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Published On: Tue, Jan 16th, 2018

# Nigeria 100: Annual list of the most powerful and influential Nigerians, 2017

# Nigeria 100: Annual list of the most powerful and influential Nigerians, 2017

Nigeria is a country of very powerful men and women strewn across a broad stratum of the society. Lords of various dimensions jostle for positions of influence in the daily hustle of life. But who are the real power brokers? Who make the crucial calls to determine the outcome of events in the wide terrain of power? And who are the bellwethers, the real actors, the master puppeteers who pull the strings? Indeed, in a nutshell which people actually make things happen in Nigeria, who are the go to people; those who actually call the shots in Nigeria’s highly charged power game?  A man or woman of influence often towers over their peers like a Roman god; with impudence, authority and presence. This explains why people in the know, pursue influence with earnestness and persistence that often leave the less ambitious astonished. In trying to understand the direction and pace of socioeconomic progress, a review of Nigeria’s power and influence chessboard is crucial.

But beyond the complexities of power and control, establishing where tangible influence is situated amongst Nigeria’s shifting elite gives insight into the texture and tone of the society. It speaks to the underlying belief systems of leadership and the likely direction society will tread in its evolution. Identifying these centres of influence and power to a large extent exposes the country’s economic and political course and explains its dynamics.

In walking through the list of Nigeria’s 100 most influential people for the year 2017, Business Hallmark uncovered wonderful perspectives on the way Nigeria is administered and how the interaction of different centres of influence leads to specific social, political and economic outcomes.  For, example of the top ten most influential Nigerians, only one (Alhaji Aliko Dangote) comes from the Organized Private Sector (OPS), emphasizing the statist leaning of the current All Progressives Congress (APC) federal government, in contradiction to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s repeated emphasis on the strategic importance of the private sector in the nation’s economic plans.

The dominant peddlers of influence in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration are unambiguously those in government as well as the members of a shadowy and exclusive inner circle of friends and relations that wield tremendous power over policy. These amorphous groups of power players do not sit comfortably where the principles of market economics come to the fore or where the concept of merit takes pre-eminence. These purveyors of influence see the public sector and public office as a tool for addressing perceived regional imbalances in socioeconomic development.

The second tier of top ten power brokers (those from 11 to 20) in Nigeria is a mixed grill of politicians, especially state governors who have increasingly become critical centres of power and influence in the country. This was clearly and decisively demonstrated at the recent national convention of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja this month where the Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, virtually took the convention by the scruff of its neck and successfully secured the appointments of all his nominees as national officers of the party, including the party Chairman, Senator Uche Secondus.

The pull and heft of state governors and even former governors is palpable. In the APC, for example, former governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a major influence magnet and power broker of the party as one of its most visible national leaders. Former governor of Kwara State, Dr Bukola Saraki is the current Senate President and a significant power broker with a spider-web kind of influence that many analysts claim to be larger than that of his late father, Dr Olusola Saraki, who was once considered the strongman of Kwara politics. Former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola (popularly called BRF) is the present minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Former governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, is the minister of Mineral Resources, while former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, is the minister of Transport. Current Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El rufai, is considered to be one of the early influencers of APC’s economic policy thrust and is reputed to have the Presidents attention on economic matters and broad government policy. In other words, being a governor in Nigeria offers leverage to higher levels of power and relevance. However, this also depends on how well the individual skillfully uses the position to build a network of critical contacts that reinforce his relevance as a ‘go-to’ person on matters of national strategic issues of social, economic and political importance.

Business Hallmark’s # Nigeria 100 slices open the onion peels of Nigeria’s power players and most notable influence peddlers and separates the men from the boys, the bit players from the lead characters and determines the real power brokers from the veranda boys! It explores why each individual wields so much authority both within and outside government circles, it provides a colourful snapshot of how the country is carved up to favour different religious, ethnic, economic and even individual interests. In the top ten social influencers in the country, for instance, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, General Overseer of arguably Nigeria’s largest Pentecostal Christian gathering, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), holds a prominent position slightly behind the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, both religious personalities have large followings of religious faithful and necessarily have the President’s ear. The presence of Pentecostal pastors at the top of the list and the equal presence of Muslim clerics speaks volumes to the rapped commitment of Nigerians to the major religions of Christianity and Islam and the central influence religion plays in the day-to-day lives of the country’s citizens.

Influence is not a quick poke in the dark; it is a carefully crafted and orchestrated strategy to be relevant and powerful over a time span. It is not simply animal spirits running amok, but a cleverly choreographed deployment of personal charm, acquired knowledge, developed and sustained contacts and deft subterfuge and emotional blackmail, to achieve clearly defined goals. In the accompanying tables and personality reviews we present Nigeria’s 100 most influential persons for the year 2017. We note that the clear absence of some names from the list is just as intriguing and insightful as the presence of others.

President Muhammadu Buhari: He is the most powerful and most influential man in Nigeria.
His influence and power do not necessarily derive from the fact that he is the president and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. It is mostly due to the nature of his support base. It is safe to say that no president in modern Nigerian history has had the kind of strong support among a large section of the Nigerian population as President Buhari. His support border on fanaticism. Most of his supporters are very passionate about him and even tend to deify him. Over two years after his election, he continues to enjoy very strong support among a large section of the Nigerian population. To such people, he can do no wrong; whatever he does is right. Whatever he says is the gospel. Indeed, that makes him perhaps the most popular Nigerian in contemporary history. It is this support base that has allowed him to succeed in holding power and enjoy immunity from criticisms. Unlike other previous presidents who after over a year in office, lose popular appeal and become weakened by criticisms and vicious media attacks, President Buhari has transcended these minefields and appears not to be bothered by any criticism or the usual challenges governments face. He is, without a doubt, the most influential Nigerian alive today.
2. Mamman Daura: The second most influential Nigerian, ironically, is a man who does not hold public office; a man who is largely unknown by most Nigerians. There are very few Nigerians who can recognise his face, either in a newspaper or on television. He makes very rare public appearances. He is Alhaji Mamman Daura, referred to behind earshot as the defacto president of Nigeria.
He is the president’s uncle and enjoys his implicit confidence. Many people see him as the master puppeteer; he is the unofficial leader of the so called Aso Rock cabal who run the show in the presidency. There are wild speculations about the extent of his power. Many of the powerful appointees in government appear to owe allegiance to him. The wife of the president had targeted him in her outbursts. Daura’s influence is permissive. He controls the levers of power in the presidency and is the undisputed leader of the shadowy group who are credited with awesome powers. He is the principal go to man by all those who are seeking favours or appointment in the Villa. He is today, the second most powerful and influential Nigerian.
3. Abba Kyari: The third most influential Nigerian is the Chief of Staff. He is dubbed by many in the power loop in Abuja as His Excellency, the Chief of Staff. The president mandated all the ministers to report to him. He is also chairman of the board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is the goose that lays the golden egg in Nigeria. In that capacity, many see him as the defacto minister of petroleum and the managing director of NNPC. He is representing the president on the board of NNPC. He is the clearing house of the presidency and the conventional wisdom in Abuja is that he owes his power to Alhaji Mamman Daura who is like his foster father. He has the implicit confidence of the president and is the clearing house of the tabled Aso Rock cabal. He also liaises between the presidency and corporate Nigeria. For a president who is hugely insular and inaccessible, the Chief of Staff is the link person and he plays the role to the hilt.
4. Sultan of Sokoto: The fourth most influential Nigerian is the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sadiq Abubakar 11. The Sultan is the head of the Muslim Community in Nigeria, and given the primacy of Islam in the Socio-political dynamics of Nigeria, it makes him, in effect, the defacto leader of Nigeria. The Sultan is a very influential and powerful monarch. If there were to be a Nigerian council of traditional rulers, he would easily assume the chairmanship position of that body. His influence cuts across different sections of the country and is seen by many Muslims as the authentic leader of Nigeria.
5. Eunuch Adeboye: The fifth most influential Nigerian is the leader of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Eunuch A. Adeboye whose influence and power have transcended the Redeemed Christian Church which he is the general overseer. He is widely seen both locally and internationally as the leader of the Christian community in Nigeria. His voice is widely respected by Christians and non- Christians alike. His eminence transcends denominations, and he is revered by Christians all over Nigeria; both Pentecostals and non- Pentecostals, and even non- Christians. Many see him as the undisputed leader of the Nigerian Christian Community. His carriage has earned him the adulation and respect of millions of Nigerians at various levels of society. The bulk of the middle class in Nigeria today are members of the Redeemed Christian Church and other Pentecostal movements.
6. Aliko Dangote: The sixth most influential Nigerian is the president of the Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote. From building a trading outpost, Dangote has emerged as an industrial giant, locally and internationally. He has become one of the wealthiest men in the world. However, it is not just wealth that makes him influential and powerful, it is his ability to socialize; be at home in various parts of Nigeria. His humility and philanthropy, have made him a household name in most parts of Nigeria. He is widely respected and easily ranks as the most influential non- government official in Nigeria. He is a behind the scenes player and plays prominent roles in the emergence of various categories of leaders in Nigeria at various levels, including the presidency. Some have said that it is difficult for anyone to emerge as the president of Nigeria without the active support of Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
7. Abubakar Bukola Saraki: The seventh most influential person is the president of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki. As the president of the Senate, he is constitutionally the number three citizen. However, his power and influence do not derive from that office alone. Rather, it derives from his political acumen and extensive network of friendship and support he has built over the years across various segments of the populace. He is immensely wealthy and has a name recognition that cuts across every part of the country. He is a canny political operator who is very highly ambitious. He nurtures his ambition tenaciously and has a strong support base within the Nigerian political establishment. It is that support base that he tapped into to emerge Senate President in the face of strong opposition. Many have tapped him as one of the pillars of the present political arrangement in Nigeria. He is without doubt a strong determinant of Nigeria’s socio-political future.
8. Bola Ahmed Tinubu: Tinubu is clearly one of the most powerful men in Nigeria and we rank him number 8th. He is the other leg of the ruling APC. He is dubbed, the leader of the party. He is a man of immense political sagacity and towering political stature who has access to huge wealth. He is the defacto leader of the civil society, the defacto leader of the fourth estate of the realm- the media, and defacto leader of the progressive arm of government in Nigeria. He is widely seen as the stabilizing factor in the Buhari administration; the man who made it possible for change to happen, and who, if he so desires, can torpedo the wind of change. Never before in the history of Nigeria has a non- government official commanded such immense powers. He has emerged as the undisputed leader of the Yoruba, and many see him as a future presidential candidate.
9. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo: Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo is rated number nine in recognition of his role as perhaps the most engaged vice president, apart from former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, in the history of Nigeria. He enjoys the confidence of President Buhari and has earned the admiration of a cross section of Nigerians for the able way he managed the country during the time he was acting president. He is an erudite scholar who is respected for his intellect. He is very eloquent and enjoys the support, not just of the Christian community, but of many Nigerians who see him as competent and efficient. From a weak footing, he gradually grew into the job and has earned the admiration of many, even those who did not initially support him within the government.
10. Godwin Emefiele: The 10th most influential and powerful person in Nigeria is the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who is the custodian of monetary policy. Godwin Emefiele has emerged as a very strong player within the power dynamics because of the adroit manner he has managed monetary policy and the affairs of the CBN. In the period before the appointment of ministers, he functioned almost as both the head of the monetary policy and head of fiscal policy; combining the job of the governor of Central Bank and that of the chief adviser to the president on financial matters, thereby making him the defacto minister of finance. Today, Emefiele’s voice has become very strong and dominant in economic and financial matters. And he enjoys the confidence and respect of the president. Given the central role of monetary policy in the economy, he has emerged as a key player in the success of the Buhari government.
11. Babagana Kingibe: Babagana Kingibe is a puzzle to those who do not understand the workings of the government in Abuja. He is a non-official of the government and yet, wields immense powers. He is one of the key authors of the Buhari doctrine. He is a behind-the-scene player; a backroom operator who influences national policies. He is widely seen as the power behind the Chief of Staff and between them, he is the pillar of the fabled Aso Rock cabal. He is the intellectual arm of the cabal, it’s …Rasputin… He is a very experienced political operative who has been in the corridors of power for over four decades. He has been a principal secretary at Dodan Barracks; foreign minister, secretary to government and a presidential candidate. He is very versatile, very well informed and well-trained. He is the intellectual backbone of the Buhari government. He is responsible for some of the policy direction of the administration.
12. Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai. The Chief of Army Staff, Buratai is easily the defacto head of the security apparatus of the Buhari administration. Even though Nigeria is ostensibly a democracy, the military continues to play a very leading role in the country given the security challenges. Recently, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said that the military is deployed in over 28 states of the country, and they take their orders directly from the Chief of Army Staff. Buratai has become so influential and important to the Buhari government that even recently when his tenure in office expired, the government extended it. He is the stabilizing force of the government. The man who understands power and how to use it, and has made the army an influential player in the Nigerian polity.
13. Gen Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd). Gen. Obasanjo is rated as the 13th most influential Nigerian. He is easily the most influential former head of state, a man of prodigious strength and abilities who has wide national and international network of contacts. He is also very outspoken and combative; someone who you cross at your own risk. Recently, former president Goodluck Jonathan described him as the boss of bosses. He has been an active player in the Nigerian polity for over the last four decades, and knows where all the ghosts are buried. He is a master conspirator and understands the intricacies of political conspiracies and nuances. He is rated as the most influential political personality in the history of Nigeria. Apart from being president on two separate occasions, he influenced the emergence of President Umaru Yar’Adua, influenced his replacement with President Jonathan and worked actively against the re-election of President Jonathan, thereby influencing the emergence of President Buhari. He is a very shrewd and cunning fellow and has also developed very wide contacts within the Nigerian corporate world. Many Nigerians see him as the go-to person to get their problems resolved. He enjoys the respect of many of Nigeria’s political leaders at various levels in different parts of the country.
14. Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB). Former President Babangida has managed to remain relevant close to 25 years after leaving office. Recently, when his daughter wedded, the Minna airspace was jammed by dignitaries who flocked the ancient city to be part of the celebration. His support base cuts across different parts of the country; he also has a cult-like followership and is a man of great influence. In order to emerge president, it was reported that President Buhari had to go to his house in Minna on more than one occasion for discussions. Anyone who is aspiring to any national position in Nigeria sees him as a worthwhile ally to have. It is noteworthy that even in choosing who will emerge as chairman of PDP, various interest groups converged in Minna seeking his blessings. He is a man of considerable influence and respect.
15. Nyesom Wike: The 15th most powerful Nigerian, and indeed the top ranked governor in Nigeria is Rivers State governor, Mr Nyesom Wike. Wike has, within a short period of time, emerged as one of the most powerful Nigerians. He has used the platform of Rivers governor to build a powerful political base which has made him one of the most powerful Nigerians. He is today, ranked as the dominant personality in the PDP. He determined the emergence of the National Chairman of the party. His views carry a lot of weight within the PDP, the governors forum and the nation at large. Many Nigerians now see him as a credible alternative centre of power. He has leveraged on the immense resources of Rivers State and his own force of personality to build a strong political platform.
16. Gen. T Y Danjuma (rtd). The 16th most powerful Nigerian is the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen T Y Danjuma. Danjuma continues to attract a lot of admiration, especially among the powers that be, over four decades after he left office as Chief of Army Staff. He played a leading role in the emergence of President Obasanjo, supported the emergence of President Jonathan and has been touted as the unseen finger that financed the emergence of President Buhari. He is a man of considerable wealth and strong views and principles. He is usually insular, but deeply connected to human rights and the progressive agenda. He is a promoter of good governance and an uncommon philanthropist. He is widely respected within the military; many regard him as perhaps, the finest and most influential officer ever produced by the Nigerian Army. He is revered within the military, feared by many and admired by many. He is seen as a behind the scene player.
17. Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. El-Rufai is rated as the 17th most powerful Nigerian. He is a man of sharp intellect and strong convictions. He is one of the authors of the President Buhari doctrine of governance. He played a leading role in the emergence of President Buhari and contributed greatly in enunciating the philosophy of Buharism and APC. He also played a role in brokering the alliance between the CPC and the ACN which culminated in the APC. He has the very strong contacts in the South West and has smouldering ambition of being president of Nigeria. He is someone who has the ears of the president and is connected to the intellectual flank of the Northern elite.

18. Lawal Daura. The Director General of Dept. of State Security (DSS), Mr. Lawal Daura is rated as the 18th most powerful and influential Nigerian. He is the power behind the throne who provides the security balance for the government and enjoys the confidence of the Buhari administration. He has unquestionable access to the seat of power as a member of the cabal from Katsina, and interprets his mandate mainly to secure the administration and ensure the opponents of the regime do not create unnecessary obstacles for the administration. He has been engaged in a running battle with the chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu and has almost crippled him.
19. Hon. Yakubu Dogara: The Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara is rated number 19. As the speaker, he is constitutionally the number four citizen, but his power and influence do not necessarily derive from the office… in reality, he doesn’t rank as number four in the country. He is a very brilliant man who has been able to establish strong political links within the National Assembly that has made him a formidable player in the polity. As a Christian in the North, he is weakened within the politics of the North, but nationally, he has a stronger platform and many see him as a potential for higher office in the future.
20. Ibrahim Mustafa Magu. The Chairman of EFCC is a cat with multiple lives. He has become one of the most influential Nigerians who has leveraged on his power as the chairman of EFCC to build a strong political platform which he has used to gain immense public acclaim for his dogged pursuit of corrupt public officials. Many see him as a strong ally of the president and as a weapon which the presidency deploys to checkmate political opponents.
Given the nature of public office in Nigeria, Magu has become very influential since most top Nigerians tend to have one skeleton or the other in their cupboards. The fact that he continues to survive in office despite sanctions by the National Assembly and the Department of State Security (DSS) shows that he is a durable power player and belongs to one of the factions of the famed Aso Rock cabal. He can determine the fortunes of any politician in Nigeria by his actions as chairman of EFCC.
21. Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd). Former Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar has continued to grow in stature. He is easily one of the most powerful former heads of state; a man who earned both national and international acclaim for handing over power to a civilian government. He also brokered the agreement between outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan and the incoming Buhari administration which worked out the terms of engagement between them. He is a man that is widely respected in different parts of the country and many have indeed touted his name as a potential presidential candidate. He is a behind the scene power player who has access to the inner recesses of power in Nigeria.
22. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan: Jonathan’s feat in willingly handing over power, which was the first time for an incumbent in Africa, has been lauded globally and has earned him a place in the committee of eminent statesmen. It has also made him a significant voice in the Nigerian polity. He has become an elder statesman who has immense following in some sections of the country.
23. Aisha Buhari. Aisha Buhari has emerged in public esteem as a feisty, outspoken and progressive minded woman. She is a first lady who is not content to just remain in “zaoza” room, but who insists on playing an activist role to ensure good governance. Shortly after the administration came into office, she wrote and launched a book. She has continued to play a role in the humanitarian aspect of governance. However, her role has been diminished, as she herself admitted, by the cabal who she alleged took her husband prisoner and limited her access to power. Nevertheless, she has emerged as a very influential personality who earned respect and admiration across the country. Recently, the feisty Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka singled her out as a woman of courage who means well for President Buhari’s government.
22. Babagana Monguno. The National Security Adviser, Monguno is the engine room of the entire security apparatus in the country as the coordinator of national security. He is the man responsible for coordinating the activities of the various security agencies and so he has the ear and the eyes of the president.
25. Ibrahim Idris: At number 25 is the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. Idris has weathered the storm of controversies and managed to build a police force that has not been derailed by the outpouring of criticisms by members of the public. His success in combating crime has earned him respect in some quarters and his strength of character has made him one of the most influential figures in the administration.
26. Akinwumi Ambode: Number 26 is the governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode. Ambode is a very gentle and easy going public officer whose strength lies in his successes in office as governor. Many would rank him as perhaps the best performing governor in the country who has impacted positively on Lagos. He presides over the largest state economy in Nigeria and Lagos is host to what many call the best and brightest of Nigeria. As governor of Lagos State, he is easily one of the most well-known public figures in Nigeria since Lagos is also the media capital of Nigeria. He is focused on expanding the frontiers of Lagos as Nigeria’s economic and cultural power house. He has become the pace setter in Nigeria.
27. Emir of Kano, Muhammed Sanusi 11: The Emir is one of the most influential traditional rulers in Nigeria. But his influence and power transcends beyond his role as Emir. He is seen as one of the conscience of the new Nigeria. He is a progressive intellectual who is very frank and outspoken; a man who is deeply patriotic and has great dreams for Nigeria. His successes as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has made him a cult figure among the Nigerian corporate elite and the intellectual elite see him as a comrade-in-arms; a man who shares the vision of a better Nigeria. His fight for modernization of the Islamic culture and social mores has endeared him to millions of Nigerians as the face of the future.
30. The Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan: The Oni of Ife has rapidly emerged as one of the most popular traditional rulers in Nigeria. Despite his youth, he commands respect across all sections of the country and seen as a leader of the Yoruba nation. His influence derives mostly from his role as leader of the Yoruba nation and custodian of the culture of the Yoruba. His voice is highly regarded all over the country, and his pursuit of peace among the Yoruba and in the country has made him a symbol of unity.

32. Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe: The Obi is ranked at number 32. He is the preeminent traditional ruler in the South East. Remarkably, in a zone that does not pay a high premium to traditional institution, the Obi of Onitsha institution has managed to retain immense respect, not just among the Igbo, but also other Nigerians. The current Obi, an accomplished technocrat carries an aura of high dignity and intellect. He seldom speaks on issues, but whenever he speaks, his voice carries respect, not just in Onitsha, Anambra State, but throughout the South East and the rest of Nigeria. He is perceived by many Nigerians as the preeminent authority in Igbo land, and is accorded high respect. His views represent the opinion of most Igbos on diverse issues in the country. He has emerged, as a result, as one of the most influential Nigerians in the country today.

42. T B Joshua: Prophet T B Joshua is ranked at number 42. He has emerged as one of the most controversial Pentecostal pastors of the modern age who has built a thriving ministry, the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) which has continued to wax stronger despite the multiple controversies surrounding him. He is one of the most renowned pastors from Nigeria operating internationally. His church has become a Mecca of sorts for the international community. Visitors from different parts of the world flock to his church, including leaders of corporate organisations and countries. Many presidents of nations come to his church. When he travels abroad, he is treated like a VIP. In many countries, he is even accorded the respect often reserved for heads of government. His ministry has global reach. Within a very short period of time, he has built one of the most thriving Pentecostal churches in the world. His influence cuts across different strata of the Nigerian society. He is a highly sought after counsellor to many leaders within Nigeria and outside. Although he is largely quiet and rarely comments on political issues, his influence is very permissive. His ministry has also gained lots of popularity through its charitable and philanthropic works. Its charity outreach has made it very popular, especially among the poorer members of the society.

46. Mr. Jim Ovia: Mr. Jim Ovia is ranked 46. He is the founder of Zenith Bank plc and he is the chairman of the bank. He is a very quiet and smooth operator; very self-effacing, but very powerful. He has been ranked variously as one of the wealthiest men in Nigeria. His influence is very permissive, especially in the banking and finance industry and also in the enunciation of monetary policies. He is a behind the scene player and is responsible for the appointment of some very senior government officials. His bank has become a dominant player in the banking and finance industry and he is one of the leaders of the organised private sector in Nigeria.

47. Dr Mike Adenuga, the chairman of Globacom, the second largest telecom company in Nigeria. He is also a very influential player in the oil and gas sector. He is fabulously wealthy and is deeply connected with some of the leaders of the political class. He is highly influential in government circles and it doesn’t matter which political party is in power. It is believed that he is one of the financiers of the APC and President Buhari’s election campaign. He is a man who likes to play beneath the radar, and does not hug the limelight. He is also strongly apolitical and does not express overt partisan and political views. He hardly grants press interviews, but his influence is permissive; it is like air, you can’t see it, but it is indispensable. He is also related to one of the foremost traditional rulers in Yoruba Land, the Awujale of Ijebu land, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona.

48. Tony Elumelu: Mr. Tony Elumelu is ranked number 48. He has had a fairy tale rise in the banking industry. He founded the Standard Trust Bank which grew rapidly and merged with the United Bank of Africa (UBA). Today, UBA whose board he chairs, is one of the largest banks on the African continent. Tony has become a very powerful player in the Nigerian economy, his interests cut across banking, oil and gas, hospitality and energy. He is also chairman of Heirs Holdings and Transcorp. Apart from his business holdings, he is also very influential and plays behind the scenes in influencing government policies. He is easily one of the most popular faces of corporate Africa internationally. Through his Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), he is supporting African entrepreneurship. He is a very ambitious individual whose energy and drive always create fresh opportunities and new territories to conquer.

50. Bishop Oyedepo is the founder of the Winners Chapel. He is one of the most charismatic Pentecostal leaders in Nigeria. Many will rank him as second behind Pastor Adeboye as the foremost Pentecostal preacher in Nigeria. He is hugely successful among the middle class and the elite and has earned a very strong reputation as a Pentecostal preacher. The educational programme of the church popularised, especially, by the Covenant University, has made him a symbol of educational excellence. He is also very outspoken and deeply passionate about good governance in Nigeria. He is one of the strongest voices in the promotion of Christianity in Africa and is seen as a defender of the Christian faith within the country. His views carry a lot of weight among members of the public, and many government officials often go out of their way to curry his favour.

61. James Ibori: James Ibori is nationally recognized as the true lion of the Niger Delta. He is a man whose influence knows no limitations. Close to 10 years out of power as governor of Delta State, he is still seen as the master puppeteer in the state. He is the man whose support and approval is highly sought after by anyone aspiring to political office in Delta State. He enjoys the support and adulation of his constituency in Delta State. His people see him as a hero without blemish. Despite his travails, which include imprisonment, he remains a cult figure in Delta State and anyone seeking political support in the Delta goes to him for endorsement. He is reputed to be in control of the militant forces and he is the one who can influence their actions. Therefore, if the country is under threat of militancy, it is to him that the government appeals. He is ranked as one of the most influential Nigerians today and a vital spoke in the national wheel of stability.

70. Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka: Fr. Mbaka has emerged as a terror to governments. He is a Roman Catholic priest who some see as a gadfly, and agent provocateur. He has fought bruising battles, first with the former governor of Enugu State, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani and subsequently, he opposed the re-election campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan thus becoming an early advocate for the election of President Buhari. Recently, he has emerged as a strong critic of President Buhari and has urged him not to run for a second term in office. Fr. Mbaka enjoys the adulation of Roman Catholic adherents who flock to his Adoration ground for crusades. But beyond that, he also enjoys the admiration and respect of millions of Nigerians who see him as fearless and a resolute fighter for the interest of the ordinary people. His views and opinions carry a lot of weight among many Nigerians, including the mass media.

….(Mbaka is the most popular Catholic priest in a predominantly Catholic zone. His following equally cut across denominations. He is to the Catholics, and indeed the South East what Adeboye is to the Lagos Pentecostal community. I know this for sure. At 97, the list (church wise) comes around as Lagos- Pentecostal centric. For me, he should come behind Oyedepo, and even so because the nature of our target audience)….

Position Name Designation
1 President Muhammadu Buhari President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
2 Alh Mamman Daura President Buhari’s Uncle
3 Alh Abba Kyari Chief of Staff
4 Alh. Saa’d Abubakar III Sultan of Sokoto
5 Pastor E. A. Adeboye Head, RCCG
6 Alh. Aliko Dangote President, Dangote Group
7 Dr. Bukola Saraki Senate President
8 Bola Ahmed Tinubu APC National Leader
9 Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
10 Mr. Godwin Emefiele CBN Governor
11 Alh. Baba Gana Kingibe Fmr SGF
12 Lt.Gen Tukur Buratai Chief of Army Staff (COAS)
13 Olusegun Obasanjo Fmr Head of State
14 Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida(IBB) Fmr Head of State
15 Dr Maikanti Baru GMD, NNPC
16 Nyesom Wike Governor of Rivers State
17 Gen. T Y Danjuma Fmr Chief od Army Staff & Philanthropist
18 Nasir El-Rufai Governor of Kaduna State
19 Lawal Daura DG, DSS
20 Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara Speaker, House of Reps
21 Ibrahim Mustafa Magu Acting Chairman, EFCC
22 Abdulsalami Abubakar Fmr Head of State
23 Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Fmr Head of State
24 Aisha Buhari First Lady
25 Major Gen Babagana Monguno rtd National Security Adviser (NSA)
26 IGP Ibrahim Idris IGP
27 Akinwunmi Ambode Governor of Lagos State
28 Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
29 Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Emir of Kano
30 Rtd. Col Ahmed Ali CG, Customs
31 Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ooni of Ife
32 Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau Minister of Interior
33 Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe Obi of Onitsha
34 Gov. Ibikunle Amosun Governor, Ogun State
35   Abubakar Shekau Leaderof Boko Haram
36 Babatunde Raji Fashola Minister, Works, Power & Housing
37 Rotimi Amaechi Minister for Transport
38 Kashim Shettima Governor of Borno State
39 Kemi Adeosun Minister of Finance
40 Dr Kabir Usman Emir of Katsina
41 Rev. Samuel Ayokunle CAN President
42 Gen. Yakubu Gowon Fmr President
43 Prophet T B Joshua SCOAN
44 John Oyegun Chairman, APC
45 Oba Rilwan Akiolu Oba of Lagos
46 Nnamdi  Kanu Leader of IPOB
47 Jim Ovia Chairman, Zenith Bank
48 Mike Adenuga Chairman, GLOBALCOM
49 Tony Elumelu Chairman UBA
50 Miyette Allah Head, Fulani Herdsmen
51 Bishop David Oyedepo Founder, Winners Chapel
52 Sen. Godswill Akpabio Senate Minority Leader
53 Nduka Obaigbena President, NPAN
54 Senator Ike Ekweremadu Deputy Senate President
55 Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah Bishop of Sokoto
56 Most Rev. John Onaiyekan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja
57 Chief Bisi Akande Fmr. Chairman, APC
58 Chief Emeka Anyaoku Fmr. Secretary General, Commonewealth
59 Alh. Shehu Idris Emir of Zaria
60 Gov . Aminu Tambuwal Governor, Sokoto State
61 Mr. John Momoh Chairman, Channels TV
62 James Ibori Fmr Governor, Delta State
63 Pastor Chris Oyakhilome Founder, Christ Embassy
64 Gov. Aminu Bello-Masari Governor, Katsina State
65 Dr. Kayode Fayemi Hon Minister, Mines
66 Oba Lamidi Adeyemi Aalafin of Oyo
67 Lamido Sule Lamido Fmr Gov of Jigawa State
68 Oba Eheneden Erediauwa Oba of Benin
69 Umar Ghanduje Governor,  Kano State
70 Rabiu Kwakwanso Fmr Gov of Kano State
71 Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka Catholic Priest and social critic
72 Prof. Pat Utomi Founder, CVL
73 High Chief Raymond Dokpesi Chairman, AIT
74 Dave Umahi Governor, Ebonyi State
75 Willie Obiano Governor of Anambra State
76 Dr. Daniel Olukoya Founder, MFM
77 Prof. Chukwuma  Soludo Fmr CBN Governor
78 Gov. Rauf Aregbesola Governor, Osun State
79 Abubakar Umar Former Military gov. of Kaduna State
80 Prof. Wole Soyinka Nobel Laureate, activist, Play wright and poet
81 Chief Ayo Adebanjo Elder Statesman
82 Mr. Babatunde Fowler Chairman FIRS
83 Chief Oba Otudeko Chairman, FirstBank Group
84 Senator  Mohammed Makarfi:               Fmr. Gov. & Caretaker Chairman, PDP  
85 Chief Edwin Clark Elder Statesman and Federal Commissioner
86 Pastor Tunde Bakare Founder, Latter Rain Assembly
87 Mr. Segun Agbaje MD, GT Bank
88 Herbert Wigwe MD, Access Bank
89 Orji Uzor Kalu Fmr. Governor, Abia State
90 Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Shehu of Borno
91 Femi Falana  Lawyer and human right activist
92 Donald Duke Fmr.Governor, Cross River State
93 Oby Ezekwesili Fmr. Minister and social Critic
94 Femi Otedola Chairman, Forte Oil
95 Femi Fani Kayode Fmr. Minister of Aviation
96 Tu Face Idibia  Music Maestro
97 Adams Oshiomhole Fmr Gov. Edo State
98 David Adeleke (Davido) Celebrated Musician
99  Collins Ajereh (Don Jazzy) Musician and Producer
100 Ayodeji  Balogun (Wiz Kid) Popular Musician


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