Chief Emmanuel Oyedele Ashamu (Chief E. O. Ashamu) was a wealthy land owner and Oyo chief who was prominent in the Nigerian business sector during the 1960s - 90s. He was a pharmacist by training and was the owner of Industrial Chemists Ltd, Lagos. He rose to become one of the most prominent businessmen in Africa, with interests in agriculture, banking, transportation and real estate.
Chief Ashamu was born on 14 August 1924, to Chief Agbankin Ashamu of Oyo, a Yoruba tribal chief in Western Nigeria. He attended Durbar School, Oyo, and the Grammar School, Ilesha. He later studied Pharmacy at Yaba Higher College, graduating in 1951.
He started work with the Nigerian government as a pharmacist at the Orthopaedic Hospital, he later left and joined Lion Chemists as a manager. In 1954, he became the managing director of Industrial Chemists in Lagos. Chief Ashamu was a pharmacist by training and was later the owner of Industrial Chemists Ltd, Lagos, among many other prosperous businesses.
He was board director of Oke-Afa Farms, Oyo Feeds Corporation and the Nigerian Explosives and Plastic Company, all of which he had majority shareholding. He was also the owner of Igbeti Marbles: there are two types of marble available in Igbeti; the pure white marble and the gray white marble. Both are of very high quality with about 98% purity. The Ashamu marble deposit extends up to 25 km sq.
In the 60s, he delved into the real estate sector and was involved in land development including Ire Akari estate, Alausa Lagos and many areas of the Yoruba land. His landed property spanned across Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Ashamu established Oke Afa farms in 1970 which was the largest poultry in the Nigeria and also Oyo Feeds and Premier Farms; at the height of the business, it employed up to 1,000 people. Premier Farms specialised in Maize plantation at its Okaka Farm, Ikoyi, Igbo-Ora, Oyo state, with much of the produce sold to Oyo Feeds which turned it to Animal feed and sold much of it to Oke Afa farms. Oke Afa then sold commercial meat and chicken to eateries and the military. However, by the late 1970s, the agro-business ventures were hampered by import restrictions that curtailed the availability of feed ingredients.
A devout Christian, Chief Ashamu was the patriarch of a large extended family and known as a revered leader in his community. Chief Ashamu died on 20 August 1992. At his time of death he had an estimated net worth of $50 million US Dollars. He was survived by many children and grandchildren.