Zenith Bank’s chair Jim Ovia clocks 71

Alade Abayomi ADeleke
Alade Abayomi ADeleke

Forbes listed, Nigerian businessman and founder of Zenith Bank, Jim James Ovia CFR CON celebrates as he clocks 71, November 4.


Jim Ovia was born November 4 1951 in Delta State. He was once named as one of the 50 richest people in Africa according to Forbes.


As expected, accolades have poured in to celebrate him, including one from the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret’d) and other notable Nigerians.


President Buhari called him a “beloved citizen” and praised him for his immense contributions to the Nigerian economy.


Ovia obtained a B.Sc. in Business Administration from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, in 1977 and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana in Monroe, Louisiana, USA in 1979. He is also a Harvard Business School alumni.


He founded Zenith Bank in 1990. Today, Zenith bank stands as one of the biggest and most profitable banks in Africa.


Ovia also founded Visafone Communications Limited and served as the head of the National Information Technology Advisory Council and the Nigerian Software Development Initiative.


He currently serves as Chairman of Cyberspace Network Limited and a member of the Honorary International Investor Council and Digital Bridge Institute.


He serves on the boards of trustees and governing councils of numerous schools, notably Redeemer’s University For Nations in Lagos. He has also served on the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission’s Governing Council (1999–2007).


The Zenith bank founder also founded and Chairs Mankind United to Support Total Education, a charitable organisation that provides scholarships to the poor and disadvantaged.


He was quoted to have said, “I will continue to empower the youths. That is my passion. The youths are the leaders of tomorrow. We must continue to support them”.


In 2018, he published the book Africa Rise and Shine.

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