Who is Sir Olu Nigeria’s “Silent Billionaire”


This week, Prime Minister Gaston Browne was pictured with Sir Clement Oluwatumininu Okeowo one of Nigeria’s wealthiest citizens. But little is known about the man Nigerians called the Silent Billionaire. Sir Olu was educated right here in Antigua as a medical doctor at the University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA), Prime Minister Gaston Browne revealed during his ongoing Nigeria trip. Here is what else is known

(https://nairametrics.com/) – Sir Clement Oluwatumininu Okeowo is an illustrious Nigerian and one of the country’s silent billionaires. Unfortunately, not much is known about him besides his famous fleet of cars and a few philanthropic initiatives that he has championed.

Olu Okeowo, as he is more commonly known, is the founder of Gibraltar Construction Nigeria Limited and indeed, there is more to him than meets the eye.

One can say that he was born into affluence. His father, Pa Taiwo Victor Okeowo was a millionaire businessman and a choirmaster at the Methodist Church of Nigeria. Olu recalls that his parents were quite strict and he had to spend significant time indoors after school.

“My father was very conservative and he wanted all of us to be modelled along the same conservative lines. He was a choirmaster and my mum is equally a simple person as well. She was a full-time housewife. I had to go to church on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for choir practice.”

The result of this was that the young Olu did not have any room for childish and teenage adventures until he moved away from home to school in Austria and the Caribbean. He studied Medical Technology briefly in Austria before proceeding to the Caribbean where he studied medicine. He returned to Nigeria in the late eighties and started his house job at St Nicholas hospital in Lagos.

Leaving Medicine for Business

Much as it was a prestigious thing to be a medical doctor, Okeowo knew that one needed to keep body and soul together to have a successful medical practice. The sudden collapse of the value of the naira against the dollar in the mid-eighties had dire consequences on businesses as many who had purchased their goods, collected loans and ordered machinery at the rate of N1 = $1 could no longer afford to pay for them at the rate of N8 to $1. The naira has experienced several devaluations since then.

Okeowo recalls that his father’s business was badly hit by this change, and one time when he asked his father to give him money to fix a car that broke down on the way, his father told him to assume responsibility for himself, having been trained.

“Necessity is the mother of invention. I knew I would not want to be a burden on anyone so I had to divert into business. I started out by making burglary proofs and iron-wrought furniture. I did a lot of fabrication (vertical tanks and horizontal tanks), did a lot of lighting and offshore components around Nigeria. I also did the lighting for the third mainland bridge,” he recounted.

His first contract came through an agent who ordered burglary proofs amounting to N20,000.

Okeowo soon realised that the civil engineering field was inundated with opportunities, particularly within the government but along with that, came the uncomfortable bureaucracy involved in lobbying for contracts and getting paid (usually 45 days or more after execution).

At the turn of the decade, he made the full switch into constructions and civil engineering and started building houses. Gibraltar Construction Nigeria Limited was birthed as a real estate and infrastructural development company.

There was, of course, the challenge of financing and Okeowo recalled that the banks were not forthcoming with help. He, therefore, constrained himself to projects that he could fund and veered into bigger projects when his funds increased.

By 1994, his company had become known as a construction giant with several projects across the country and a team of renowned designers and engineers tasked with executing each project to perfection. Since its inception, the company has completed over 1200 extraordinary projects across 12 states in Nigeria.

The company is involved in Construction Business, Storage Tank Fabrication & Construction, Real Estate Sales & Leasing, and Building Renovation. Some say that the company specializes in elitist projects that are only affordable to the rich.

Among the projects executed by Gibraltar Construction is the luxurious Parkview Estate in Ikoyi, which houses the Palacio de Okeowo mansion where Okeowo resides. The white mansion is built in a 3-floor Victorian style, modelled after a French palace. Little wonder it is called the French mansion. The construction took 11 months, sprawls across 5 acres of land and cost around $12 million to complete.

Gibraltar Construction has also developed over 10 other mega commercial projects in various choice locations, and continues to assert itself as a leading real estate player in the country.

When his first son, Oluwatumininu Okeowo returned to Nigeria after obtaining a B.Eng in Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering with a minor in finance, and a Masters Degree in International Real Estate and Planning from UCL (University College London), Sir Okeowo stepped down from his position as CEO but remained Chairman.

The demolished building project

A recent investigation from Ripples Nigeria showed that part of the Parkview Estate, Ikoyi had defaulted in the land reclamation (creating land out of an ocean or stealing a portion of the sea to situate a property).

Ripples claimed that Gibraltar dredged and sand-filled a part of the sea to extend what was meant to be a luxury building – Tumi’s Court – with gardens, a swimming pool and a tennis court, while using the waterside as a unique selling point to interested prospective buyers. The property was still under construction as of the first quarter of 2021.

According to their findings, the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority claimed to be unaware of such a structure being extended into the sea, describing it as illegal and lacking an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Days after they confronted the government agency with their findings, the Lagos State government used a bulldozer to demolish the structure which was expected to be completed in the second half of 2021.

Other achievements and interests

In December 2018, Sir Okeowo was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science degree by the Wesley University, Ondo State.

Okeowo has also displayed several acts of philanthropy including the Sir Olu Okeowo Physiotherapy Centre which he donated to the College of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. The centre is said to be the biggest physiotherapy centre in West Africa.

His love for luxury cars is also well-known with his fleet said to be worth about N2 billion. He is known for throwing lavish parties as well, making some folks nickname him the ‘King of luxury.’ According to the billionaire, luxury is whatever gives him peace of mind.

Okeowo makes a great effort to keep his private life shielded from the press, although news about him often filters into the public domain. Some have estimated his net worth to be about $250 million but this cannot be confirmed.

He is well travelled and speaks Spanish, Latin, and Portuguese. His travels, he says, have influenced his personal taste although he tries to keep his designs in Nigeria practical and cost-effective, with British finishings to enhance durability.

Sir Clement Oluwatumininu Okeowo is also a Knight of John Wesley.

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  1. Key note – he said that after completing government projects it took up to 40 Day to get paid. To him that was too long. This government owes Antiguans for more then 40 months after completing work. I am sure you have people , contractors and service providers – poor picky heads Antiguans that are owned for more than 10 years by Antigua
    Government. This particular administration only pay up to politicians, their families, kool and Baba . This government hates to see Antiguans rise . They bankrupt Antiguans local contractors and suppliers. Bad mind and greedy.

    • A warm welcome @ The Spy, the more CRITICAL THINKERS the better for the country long-term and as a whole 👏🏾

  2. O boy the man look like he could be Dean Jonas father. Dean you better check out your roots. Perhaps he is a far away uncle as well.

  3. On another note:

    If the Prime Minister’s wife really and truly love he, why doesn’t she advise him to remove or grow out that damn ugly moustache.

    Is she too young to realise that he resembles a former WW2 tyrant.


    • BRIXTONIAN , You sound like a BAFFOON . You can never give our Prime Minister credit for anything. Why are you so JEALOUS BRIXTONIAN ? Work hard for your own wealth and stop envy others. BRIXTONIAN the BAFFOON.

      • @ SHARLATAN, I currently employ half-a-dozen or so Antiguans, and YOUR great leader Gaston Browne was behind the banning of autochthonous passport holding Antiguan citizens like me from returning home during the Covid-19 PLANDEMIC.

        I lost around $40,000 (and I ain’t looking no sympathy from the likes of you.Tarl!) during that time – and I’m one of the lucky ones who’s business survived.

        And you crying because Gassssston looks like a duplicate of a WW2 tyrant 🥸… give us all a break you utter Gastonite.

        Good luck with your next effort at taking on the GREAT Brixtonian …

      • @Sharl
        Nobody can work hard for the amount of money Gaston says he has unless they got it by dishonest means. Why are people like you always accusing people of jealousy and envy of Gaston Browne? I guess you see nothing wrong with your leader always talking about his millions when there are so many beggars on the street. Go down to Pointe Fm on Saturdays when he is on radio and see all the poor people waiting to beg him a few dollars to buy food.
        There was a recent article on the deteriorating mental health of Antiguans because of the stress brought on by the high cost of living in Antigua and the struggles to survive.
        Young Antiguans can’t find a piece of land to buy because the politicians are taking all the lands for them and family. Now they are moving to Barbuda to take the peoples land. No sensible individual would be jealous of someone who takes what is yours to get rich.
        You tell the people who work at the hotels for $400 a week that they don’t work hard. Especially the single mothers who work all kinds of shifts and have to leave up their children unsupervised to get into trouble. You tell all the people who provide services to the government and can’t get paid they don’t work hard and are envious and jealous to be bankrupt.
        I will ask you who are the people who are envious and jealous. Certainly not the people I know. The majority of the people I know just want to see Antigua resources used to develop the country and not disappearing in certain peoples offshore bank accounts. Do you realize how stink and lacking infrastructure antigua is. You must like it so, talking about people jealous and envious.

  4. This guy is coming off like a playboy, it’s all about him and money and everywhere he goes, he drags his god-daughter with him like if he’s a pimp. We really need a leader.

  5. Antigua is getting into bed with another crook .. I can imagine how much money he grease Gaston Palms with.. SMH .. ANTIGUA FOR SALE… funny he went to Medical school but ain’t hear about a medical career.

    • Can’t agree more with you , with this government getting involved with these fraudsters. How could you trust a so – called billonaire ? Have they done a full back ground check on this silent billonaire ? Don’t understand why they’re bent on getting in bed with these jokers.

    • There are many who have graduated as medical or legal professionals and have subsequently abandoned that career path as they find interest in other disciplines that are more fulfilling and financially gratifying. What turns on that? Who is day that his pursuit in medicine was not his father’s desire for him, and not of his own doing? Having a one-tracked mindset will keep you in a comfortable place but never allow you to soar into greater skies.

  6. GB’s wife always look as if she is sneaking into the picture.

    GB kinda reminds me of Alan Stanford fake it until you make it. Let’s wait and see what his retirement home will look like.

  7. I wonder if Gaston will see Marvelous Mike while in Nigeria. Looks like he knows how to pick the dupers.

  8. More give always. Poor Antigua surely not Barbuda. Lol

  9. Why is Gaston hugging this man so just to get media photograph publicity, he under the man arm like deodorant, and the man is uncomfortable been hugged, the man don’t even make an attempt to reciprocate.

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