For a general definition of the term, polygamy is the practice of marrying multiple wives. Thus, a polygamous family or home can have either multiple husbands or multiple wives. However, we are focusing on popular Nigerian men who have large polygamous families in this article.
It is also important to note that when a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call it polygyny. When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry.
So, to use the proper term, we can say the article is about popular Nigerian polygynies. We start the list with Ned Nwoko’s wives.
Meet Billionaire Ned Nwoko wives
Ned Nwoko is a popular philanthropist, a lawyer, businessman, politician and a billionaire. According to reports, Nwoko has five (or six) wives.
Among all his wives, the most popular is Regina Daniels, his most recent wife. Regina Daniels is a Nigerian actress who is married to an alleged billionaire, Ned Nwoko. Nwoko is a businessman, lawyer and politician and he married Regina Daniels as his fifth (or sixth) wife in 2019. No one seems to know the exact number of wives Ned Nwoko has and the Delta politician has not addressed the issue.
Ned Nwoko and Regina Daniel got married in May 2019. At the time of Ned Nwoko and Regina’s marriage, there were speculations that the actress was 18 and 19 or 19 years old.
However, Regina Daniel was 20 years old at the time of her marriage since she was born on 10th October 1998. She gave birth to her first child, a son, with her husband, Ned Nwoko, in June 2021.
Regina Daniel was a child actress who began acting at an alleged age of seven. She became popular following her appearance on the 2010 Nollywood film titled Miracle Child. Since then, Regina Daniel has become a regular face in the Nigerian film industry. By 2014, she had starred in more than 100 films.
This is not all that she has achieved in the Nollywood industry. Regina Daniels also has producer credits. She produced two films titled Jericho and Twins Apart.
Additionally, Daniels models for many fashion brands. She has endorsement deals and has appeared in TV commercials and on magazines as well. The movie star has also dabbled into politics and was the Youth Campaign Coordinator for Atiku Abubakar during his presidential bid.
After marriage, she founded Regina Magazine, which she launched in February 2020. She also started a docu-series, Our Circle, about her journey to motherhood. The series shows on YouTube with the first episode airing on 30 June 2020.
Regina Daniel’s marriage received a lot of scrutinies thanks to the big age difference between her and Ned Nwoko. There’s almost a 40-years gap between them. Rumours spread carelessly with people saying she married Nwoko because of his wealth.
Regardless of what the stories that people are spreading are, Regina Daniels and Ned Nwoko maintain their marriage is based on love and they appear to be happy together.
Ned Nwoko’s first wife: Laila Charani Nwoko
Laila Charani Nwoko is alleged to be Ned Nwoko’s first wife but she does not anything closer to his age unless they married not too long ago. Also, she doesn’t look like she could have given birth to then 22-year-old Tarik Nwoko, who died in 2014. See the next section. So, we doubt she’s the first wife of Ned Nwoko.
Laila Charani is a Moroccan. She was pictured with Regina Daniels as the latter welcomed her first child.
Ned Nwoko’s wife Laila Charani also appears in some of the photos Ned Nwoko shared on Instagram of his large family. Her Instagram profile is private with the tagline, “block to negativity”. Her profile picture shows her with her young son. Her profile does not state what she does for a living besides being an alleged billionaire’s wife. She also seems to get along with Regina Daniels judging from some of the pictures and videos that have appeared on social media.
When Regina put to bed on 29 June 2020, Laila took to her official Instagram page to share the joy of her co-wife, writing: “Congratulations to you @Regina Daniels.”
Regina Daniels replies to the message with a simple “Thank you Laila… Love you.”
In November 2019, a video surfaced on Instagram that shows her enjoying a ride with Ned Nwoko in what appeared to be a sports car.
Ned Nwoko other wives
Besides Regina Daniels and Laila Charani, not much is known publicly about Ned Nwoko’s other wives. For example, we don’t know who the remaining wives are or were. While the assumption by the public is that he is married to five or six wives, that may not be correct. One or more of his wives may have left him. There has been no news report that he lost any wife to death. There is also the possibility that he never married up to that number of wives, to begin with.
However, Ned Nwoko lost his son Tarik Nwoko, who died in 2014 at his London home. He was a student at North Staffordshire University before his death. It was reported that his mother was Moroccan. We don’t think it was Laila but it could be, otherwise, it appears that Ned Nwoko married at least two Moroccan women.
Late Tarik was living with mother and siblings in London at the time of his death, according to several publications. The cause of his death was not reported and the London Police stated that there was no foul play. No trace of alcohol or drugs was found in his system.
The Delta-born billionaire Ned Nwoko is a Muslim and this is likely why he has a large polygamous home with many wives.
Meet the wives of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji
Shrouded in mystery is the number of wives that the Nigerian monarch, the traditional ruler of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji has. In fact, a thorough online search into this detail turned up nothing. We were only able to find some brief information on two of his senior wives. One of them died in 2017.
The deceased wife was Kudirat Aduke and she had been the Iyaloja of Bolade, Oshodi Market, Lagos at the time of her death. Hearing the news of her death, the then-governor of Oyo State, late Abiola Ajimobi had said:
“I am greatly saddened by the passing away of Olori Kudirah. It is very unfortunate and disheartening, especially because we were still together with Kabiyesi and the royal retinue at the Chief of Army Staff conference, held in Ibadan, last week.”
Oba Saliu Adetunji is also a Muslim, thus, besides his traditional reasons for having many wives, there is also a religious aspect to it.
The other wife of Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Olubadan of Ibadan, that we came across is Olori Rasheedat.
According to a 2019 news report, Oba Lekan Balogun, speaking on behalf of the Olubadan-in-council accused Oba Saliu Adetunji of giving Olori Rasheedat, one of his wives, too much power. In fact, Oba Balogun had alleged that Olori Rasheedat, one of the wives of Oba Saliu Adetunji, ruled Ibadan by proxy.
This is all the information we could find out about the wives of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji.
Meet the wives of Chief Razak Okoya
Chief Razak Akanni Okoya is the Aare of Lagos and a billionaire industrialist. Razak Okoya is notable for founding the Eleganza Group of Companies and also for having a large polygamous family. Unlike others who we have considered on this list before him, we have the exact number of wives that Chief Razak Okoya has. We also have their names as well.
Chief Razak Akanni Okoya, the Chairman of Eleganza Group of companies, has six wives including Alhaja Kuburat Olayinka Okoya, Ajoke Okoya, Yetunde Okoya, Jennifer Okoya, Zainab Okoya and Folashade Okoya.
Alhaja Kuburat Olayinka Okoya
Alhaja Kuburat Olayinka Okoya is the first wife of Chief Razak Akanni Okoya. Razak and Kuburat Okoya have been married for more than 50 years. Her love for expensive pieces of jewellery allegedly drove Chief Okoya into the jewellery making business that made him a billionaire.
Alhaja Kuburat Olayinka Okoya gave birth to seven children for Razak Akanni Okoya.
Razak Okoya married Folashade in 1999 when she was 21 years old. He was 59 years old at the time.
Folashade Okoya graduated from the Lagos State Polytechnic with a National Diploma certificate in Banking and Finance. She later obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Lagos.
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Foloshade Noimat Okoya, the last wife of Razak Okoya worked as a fashion commentator. Now, she is the MD/CEO of Eleganza Group of companies, the company her husband built. She gave birth to four children for the billionaire and they are named: Olamide, Subomi, Oyinlola and Wahab.
She is the most affluent among all the wives of Chief Razak Okoya as well as the most visible. In addition, she runs charities and philanthropic activities as well.
Meet the wives of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was the 14th Emir of Kano and ascended the throne in 2014. Before that, he had been the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He is an economist and banker by profession.
Amidst this impressive career highlight, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi runs a polygamous home and has four wives. Again, as a Muslim, this is acceptable under his religion.
Sadiya Sanusi is the first wife of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and she is the daughter of Late Ado Bayero, who was an Emir of Kano before his death in 2014.
Sanusi’s other wives are Maryam, Rukiya and Sa’adatu Barkindo Mustapha.
Sa’adatu Barkindo Mustapha is a princess and the daughter of the Lamido of Adamawa, Aliyu Mustapha. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had entered a contract to marry her when she was 18 years old in 2015. However, the wedding itself did not take place until August 2020 after she completed her university education in the UK four years after the contract.
At the time of signing the marriage contract, many social commenters had called it a scandal. However, the issue was cleared up after the details surfaced later.
Sa’adatu welcomed her first child in May 2020 after the Emir was deposed by the Kano State government.
Meet the wives of Late Odumegwu Ojukwu
Odumegwu Ojukwu was a revered and well-known Nigerian and Biafran soldier as well as a political leader in Nigeria. He died on 26th November 2011 at the age of 78. However, this section is not about Ojukwu, as he was widely known, but about his wives. According to his Wikipedia page, the Igbo icon married four wives including Elizabeth Okoli (divorced), Njideka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Stella Ojukwu (dissolved), and Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
Ojukwu married his first wife, Elizabeth Okoli in 1956 but they divorced in 1958. Many speculated that the childless state of the couple had led to the marriage failing.
Elizabeth Okoli had been a senior Nursing Sister in Anambra State when she and Ojukwu got married. Not much is known of her except that she remarried after she and Ojukwu parted ways and bore children with her new husband.
Njideka Odumegwu-Ojukwu was the second wife of Ojukwu. She was the daughter of popular Igbo businessman, C.T. Onyekwelu from Nawfia. He is credited for building the first indigenous recording industry in Nigeria.
Ojukwu became involved with a third woman named Stella Onyeador, a sister of a popular society lady, Angela Onyeador. Angela Onyeador was known for collecting paintings. Stella herself was a lawyer by profession and she was the chief bridesmaid at Njideka’s wedding.
According to a report found on the Vanguard Newspaper website, Ojukwu and Stella only held a traditional marriage. Yet, they adopted a daughter together. Their marriage later broke down and was dissolved around 1989.
It was at this time that Ojukwu married his last and most popular wife, Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
Bianca was a lawyer by training and she was also a beauty queen. She won the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageantry in 1988, Miss Africa in 1988 and Miss Intercontinental in 1989.
Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who is the sixth child of a former Governor of Anambra State, Christian Onoh, also has a reputable career in politics. She once served as a senior special assistant to Nigeria’s President handling the Diaspora Affairs portfolio and as the country’s ambassador to Ghana.
Then in 2012, she became Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Of Spain after the death of her husband, Ojukwu.
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Wedding throwback #BiancaOnoh and #Ojukwu on their big day in 1994. Imagine how lit Instagram would have been if they had social media way back then ? Photo via @bbcnewsigbo _____ ? Bianca Ojukwu/Facebook https://www.bbc.com/igbo #bbcigbo #bbcnewsigbo #igbo #igbokwenu #igboamaka #ojukwu #biancaojukwu #chukwuemekaojukwu #wedding #igbowedding #biafra #memorylane #history
Currently, she is Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Additionally, Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu is a member of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Ojukwu co-founded the party before his demise in 2011.
Final thoughts …
There you have it, a comprehensive list of some of the most popular Nigerian women who are married to polygynies or into polygamous families.
While the Nigerian civil law does not recognise polygamy, it is still widespread in the country. Also, there are 12 states in Nigeria that actually officially recognises polygamous unions. These states are governed by Sharia law. They are Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.
However, while it is clear that more Muslims are polygamous, some professed Christians also practice it in Nigeria. This, even though notable Christian religious leaders condemn it. For example, Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Anglican Church of Nigeria openly spoke against the practice of polygamy among Christians in a 2009 article.
It is equally important to point out that while Sharia Law permits the taking of more than one wife, it places the limit at four wives. It also mandates that the husband can take care of his household as well.
There are two instances where people tried to flout this law and were prosecuted and punished for it. One of the instances involves an Islamic cleric named Muhammadu Bello Abubakar.
Muhammadu Bello Massaba Abubakar
By the age of 84, Muhammadu Bello Masaba allegedly had 86 wives in 2008. He was eventually charged under Sharia law and was sent to prison in Niger State, Minna, for refusing to divorce 82 of his wives. The law sentenced him to death but the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja ordered his release. He died in 2017 with over 100 wives.
Another controversial moment was in 2007 when a lesbian popularly called Aunty Maiduguri married four women. While she stayed within the limit set by Sharia Law, there is no provision in the law for homosexual marriages. According to a Reuters report, Aunty Maiduguri had to flee from Kano after guests alerted the authorities.