The Sun Award Winners 2021: Abdul Samad Rabiu: Wealth creator

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By Henry Akubuiro

In the world of business and philanthropy, Abdul Samad Rabiu’s name strikes a symphony to the ear. He goes for what he believes will thrive, and the returns echo his daring and enterprising latitude. Interestingly, the path to today’s success story was laid over four decades ago. Overtime, it has become a well-matted path.

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Rabiu, who had his early education at Federal Government College, Kano, after which he proceeded to the United States to study Economics in the Capital University Columbus, Ohio, United States of America, is the founder and chairman of BUA Group, a conglomerate that specialises in manufacturing, infrastructure and agriculture sector. He is also the chairman of the Nigerian Bank of Industry (BoI). Initially, he established BUA International Limited in 1988 for the sole purpose of commodity trading – importing rice, edible oil, flour and iron and steel. He was to diversify to other sectors along the way.

The Nigerian government, owners of Delta Steel Company, in 1990, contracted his company to supply raw materials in exchange for finished products. BUA didn’t look back. It led to its expansion to the steel business, producing billets, importing iron ore, and constructing multiple rolling mills in Nigeria.

BUA was to acquire Nigerian Oil Mills Limited, the largest edible oil processing company in Nigeria. In 2005, it added two flour-milling plants in Lagos and Kano. BUA, by 2008, had broken an eight-year monopoly in the Nigerian sugar industry by commissioning the second-largest sugar refinery in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Rabiu steered the company in 2009 to acquire a controlling stake in a popular cement company in northern Nigeria, and began constructing a $900 million cement plant in Edo State, which it completed in 2015. His diversification has seen his tentacles spread across many business concerns, including oil, cement, ports and real estate, producing revenues in excess of 2 billion dollars. Forbes, in 2020, estimated Rabiu’s wealth at $3.2 billion, making him the 716th richest man in the world. Early this year, he became the second richest man in Nigeria and the fifth in Africa, according to Forbes.

Rabiu and his son achieved a remarkable feat in Nigerian stocks by topping the list of Nigerian wealthiest billionaires from stocks after they made N508 billion, which amounts to about N20.3 billion daily. They led the list after the share value of BUA Foods and BUA Cement trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange increased by 61per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively within a month – a phenomenal record!

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Rabiu’s philanthropy is routed through the BUA Foundation. Some of his philanthropic activities include the construction of a 7,000-square-meter paediatric ward at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and the construction of the Centre for Islamic Studies at Bayero University Kano, to name a few.

For his amazing strides in industrialisation, manufacturing, real estate and stocks, which have levitated him to the second richest Nigerian and for his philanthropic gestures, which have touched many lives, we are obliged to declare Abdul Samad Rabiu The Sun Man of the Year 2021.