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The Doyin Group of Companies is made up of manufacturing, agricultural, and pharmaceutical businesses, owned and operated by members of the Adedoyin family. Taken together, these companies are believed to be worth hundreds of millions of naira. The group’s founder, Samuel Adedoyin, is widely recognized as one of Nigeria’s richest men.

But Mr. Adedoyin, now in his eighties, hasn’t always been surrounded by affluence. His earliest enterprise as a businessman was a roadside store in Accra, Ghana, where he sold padlocks for a living. His rise from grinding poverty to the top of the wealth ladder is as inspiring as it is challenging.

A Mogul’s Early Travails

Samuel Adedoyin was born in Lagos in 1935, into a polygamous family. His father, Solomon Adedoyin Olaosebikan, was a farmer; his mother, Rachel Oni, wove Aso-Oke. It was a raucous start to life for him: home was rife with quarrels between the adults. His parents separated while he was still very young.

Adedoyin was sent to Agbamu, Kwara State (his father’s home town), where he had his primary school education. But because his guardians were without the means to enroll him in secondary school, he turned his sights to tapping palm wine.

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His teenage years weren’t any easier. After returning to Lagos in the mid-1940s, he spent a while with his father, and then with an immigration officer for whom he worked. Somewhere in-between, he made a failed attempt to get to Europe by hiding in a ship headed for England.

Next, he moved to Accra, Ghana, where he tried petty trading. Doyin later returned to Nigeria. He stayed in Agbamu, earned some money, and moved back to Lagos. His next engagement, selling umbrellas and bags, proved successful. It gave him enough to rent a store and expand his business.

The Making of a Conglomerate

By 1968, Adedoyin founded Doyin Investment Limited, a manufacturing outfit that made travel bags, wallets, and purses. A decade later, it had about 500 employees. A series of firms were set up after this, including a motor dealership and an electronics assembling facility. However, constant changes in government’s economic policy caused some of these businesses to falter.

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A change in tacks led the Doyin Group to adopt its present focus. It opened a soap manufacturing arm in 1984, stepped into pharmaceuticals in 1989, and added cosmetics to its concerns in 1990. At some point, it was the only significant local competitor in a soap market dominated by foreign brands.

Today, the conglomerate consists of brands producing food and beverages, drugs, toothpaste, detergents, paints, and agro-chemicals. The group also includes Doyin Farms, an extensive farmland located in Agbamu.

Philanthropic Involvements

The Doyin Group has set up a hospital in Agbamu, Kwara State, the host community of its farm and hometown of its founder. It has also given educational endowments to higher institutions of learning in that state.

Featured image source: The Elites NG

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This article was first published on 28th October 2019


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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