In Nigeria it takes a lot of money to do politics. The richest governors in Nigeria are therefore some of those who have achieved success in their professional careers, and who have achieved the financial status to bankroll political campaigns, and to convince the electorate of their antecedents.
Generosity and philanthropy are key selling points; they help to sway public opinion in the direction of a political candidate because with so many poor people in the country, there is a great need for financiers to come in and provide assistance.
Being rich also provides one with the leverage to present himself as a candidate who has no interest in stealing public funds, but rather as one who wishes to use his wealth and influence to effect change.
Top 10 Richest Governors In Nigeria
1. Governor Nyesom Wike
Net worth: $600m
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is by some distance the richest governor in Nigeria. He is the governor of Rivers State, and perhaps the most powerful governor in the country. Governor Nyesom Wike is a political giant in Nigeria; a member of the People’s Democratic Party, and one of the key political figures in the South South.
Nyesom Wike made his money as a litigator; he trained as a Lawyer, and worked with oil companies; drafting contracts and settling disputes. He is very influential; he made a lot of powerful friends throughout the state during his time as a lawyer, and so transitioning into politics was relatively easy.
Nyesom Wike was elected Executive Chairman of Obio Akpor Local Government Area from 1999 to 2007, and after that he was appointed Minister of State for Education on 14 July 2011; during the Goodluck Jonathan administration. However, Nyesom Wike left Abuja to contest for election as Governor of Rivers State.
2. Governor Abubakar Sani Bello
Net worth: $500m
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state, with a net worth of $500 million; is one of the governors in Nigeria with sufficient financial muscle to be a political giant in his region. He was born on the 17th of December 1967, into the family of Col. Sani Bello (RTD); former governor of old Kano State.
Having been born into a wealthy and influential family; he had a very good head start in life. After his education; he went to serve at NICOTES; the haulage and logistics company cofounded by Atiku Abubakar.
He ran for governor under the platform of the APC in 2015, and won said election. He then went on gain re-election in 2019.
3. Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
Net worth: $400m
Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai is the Governor of Kaduna State. He was born on the 16th of December 1960, in Katsina State, Nigeria. He studied at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, and then he proceeded to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C, then the University of London; for further studies.
He has had a long and impressive career in government; he was he received several construction contracts from Late Gen. Sani Abacha. After the death of Abacha he continued to receive patronage from Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar; he was even made an economic adviser.
Under the Obasanjo government he was made the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. After the Obasanjo Era, he went to live in London, from where he frequently criticized President Umaru Ya Adua. He returned to government under Goodluck Jonathan; but soon fell out with him.
El Rufai is one of the founders of the APC; he became governor of Kaduna State in 2015 on the platform of the APC. He made his money in government during the military era when there was less accountability; and while he is said to be worth $400 million, it could be even more than that.
4. Governor Godwin Obaseki
Net worth: $325m
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state is one of the only Governor in Nigeria with a background in money management. His whole career has been about making money; and he is distinguished as a top professional. Godwin Obaseki was born on July 1, 1957. He attended the University of Ibadan; and in 1983, he began his career as a stockbroker.
Obaseki started out with Capital Trust Brokers Limited, Lagos; and then he moved to International Merchant Bank. By 1988 he had moved to AVC Funds Limited, Lagos, to serve as a Project Manager.
He later moved to New York, where he worked as a Principal of Equatorial Finance Company. At the company he designed structures to include Africa in the business by facilitating entry of African investors.
He founded Afrinvest in 1995, and grew the company to become one of the most dependable names in investment management in the country. He then stepped down from the board in 2016 so as to contest in the elections under the APC.
5. Governor Seyi Makinde
Net worth: $200m
Governor Seyi Makinde is rich. He was born into a rich family, has lived a rich life, and has the mindset of a rich person. He has even tried to impart that mindset into the people; an example being when he rejected trailer loads of rice sent to the state by the Federal Government when he found them to be expired, and unfit for human consumption. The bags of rice were sent as Covid 19 Palliatives.
He was born on 25th December 1967, in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. He studied at the University of Lagos (Unilag) where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, and then he went to the US, where he trained at the Industrial Control Services in Houston.
He was the Managing Director of Makon Group Limited, an oil and gas company based in Nigeria, but he stepped down from this role so as to pursue his political ambition. He first contested the Governorship election in 2015, on the platform of the SDP. He then rejoined the PDP, and became the governorship candidate of the party.
6. Governor Dapo Abiodun
Net worth: $180m
Governor Dapo Abiodun is an oil mogul; he is one of the richest governors in Nigeria with substantial investments in the oil sector in the country. He was born on 29 May 1960, in Iperu Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria.
He founded First Power Limited, and he was also the Managing Director of Heyden Petroleum; which is one of the biggest oil firms in Nigeria, before stepping down from the company in order to focus on politics.
7. Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal
Net worth: $127m
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is the executive governor of Sokoto State. He was born 10 January 1966, in Tambuwal, Sokoto State, Nigeria. He made his money in government; having had a long and fruitful career as a politician.
He started his foray into politics by serving as Personal Assistant on Legislative Affairs to Senator Abdullahi Wali, the then Senate Leader. In 2003 he ran for the House of Representatives on the platform of the ANPP. He won that election and served as legislator for several years.
He defected to the DPP leading up to the 2007 general elections, alongside the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa. But he soon went back to the ANPP, and then to the PDP where he is now one of the most powerful persons.
He is also a delegate at the PDP which is a very lucrative position. Aside from being the Governor of Sokoto State; he is a king maker at the PDP; and he receives tribute from political candidates.
8. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa
Net Worth: $100m
Governor of Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has risen rapidly in the political space of Nigeria; he is an accomplished politician, who by providence has become very important in the political discourse of the country. He was born in Owa-Alero, Delta State, in 1959. He attended the University of Ibadan, and worked as a Medical Doctor for many years.
It was Former Governor James Ibori who brought him into politics as a Commissioner. He then contested for the governorship seat in 2007, but lost. In the interim, he worked under the Governor Uduaghan. He then became Senator in 2011, on the platform of the PDP.
In the next election he became Governor of Delta State, and in 2019 he was reelected. He has been picked as running mate to Atiku Abubakar.
9. Governor Douye Diri
Net Worth: $90m
Governor Douye Diri was born June 4, 1959, in Sampou, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. He made his money in public service; and he is quite influential; he has risen to become one of the key political figures in the region. He attended the University of Port Harcourt, and then delving into politics.
He was a Senator, representing the good people of Bayelsa Central senatorial district of Bayelsa state, from 2019 to 2020, before contesting for the Governorship of Bayelsa State. He became governor after a judgment by the Supreme Court disqualified his main opponent.
10. Governor Bala Mohammed
Net Worth: $80m
Governor Bala Mohammed was born October 5, 1958, in Alkaleri, Bauchi State, Nigeria. He made his millions in government; during an impressive career in the Civil Service, and Politics; and now he is a high ranking member of the PDP.
Governor Bala Mohammed willingly retired from Civil Service, and immediately became Senator representing the South Senatorial zone in Bauchi State. He won that election on the platform of the ANPP, but soon left for the PDP, where he became a friend and confidant of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The richest governors in Nigeria have largely made their money in private enterprise, and have used that wealth to win influence. However, the possibility of corruption cannot be completely ruled out. Therefore, it is quite possible that the estimated net worth of some of the governors presented here may just be a fraction of what they truly have.