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Top Nigerian Economists who has shaped the world economy

In this article, I will share with you top Nigerian economists whose economics policy has contributed in shaping the world economy. The focus will be on their past achievement in terms of policy option, awards, education background among others.

Some of the economists have held post either in Nigeria or other country of the world. The list does not in any way represent their ranking. Below is the top Nigerian economists in 2016.

  1. Dr. Okonjo Iweala Ngozi (1954 till date): Dr Ngozi Okonjo from Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo is the Eze (King(economist)). She is by far the most prominent Nigerian economists judging by her achievement, profile and awards. She is the only Nigeria economist listed in fortune top 50 world leader.

Education background

  • Dr Okonjo is both a graduate of International school of Ibadan and Harvard university with an AB in Economics in 1976, PhD in regional economics and development from MIT in US in 1981 and an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Career Profile read more of Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

  1. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR ( 1960 till Date): Professor Charles Soludo is from Anambra State in Nigeria. He is among the top Nigerian economists being the past governor of Nigeria Central Bank (CBN). He has held different post globally including USA.

Education background

  • He is a first class graduate of economics at University of Nigeria, Nsukka being the best student at all his level of education.
  • has being a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund, university of Cambridge, Brooking institution, university of Warwick, University of Oxford, and a visiting professor at Swarthmore College (USA).

Career Profile read more of Soludo Charles profile

  1. Dr. Alex Otti ( 1965 till date): He is from Abia State University in Nigeria, an economist, banker, investor, and philanthropist. He is among the top Nigerian economists who has shaped the country financial resources.

Educational background

  • Otti is a first class graduate of economics from University of Port Harcout, River state Nigeria in 1988.
  • He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, Other programme include: An Executive Development Programmes of the Columbia Business and Stanford Business School.

Career Profile

  • He was the treasury and financial services unit as well as the corporate banking division at Intercontinental Bank Plc.
  • Otti was once the principal manager of UBA where he oversee the bank’s corporate banking sector for the entire South Division with the responsibility of growing the oil and gas business for the bank.
  • He was assistant general manager at First Bank in 2001 with the sole responsibility of growing the Energy Sector for the bank.
  • Otti moved to the position of Managing Director of Diamond Bank in 2011 till 2014 when he resigned by himself. He was also a governorship candidate of Abia State under the platform of APGA at the past general election.

Awards and Honour

  • Among the many entrepreneur awards to Dr Alex Otti, the doctorate awards include: Babcock University doctorate awards and honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) Degree, by the  University of Port Harcourt.
  1. Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (1961 till date): Sanusi Lamido sanusi is an economist from Kano state Nigeria and a formal governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He is currently the Emir of Kano State where he serve as a royal father.

Educational background

  • He is a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria Nigeria where he obtained both his BS.c and MS.C in economics.

Career Profile

  • He started his career as a banker in Morgan Guaranty trust Bank, moved to United Bank for Africa (UBA) where he rose to the position of MAnager.
  • He was an Executive Director in charge of Risk and Management Control at first Bank, and was later appointed the Group Managing Director in 2009.
  • He was later appointed the Central Bank Governor in 2009 under the leadership of late Yar’dua. He was the governor until his removal by the formal president Goodluck Jonathan.

Achievement and Awards

  • He supervise the rescue of some of the ailing financial institution during his time such as: Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Finbank and equally sacked the banks chief executives Officers.
  • He was able to identify the harmful economic effect and corruption persistent with oil subsidy payment during President Good luck Jonathan.
  • He equally identify about 20billion missing petroleum (oil subsidy) funds that generated a lot of controversy.
  1. Patrick Okedinachi Utomi (1956 till Date): Professor Pat Utomi as he is popularly called is a professor in political economy, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria and the founder of Centre for Value in Leadership (CVL). He is from Delta State, and among the top Nigerian economists.

Educational background

  • He graduated from University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he obtained his first degree in Mass communication.
  • He further proceed to Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA, where he got his Ph.D.

Career Profile

  • He was appointed a Special Assistant on economics related policy to the former president Shehu Shagari.
  • Utomi was appointed assistant general manager, corporate affairs officer for Volkswagen of Nigeria Limited in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • He is a scholar-in-residence at American University, Washington DC, USA, research associate, the Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1996.

Achievement and Awards

  1. He is the co-founded the Lagos Business School – Pan African University in 1994, where he currently lecture and impacting life daily.
  2. Utomi has equally championed the establishment of some training centres and ideology like Centre for Values in Leadership, the Concerned Professionals, and the Restoration Group among others.
  3. He is one time presidential candidate in Nigeria though he lost the election.
  4. Voted Among the top ten Living Legend in the Silverbird Television Awards.
  5. He equally bagged the award of Who is who in Nigeria and in Africa among other awards.
  6. Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutallab: Mutallab is a banker by profession and have made name in the banking industry as top ever banker in Nigeria. He is from Kastina State, Nigeria and also among the top Nigerian economists by training in Nigeria.

Educational background

  • Mutallab graduated from Barewa College, Zaria Nigeria, before he proceeded to Achimota College, Accra (1968) and the South West London College, London for his master and PH.D respectively.

Career Profile

  • He was the General Manager of New Nigerian Development Company, Kaduna, in 1975. By 1976 he was named the Minister of Cooperatives and Supplies in Nigeria and member of Federal Executive Council (1976-1978), minister of Economic Development under during Muritala Muhammed.
  • Mutallab was one time Managing director at both United Bank for Africa (UBA), 1978-88, and First Bank of Nigeria in 1999-20013.
  • He is also the advocate and chairman of Islamic bank in Nigeria, Jaiz Bank International Plc.

Achievement and Awards

  • The New York Times describe him as among the most richest and prominent men in Nigeria.
  • His son Umar Farouk is a student who attempted to detonate plastic explosive aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on 25 December 2009.
  • Among other awards, he was a recipient of Commander of the Order of the Niger.
  1. Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu (1963 till date): Elumelu as he is popularly called is an economists by profession, a philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is a recipient of many awards of excellence and patriotism. He is from Anambra state, Nigeria.

Educational background

  • Elumelu obtained his first degree in economics from Ambrose Ali University and his master degree in economics from the University of Lagos.
  • Tony is also an alumnus of Harvard University Advanced Management Programme.

Tony Elumelu Career read more of Tony Elumelu Profile

  1. Kemi Adeosun (1967 till date): She is currently the Nigeria minister of finance since 2015. She is from Ogun State Nigeria, though she was given birth in London.

Educational background

  • Adeosun graduated from the University of East London with her first degree in Economics.
  • She later got her postgraduate Diploma in Public Financial Management from the University of London. And she is equally a qualified chattered Accountant.

Career Profile

  • Adeosun was the Manager of Internal Audit at London Underground Limited, London and Prism Consulting (1994 – 2000).
  • She was the Managing Director at Chapel Hill Denham Management, London in 2010.
  • She was the Ogun State Commissioner of finance between 2011 -2015, and
  • She is currently the Minister of Finance to the federal republic of Nigeria.
  1. Godwin Emefiele: Emefiele is currently the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where he was appointed after the tenure of the former CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. He is from Delta State Nigeria.

Educational background

  • He graduated from the university of Nigeria, Nsukka with his first degree under Finance in 1984.
  • He further obtained his MBA degree in finance in 1986 at university of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is currently an alumunus of Executive education at Stanford University, Harvard University (2004) and Wharton school of Business (2005).

Career Profile

  • He started his career as a lecturer at the university of Nigeria, Nsukka in Finance and Insurance.
  • Emefiele has over 18years experience in the banking industry, He was a Director at Zenith Bank Plc (Gambia).
  • He was the deputy managing director at Zenith Bank since 2001 and has served as Executive Director in charge of Corporate Banking, Treasury, Financial Control and Strategic Planning of Zenith Bank Plc.
  • He is currently the CBN governor when Nigeria is witnessing the most challenging financial turbulent and recession.

Please if you have not read my post on the Causes and Solution to economic recession in Nigeria Please do that now before you continue.

  1. Jim Ovia (1951 till date): Jim Ovia is the founder of Zenith Bank Nigeria, the most profitable financial institution in Nigeria. Jim is from Delta State, Nigeria. He has over 30 years experience in the banking industry.

Educational background

  • Jim Ovia graduated from the university Southern University USA(1977) and University of Louisiana at Monroe USA where he studied business Administration (1979). He is also a graduate of Harvard business school.

Jim Career Profile

  • Jim Ovia is the founder of Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc, where he retired as the chairman and the Managing Director.
  • He also the Founder of Visafone Communications Limited, Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI) and National Information Technology Advisory Council (NITAC).
  • Jim is also the founder and Chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE), a philanthropic organization focused on providing scholarship for the less privileged in the society.

If you think there is someone that deserve to be on this list who is not here or any other observation please drop your comment and I will quickly update the post.



Forbes magazine


2 thoughts on “Top Nigerian Economists who has shaped the world economy”

  1. Nigeria indeed has great minds like this and the economy is suffering like this. This is really bad

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