Hakeem Belo Osagie (HBO) was one of Nigeria’s richest men in the early 2010s. The famed mogul helped establish the telecommunications giant, Etisalat, in Nigeria. Etisalat started operations in 2008 and grew rapidly, becoming a strong competitor to the popular MTN Nigeria and the indigenous GLO Nigeria. Known as one of the richest billionaires from Edo state, Haleem Belo Osagie obtained his MBA degree from Harvard Business School (HBS) at the young age of 25. In his younger, early-career days post-HBS, Belo-Osagie served as Special Assistant to the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, late Alhaji Rilwan Lukmon, a position that helped him generate income from oil deals. Hakeem Belo Osagie at one time served as Chaiman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), prior to billionaire Tony Elumelu taking over in mid 2000s after Hakeem Belo Osagie resigned in 2004 due to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) allegations of financial malpractice. Belo-Osagie has generally lived a hardworking, responsible, forward-moving life.
In 2017, Etisalat EMTS Nigeria, the telecommunications giant Belo Osagie established in Nigeria, encountered significant financial issues stemming from high debt. The parent company, Emirates Telecommunication Group Company PJSC, proceeded to end all relationships with Etisalat Nigeria due to the debt-ridden and unprofitable nature of the business. Thus Etisalat Nigeria rebranded to 9mobile. During the course of the turmoil, Hakeem Belo Osagie resigned as chairman of Etisalat Nigeria/ 9Mobile. Today, HBO lives a quiet life in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria with occasional travels to the USA. Aside from his investment in Jabi Lake Shopping Mall, and Andela (he invested alongside Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg), Hakeem Belo Osagie has been financially quiet through Nigeria’s recession and economic downturn of post-Jonathan era.
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