Tony Elumelu’s New Passion


Having conquered the business world, Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings is set to redefine the nation’s creative industry.

 As proof of his clear vision and new passion, Elemelu, also the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa and Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, on Tuesday, October 4, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the Federal Ministry of Information and  Culture to inject $100 million into the creative arts industry over a 10-year period.

SPYGLASS gathered that while the Tony Elumelu Foundation is propping up the industry with the funds, the Ministry of Information is tasked with the  responsibility of  facilitating the values engendered by the financial impetus of the Foundation.

As revealed, the facilitators- the Minister of Information and Culture  Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Elumelu and the proponent of the concept and Chief Executive Officer of Elumelu Entrepreneur Programme, Ms Mandavin-were cheered by the audience that  included the stakeholders in the creative arts industry.

 The minister confirmed that the  Ministry recognised the urgent need to develop Nigeria’s creative industries and increase its contribution to the national economy. Nigeria currently has creative industries but no creative economy. The partnership will leverage the experience of the private sector to help the creative industries retain the commercial opportunity and the financial benefits.

Also the erudite banker confirmed that without any doubt, Nollywood is a global leader and our young musicians are emerging as international sensations with serious earning potential.  While Nigerians are good at starting creative businesses, they appear to  lack the capacity to scale proper business management and the investment necessary to become self-sustaining. The partnership will provide the framework for building business capacity and attracting sustainable investment.

Elumelu had shown traces of precocity very early in life. Though he might not be said to be clairvoyant, his childhood betrayed him as a potentially great person in life. As a child, his dream was to become one of the greatest economists and bankers in the world. Luckily, providence has granted him his heart’s desire.

Over the years, the African financial wizard has shown evidence that he is committed to impacting his society positively. At 34, he had led a small group of investors to acquire  Standard Trust Bank, a then small struggling commercial bank in Lagos, and restored it to profitability within a few years. Again, he became a reference point around the globe in 2005 when he led one of the greatest mergers in the history of African banking sector- the merger of Standard Trust Bank (STB) and United Bank of Africa (UBA).  Within five years, he transformed the bank to one of the best financial institutions in the world.

 The event was attended by several industry representatives, including Joke Silva, Zeb Ejiro, Obi Asika, Ali Baba, D’Banj, Chioma Ude, Nimi Akinkugbe, Ralph Nwadike, Audu Maikori and Princess and Dolapo Oni Sijuwade, among others.