Richest Men in Nigeria: Jim Ovia

Richest List in Nigeria

Jim Ovia’s Biography



Mr. Jim Ovia, born November 4, 1951, in Agbor, Delta State, is a Banker, Promoter and Founder of Visafone Communications Limited and the Proprietor of the University of Information and Communication Technology, Agbor in Delta State, Southsouth Nigeria. He is also the Pioneer President of Nigeria Internet group (usually shortened as NIG). He has more than 23 years of experience in Banking. He is popularly known as a Co-Founder of Zenith Bank Plc and served as the bank’s Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer from 1990 to July 10, 2010.

Jim Ovia joined IMB as a Financial Analyst in 1980, before moving to the management center in 1987. He was the head of the Corporate Finance department of Merchant Bank of Africa between for three years 1987 and 1990. He picked an interest in computers in 1977 while working as a part-time Computer Operator at Baton Rouge & Trust Company in Louisiana.

He has been both the Chairman of the Board and Non-Executive Director of Zenith Bank Plc since June 2014. Mr. Ovia still serves as the Chairman of Quantum Luxury Properties Limited. He was a one-time Director of Africa Finance Corporation and had served as the Director at Zenith Bank Plc until 2010.

Jim Ovia served as a Director at the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc. He is a motivational Speaker and is enthusiastic about ICT. Jim was conferred the title of the Member of the Order of Federal Republic (MFR).

Mr. Jim Ovia holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana in the USA, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southern University in Louisiana, United States of America. He is also an Alumnus of Harvard Business School.

Jim Ovia is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University, Lagos. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Redeemer’s University for Nations in Lagos. He boasts of being a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (1999 – 2007). He has served on the board of American International School in Lagos.

As a philanthropist, Jim Ovia is the founder and Chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education organization, one which focuses on providing scholarship for the less privileged. Some of the beneficiaries of the organization are now qualified professionals across different fields. Similarly, he founded the Youth Empowerment and ICT Foundation, which focuses on improving the socio-economic welfare of Nigerian youths by inspiring and motivating them to embrace Information and Communication Technology.

Jim Ovia holds the largest share of any individual shareholder in Zenith Bank Group with about 9.3 per cent stake.

He has a $1.5 billion worth of petrochemical complex in Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria.


  • University of Louisiana, United States of America
  • Southern University, Louisiana.
  • Harvard Business School, United States.

Net worth: $980 (2016 estimate)

Foundation or organisation founded:

  • Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE)
  • Zenith Bank Plc.
  • Youth Empowerment and ICT Foundation