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TheBoss Celebrates Cerebral Entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu, @ 55



Eric Elezuo

“Everything I have today is because of Africa, I was born here, went to school here, I work here and I’m achieving some level of financial comfort here.”

That is vintage Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. A Nigerian national honours holder, the Commander of the Order of Nigeria (CON), and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).

Born Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu on March 22, 1963, in Jos, Nigeria, the economist by training, visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist, acquired and turned Standard Trust Bank into a top-five player in Nigeria. In 2005, his corporate reputation as an African business leader was sealed when he led the largest merger in the banking sector in Sub-Saharan Africa to acquire United Bank for Africa (UBA). In five years, he transformed it from a single-country bank to a pan-African institution with over seven million customers in nineteen African countries.

In 2011, New African magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in Africa, and a year later (2012), he was recognised as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People” by Forbes Magazine.

Following his retirement from UBA in 2010, Elumelu founded Heirs Holdings, which invests in the financial services, energy, real estate and hospitality, agribusiness, and healthcare sectors. In the same year, he established the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based and African-funded philanthropic organisation dedicated to the promotion of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship, and to enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector across Africa.

His stated objective at the formation of Tony Elumelu Foundation was to “prove that the African private sector can itself be the primary generator of economic development.” The Foundation is charged with the mission of driving Africa’s economic development by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector. As a premier pan-African-focused not-for-profit institution, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of entrepreneurship and excellence in business leadership across the continent, with initiatives like The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP)

In a bid to expand his conglomerate as well as his business horizon, in 2011, through Heirs Holdings, he acquired a controlling interest in the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), a publicly quoted conglomerate that has business interests in the agribusiness, energy, and hospitality sectors. Elumelu was subsequently appointed chairman of the corporation.

His enterprise is not limited to self financed enterprises as he serves as an advisor to the USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa (PCGA) Partners Forum. He also sits on the Nigerian President’s Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC). He is also vice-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) whose formation he was a key driver in, and serves as Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series on Global Food Security.

Elumelu additionally chairs the Ministerial Committee to establish world-class hospitals and diagnostic centres across Nigeria, at the invitation of the Federal Government and the Presidential Jobs Board, engineered to create 3 million jobs in one year. He also serves as a member of the Global Advisory Board of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL) and USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa Partners Forum.

One will not be wrong to address him as a philosopher as well as he is the originator of the term Africapitalism. According to him, Africapitalism is an economic philosophy that embodies the private sector’s commitment to the economic transformation of Africa through long-term investments that create both economic prosperity and social wealth. Elumelu sees Africans taking charge of the value-adding sectors and ensuring that those value-added processes happen in Africa, not through nationalisation or government policies, but because there is a generation of private sector entrepreneurs who have the vision, the tools and the opportunity to shape the destiny of the continent. He insists that Africapitalism is not capitalism with an African twist; it is a rallying cry for empowering the private sector to drive Africa’s economic and social growth.

Having studied under Professor Porter at Harvard Business School, Elumelu subscribes to Michael Porter’s concept of Creating Shared Value (CSV). Professor Porter is the Founding Patron of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. In the same vein, CSV refers to the idea that “companies must take the lead in bringing business and society back together.” It asserts that “businesses acting as businesses, not as charitable donors, are the most powerful force for addressing the pressing issues (society) face(s).”

In 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria granted Tony Elumelu the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), a national honour, and in 2006, he was voted African Business Leader of The Year by the Africa Investor magazine and was also recognised as  African Banker of the Year in 2008 by the African Banker magazine. In 2009, the Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’adua honoured him with a place on the Presidential Committee on the Global Financial Crisis.

In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for his service in promoting private enterprise. Apart from being recognised as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People in 2012” by Forbes Magazine as well as being featured in the New African Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential Africans in Business”. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the Benue State University and an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

In 2013, Elumelu received the Leadership Award in Business and Philanthropy from the Africa-America Institute (AAI) Awards. He was also named African Business Icon at the 2013 African Business Awards.

In addition, ESI-Africa, frequently described as “Africa’s power journal”, named Elumelu in its 2015 ‘ESI Most Influential Figures in African Power’ list, in January 2015.

Elumelu is not just a financial wizard; he also writes as well as provides incredible inspiration to writers. Some works that involves him include:

  • How to Excel at Work – Proven strategies for achieving superior work performance by Bili A. Odum -a book inspired by Elumelu’s work ethics.

Elumelu has contributed to the Nigeria Leadership Initiative White Papers, writing on Leveraging private sector approaches in transforming government delivery.

  • The Power of Vision: Insights on Tony Elumelu is a testimonial compiled on the occasion of his retirement as Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer at the United Bank for Africa. It contains messages from Aliko Dangote, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Michael Porter, former World Bank managing director and Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President of Sierra Leone; Ernest Bai Koroma, former United States Comptroller of the Currency, Eugene Ludwig and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He has written about his philosophy and the economic development of Africa for several publications around the world including The Economist, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.

  • The TOE Way: A handbook that offers insights into Elumelu’s philosophies, business practices, values and secrets of success, written by the man himself.

Tony Elumelu is happily married to Awele Vivian Elumelu, who he married in 1993, and they are blessed with five wonderful girls; Nneka, Ugo, Ogor, Oge and Onyinye.

Sir, for your steadfastness in business and transformation of lives as well as unleashing the Midas magic to anything you are involved in or touched, you deserve to be our Boss of the Week. Congratulations sir and happy 55th birthday!

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Boss Picks

Behold! The Miracle Man of Liberia: Joseph Nyumah Boakai




By Eric Elezuo

The saying, the patience dog eats the fattest bone, came to fruition in the life of former Liberian Vice President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai, as he coasted to presidential victory after decades of laying in the loop.

It was like a dream come true, when the incumbent Liberian President, George Opong Weah, out a call through to him in congratulations as results from the Tuesday run-off election continue to trickle. His mind must have gone on a round robin journey in delayed ecstasy as the 78-year-old accomplished politician grabbed the number one seat of power in the small West African country, but oldest African Republic.

The Tuesday’s run-off election came after a tightly fought first round in October, in which neither candidate passed the 50% of votes needed to win outright.

However, official results on Friday showed Boakai had 50.9% of the vote over Weah’s 49.1%, with more than 99% of votes counted. This prompted Weah’s concession.

Touted as having seen himself through education at the country’s College of West Africa, by working as the school janitor, cleaning floors and toilets at night and studying by day, Boakai could very well be described as a focused person.

Much as not many people gave him a chance, the streets of Monrovia equally in loud jubilation when he it was obvious he was returned elected.

Lending credence the presidency of Boakai even as the world awaits January 22, 2024 when the position will become official, former football legend, who is the incumbent president, George Weah, took to the airwaves to make that both the battle and wars are over, and that Liberia has chosen a leader in the person of Boakai. As difficult as it was, Weah entered the history as one of the few Africans, who supervised a smooth transition even as they were defeated at the polls. The others are Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan and Ghana’s John Mahama.

Below is George Weah’s heartwarming address to the nation on the election of Boakai:


I stand before you tonight with a heavy heart, but with the utmost respect for the democratic process that has defined our nation. As your President and the leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change, I want to address you on the outcome of the run-off elections held on November 14, 2023.

The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai is in a lead that is insurmountable. A few moments ago, I spoke with President-elect Joseph N. Boakai to congratulate him on his victory and to offer my sincere commitment to working with him for the betterment of our beloved Liberia.

I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President-elect Boakai, his supporters, and his campaign team. May his presidency be marked by success for all Liberians, and may our nation prosper under his leadership.

Tonight, as we acknowledge the results, let us also recognize that the true winners of these elections are the people of Liberia. Through your peaceful and orderly exercise of your constitutional right to vote, you have once again demonstrated your commitment to the democratic principles that bind us together as a nation.

Under my leadership, these elections were organized with a promise to the Liberian people – a promise of fairness, transparency, and credibility. I am proud to say that, for the most part, we have fulfilled that promise. The Liberian people have spoken, and their choice will be honored and obeyed.

At this juncture, I would like to congratulate the National Elections Commission for a job well done. You have earned the respect of all Liberians, our foreign partners, international observers, and the world at large for completing this difficult task to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, including the contesting parties.

However, the closeness of the results reveals a deep division within our country. As we transition to the new Boakai administration, we must be vigilant to the dangers of division and work together to find common ground. Now, more than ever, unity is paramount for the love of Mama Liberia.

To the members of the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change, fellow partisans, CDCians, Weahcians, auxiliaries, first-time voters, campaign managers, and party leaders, I understand that this is not the outcome we desired. Although we did not emerge victorious, your hard work and support have been the backbone of our campaign, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections. Go home tonight with the knowledge that our ideals and vision for Liberia remain strong. We are a young movement, and our time will come again. Tomorrow, resume your daily activities in a normal way, and come and join me at our party headquarters to reflect on our journey and plan for our return to political leadership in 2029.


Tonight, the CDC has lost the election, but Liberia has won. This is a time for graciousness in defeat, a time to place our country above party, and patriotism above personal interest. I remain your President until the handover of power, and I will continue to work for the good of Liberia. Let us heal the divisions caused by the campaign and come together as One Nation and One United People.

May God bless Liberia, and may we continue to strive for a brighter future together.

Thank you, and good night.


The president-elect was born on November 30, 1944, in the remote village of Worsonga in Foya District, Lofa County, and previously served as the 29th vice president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018, under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He was also the Minister of Agriculture from 1983 to 1985.

As vice president, he was the president of the Liberian Senate and presided over plenary sessions of that body for two days each week. He also performed supervisory functions over a number of institutions and agencies including the Liberia National Lotteries (LOTTO), the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), and the National Commission on Disarmament Demobilization Resettlement and Reintegration (NCDDRR).

In 2017, Boakai ran for president against the Weah, but lost. He would go on to defeat Weah in a rematch in 2023.

Active in philanthropic efforts, Boakai supervised and personally financed a 7-mile (11.2 kilometer) rural village road construction near Warsonga in Lofa county, Liberia. He also worked with the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) and the Danish Youth to construct a school for 150 students and clinic for a community of 10 villages. He was active in organizing and fund raising for rural electrification of Foya Kama in Lofa County, Northern Liberia.

A Baptist and a deacon of the Effort Baptist Church, Boakai is married to Kartumu, and they have four children.

On November 30, Boakai will turn 79, and for a fact, the people of Liberia has already given him a splendid birthday present.

Congratulations Mr. President-elect!

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Boss Picks

Welcome to Tinubu’s One-Party State




By Eric Elezuo

It is no longer news, going by the way events are unfolding, that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration is doing everything within its power to turn the country into a one-party state. Much as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is silent on the nation’s party system, it is a known fact that the country strives, and has been striving on multi-party convention.

However, events in the last couple of days, or dating to the advent if the Tinubu, has revealed a trend that showed there is a tendency being hatched by the present to convert the country to a one-party state, loyal to the party at the centre, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

It is important to note that this unholy trend is not a function of the ballot papers or boxes or electoral propriety, but inordinate manipulations, using the instrumentality of the courts, judiciary, coercion and outright intimidation.

It is a fact that since independence, Nigeria has maintained a multiparty system except in 1992 when the President Ibrahim Babangida Military Government, through a conference, allowed a two-party system, leading to the 1993 inconclusive elections, touted to have been won by Chief MKO Abiola. The two parties were the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Party (NRC). But with the return of democracy in 1999, the country has maintained a multiparty system, albeit conventionally.

But over the years, much as multiple parties are registered, only two are always the frontline parties, with clear exceptions of 1979 and 2023 when the regional inclination reared its head again as it was in the 1963 and 1966 elections.

In the 1960s, there were the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), the National Convention of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) and the Action Group (AG) among others.

In 1979, there were the National Party zof Nigeria (NPN), the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP), the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) and the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).

And then in 2023, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) slugged it out.

However, in the six months that President Tinubu ascended the throne, the pokitical positions are making dramatic switches to the APC via court rulings, giving a cross sections of Nigerian the effontery to believe there is a hidden agenda to welcome a new Nigeria where political positions both elected and appointed are ‘allocated’ to Tinubu’s APC.

A few instances have emerged to raise eyebrows as regards the direction and shape Nigeria political landscape is taking. Among the instances are the following:


Earlier in September, the Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Moses Sule was sacked by the state election petitions tribunal.

The election petition tribunal sitting in Jos, sacked the lawmaker, who was elected on the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) platform in the last election.

He was sacked alongside Danjuma Azi, a member representing Jos North West constituency in the assembly. The tribunal declared the former majority leader of the house, Hon. Naanlong Daniel and Hon. Mark Na’ah, all of the APC as winners of the March 18 elections.

In November, no fewer than four National Assembly members elected on the platform of the PDP including the Senate Minority Leader, Simon Mwadkwon, were sacked by the Appeal Court on the grounds that the PDP had no valid structure in the state. They were replaced with failed APC candidates including the former governor, Simon Lalong, who is now the Minister of Labour and Productivity, sparking unrest in the state.


On Thursday, the Court of Appeal sitting  Abuja sacked Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara and declared the March 18 governorship election in the state as inconclusive.

The court also ordered a rerun in three local government areas: Maradun, Birnin-Magaji and  Bukkuyum.

Zamfara is currently governed by Mr Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party who defeated the then-incumbent governor, Bello Matawalle, of the APC. Matawalle is now the Minister of State for Defence in the Tinubu administration.

The election tribunal in Zamfara had earlier ruled in favour of Mr Lawal but its ruling has now been overturned by the appeal court.

Mr Lawal is however, expected to remain in office until the matter is finally decided by the Supreme Court.


On Friday, the Court of Appeal in Abuja upheld the ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal sacking Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State.

In its judgment, the Appeal Court agreed with the judgment of the tribunal, ruling that the fielding of Abba Yusuf was in breach of the Electoral Law as he was not qualified to contest that Election

The verdict comes nearly two months after the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on September 20, sacked Yusuf, declaring the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Nasiru Gawuna, as the winner of the March 18 election.

Yusuf, who contested on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the poll in March.

The tribunal deducted 165,663 votes from Yusuf’s total as invalid votes, stating that the affected ballot papers were not stamped or signed and therefore declared invalid.

The ruling came about six months after the APC candidate conceded defeat to Yusuf in the wake of INEC’s presentation of the certificate of return to the NNPP candidate.

Observers and stakeholders see the judgment as a means of restoring Kano as an APC stronghold as well as returning its Chairman, and former governor, Abdullahi Ganduje as a force to reckon with in Kano politics in preparation for the 2027 election onslaught.


The candidates of the APC, Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, and Usman Ododo of Kogi State, were both declared winners of the November 11, 2023 governorship elections in the states, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) amid widely reported irregularities.

DailyPost reported that “lapses were recorded in the elections. There were controversies surrounding the data provided on the IReV. Allegations of pre-written results were rife. Worse still, INEC affirmed the controversial results despite alleged evidence of overvoting, disruption of the voting process and clear instances of security agencies aiding the snatching of ballot boxes.”

These were better showcased in Kogi State.

According to YIAGA Africa, one of the accredited observers for the elections, there were proliferation of the pre-filled result sheet in Polling Unit 020 in Eika/Ohizenyi, Okehi Local Government Area of the state.

The same development was witnessed in PU 004 in Eni Ward of Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area. Yet INEC discountenanced the alarm, and went ahead to release results, and declare the APC candidate winner.

Some observers and Kogi political stakeholders have dismissed everything that happened to the handiwork of the incumbent Governor, Yahaya Bello. The governor hasninturn thank President Tinubu for the enabling environment to hold and win the election.

In Imo State, a Daily Post investigation reveals that videos were in circulation where security personnel were accused of allegedly helping the government in power disrupt the voting process, and make away with electoral materials.

The paper wrote: “One such incident happened at the Umuchoko Umuohiagu Junction Polling Unit in Ward 11 of Ngor Okpala LGA, where thugs allegedly working for the All Progressives Congress (APC) carted away ballot boxes and other election materials.

“This reportedly happened after the votes were counted and PDP led with 65 votes against APC’s 35 votes and LP’s 17 votes.

Following the alleged gross manipulation and rigging of the polls, some political parties and their candidates, rejected the results.

While Nigerians have expressed disappointment in INEC and their conduct of elections, it is still unclear whose agenda the electoral body is propagating; theirs or the government of the state?

“This government is just positioning itself for the final battle in 2027, and don’t care if they turned this nation into a one-party state. However, it is too early to begin such grandstanding when the elections are still over three years away,” a political analyst told The Boss

But countering the position, an APC stalwart in Lagos State, hinted that there is no better time to do what the party is doing at the present.

“This is the appropriate time to plant only APC members across the country, thanks to the court cases. You know it will be difficult to turn incumbents to party members after the court cases. Using the judiciary to achieve this aim makes everything absolutely foolproof. The party will come after whatever remnants are left in other parties at the conclusion of court cases,” the chieftain, who craved anonymity, said.

The country has only witnessed six months of Tinubu’s administration, and a lot is still left to be desired in the three and half years.

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Boss Picks

Dele Momodu Congratulates Liberia’s President-elect, Hails Weah for Toeing Path of Jonathan, Mahama




By Eric Elezuo

Veteran journalist and Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Chief Dele Momodu, has congratulated the newly elected president of Liberia, Ambassador Joseph Nyumah Boakai, on his electoral victory after a hard fought electioneering season.

Taking through his social media handles including Instagram, Momodu revealed that he received the news of the massive victory through the incumbent Vice President, Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, who confirmed the loss of her principal, George Opong Weah.

Her message read: “I thank you so much for all of your support, but we have lost the elections.

President Weah has just congratulated Ambassador Boakai.”

Reliving the process, Momodu hailed President Weah for accepting defeat, and calling to congratulate his opponent, Boakai, as well as for being a genuine African statement, sustaining the path to smooth transition as laid down by former Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, followed by former Ghana’s President, John Mahama.

He wrote: “Massive congratulations to the President-elect of Liberia, former Vice President AMBASSADOR JOSEPH NYUMAH BOAKAI, who has defeated PRESIDENT GEORGE MANNEH OPPONG WEAH in a keenly contested second round Presidential election.

“I have just received a message from Liberian Vice President DR JEWEL HOWARD-TAYLOR confirming that PRESIDENT WEAH has called to congratulate AMBASSADOR BOAKAI (Born November 30, 1944)… LIBERIA has set another heartwarming example of smooth transition in West Africa reminiscent of that of PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN of NIGERIA (2015) and PRESIDENT JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA of GHANA (2016)…

Momodu further appreciated Howard-Taylor for playing her part honorably as the Vice President.

George Weah was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 after defeating the incumbent vice president Joseph Boakai, and was sworn in on 22 January 2018. He will therefore, leave office in January 2024 after six years in office.

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