efficiently and improve deliveries across their respective activities.

The company’s contributions to the growth of the ICT sector, guided by its global best practices culture, have made visible impacts in the Nigerian economy and are still making greater promises. CWG is a principal actor in the ever-advancing technology-driven modernization of banking operations and customer delivery services of the present age.

The company’s records show that it has implemented more than 14 core banking initiatives, handled over 10 million daily financial transactions and serviced more than 30 million accounts with over 20,000 users in over 2000 branches across leading financial institutions.

In a step to build capacity for meeting the challenges of e-commerce, CWG recently has set up Fifthlab, a fintech company focused on driving the next phase of development in providing solutions to the challenges of e-commerce and business operations in the digital space.

The company has provided critical support that is powering Nigerian financial services companies into the new age of seamless end-to-end digital financial platforms, providing the capability to transform the way these organisations engage with their various customers.

There is a continuing crucial need for banks and financial institutions to adapt quickly to dynamic changes in how financial products and services are delivered and consumed on the digital space. The necessity has been heightened by the massive entry of fintechs worldwide with their innovative financial services that are affordable and easy to access regardless of location.

CWG is leading banks and financial institutions in the way of developing appropriate competitive responses to defend their markets and stay relevant in the future. It provided the much needed support for these institutions to develop the agility and flexibility they need to customize financial products and services easily in simple configuration, cost saving steps without the need for long processes of development. The objective is to develop new channels for financial service companies to deliver services easily across any digital channel whether it is through a mobile application, web application

USSD or ATM and get it all done in real-time and channel agnostic. This provides the fastest time to the market with digital products with minimal implementation time and minimal cost. The platform helps the operators scale up their businesses and expand across multiple markets all from the same deployment.

By leading the way to digital finance, CWG is enabling financial services companies to exploit the potential of affordable, convenient and secure banking service possibilities in today’s world to reach the poor and hitherto excluded individuals across the country.

This has added a lot of stimulatory force to the economy, as access to financial services, including digital lending, becomes as simple as having access to mobile phones, computers, the internet or cards linked to a secure digital payment system.

CWG has partnered with VERICASH to offer complete digital Omnichannel PLUS transformation of financial services across all channels delivered remotely and instantly to customers. Through digital channels, customers can create bank accounts for onboarding through VERICASH and third-party technologies involved in digital identity management.

VERICASH platform integrates and aggregates financial services from different service providers and aggregators allowing the customer to browse, search, mark as favorite and set schedules and reoccurrences for these payments from one centralized marketplace.

Adeyipo, who oversees the integrated management system at CWG, assures of the high sense of responsibility involved in the implementation, maintenance and continual improvement of his company’s business continuity and information security management systems.

He understands that adversity is part of business and how people and organisations try to overcome it is the defining factor for business success. His role is an intervention set in place to help businesses overcome disruptions, protect themselves against it, prepare for and reduce the likelihood of being affected by it, respond swiftly to it and recover faster than others from disruptions when they arise.

CWG has added to its records of helping organisations weather internal and external storms from the global financial crisis of 2008, through Occupy Nigeria of 2012, End SARS and the global pandemic of 2020 to the global inflation of 2022. Adeyipo said proactive strategy is the key to the success of the company’s responses to these prominent disruptions. One of the company’s latest accomplishments is in respect of cloud computing where it partnered with Zadara to eliminate data sovereignty, thereby bringing the cloud closer to Africa. 

This is in its commitment to power impactful solutions that position Africa to maximize the future, keep users abreast of the security and cost implications for cloud services. CWG is therefore leading the way forward to localize networking and storage solutions to power the needs of modern businesses.

Oluwatobi Ajayi: Founder /CEO, Nord Automobiles Limited

Mr. Oluwatobi Ajayi, founder and CEO, Nord Automobiles Limited, is an astute and highly creative entrepreneur, who is behind the vision of one of Nigeria’s first automobile brands. Launched in December 2020, Ajayi has since then run the indigenous automaker with the quest to become the biggest in Nigeria.

This is his big dream of 2016 come to reality, which is to give Nigerians the best of automobiles from a remarkable made-in-Nigeria automobile brand. He makes bold to state his confidence that the Nord vehicles would soon become household names in Nigeria. The Lekki-based Nord Automobiles has taken its place as a welcome member of a growing list of Nigeria’s home-grown automotive manufacturers. The list includes Innoson Vehicle Manufacturers, Obasa Specialty Vehicles, Proforce and Bennie Technologies.

Nord Automobiles is Ajayi’s positive response to the federal government’s effort to take its prime position among automobile manufacturers in Africa. He sets out on a mission to meet the need for a remarkable made-in-Nigeria automobile brand of which not less than five different car models were unveiled right from the official launch.

His company focuses on design, development, assembling, distribution, marketing and provision of sales and after-sale of premium vehicles at relatively competitive prices. The company has its assembly plant on a 2,100 square metres of land space in Sangotedo, Lagos with another 3,400 square metres of land at Epe, providing robust capacity needed to capture the biggest share of Nigeria’s large automotive market. For the company, it is a grand plan for total industry transformation by rolling out a model of cars for Nigerians, built by Nigerians.

Ajayi envisions a broad market focus for his organisation, covering the low, middle and high ends of the automobile market spectrum. His aim is to meet Nigeria’s vehicular and mobility needs for both the low and middle-income earners, including corporate organisations. His desire is to make it normal for hardworking Nigerians to buy and use brand new vehicles.

Nord Automobiles CEO gives a long list of models that will roll out of the company’s assembly plant, which include Nord Tank Pick-up, Max Pick-up, Flit bus, Aso truck, Lasgi big bus, A3 sedan and A5 SUV. The list also includes Yarn family/business shuttle, Tripper bus, Bolt bus, Ben SUV, Urban sedan, among others in the pipeline.

The advantage of home-based auto manufacturer is taking the local environment into consideration and this, according to Ajayi, has been given priority in his company’s product roll- out. He assures that market specific features will reflect in terms of durability, elegance and low-cost advantage.

The assurance is backed by his company’s collaboration with some of the biggest automotive firms in Europe and Asia, which gives it an edge in delivering durable, safe, reliable and affordable vehicles that give buyers good value for money.

Nord Automobiles’ uniqueness is in bringing in high quality expertise in the value chain of the entire auto assemblage, which includes the design, sourcing, development, assembling, distribution, marketing, provision of sales and after-sales service for all of its automobiles. Ajayi has engaged his entrepreneurial skills to set his business gaining momentum in defiance of the difficult operating conditions of the Nigerian economy in 2022. He has expanded into new businesses and markets, including transport, real estate and banking.

In the automobile market, he has introduced new models over the past one year with improved design, engine and general performance that are evident in the 2022 Nord Max edition.

Nord Automobiles also increased its market network and customer reach through the establishment of branches and after-sales service centres, including its state-of-the-art Abuja service centre.

Kingsley Idoko Ilonah: Chief Executive Officer, Lona Group

Mr. Kingsley Idoko Ilonah, chief executive officer, Lona Group, has one of the largest outdoor agencies – Lona Media Limited in his group. The media company is behind one of the most ambitious and stunning projects in the world of advertising – the construction of the multi- billion-naira One iNFINITY – the world’s largest billboard located in Lagos, Nigeria.

The big project defies the economic and operating difficulties of the 2022 fiscal year to add a quickening effect to the economy. The structure springs on the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos measuring 10,531 square metres. Its display area measures 38 metres by 227.6 metres – about the size of a thirteen-story building. This beats by far the existing world’s biggest billboard’s size of a little over 67,382 square feet located in Dubai.

Ilonah expresses his mission to place Nigeria on the world record with his company’s largest contemporary outdoor advertising structure. “One iNFINITY is set to be the largest advertising billboard in the world”, he said. Fiscal 2022 is the debut activation of the company’s new offering designed to provide exposure in strategic parts of Lagos State, from the mainland to the Island.

His target for the Lagos market reflects its status as the fourth largest economy in Africa by GDP as well as the most populous city in the continent with over 20 million people. That makes the city prime for changing advertising landscape and well positioned for positive media attention, according to Ilonah.

The location on the Third Mainland Bridge also reflects its leading automatic counter’s record of an average of 245,000 cars plying the bridge daily, according to Ilonah – the largest single vehicular traffic in Africa. The media company adjusted its original plan of an LED board and will run it static for a while in view of its sheer size. “We intend to upgrade the board to an LED as time goes on”, the company’s CEO assures.

“We spent billions to put up the static board because we needed to prove to people that this can be done. We will upgrade to LED in the next six months,” he said. Programmable LED light effect on the board is being done for the first time in Nigeria.

Lona Media’s multi-billion-naira project is in alliance with Niverfa, which is acclaimed to be one of the best steel fabricating companies in Nigeria. The project is divided into two phases with the billboard being phase one while phase two will involve the accompanying development of the entire project landmass of about ten acres, according to Ilonah. We intend to beautify it to bring in some additional activities within the Third Mainland Bridge area”, he said.

Lona Media has presented the billboard as an opportunity for companies in Nigeria, particularly indigenous organisations to be on the largest billboard in the world. It has created incentives for companies that advertise on the board within the period of activation of the iconic structure to have their names captured any time the story of the biggest billboard in the world is told.

Moving against the operating difficulties of the 2022 fiscal year, Lona Media is standing tall to showcase something totally different from what the whole world has ever seen and this has happened in nowhere else but Nigeria. Guinness World record will change by a distant margin in terms of the size and location of the biggest billboard in the world with Nigeria taking the lead.

The techniques on the board stand out in the same standard that beats the existing levels of creativity and sophistication. The lighting system is built to use 70 percent light emission, which leaves adequate opportunities for creatives to be able to enhance their campaigns. They can animate their campaign from being a steel banner to a place of emission ray motion campaign.

Rays of light emission come with a full spectrum of RGB lighting solution and the entire screen can be animated. It also comes with a bigger transition technique and a special LED lighting effect that brings life to a particular image on the board.

Advertisers can use all the spotlights to direct attention to a particular product on the board.  All the lights are programmable with CMS control system and are controlled from any of the company’s locations.

Other techniques on the board are a facial recognition that enables the sensor to count the number of people that look at the board, capture vehicle number plates, identifications cameras to give accurate number of vehicles that ply the road, high speed cameras that give advertisers data metric for their exposures, among other possibilities.

One iNFINITY makes a landmark addition to Lona Media’s trail blazing records in in outdoor advertising. The company introduced LED digital billboards into the country in 2016, built the biggest billboards in Nigeria in 2010 (one of which is by Transcorp Hilton Junction, Abuja) and the biggest billboard in Africa (located along the Abuja International Airport Road by Lugbe Junction) in 2015.

The company has proceeded from bringing the largest billboard in Africa to the advertising industry to attain a global feat. Its largest billboard structure anywhere in the world offers the newest and greatest advertising space.

Chukwudi Ezenwa: Chairman/CEO of General Site Solutions (GSS Group)

Mr. Chukwudi Ezenwa is chairman/CEO of General Site Solutions (GSS Group) a construction and consulting company, specialized in the delivery of integrated architectural, engineering, procurement, security and construction services within and outside Nigeria. The young architect and entrepreneur stands as an example of a youth who refused to be deterred by economic difficulties but rather braced the odds and has proved his mettle.

GSS is a conglomerate operating from its head office in Awka, Anambra State through subsidiaries. These include GSS Real Estate and Investments, GSS Security (Private Security), GSS Production and GSS Construction.

The company’s services include project conceptualization, architectural design, building materials supplies, real estate development, construction, project management services and more. It proffers site solutions to clients from land purchase to the final finishing of projects.

GSS Group assures of its commitment to cost-effective solutions in executing projects to the satisfaction of clients. It offers top notch real estate services for both residential and commercial purposes. Its construction works cover civil engineering, road and drainage construction, building and utility construction.

Other services of the group include supply of security guards and gadgets, electronic security, cyber security and special security operations. The group is also in food textile and fashion industries through its subsidiaries – GSS Food Production, GSS Textile Factory and BIGBEN Fashion respectively.

The route to entrepreneurship is usually adorned by high risks and high stakes and Ezenwa settled it in his mind that it is the route to follow for those who desire to make a mark in the space of life and time. His aim is sky high – creating out of Nigeria a major entrepreneurship hub. He believes the big dream is possible because the nation is endowed with the youth and by empowering them, they will transform the nation and the world.

In every step he takes in business, he is quite eager to show people something great to learn from it. He considers challenges and failures inevitable in the business landscape but out of them he wants people to develop the spirit of learning great lessons of upcoming successes.

His entrepreneurial journey has had a number of hiccups but some failures in some of his ventures have not hindered him from exploring new ideas. This is what he wants people to learn – that failures constitute the learning curve and growth boosters.

GSS Group is structured in a manner meant to create and distribute opportunities for public participation and shared prosperity far and wide. The group’s real estate subsidiary – GSS Real Estate and Investments, is a typical case in point where the company is creatively and passionately enabling all strata of clients to take bold steps forward to make visible impacts in the world.

The real estate firm offers rare opportunities for people to invest in a much-reduced risk environments for decent returns. One of such projects is the company’s Dubai Estate, its premium housing project located at Awka, which sold out in record time.

The transforming value of the project reflects the pool of investments by a large community of stakeholders to create a major destination for economic, residential, leisure, sporting and other social activities with multiplying property values for the investors. It is counted in community development such as the construction of a 2-kilometre access road with drainage to gain access to the estate.

The value to society also reflects in the doors of opportunities opened for thousands of people and businesses directly and indirectly for jobs and supplies all the way from land acquisition through development and construction to finishing, maintenance and management.

GSS Group has also made a great contribution in addressing the security challenges facing the nation, which keep increasing from year to year through its security service subsidiary – Graylincs Security Services (GSS Security). The high-tech private security outfit is registered with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and manned by highly specialised and skilled experts using intelligence and innovative approaches to deliver effective security of lives and property.

GSS Security also offers cyber security services, protecting equipment and systems, networks and programmes from digital attacks. Its services have given an air of relief to the people in the south-east cutting across private individuals, worship centres, schools, hotels and tourist and entertainment places, among others.

Ezenwa advocates education as a driver of national development, which informs his various forms of educational support to university students. While educational development suffered in Nigeria in 2022, the GSS Group boss has something to offer university students that they aren’t likely to learn from school.

“While in school, acquire basic skills, sharpen your USP and look for side hustles that would help sustain your journey in the university. Learn to be different in whatever you do and the sky would be your springboard,” he assured while presenting one-year scholarships to 10 students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University recently.

Azibapu Eruani: Founder and CEO, Azikel Group

Dr. Azibapu Eruani, founder and CEO, Azikel Group, is in charge of a business conglomerate ranked as the largest indigenous corporate organisation in the Niger Delta. The group’s operations are organised in four companies:  Azikel Dredging, Azikel Air, Azikel Petroleum and Azikel Power.

The medical doctor and distinguished businessman, who drives the vision at Azikel Group, has his ideas and philosophies centered around sustainable development through industrialization, infrastructure development, energy sustainability and petroleum product sufficiency. His purpose is to steer the development of Nigeria’s people, generate employment opportunities and spread wealth.

The company has therefore placed its focus on areas that are critical drivers of societal development and sustainability where it has the highest expertise. The company’s operations have made great impacts on the Nigerian economy in each of its core businesses. These include dredging, sand filling/stockpiling of sand and reclamation services where it has established its competence.

The company has also responded to the collapse of the nation’s local crude oil refining capacity with its springing refinery technology that promises to ensure sufficiency of refined product in Nigeria. The effort is led by the desire to see Nigeria change its status as a net importer of refined petroleum products to become a net exporter.

Attainment of sustainable electric power output is another major pursuit of Azikel Group, which is aimed at providing adequate electricity to power industries and communities for increased productivity and enhanced living standards for the people. This fits into the company’s great purpose of leading the re-industrialization of the Nigeria by providing for self-sufficiency and sustainability in energy, power generation and infrastructural development.

Responding also to increased security challenges involved in the movement of people and goods in the country, Azikel Group has invested heavily in aviation services to ensure safe domestic and international travels by Nigerians.

Eruani has combined his diverse experience in medical practice, civil service and oil/gas industry with extensive training in business to press for solutions to pestering national issues and challenges. He has discovered entrepreneurship as a tool for self-actualization, industrialization, employment generation, empowerment of people and communities, wealth creation and sustainability and his mission is to extend these benefits up, down and across the Nigerian economy.

The group’s aviation services are operated by its subsidiary – Azikel Air, which offers scheduled and non-scheduled flights within and outside of Nigeria. The company has a fleet of helicopters, providing personnel movement to oil and gas offshore operations and fixed-wing aircraft for executive air services and business travels. It also offers private charter transportation services both within and outside Nigeria.

Azikel Air’s aircraft fleet includes Gulfstream G450, Gulfstream 200, Hawker 800XP, Augusta A109S Grand Executive Helicopter. Its capacity is further boosted by its access to a worldwide affiliate network of hundreds of aircraft to meet specific travel needs.

The fleet is made to achieve safety, efficiency and comfort, capacity for non-stop transcontinental crossings to destinations in Europe, UAE, UK and South Africa. Its helicopters are fit for the purpose of travelling around the Niger Delta and across the country in comfort and speed.

Petroleum refining operations of the group are carried out by its subsidiary company, Azikel Refinery, which has attained landmark completion stages. The pioneer private refinery project with Hydro skimming status plans a rollout of primary and secondary products. The primary products include premium motor spirit, diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel.

Secondary products include heavy fuel oil or marine/furnace oil used in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or in turbine for power generation. The others are naphtha – which is intermediate hydrocarbon liquid stream and gas oil – which is an important constituent of lubricants.

The company’s dredging operations are powered by a fleet of dredgers comprising six specialized machines for onshore and offshore dredging. The onshore dredgers have the capacity for long distance dredging for land reclamation and sand stockpiling.

The company boasts a minimum stockpile of 500,000 cubic metres of premium sand for sale to individuals, suppliers, developers and contractors. It also offers coastal defence services with its proven technique for stabilizing shorelines and protecting river banks from erosion and flooding.

Azikel Group also operates a power generation subsidiary – Azikel Power Limited that operates on-grid 500 MW-capacity, natural-gas-fired plant. The pioneer private power plant project located in Bayelsa State, has a combination of highly efficient, low-emission, open-cycle gas turbines, which are powered by gas and heavy fuel oils. It is structured in line with the government’s gas master plan for reducing gas flaring and providing electricity from gas-fired power plants.

Adaralegbe Akintayo: Managing Director/CEO, T. Pumpy Concept Ltd

Mr. Adaralegbe Akintayo is managing director/CEO, T. Pumpy Concept Ltd, a real estate development company that deals majorly in sales of lands and estate plots. The company sells and develops all types of estate lands for residential, educational, commercial and recreational purposes.

The CEO has demonstrated his great commitment to making his utmost contribution in progressive property development across all categories of Nigerian citizens seeking land and housing solutions.

The company operates over 60 estate units spread across Nigeria located in Abuja, Ekiti, Oyo and Ogun States with recent expansions to Lagos State and other parts of the country. It has proven track records in design and high-quality standards in its complete line of estates by which it has made great impacts in the housing industry.

Akintayo leads a team reputed for providing industry-acclaimed off-site home design and construction. He holds his company out to a commitment to deliver to specifics of home buyers in design and quality construction whether they choose personalized prototype homes or innovative modular designs. The building prototypes include duplexes, bungalows and penthouses.

The company is dedicated to impacting the housing ecosystem in Nigeria by catering to individual needs by offering affordability, optimized care, speed, ease and technical know-how for ordinary people to become landlords. Its uniqueness lies in the ability to keep its growth momentum advancing, reaching new highs with new impacts despite the economic and operating difficulties of the 2022 fiscal year.

Through the provision of affordable and good quality housing for all, T-Pumpy Concept pursues a great mission of improving the welfare of Nigerians. It is committed to driving the real estate market in Nigeria with as large participants as possible, employing high skill, expertise and state-of-the-art technology.

It wants to be the real estate development company in Nigeria that will provide the highest number of decent, accessible, comfortable and affordable houses to the largest segment of society while achieving global housing standard.

The company’s initiatives to reach all segments of the housing market include affordable pricing, flexible payment plans and regular promotional price slashes. Its payment plans are structured to provide flexibility that enables customized financial plans for buyers.

In its counter cyclical response to the high inflation of the 2022 fiscal year, the company organised a price slash of 40 percent in all its estate lands across the country. The move is aimed at keeping prospective land and home buyers empowered to invest in real estate despite the negative impact of rising prices on consumer purchasing power.

T. Pumpy Concept also boosted its capacity in the real estate industry in 2022 by bringing new estates on stream such as the Airport Modern City Kyami, along Airport Road in Abuja, which commenced sales during the year.

The new estate comes with the price slash, which makes it possible for a plot of land with certified C-of-O in the prime location to sale as low as N6m, according to the company’s statement. Also, under the sales promotion programme, a government-certified estate plot of land can be bought in other locations across the country with as low as N550,000.

In line with the strategy of enabling as many people as possible to own landed property, the company had earlier launched a mass land sales campaign tagged Abuja for All. The programme was aimed at making lands affordable and accessible to all Nigerians who wish to own a property in the nation’s capital irrespective of class or status.

Another unique land sales programme of the company is a 70 percent price discount targeted at making children land owners in the Federal Capital Territory. Under the promotion exercise, a 300 square meters of land located in Kwali area of Abuja with certificate of occupancy, which was valued at N400,000, was offered to children at the price of N120,000.

Adaralegbe explained that the gesture for the huge discount for the promo is to mark Children’s Day, celebrate the Nigerian child and build a better future for the nation’s children.

The exercise allowed parents to sign on behalf of the children while the title passes automatically to them at the age of 18. Under the arrangement, even a day-old child can own land through their parents, Adaralegbe said.

Ayodeji Balogun: Chief Executive Officer, AFEX Nigeria

Mr. Ayodeji Balogun is chief executive officer, AFEX Nigeria, a private sector-led commodities exchange, where he leads a team of experts leveraging technology, innovative finance and inclusive agriculture to connect agriSMEs and smallholder farmers to commodity and financial markets. He is on a mission to create inclusive, scalable and efficient food systems in Africa by enabling producers of different commodities obtain guaranteed access to markets.

AFEX provides the infrastructure for the capital market to play in commodities and consequently, unlock capital for the agriculture sector in Nigeria. Starting at the bottom of the pyramid – the smallholder farmers, it avails them the critical services needed to improve productivity, get access to credit and markets and consequently activate the potential of Africa’s commodity value chains.

Balogun is leading the way forward to finding a solution to critical problems hindering the agricultural sector in Nigeria – the knowledge gap, limited access to capital and inefficiency of the market system. His approach is to drive systemic changes by simultaneously addressing the problems.

He began the journey of providing scalable and efficient food systems in Africa in Nigeria and is rapidly expanding across the continent. The high technology-enabled processes are backed by massive infrastructure investments, which foster continuous expansion in the commodities ecosystem.

This is a pioneering role in developing a private sector-led commodities exchange and warehouse receipt system, leading the value chain development in the agricultural sector and designing physical and derivative contracts for commodities across markets in Africa. 

“At AFEX, we harness Africa’s commodities and talent to build shared wealth and prosperity.

Our infrastructure and platform investments work to unlock capital to power a trust economy in Africa’s commodities markets.

“Since inception in 2014, we have developed and deployed a viable commodities exchange model for the African market and are on track to impact one million producers, provide services in productivity and value capture and access to finance and markets”, he said.

AFEX has undertaken a critical task of establishing warehouses in Nigeria, covering the country’s major grain-producing states to provide storage as a service to farmers. “This means that rather than a farmer renting warehouses or storing his grains in his house, where he will lose 20 to 30% of the volume over time, he may put it into a warehouse and pay for the three bags he is storing for three months”, Balogun said.

The storage service that AFEX provides relieves farmers of the burden and danger associated with storage, he said.

AFEX’s strategy for improving farmers’ access to funding takes the form of inputs such as fertilizers, seeds and crop protection products as well as extension services support that provide expert knowledge on appropriate agronomic practices.

The company goes further to develop technology-enabled exchange that enables efficient trading and settlement of commodity transactions, contributing to the structure and formalization of the commodities markets.

Balogun identifies the key benefit targeted as that of price stability, which a commodities exchange provides, as buyers and sellers interact on the exchange. He said prices are determined transparently with the information asymmetry reduced across the value chain.

“We are also then able to provide price data that further contributes to closing knowledge gaps in the agriculture sector and provides clarity for potential investors. When potential investors feel comfortable with a sector, they can invest more easily in it, attracting more players and so increasing investment in bridging the infrastructure gap. This effectively increases food availability and helps to stabilise prices”, he said.

Balogun is looking forward to multiplying the impact of AFEX over the next five years in terms of infrastructure capacity, the number of farmers reached, the volume of trading and value of funding. The aim, he said, is to scale 10 times on all our key numbers and metrics by deploying an efficient market system.

“We are looking to expand our trade infrastructure to include a one million MT storage capacity that will support a robust supply chain network. The goal is also to enhance the livelihoods of one million smallholder farmers, aggregate one million MT in trade volumes and facilitate funding of 500 million dollars for the agriculture value chain in Nigeria.

“In terms of innovation, we are looking to continue our string of firsts by growing into Africa’s first multi-asset commodities exchange trading derivatives of agriculture, metals and minerals”, he said.

He also plans to extend his focus from smallholder farmers to mid-sized commercial farmers -cultivating a range of 30 to 50 hectares, connected to a support ecosystem. He envisages such farms emerging as fast-growing SMEs and national champions in a decade.

The commodities market player marked the 2022 World Food Day with the launch of a 100,000MT/year Grain Quality Enhancement Center and 30,000 MT storage capacity warehouse in Kaduna State. The facility is a key infrastructure designed to cut post-harvest losses, strengthen quality and standardization criteria in grain value chains and improve the incomes of primary producers.

The grain processing centre meets the challenges of grain quality enhancement through cleaning, grinding, heating, drying, packaging and storage services.

Balogun stated that the project was embarked upon in view of the growing demand for grains against limited national storage capacity of 5-7 percent of agricultural produce, resulting in a post-harvest loss of N3.5 trillion of the produce annually.

Since 2014, AFEX has built a network of warehouses to support the growth of agricultural commodities and provide off take agreements to farmers at market prices with a same-day payment model.

Currently, the company has a footprint of over 100 warehouses across 23 grain-producing states in Nigeria which accounts for over 300,000 MT of the total national storage capacity. It has reached over 430,000 farmers and traded over one million MT of commodities. The milestones have impacted rural households positively and boosted general economic prosperity.

Patrick Anegbe: Managing Director/CEO, International Distillers Ltd (IDL)

Engr. Patrick Anegbe is managing director/CEO, International Distillers Ltd (IDL), a position in which he has played an outstanding role in driving innovation and growth in the company’s performance as well as the food and beverages segment of the Nigerian economy.

By the company’s records, IDL has witnessed a tremendous turnaround and grown at a faster pace in turnover, profitability and brand portfolio than any other period since the founding of the company.

Anegbe has combined specific company building with general industry and sector development programmes for enhanced stability and continuity of all the operators. His inclusive leadership style has impacted the entire sector positively, charting the course for survival and growth in defiance of the operating difficulties in the macro-economy.

The IDL boss effectively combines the role as chairman of the Food, Beverage and Tobacco Sectoral group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) with the position of the president, Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers and chairman, Blenders and Distillers Association of Nigeria, a sub-sectoral group of MAN.

Anegbe is an astute and dogged achiever and a management expert, especially in the area of business turnaround, strategic corporate focus and product innovation. The leadership qualities paved the way for him to rise through the ranks in IDL to become its chief executive officer.

IDL are the producers and marketers of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages – an industry that has experienced major challenges in recent years but continues to maintain the path of operating stability in the midst of volatility.

The company produces top quality beverages from its distillery and bottling plant located on the Ota-Idiroko Road, Ota, Ogun State and markets its products across the West African sub- region. It employs a market-oriented network of highly mobile salesmen and executives that serve its various depots and an array of distributors spread all over the country.

From its headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos, IDL operates a decentralized structure of regional offices, which are complemented by 42 depot locations at the latest count.

Its products include Eagle Aromatic Schnapps, Chelsea London Dry Gin, Squadron Dark Rum, Bull London Dry Gin, Bull Dark Rum, Action Bitters and Confam Bitters. Others are DeROK Café Liqueur, DeROK Chocolate Flavoured Liqueur, Commodore Aromatic Schnapps, Chapeau Wine, Veleta Fruit Drink, Confam Bitters and Teezers.

The company’s strength in operations lies in its topnotch leadership and in a wide range of market leading brands. It boasts time tested leadership capability at its command in the business and in the industry.

The long existing distiller stated in its corporate profile that “this is a key factor to a success story which we intend to maintain”. It identifies the ability of its leadership to distill the right path to follow in the fast-changing consumer goods industry as the key factor to its success story.

Sustained development and expansion of a wide range of portfolio of successful brands is the second leg of the company’s operating strength for achieving stable growth. This, it says, has been achieved through a sound understanding of the wines and spirit market in Nigerian and the West African sub–region.

The company’s wide product range has grown from a single product line at its commencement of operations in Nigeria on a manual line in 1984. Also, locally produced products have taken the place of imported brands that initially complemented local brands, creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities in the country.

Through sustained expansion of operations, the company has continued to fulfill a vital role in its industry and the Nigerian economy, which are evidenced by strong gains in popularity, market acceptance and preference for its products by consumers.

Precious Okechukwu: Chief Executive Officer, Haviland Real Estate Worldwide Ltd,

Ms. Precious Adaobi Okechukwu, chief executive officer, Haviland Real Estate Worldwide Ltd, added innovation to the immense reserve of financial and human resources at her command in 2022 to drive diaspora investment inflow into property development in Nigeria. Foreign exchange inflow is the effective response to the significant loss of naira exchange value and severe dollar scarcity in the year, which Okechukwu led the way in the real estate industry. 

For her, the weakness of the naira made Nigeria and Africa investment heavens for people and organisations outside the continent to buy and invest in real estate assets, as the low exchange rate of the local currency creates outstanding returns. She created the opportunity for the investment inflow through Haviland’s estate development project in Banana Island selling at between $450,000 and $550,000 with initial deposit of $200,000.

The company launched an aggressive investment drive for partnerships, investors and clients to invest in the project that promises a guaranteed return of 300 percent in 2 years based on the current local market value. Despite the economic and operating difficulties in the year, the company was able to create and market a stimulatory investment package of that magnitude in Nigeria.

Okechukwu describes the project as one of her company’s most luxurious apartments and maisonette and one of the wealthiest estates in the world. The Island, she said, presents a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere and a home for the country’s wealthiest families.

According to her, “the features include incredible infrastructures, 24 hour-electricity supply, extremely tight security, good road layout, central sewage system and treatment plant. There is also a Games Park for children, and the well-cherished company of fellow wealthy folks, rooftop and infinity swimming pool, extremely massive living room with an ante room and visitors’ toilet, personal gym, automated control system for sounds, lights, air-conditioners and others, fully fitted kitchen with gas cooker and heat extractor.”

The company also initiated another estate development project in the mainland located at Ajao Estate, close to the Lagos International Airport, which comes in packages of 4- bedroom duplex and sells for $138,000 per unit. The company stated that the structures come fully solar-powered with 24-hour electricity supply, extremely massive living room with an Ante room and visitors’ toilet with a scenic view of the airport, external terraces on all floors, private office, large dining area, private gardens and external void that goes from second floor to the ground floor.

The company’s offers represent a positive impact in the nation’s economy to build momentum towards its target of raising one million landlords within the shortest possible time and drastically reducing housing deficits in the country.

Its plan to accomplish this is through the opportunity it is offering to partners and investors around the world to become co-owners of the projects by investing a minimum of $12,500 within 12 – 24 months and getting a 10 – 45 percent return on the investment.

It is its own strategy to empower people to beat spiraling inflation through investing in Nigeria’s real estate that Okechukwu described as one of the most rewarding in the world. “Lagos is a very good place for real estate business when you invest wisely, you get your returns very fast”, she said.

She assures that Nigeria’s real estate industry never depreciates but instead increases in value with a 300 percent return over 18 months to 2 years. Returns on investment also comes by way of rental income of as much as N5 million annually and rising in addition to rapidly increasing property values. Property values could rise from N5 million to N7 million in six months in some locations, according to the company’s statement.

Her mission is to make more and more people in Nigeria and around the world become aware of the exceptional rate of return that the industry offers here and, in the process, continually pool together large investment capital to grow the industry and the economy.

The company has seen significant growth over the past four years of its existence with completed projects in Westend Estate, Ikota and Lekki, Lagos and three active projects in Ikota Villa Estate, Sangotedo, Ajao Estate and Ikoyi, Lagos.

The company sells both lands and houses and also partners with other real estate developers to market genuine properties. Ownership of its housing units is open to everyone across the world. 

How has the company been able to make so much impact in the real estate industry in just four years of its entry in 2018?  Okechukwu said it is a combination of smartness with innovation that produces the results. She also speaks of a mix of customer satisfaction and integrity generating a stream of customer inflow into the housing projects of the company.

Underlying the excelling qualities are her zeal anchored on her vision to build one of the biggest real estate companies of choice in Nigeria. She is determined to be a major part of a sustainable solution to the estimated 29 million housing deficits in Nigeria’s real estate market. She wants to be counted among the key actors in sourcing the estimated N60 trillion the nation needs to bridge the housing gap. 

The company is fast racking its ambitious home ownership programme with its innovative home finance fintech ranked as the Nigeria’s first online mortgage platform with payments made through e-naira and crypto currency. The home finance arm provides long-term payment plans to prospective homeowners with the goal of raising 5,000 homeowners in 3 years under the scheme.

The company also offers flexible payment plans to suit different clients’ needs. The payment plans range from six to 24 months while outright purchases attract discounts. 

Okechkwu’s mission in real estate development is driven by her felt need to provide luxurious but affordable homes. It is a mission to raise the number of people that can own a home by providing houses at affordable rates and through a mortgage plan.

Her plan is to make it easy for a customer to spread mortgage payment over a period of 20 years. “Our vision is to make the average income earner a landlord”, she said.