Tunde Folawiyo
Tunde Folawiyo

Tunde Folawiyo: A Chip Off The Old Block

By every standard, Tunde Folawiyo, is a chip off the old block. This expression used of people who closely resemble their parents in some way. Tunde Folawiyo, Chairman of the Yinka Folawiyo Group, a flourishing business empire with interests in energy, agriculture, shipping, and real estate, was born on April 12, 1960 in Lagos. He is the son of the late Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo. His father was a well-known business magnet and Islamic leader in Nigeria who founded Yinka Folawiyo & Sons, the parent company of Yinka Folawiyo Group of Companies.

 Tunde is also a director in the mobile telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria Ltd, He expanded the tentacles of the business empire he inherited from his father by founding Folawiyo Energy Ltd, a subsidiary of the Yinka Folawiyo conglomerate. Previously, this business maestro was a non-executive director of Access Bank Plc (formerly Access Bank Nigeria) from October 11, 2005 to January 29, 2014.

 He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1985, where he started his law practice, before returning to Nigeria to join the legal firm of Ogunsanya, and later resigned in 1989 to take the business world by storm. He is serving as the Vice President of Nigeria Association of Indigenous Petroleum Explorers & Productions (NAIPEC), and Chairman of Enyo Retail, a Nigerian downstream oil and gas player, as well as Chairman of Coronation Merchant Bank; an investment bank in Nigeria.

Early Life & Family

Tunde started schooling in Nigeria before proceeding to London for his advanced studies. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics in 1980 and later obtained a first degree in Law in 1984. He obtained a Master’s degree in Law from University College, London and was called to Bar of England and Wales in 1985. Upon completion of his studies, he returned to Nigeria and practiced law briefly and called it quits in 1989.

He married Reni in 1989 and they are blessed with children including Faridah Folawiyo. His wife is the daughter of top Islamic and influential cleric, Alhaji Adegbite. She is an entrepreneur and founder of ‘Alara’, an African inspired concept store located in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Tunde is an advocate of African’s imminent growth and has contributed immensely towards philanthropic effort across the continent. He is a Goodwill Ambassador, Honorary citizen of the city of Houston, and Honorary Consul of Barbados. His passion for education serves as a driving force in his philanthropic efforts. His net worth as of 2014 was $650 million according to Forbes.

Entrepreneurial Journey

It is not surprising that this business giant took over the family business after the death of his father. He has always occupied various leadership positions. He was on the board of Access Bank Plc, for 12 years. In 2005, he led Marina International Bank Ltd to successfully merge with Access Bank Plc. He became the Managing Director of Yinka Folawiyo Group of Companies in 2008.

 Yinka Folawiyo Group of Companies is a thriving conglomerate with business interests in strategic areas of the economy. Like his father, Tunde has been instrumental in nurturing the company’s growth into one of the profitable companies in Africa.

 His father aside, his grandfather, Pa Tijani Folawiyo, was a local wealthy merchant during the British colonial era. His father studied at the University of North London in the 1950s, where he read Management, specialising in ship brokerage to start his own business, Yinka Folawiyo& Sons, an import and export business. The charismatic business magnate grew the small commodities trading outfit into a conglomerate with interests in energy, agriculture, shipping, real estate, and engineering today. 

 Following the demise of his father in 2008, Tunde took over the family business as leader of the third generation of the Folawiyo dynasty. He has kept his father’s legacy afloat; and today, the Group is not only recognised at home but around the world. The company’s oil exploration firm, Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum, owns a 60 percent interest in an oil block that contains the Aje offshore field. Aside from family business, the billionaire mogul, on his own merits, has hands in many other pies including substantial stakes in Access Bank Plc and leading telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria. He kept his father’s legacy afloat; and today, the company is not only recognized around the world, but the Lagos State-born oil mogul has been listed as one of the richest men on the continent of Africa. Folawiyo has remained a strong advocate for the exploration of Nigeria’s lucrative crude oil.

 The birth of Folawiyo Energy Limited in 1989 sparked the construction of a world-class storage facility, which can contain approximately about 30 percent of the total premium motor spirit of the country in 2004. His contribution to the country’s energy sector earned him the position of Vice President of Nigeria Association of Indigenous Petroleum Explorers and Productions, NAIPEC.

 This versatile business icon currently sits on the Board of various educational institutions, providing a unique perspective towards improving the conditions for students both in Africa and other parts of the world, with his membership of the esteemed Global Advisory Board of the African Leadership Academy. Folawiyo, the 2010 recipient of the African Leadership Award, continues to be recognized in various collegiate institutions. 

Maritime Associates International

The company was incorporated in 1967 as a shipping and forwarding agency. Maritime Associates was invited by the Nigerian Produce Marketing Company (NPMC) to be a national carrier for Nigerian agricultural exports.

United Property Developers: This company was incorporated in 1971 when there was a growing need in Lagos for commercial and residential properties. Ever since then, it has developed warehouses, residential, and office properties across Nigeria.

YinkaFolawiyo Petroleum: Incorporated in 1982 and has become one of the leading indigenous oil companies in Nigeria. The company was granted an Oil Prospecting License (OPL) in 1991 and owns 60% interest in the Aje Oil and Gas field located in Block OML 113 Offshore, Lagos. In 2016, YinkaFolawiyo Petroleum commenced the production of crude oil from Aje Oil and Gas, which is the first producing field outside the Niger Delta in Nigeria.

Folawiyo Energy Limited: This is a mainstream oil and gas company. It focuses on delivering storage solutions for refined fuel products. The company has a laboratory and on-site testing facility that measures and sample received and distributed products.

Enyo Retail and Supply: The fuel retailing brand was incorporated in 2016 to expand the group trademark in the downstream energy space. It provides fuel retailing services and renewable energy products to the Nigerian market.

Folawiyo Farms: The company was launched in 1986 to diversify the interest of the Group. Folawiyo Farms is located in Oyo State and they cultivate and process crops and rear poultry. Crops grown include pineapple, maize, and cassava.

Other Interest of Tunde Folawiyo

Tunde is an art enthusiast and an art collector. He is a patron of William Kentridge, a South African artist known for his prints, drawings, and animated films. The artist’s work is one of the most expensive in South Africa and is held in collections in the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London among others.


This business mogul is a Fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh’s World Fellowship, a global network of philanthropists dedicated to inspiring youth development. He is also a member of the governing councils at Crescent University and Lagos State University in Nigeria.

He chairs the board of Coronation Merchant Bank Limited and YinkaFolawiyo Group of Companies. He also serves as a Director at MTN Nigeria Limited and is also one of the Boards of Directors, ACT Foundation. ACT Foundation is a non- profit organization that is focused on health, entrepreneurship, environment, and leadership.

In 2010, Tunde was the recipient of the African Leadership Award. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration from Crescent University in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Tunde serves as a Goodwill Ambassador, Honorary Citizen of the city of Houston, and Honorary Consul of Barbados.

He is also a member of the Governing Council of the Lagos State University and the Lagos State Government. He also sits on the Board of Trustees of Crescent University in Abeokuta.