Africa’s Force Of Nature… Tony Elumelu Celebrates 55 Today

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Africa’s Force Of Nature… Tony Elumelu Celebrates 55 Today

Africa’s Force Of Nature… Tony Elumelu Celebrates 55 Today
March 22
13:35 2018


Why UBA chairman excites the awe of global leaders 

If entrepreneurship were an art, you may call the maverick banker and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu, Michelangelo; and if it were classical music, call him Mozart. Unlike the owl of Minerva that only spreads its wings and fly at dusk, Tony had his entrepreneurial epiphany early in life.

By the time he was in his late teens, his entrepreneurial streak had germinated fully and he was ready to take on the world.  Yes, becoming a celebrated entrepreneur extraordinaire however, is not mere lip service. It requires consistent effort and focus to grow from just being an entrepreneur with interest in a particular business to becoming a respected and renowned empire builder.


Interestingly, however, Nigeria is blessed with many of such men who started from the scratch, kept their nose to the grindstone and turned seemingly insignificant ideas into behemoth industries. These are the risk-taking individuals that struck out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success, to prosper themselves and their society. They are the group of people that would be sent to Mars and still treat it as a stepping stone to Saturn – the quality of constant invention and self-improvement that has earned them worldwide acclaim and prosperity.


Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of UBA is one of  them! He clocked 55 years  old today, March 22nd.

It is often more convenient to possess the ashes of great men than to possess the men themselves in their lifetime. But in Tony Elumelu’s case, the reality is remarkably different; Nigeria is extremely lucky to possess Elumelu. This is because the maverick banker and chairman of United Bank of Africa (UBA) elevates fiscal management and entrepreneurship to an art form, for the benefit of the country.


The excellence of his art however, lies in its intensity; Elumelu is specially gifted at taming the odds and making all disagreeable evaporate like mountain dew on grains of sand. And he does not have to force it; he simply faces challenges with courage, matchless equanimity  and devotion to beauty and truth.

Predictably, his ascent to the top was never a walk in the park. It required paying his dues and shunning the frivolous. Hence you would never find Elumelu concentrating on anything beyond business and philanthropy.

So committed is he to industry that so many observers believe that with his regular presence at high profile international business fora, and the recognition he receives, Elumelu is fast becoming the most influential business ambassador for the country.

Just recently, the UBA head honcho who is also the chairman of Heirs Holding, became the first African to receive the Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Entrepreneurship Award in its 33 years of existence. The progenitor of the award, Dwight, was the 34th President of the United States of America.

The award was presented to the chairman of the United Bank of Africa, UBA, at an award gala in New York by another former US President, George W. Bush.  It was well attended by other recognized world leaders.

And last year, at the US – Africa Business Forum (USABF) organised by Bloomberg and the United States Department of Commerce alongside the United Nations General Assembly, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce commended Elumelu for his pivotal role in US-Africa business relations.IMG_4430

Elumelu was host to over 200 global leaders with Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker as the guest of honour at the event. There is no limit to global acknowledgment of Elumelu’s strides as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Indeed, Elumelu’s exploits as leader-entrepreneur and mentor to budding African leaders resonate across the globe; in 2017, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum brought together thousands of entrepreneurs from across Africa in Lagos. And entries are already pouring in from across the continent for the 2018 edition of the initiative.

It is no easy task hosting 1000 aspiring leaders from over 54 countries and prominent investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and policy makers but Elumelu is up to the challenge. His passion to eradicate Africa’s unemployment and poverty challenges overwhelm whatever logistical odds crop up in the course of the event.

A multiple merit award recipient, Elumelu holds the Nigerian national honours of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). He is recognised as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People in 2012” by Forbes magazine among others.

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