Akin-Olugbade: A Billionaire Quits the Stage

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Bolu Akin-Olugbade

An Egba, Ogun State-born billionaire businessman, Bolu Akin-Olugbade, died last week after battling complications with from Covid-19. But he lived an enviably good life. Segun James writes

He was a quintessential showman yet not in the show business. His signature style was the Roll Royce, the British luxury vehicle that exudes class. Dr. Bolu Akin-Olugbade exuded class in all its ramifications.

All though he denied being a billionaire in dollars, the worth of his collections of Rolls Royce runs into billions of Naira. Bolu as he was called, was wealth personified. According to reports, he died of COVID-19 complications.

Born into opulence and wealth, Akin-Olugbade was a lawyer, industrialist, and business mogul, whose tentacles spread to the oil and gas industry, banking and manufacturing. He died on Wednesday, 14th of January 2121.

The son of one of the nation’s first republic political leader, Bolu Akin-Olugbade never waited on his father’s wealth. As a 28-year old, he had already bought his first car, a Rolls Royce to the consternation of his father, Babatunde Akin-Olugbade, a typical Egba Laywer and traditional leader in Owu, where President Olusegun Obasanjo comes from.

While the elder Olugbade never believed in open and ostentatious display of wealth and opulence, his son, who had never held or sought any political appointment, insisted on being his own man. After all, he could account for his wealth.

Following the death of his father, he inherited the title Aare Onakakanfo of Owu Kingdom which he held till he died. On being rich and wealthy, Akin-Olugbade once said: “People call themselves billionaires in Nigeria today, but that is chicken feed.

“If you have $5million today, you are a billionaire in naira. So, the word billionaire is abused in Nigeria. People call me a billionaire but I am not worth a billion dollars. I am not even near it, because I am worth only ($250million, and half of that I hold in cash because I believe in cash.
“For example, if you have a big house in Ikoyi today, you are a billionaire in naira, even when you do not have cash. Cash is king”, he said.

Unlike many rich folks in the country, Akin-Olugbade opined that he did not owe any bank money anywhere in the world and that most Nigerian billionaires are debtor naira billionaires.
“In fact, Forbes Magazine only publishes the share value and not the liabilities of Nigerian dollar billionaires. In Nigeria, a company should be worth only 10 times the dividends payment and a property should be worth only 10 times the rental value,” he added.

Bolu, who was a prince of Owu and whose father was the Balogun of Owu Kingdom, was born on April 2, 1956. He attended the elitist Corona School, the first private school in the country and Kings College, Lagos. He later traveled to London to further his education at the University of London.

He got his Bachelor of Law degree from that university in 1978 and his Master’s Degree in Law from the University of California in distinction for Corporate and International Business Transaction Law from 1980 to 1981. Akin-Ogunbiade later proceeded to the prestigious Cambridge University, where he got his PhD in Company Law. He bought his first signature Rolls Royce in 1984.