Ugodre Talks Figures: You may never be a billionaire if you were born between 1974 and 1984

YNaija introduces Ugodre Obi-Chukwu, ‘Ugometrics’–  a respected blogger who blogs frequently on finance, business and economics issues. Starting today, he will through this column deliver a perspective to understanding  pop culture and news especially those concerning the Y! Generation through figures and finance.

Check out the list below;

Aliko Dangote 1957

 Mike Adenuga 1953

 Tony Elumelu 1963

Tayo Adenirokun 1955

Fola Adeola 1954

Jimoh Ibrahim 1967

 Erastus Akingbola 1951

Cosmas Maduka 1961

Wale Babalakin 1960

Femi Otedola 1967

What do they all have in common apart from being rich? Now look up again…yes you guessed right they were all born between 1950 and 1970. These are arguably some of Nigeria’s billionaires. Some were born in the 50’s whilst the others in the 60’s. Between the oldest and the youngest is about 14 years. Still within the same generation.

These guys all belong to a Golden Generation. A generation that it’s maturity coincides with the formative stages of the modernization of the Nigerian Economy. The generation that was the obvious choice to have bought banking licenses just as the Babangida government deregulated the banking sector. The generation that obtained oil licenses by just being acquaintances with the government. The generation that was ready when the government decided to privatize its companies. The generations that will oversee the start of the economic revolution in Nigeria. The Generation that had a head start on those that will be born 10 to 20 years after them.

It’s no curse to the 70’s and mid 80’s generation that they weren’t born then. It’s just that the world has a way of presenting opportunities at certain periods in a complete generation cycle (every century). It’s not only peculiar to Nigeria alone. Even in the US the Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmitds, Jerry Chang, Bill Joy of this world were born in the 50’s and 60’s as well. Just in time for the PC revolution. Also in Russia, Roman Abrahamovic, Alisher Usmanov, Alexander Lebedev, were all born in the 50’s. Just in time to be ready for the deregulation of the Russian economy after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. A lot of psychologists have written on the impact of age, period, demographics and race on determining those who end up to be pioneers, captains of industry and financial heavy weights. It’s purely debatable but can’t be waved aside.

In Nigeria, if you were born the in the mid 70’s, then by 2000, just at the advent of democracy, you would have been out of school and probably an intern in a bank, insurance company, a one man business or just a sole trader at best. The government of Obasanjo wasn’t hiring that much and even if they did, you stood little chance of getting as the generation just 10 years before you was more qualified, had better experience and were probably even better education. And even if you wanted to own your own bank (the quickest way to being a billionaire in Nigeria) you couldn’t, as that wave of opulence had already blown past. With just N50 million back in the day you could own a bank in Nigeria in the 90s. Now, N25 billion is the threshold. The barrier to entry between 90s and the 2000’s for new commercial banks had never been so difficult. In fact, commercial banks grew from about three in 1980 to 33 in 1994. It was just 7 in 1985, so within 10 years it had more than quadrupled. The number now hovers around 20, if we exclude the nationalized Banks.


The Tony Elemelu’s and Fola Adeola’s of this world are no better than most of the guys born in the 70’s. Them being successful entrepreneurs and probably billionaires does not make them any smarter ( not saying they aren’t) or make them never-before-seen geniuses. Like those who came after them, they were simply lucky as the world around them at the time of their maturity was ready and prepared for them. These guys went to secondary schools when it was free to. Even if they had to pay, they had scholarship which protected them. They were encouraged to go abroad for post-graduate education and guaranteed jobs on their return. They even ended up leading the political class far longer than their predecessors and have yet to give their generation after them a chance. The gap in privileges is endless. For them, they had no reason not to be billionaires.

The generation of the 70’s and 80’s need not worry too much about being billionaires. In fact there won’t be many of them who will be billionaires before the age of 40 unless it is inherited or aided massively with corruption or 419. The world prepared for them to be employees of the generation before them and not entrepreneurs. They have worked harder than those before them, read more and have suffered more. They have even sacrificed more for Nigeria. But that’s life, the just have to “chin up” as the say. They should focus on placing their offspring on the path to the next big economic revolution which must come to Nigeria in 10 to 15 years. I am no soothsayer but life can be predictable if you can learn from history. It’s already happening. Those born in the 90’s are changing the way we listen to music and entertain ourselves, the way we communicate and the way we transact. They are not hindered by the conservatism and timidness of the 70’s and 80’s generation, impacted upon by their parents. They were not born in the 50’s or 60’s and certainly not born in 70’s. They were born in the 90’s and 2000’s and they will be the next set of billionaires in Nigeria.

 

Ugo is a Chartered Accountant with over ten years’ experience. He blogs frequently on finance, business and economic issues. His blog, ugometrics.com is mostly targeted at small businesses, students and the self-employed. He can also be found on twitter with the handle @ugodre”

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Comments (16)

  1. First and foremost, I expected the author to credit Malcom Gladwell for the theory. However, I do not agree that the next set of billionaires would come from the people born in the 90s. In every generation, there is a particular field/line of business where the billions would be generated from. For the guys born in the 50s and 60s it was banking and oil and gas as you have rightly pointed out. Our responsibility is to find out where the boom would come from in our own generation and tap into it.

    You would agree with me that at the end of the book, even Malcom said everyone can be an outlier as long as they have the opportunity and they make use of the it

  2. Nice post(outliers naija version) was think what field the next revolution would be?

  3. Its obvious that many readers were born between 1974 – 1984. We gotta chin up and do our thing most importantly lay a great foundation for our kids. I'd love to nuture a billionaire.

  4. Thanks for all your comments. The idea behind the post was to put into perspective undeniable factors that can influence prosperity amongst different generations. Rather than see this as some form of spiritual annunciation, I see it as challenge to a generation that I also belong to. As per Malcolm Gladwell he (along with other great thinkers) did have an impact in shaping up my mind set when this post was written. However, whilst he harped on the 10,000hr rule, I believe opportunities rather than hard-work is a much more driving factor to prosperity in Nigeria. But like @gabby put it so aptly "not being a billionaire doesn't stop anyone from making an impact nor pursuing their dreams". Thanks again.

  5. Interesting. Thank you so much.

  6. I wonder why some readers are making this personal. Not being a billionaire is not the end of your life! The writer just analysed statistics, he ddnt forecast that you can't be one, bcos we all know there's an exception to every rule. He highlights the "golden opportunities" that came along to enrich those b4 us. In other words be ready to seize these opportunities should it show up once again. Nice Piece

  7. Coincidentally, recent personal occurrences have informed this same thought process. And carefully looking @ my life and dt of those around (especially dis part of d world) u find out that hard as it may seem, this theory comes to play. The 70's and 80 folks brimming with so much ideas, innovation and energy just somehow don't find d 'grace' to be pioneers. Even d few dt do, don't get d commensurate level of success. ( The seun Osewa's of dis country should by every inch be bigger..), also look @ d Toyin Subair HiTv story, etc. Sumhow, they all don't seem to get that 'hand of God' support from d wealth makers- govt affiliation, clubs, market favouritism etc. But then, u find many of these bright lads doing so well while pursing corporate careers. Having said all that, truth is not being a billionaire doesn't stop anyone from making an impact nor pursuing their dreams.

  8. Coincidentally, recent occurrences in my life have immensely impacted my thought process. And carefully looking @ my life and dt of those around (especially dis part of d world) u find out that hard as it may seem, this theory comes to play. The 70's and 80 folks brimming with so much ideas, innovation and energy just sumhow don't find d 'grace' to be pioneers. Even d few dt do, don't get d commensurate level of success. ( The seun Osewa's of dis country should by every inch be bigger..), also look @ d Toyin Subair HiTv story, etc. Sumhow, they all don't seem to get that 'hand of God' support from d wealth makers- govt, clubs, the market etc. But then, u find many of these bright lads doing so well while pursing corporate careers. Having said all that, truth is not being a billionaire doesn't stop anyone from making an impact nor pursuing their dreams.

  9. Just a few names Eduardo Saverin 30, Yvonne Bauer 34, etc

  10. Those born in the Nineties are changing the way we listen to music n entertain ourselves? Like really? MI was born in the Nineties? Don Jazzy? P-Square? Tuface? Kanye West? Lil' Wayne?

    While this makes for entertaining reading, I would like to point out one fact: I don't need to be a billionaire to impact the world positively.

    1. @ Ibukun, i think he meant gadget wise, not exactly the artiste/musicians themselves. you know like all them iPod, headphones, etc

  11. I read something similar to this last year and it is still as scary as it was then.

  12. I was waiting for the author to cite Malcom Gladwell, but alas…

  13. "had better experience and were probably even better education" should read "were probably even better EDUCATED" #justsaying

    This is Malcolm Gladwell's theory in Outliers. Was born in 1981 but intend to be an exception to the disadvantages of my generation!

    Sara Blakely (okay she was born in 1971 but stiill) became a self made Billionaire with $5000 and started Spanx at same age as me despite failing the exam to be a Lawyer TWICE so I am not letting any theory stand in my way.

    1. @Toksyk, if it wont be too much trouble, could you enlighten me more on the 'Theory in Outliers' or better still refer me to any of Malcolm Gladwell's books that best explains this theory. Thank you.

      1. Malcolm Gladwell is a psychologist and author and Outliers is one of his book and here's something about it on wiki

        Outliers: The Story of Success is a non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell and published by Little, Brown and Company on November 18, 2008. In Outliers, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. To support his thesis, he examines the causes of why the majority of Canadian ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year, how Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates achieved his extreme wealth, how The Beatles became one of the most successful musical acts in human history, how cultural differences play a large part in perceived intelligence and rational decision making, and how two people with exceptional intelligence, Christopher Langan and J. Robert Oppenheimer, end up with such vastly different fortunes. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the "10,000-Hour Rule", claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

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