Home » Nigerian president appoints country’s richest banker to head student loan fund

Nigerian president appoints country’s richest banker to head student loan fund

Leveraging Ovia's wealth of experience in the banking industry, the fund is poised to spark transformative change, empowering Nigerian youth and propelling the nation towards a promising future

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Jim Ovia

In a move aimed at bolstering access to higher education and driving economic development, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has appointed Jim Ovia, the country’s richest banker and founder of Zenith Bank Plc, as chairman of the board of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund.

Tinubu’s selection of Ovia to helm the Education Loan Fund signals a strategic initiative to broaden access to higher education across Nigeria. The appointment underscores the government’s commitment to bridging the financial gap for students aspiring to pursue university degrees.

The National Student Loan Program, a cornerstone initiative of the fund, is poised to provide crucial financial support to students nationwide, facilitating their academic pursuits and paving the way for a skilled and educated workforce.

Ovia: A titan of business and philanthropy

Ovia’s illustrious career in Nigeria’s business landscape, particularly as the founder of Zenith Bank, the nation’s leading commercial bank, lends credence to his capability to drive impactful change in the education sector. With a substantial 16.2-percent stake in Zenith Bank valued at more than $150 million, Ovia’s financial acumen and strategic vision are poised to revolutionize the Education Loan Fund’s operations.

Apart from his banking success, Ovia’s charitable initiatives like the MUSTE scholarship program and the Youth Empowerment/ICT Foundation highlight his dedication to youth empowerment and technology-driven progress. His multifaceted investments across telecommunications, real estate, oil and gas, power generation, and media further enrich his capacity to drive holistic change.

Charting a path towards equity and economic prosperity

Tinubu’s confidence in Ovia’s leadership highlights the critical role the seasoned banker will play in guiding the Education Loan Fund. With Ovia in charge, the fund aims to remove financial barriers hindering students’ educational ambitions, empowering Nigerian youth to engage fully in the 21st-century knowledge economy.

Ovia’s appointment marks a new chapter in Nigeria’s quest for educational fairness and economic advancement. It reflects a united effort to leverage the country’s human resources for sustainable development, ensuring every student can achieve their potential.

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