Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs: Good for NPFL

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs: Good for NPFL
Credit @RemoStarsSC X

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs could be the future of a league struggling for relevance in Africa.

Once upon a time, the Nigerian Football League, now known as the NPFL, had plenty of private intervention, with many companies and individuals owning football clubs.

Some privately owned football clubs include NEPA, First Bank, ACB, Tate & Lyle, Water Corporation, Leventis United, Julius Berger, Vasco Da Gama, NNB and BCC Lions of Gboko. Others include Abiola Babes, ABS FC, Femo Scorpions, Obanta United, Udoji United, Jasper United, Stationary Stores and Ifeanyi Ubah FC.

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs that were a success include Abiola Babes (Chief MKO Abiola), Udoji United (Oscar Udoji), Stationary Stores (Israel Adebajo) and Chief Adewale Teluwo (Obanta United)

In the NPFL today, only three clubs are privately owned. They include Remo Stars, Sporting Lagos and Doma United. The other NPFL teams are state-owned.

The progress of Remo Stars shows what Nigerian Billionaires and NPFL clubs can achieve.

There have been calls on private entities to buy NPFL clubs.

The chairman of UBA, Tony Elumelu, claims that the Nigerian Minister of Sports has broached the idea with him.

The belief is that the influx of private money would improve the state of Nigerian football.

In this piece, we have drawn up a list of Nigerian billionaires and NPFL clubs they can buy that would fit their status and ethos.

If Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs can collaborate, it would change the face of the NPFL.

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs – Who should buy which club?

Aliko Dangote – (Kano Pillars)

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs: Aliko Dangote
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Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs; the collaboration will not be complete without the wealthiest man in Nigeria not joining the party.

Aliko Dangote will turn the fortunes of Kano Pillars around. Dangote hails from Kano, and the passion for the team should not be lacking.

There were rumours of Dangote showing an interest in buying London club Arsenal. He need not spend that much on Kano Pillars. The returns may not be as much, but the impact on Nigerian football would be extraordinary.

One can’t wait to see Dangote Cement emblazoned on the Green and yellow shirts of Sai Masu Gida.

Pascal Dozie – (Heartland Owerri)

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs: Pascal Sozie
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Many believe that football is not a lucrative business in Nigeria, but they have the potential. If one man can make it work, it is Pascal Gabriel Dozie. He hails from Imo State.

It is another Nigeria Billionaire and NPFL clubs that could be a massive collabo.

Dozie is a billionaire businessman who founded Diamond Bank and is the chairman of PAN-Atlantic University. He could bring his money and business ethics into making Heartland of Owerri a great club again.

Tony Elumelu – (Abia Warriors)

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs: Tony Elumelu
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The chairman of UBA and Transcorp is no stranger to Nigerians. He has a widely known interest in sports, especially football.

Abia Warriors may not be the scope he’d like to begin with, but it will not be a bad idea to turn the Ochendo Babes into another UBA.

Jim Ovia – (Bendel Insurance)

Bendel Insurance was a household name in Nigeria in the 70’s and 80’s. Things may have gone south for them, but they still have the ingredients of greatness.

Jim Ovia, founder and chairman of Zenith Bank, seems to have the credentials to take Bendel Insurance where it deserves – the zenith of Nigerian football.

Mike Adenuga – (Shooting Stars)

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs: Mike Adenuga
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Who will appeal to Mike Adenuga, the billionaire owner of Globacom and other wealthy enterprises, to return to his home state and take over one of the biggest clubs in Nigeria?

If Adenuga made a success of Globacom and turned it into a household name in Nigeria and Africa, he could return Shooting Stars of Ibadan to the pinnacle of African football.

With Adenuga at the Ibadan club, the battle cry ‘up sooting’ would soon become loud again.

Abdulsamad Rabiu – (Katsina United)

Katsina United have put in more than a decent shift in the NPFL 2023/24 season. The Chanji Boys have shown what they can achieve with minimal support.

Abdulsama Rabiu, the founder of BUA Cement, can make the company the building block, or should I say cement that raises Katsina United to the roof.

They have the fans and a large following. All that’s left is the backing of a billionaire like Rabiu.

Femi Otedola – (Akwa United)

Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs: Femi Otedola
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Femi Otedola does not look like someone with a great fancy for football, but a lucrative opportunity looms in Uyo, where the only FIFA standard stadium in Nigeria exists.

The football-loving people of Akwa Ibom would welcome the oil magnate with both arms.

Leonard Stan Ekeh – (Plateau United)

Plateau United have not had much going for them despite their massive ambitions. They have consistently punched above their weight but have impacted the NPFL.

Stan Ekeh is one man that understands breaking new grounds, as he did with Zinox. Let’s plaster Zinox on Plateau United and break new ground with solid innovations.

Allen Onyema – (Enugu Rangers)

Nigeria billionaires and NPFL clubs: Allen Onyema
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Rich in history and culture, with plenty of accolades and breaking bounds. Allen Onyema and Enugu Rangers seem like a perfect match.

The Flying Antelopes emblazoned with Fly Air Peace on their jerseys would make for a solid combination. The owner of Air Peace can make it happen, as the team has one of the most massive potentials in the country.

Alafaa Kariboye Igbo – (Rivers United)

Kariboye Igbo, known as Oil Money, is a billionaire from Rivers State. He is into real estate, oil & gas, auto dealership and entertainment.

Investing in Rivers United should be a worthwhile venture. The club has consistently been performing well in the NPFL. It probably needs a little push, which Kariboye Igbo can give.

Benedict Peters – (Bayelsa United)

Benedict Peters is not new to Nigerian football. He understands the potential of the game in Nigeria. Through his company, AITEO, he sponsored the Federation Cup for several years.

Bayelsa United may be a young club with little achievements, but Peters also understands not to despise the days of little beginnings. He could be the push Bayelsa United have been waiting for.

Orji Uzor Kalu – (Enyimba)

Nigeria Billionaires And NPFL clubs: Orji Uzor Kalu
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Nobody can forget what OUK did for Enyimba while governor of Abia state. He turned the People’s Elephant into a global brand.

He still has deep pockets from his SLOK companies, and his passion for the team is undeniable. It’s time he put his money where his mouth is and take over the club.

This is one Nigeria Billionaires and NPFL clubs collabo that Nigerians would love to see.

Perhaps he could win Enyimba another CAF Champions League.

Conclusion

Other Billionaires who have been active in philanthropy and politics could shed some of that money and invest it in NPFL Clubs.

It would heighten the competition and improve the league, as one of the problems the NPFL has is funding.

Aminu Dantata – (Gombe United), Mohammed Indimi – (Niger Tornadoes), Atiku Abubakar – (Lobi Stars), Chief Michael Ade Ojo (Elizade) – (Sunshine Stars), Samuel Adedoyin – (Kwara United).

Other Nigeria billionaires and NPFL clubs funding could come from Emeka Offor, Cletus Ibeto, Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma (Innoson), Oba Otudeko, Cosmas Maduka (Coscharis) and Tunde Folawiyo.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).