How i became a billionaire

The former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu has narrated his venture into several businesses and how he made his billions.

Mr Kalu, a senator representing Abia North District and the Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, has an ambition to run for president in 2023.

He is said to be one of the richest politicians from Nigeria’s South-east.

The senator, in an interview with Arise TV on Thursday, said he has been involved in different kinds of businesses, ranging from the sales of palm oil to crude oil export and the importation of sugar.

He said he had also been involved in supplies of military equipment to the Nigerian Army and food to soldiers at the battlefronts. Reuben Abati, a renowned writer, was among the Arise TV crew which interviewed the senator.

Mr Kalu said he started moving palm oil from the south to the north, specifically to Maiduguri, when he was a student at the University of Maiduguri.

“When I went to Maiduguri I found out that palm oil is very lucrative in Maiduguri, they don’t have it. So whenever I am back in the house for holiday, I will buy palm oil and go back. When I go back on another holiday, I will buy dried fish and sell (them). I started like that,” Mr Kalu said in the interview.

The senator said he ran into  Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari when both were top officers in the army, but he did not disclose how the two men, who later ruled Nigeria, helped him to advance his business interests.

He said he was into massive importation of sugar and rice at some point in his life, and that he was a strong competitor with Aliko Dangote, the man who is Africa’s richest man today.

“I was one of the largest importers of rice and sugar. For me, making money is an art,” Mr Kalu said. “Then I started building industries in Aba and Ota.”

Although he did not talk about this in the Arise TV interview, Mr Kalu has investments in the media – he owns the Sun and the Telegraph newspapers.