Everybody wants to be successful. However, not many actually make it a reality. Becoming a billionaire might seem like an impossible pipe dream, but the number of those joining the ultra-wealthy gang is increasing every year. Yes, it’s no cakewalk, but it is something that is possible and within the grasp of a lucky few. Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu is one of those fortuitous bunches. For this extraordinary billionaire and philanthropist, he hasn’t left his achievements up to chance. Instead of waiting for success or wealth to fall in his lap, he takes actionable steps every single day to inch closer to the finish line. And the incredible man —who started as a banker— stays ahead of the curve by diversifying and becoming a mighty octopus with vast interests in many very lucrative pies.
On Monday, 22 March, this ever-youthful looking business magnate clocked 58. When a man with a larger-than-life image such as Elumelu celebrates, the world would definitely celebrate with him. And last Monday, the world certainly celebrated with the Forbes-listed billionaire when he added a new year. Encomiums were poured on him from near and far as well as a myriad of well wishes from friends, business associates, loved ones and fans including those from Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari and Elumelu’s home state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. The high-flying banker did not roll out the drums, yet it was like a big masquerade that danced at the market square. Many were they that rejoiced with him on the special occasion of his birthday. Indeed, a cursory look at the contents of the messages speaks volume of his enviable place in the global business. Also, it is obvious that the majority of those who congratulated him via different platforms on the occasion had encountered him and benefited immensely from his heart of gold.
Spotlight gathered that while the billionaire didn’t bother to host any party, his staff at Heirs Holdings were said to have put together a small soiree to celebrate their down-to-earth boss.
For a man who has a flourishing business empire with substantial investments in banking, energy, hospitality, agribusiness, healthcare, real estate and oil & gas, it is not for fun that he is described as a visionary leader, an exemplary entrepreneur and an outstanding manager of men and resources. Elumelu is a member of a new generation of ultra-wealthy people changing how they give back. They are making philanthropy more hands-on and allocating their time and skills in a way that has not been done before. The billionaire, who is also the chairman of UBA Plc and Transcorp Plc, has carved himself into the hearts of many Africans through his entrepreneurial tools. He once said that his Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme is an act of faith to transform Africa as a continent because business isn’t just about money.
In Elumelu’s entrepreneurial journey, luck has played an important role, and he was determined that many others would get those same chances. This is the sole reason he founded his now internationally recognized Tony Elumelu Foundation, TEF, after retiring as CEO of UBA a little over a decade ago. As a premier pan-African-focused not-for-profit institution, the foundation is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of entrepreneurship and excellence in business leadership across the continent.