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Move Back to Nigeria: With a Positive Mindset, Ugo Iromantu Talks About Moving Back to Cosmopolitan Lagos!



Move Back to Nigeria is a series on BellaNaija which aims to encourage young and not-so-young professionals in the diaspora who are trying to make the decision of whether to move back to Nigeria. In collaboration with the brilliant team at, we hope to bring you a weekly interview with individuals who have successfully made the leap, considering the leap, as well as those who have tried it and realized it is not for them. The idea is to share their successes and their challenges as they made the decisions they did. A lot of Nigerians in the diaspora have questions about making a change at home in Nigeria. Many suggest really good ideas on how to make things better; others would like to contribute to making a difference back home but are just not sure where to begin. is the fastest growing online community of Nigerian professionals living, studying and working in diaspora.

Today, we chat with Ugo Iromantu. Ugo’s educational and professional background  inspired in him a passion to contribute to the development of the energy sector. Read on for his take on his experiences at home and abroad and his views on the existing opportunities and life in Nigeria.

Let’s start with introductions. Please tell us who you are and what you do.
My name is Ugo Iromantu. I recently completed an MBA at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France and I have just returned to Nigeria to pursue an opportunity in the power sector. My company is called Aurega Energy Management and we support Nigerian electricity distribution companies in commercial aspects of their operations.

When did you leave Nigeria and why?
I was born in Nigeria, but I lived abroad growing up and then returned to complete primary school. I left Nigeria when I was 18 to study and got a bachelors degree in Computer Science and Mathematics at the State University of New York. I returned to Nigeria right after college for NYSC and served in Rivers State. I left again to do a Masters degree at the London School of Economics and then worked in London for just under three years after my MSc. I returned to Nigeria and worked for another three years and then left again to study at INSEAD, completed my MBA and came back yet again.

After your undergraduate degree in New York, what inspired a Masters in LSE?
I wanted to get a masters degree from a top school and I had applied to some US Ivy League schools. But I wanted a more international experience and so I applied to top European schools as well. I was accepted to Oxford and LSE in the UK. Between the two, I chose LSE because it had more of a management and social sciences focus. The MSc at Oxford was all mathematics!

OK. So how did your professional life begin?
I worked at Citigroup. It was my first job at a large corporate organization. I was a corporate risk analyst and my team, the Risk and Business Office was involved in identifying, scoping and remediating potential risks in initiatives and projects for the bank globally.

The exposure to banking directed my interested towards what kind of work I really wanted to do. I did a lot of growing up on the job. With the benefit of my MSc from LSE and the finance training I had received at Citi, I decided I wanted to do infrastructure finance focused on Nigeria, as I believed that providing solutions to Nigeria’s infrastructure deficiencies would be a challenging and rewarding experience. So I started to research the industry and opportunities. I tried to get a job within Citi and at other firms in London, but 2008 probably wasn’t the best time to be job hunting in London.

I grew somewhat frustrated and decided to accept a voluntary redundancy package and leave Citi. I figured better to leave that way than resign with nothing. I moved back to Nigeria some months later and, shortly after, I got a job at Africapital Management doing corporate and project finance advisory.

How would you describe your job search experience in Nigeria?
Bearing in mind that I had been searching for some time even while I was at Citi, I would say it was frustrating at times. There was a particular financial institution in Nigeria that made me an informal offer while I was still in London, but it wasn’t quite the functional focus I was looking for. After moving back, through some of my contacts, I was introduced to Africapital. I was interviewed for a role and, shortly after, offered the job. Considering the timing and circumstances, I was lucky to have gotten the opportunity. I hadn’t been a core finance person, coming from corporate risk at Citi. But I wanted a lot of exposure and I wanted to learn. Fortunately, while I was at Citi, I took advantage of every opportunity to get professional training in investment banking and infrastructure finance, even though that wasn’t the job I was doing at the time.

What was your experience working with Africapital, and how long were you there?
I was with Africapital for just over three years and it was very challenging and rewarding. It was a good working environment. My learning curve was extremely steep and I built a lot of competence quickly within my role. I also had many opportunities to network widely with very senior professionals within the industry and in the public sector.

What came next?
INSEAD. At this point I had a good amount of financial and business competence and I had many ideas about the sort of opportunities I wanted to pursue next. But working in Nigeria takes a lot of resilience, regardless of how competent you or your firm may be. You need a great deal of staying power. I wanted to consolidate my learning, develop my ideas and refresh my perspective on business execution. Africapital had given me a strong foundation and I believed INSEAD would do the rest.

Why did you choose to come back to Nigeria afterwards considering that your credentials could have gotten you a job anywhere?
There are many viable and interesting opportunities to do good work and to be successful in Nigeria – that is the most honest answer I can give you. Nigeria has a significant amount of development on its horizon and in the long run. Many industries are still taking shape and yielding remarkable opportunities to bright entrepreneurs in the process. Because the environment is still unstructured, playing a fundamental role in any dimension of Nigeria’s development will build a rewarding career trajectory and establish far-reaching implications for the economy. With Nigeria’s economic positioning within Africa and even globally, the time is just right for people with good ideas to turn them into successful businesses.

That’s certainly true. Are you back to stay for good, or is this just to explore your current project?
I hope to stay for good. I certainly want to. I hope and believe that the business Aurega establishes will make a significant contribution to the Nigerian economy.

On a different note, have you had to make personal adjustments to your lifestyle since the move?
Lagos is quickly becoming very cosmopolitan, so sometimes it doesn’t quite feel like you are “back”. The environment progressively resembles what people who have lived abroad are used to, save for the odd power cut. Nonetheless, there is still a significant attitude shift that needs to occur in the day-to-day interactions of Nigerians for the social atmosphere to feel more appealing. Moving back has also brought me closer to family and friends, which I truly appreciate. Overall, it has been a positive experience.

Finally, what advice would you offer to people considering making the move back to Nigeria?
Have a plan! Things rarely go according to plan in Nigeria, but having a plan keeps you focused, helps you keep all the variables in check and helps you discern actual progress from other things that masquerade as progress. And brace yourself. Nigeria, especially Lagos, can be more expensive than you expect.
Many thanks for your time and best wishes moving forward.

The  primary objective of is to connect Nigerian professionals with various opportunities in Nigeria, ranging from recruitment drives to information & support regarding relocation processes, financial & tax advice and much more. Move Back To Nigeria also features social interest topics such as what’s on, where to live, how-to survival tips and so on. Consistently engaging with and featuring Nigerian professionals in weekly  interviews, Move Back To Nigeria regularly publishes social interest articles relevant to the general public. Everyone is welcome to their online discussions & fora and you are invited to air your views & suggestions on the topical and trending matters section. For more information and further inquiries, please contact [email protected].

MBTN helps Nigerian and African professionals from across the world connect with career and Investment opportunities. We also organise networking events, conferences and workshops that give you the required tools to get ahead in your career in Africa or elsewhere.Find out more at Follow us on Twitter @mbtnglobal and Instagram @mbtnglobal


  1. yostic

    November 1, 2013 at 9:54 am

    oya, he is taken….I know his girlfriend. Don’t ask any stupid irrelevant questions

    • natty

      November 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

      LOL, nobody asked you oh. he has a girlfriend, he is not married meaning he is open to be snatched. Ugo I am coming for you whether you like it or not ! you have no say in this matter.
      *just kidding.

    • Ginika

      November 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      @natty…there is a saying, a girlfriend is not a building,
      she can be moved!!!! Hahahaahaha…

    • I formerly known as Miss Anonymous

      November 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Even if she is a building, she can be demolished! 🙂 Ask

    • i formerly known as Miss Anonymous

      November 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      She can be deported, if she’s not from Lagos. I think i’ll change my name to Mrs Iromantu 🙂

    • Cutie

      November 6, 2013 at 10:53 pm


    • Sisi

      November 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Lol, are you his girlfriend?

    • bud

      November 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      lmaooooo….she must be

    • Rexie A.

      Rexie A.

      November 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

      LMAO, dying here!

    • Idak

      November 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      In Lagos, that makes him a hotter prospect 🙂

    • yostic

      November 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      May I remind you all that he is TAKEN, by a girl with both
      beauty(incredibly beautiful) and brains (super smart). She’s way
      too busy and occupied to be checking out the next Bachelor on the
      Move Back To Nigeria feature….

    • The Real Madam the Madam

      November 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      LMAO. Yostic don carry this matter for head. Are you his girlfriend?
      Yes, even I know that he is taken but please he is a Lagos boy with Lagos tendencies. Until we see the BN wedding, permit women to ask questions biko.

    • lagos is my home

      November 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      @Yostic, dont go giving yourself high blood pressure … . If she is incredibly beautiful then you dont need to fight her battle , Ugo should be the one fighting to keep her . Have a bottle of fanta and relax .

      Back to him……. hummm,, He is one fine brother oooo and that SMILE , me self i am drooling even though i am married to one fine brother too. Best of luck to him in Lagos .

    • Rueme

      November 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Yostic, you’ve only succeeded in making yourself n d super beautiful n brainy gf sound crazy for knowing you. What the hell… like u were lyin in wait for BN to publish it so u can flex ur voltron muscles… even pple dat weren’t intending to go there will now hop on cos it seems like u n ur friend must DESPERATELY NEEED this dude badly. Oshi! Naija girls havent asked any questions here that women the world over haven’t. Our own na marriage question dem de ask, oyibo girls will track n shag him b4 u can say yostic, even apply for work in his company forming colleague…yeah I’ve seen it happen. Pls pls pls… enuf of this nonsence. You shld hope instead dats he’s decent enuf to make gud choices and act right inspite of any desperados trying to witch/shag/marriage-hunt him down. cos if BN ones r givin u heartburn now I suggest u stock up on anti-depressants wen dealing wit d wider world. .

    • Ready

      November 1, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Lol! See as you do head like apoti (stool) and carried the matter on top of it. Nobody had even asked the question. So the girlfriend is too busy, but na you no get work abi? Take a chill pill and let people have fun joo.

    • tickled pink

      November 6, 2013 at 4:42 am

      RUEME’s comment was the FUNNIEST thing I’ve seen on this
      bella naija in years! looool!

    • nautghty boy

      November 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      DID ANYONE READ THE ARTICLE???? “I worked at Citigroup, but I tried to get a job within Citi and at other firms in London, but 2008 probably wasn’t the best time to be job hunting in London. I grew somewhat frustrated and decided to accept a voluntary redundancy package and leave Citi. ”

      am confused did he work there or not? and if he did…why did try and fine a job in citi and later left…

    • Chopstixs

      November 2, 2013 at 3:21 am

      He might have been working at Citi as say, a contractor (on
      a fixed-term contract) and he might have been looking for a
      permanent role within the company. But that’s just my guess from
      reading that statement.

    • Friday's other Child

      November 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      I read that as him trying to move to a different function
      within the same bank, and when he couldn’t, he accepted the
      voluntary redundancy package instead of staying put. Good on him,
      not everyone has the courage to pursue what they are really
      passionate about.

    • Sharon

      November 2, 2013 at 9:19 am

      ah ah, u too why?

  2. D

    November 1, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Kudos… alma mater (LSE) :)!

  3. CHY

    November 1, 2013 at 10:43 am


    • ij

      November 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Thank you Mrs Holmes

    • Lucylink

      November 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm


    • T'shwb

      November 1, 2013 at 11:20 pm

      Lwkmd “Best believe”? Who is doubting it? And how on God’s
      good earth is that relevant to the article?

    • I formerly known as Miss Anonymous

      November 4, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      It’s relevant for those who decide to take his picture and name to their ‘baba’, so that when the baba asks “which Iromantu”, they know what to say.

    • laide

      November 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      lmaoooo…nigerians be killing me daily!!!

    • intheoverseas

      November 6, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Hahahahahahha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so that the Baba doesn’t make mistake and give you Iromantu, Ebonyi state, father of five, short, fat, pot belly, brown teeth, lives in “the hood” 😀

  4. Been there

    November 1, 2013 at 11:48 am

    How do we women expect men to take us seriously in the
    workplace? i mean, here is a young man telling a story of his
    career choices and all you can see is to trivialise it by bringing
    up marriage. this is really getting ridiculous. i’m still lost at
    how marriage is connected to everything. Lord help us

    • Ready

      November 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Olobe. Nobody said they wanted to marry him. They merely asked if he’s single. What if they just want to use his man parts for fun? And how did this become a feminist call? When men talk about a woman’s hotness, does anyone ask how men can still be taken seriously? Abeg.
      Anyhoo…I’m excited about minds like this coming into the electricity sector’ spinoff industries, especially with today being the day of physical handover of the DISCOs and GENCOs. I wish I had a head for that stuff, but alas. As TA said though, it would be nice to get more details about the job hunt. I know there was a girl who was featured who actually went into detail about her journey to getting her BAT job.

    • sefi-ann

      November 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you! @been there, its really annoying coming here to read the inspiring features only to see some women trivialize the post by talking about marriage etc. Yes, i noticed he was good looking but more importantly I was interested in his perspective as a young, accomplished man, starting his own business and moving to Nigeria. Please guys, lets do better.

  5. Ginika

    November 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    BN, why did you guys switch the outlay? Text on the left
    and pic on the right?! It is throwing me off balance o!

  6. Idak

    November 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Why do i get a funny feeling this ‘Moving back’ thing is turning into one Bachelors reality show.
    Make una just screen their status before posting and don’t forget to add their twitter handles and likes/dislikes.

  7. Yipee

    November 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    @been there, its just naija girls that’s all. Marriage minded at every point. Instead of getting inspired or getting his contacts for business networking, it is relationship matter. Una no get shame.

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      November 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      You ppl can rarely take a joke..pls who told you the person commenting meant anything at all?.. ah ah learn to loosen up a bit.

    • lilz

      November 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Calm down jor! it was only a joke mbok

    • Idak

      November 1, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      See you wey get shame. You don’t even know if the lady(ies)
      in question has gotten all the network contacts she needs and is
      out for a man to keep. Some of us need to take this blogging thing
      less serious.

  8. Love

    November 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    the ‘odd’ power cut bruv? Nwanne’m in my part of Lagos power outages are a daily occurrence – we rarely get 6 hours of power in a day and seems like at least once a month there’s an outage that lasts several (as in 3 or more) days. On a more positive note good to see that there are such young bright people in the Energy distribution sector and hope that the many opportunities start to bring forth improvements soon. As a returnee I have to say the power outages are the one thing that really make things tough especially when its super hot and because Im not down with the generator lifestyle (just cannot adapt to running such an environmental pollutant all the time plus its a huge drain on finances).


    November 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Bella Naija put that massive picture of him on purpose. You know what single ladies are like on this site…lol

  10. Laury

    November 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Just see how large they put his image in our face….. Issokay ohhh!!!!

  11. TA

    November 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Not a bad read! Still LOL ! at the comments. 🙂 @ BN,On
    the other hand,I feel (maybe its just me o!) that there are too
    many black holes in these ‘Move back to Nigeria’ series (save for a
    very few). For instance,look at this statement ‘There are many
    viable and interesting opportunities to do good work and to be
    successful in Nigeria…,Please be very practical,mention the
    specific opportunities,how many job interviews you attended,how did
    the ‘Returnee’ know about the job vacancies, was it
    word-of-mouth,Linkedin,Ads or what? . Give us names of companies ,
    for example should we be looking at Industries like Dangote in the
    manufacturing sector? ,if its a Financial advisory company,who are
    their clients and what businesses do they invest in? Did this
    influence the ‘Returnee’ to the point of deciding,Eureka! this is
    the company to work for? How long did the person have to wait
    before getting a job or to complete the hiring processes? You never
    can tell how very useful these infos are. Thanks

    • Idak

      November 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Very crucial points you made. As good as the intentions of
      these articles are, they often come off as excessively
      romanticised. I hope BN will address these issues in the coming

  12. Bide

    November 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Brother is fiiiiiiine…….

    • Purpleicious Babe

      November 2, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      I second that….. Hot cakes with all these education
      background haba, NewYork to London to France…. na soo.. and the
      teeth & smile… am drooling ooo….x

  13. Eve82

    November 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Let me be candid…the only thing that attracted me to this article is the dude’s picture. I did not even bother reading the article. You are one hot chocolate Mocca! Good genes I must confess.

    Alright, moving on…

    • bud

      November 4, 2013 at 12:27 am

      eve82…you, me and 99percent of…wetin consign me consign article…infact, i opened d page, looked at d pic, left d page open, went out, came back, looked at the pic…….showed my friend, browsed a bit, looked at the pic again, then finally read the article……………now downloading to pc…..

    • Berry Dakara

      November 4, 2013 at 8:21 am


    • The Real Madam the Madam

      November 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm


    • laide

      November 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm


    • tickled pink

      November 6, 2013 at 4:39 am


  14. Berry Dakara

    November 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    • laide

      November 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      dont worry u can spill..we wont tell

    • Berry Dakara

      November 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      No way!

  15. Samantha

    November 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Not a bad read at all…but can I say brother is
    fineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!ufffffffffffffffffffff!Okay back to
    serious talk. Yes, Yes very inspiring.

  16. Great Portland Street

    November 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Kai the bobo fine o ! Me too didn’t even bother reading the article lol.

  17. The Real Madam the Madam

    November 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    LMAO. The comments are funny sha.

    Idak you might be onto something. BN should also include their email addresses for hookup purposes. LOL

  18. MissT

    November 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    The primary objective of is to connect Nigerian professionals ……..Oya abeg connect me with this handsome man. He is way to cute and as long as he is not married, it is anybody game. hehehehe. He is way too cute . I am too distracted to read the content . Once i can stop starring at him i will go read his journey

  19. oluwatosin

    November 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    impressive. but sha everybody has dreams and money is needed. this guy obviously has rich parents.

    • aj

      December 1, 2013 at 5:12 am

      you’re right!

  20. Sharon

    November 2, 2013 at 9:15 am

    ah ah, Bella? only head shot photo,? no full image,? how are suppose to know now?
    Me I dont come to bellanaija to read entertainment, who is wearing what and all that nonsense, i come here for one thing and one thing only. #amjustsaying.

    (ppl kill me with “he has a girlfriend phrase, in this day and age, na hog wash in my ears”. Wife is a no go zone, but girlfriend? puhleese, 7 to 1, survivor of the fittest)

  21. Sharon

    November 2, 2013 at 9:17 am

    what am i suppose to do with headshot only?

  22. Dolly P

    November 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    na wa for babes oooo desperados of life full dis naija sha. una dey find potential fine, rich, readymade husbands maybe if y’all work on ur attitudes, urselves n even ur careers ull meet people that r way better than dis. no be to dey troll d innocent guys who prolly has very serious relationships or r even married for all we care. awon ashewooo oshi bella u must post oooo

  23. mirabel said

    November 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    well inspiring article am thinking of moving back but waiting for the right time.. name copied, now runs to fb , yipppee found him , adds ..Mrs he has an incredibly beautiful girlfriend plz go and report me heheheh, its never that serious ladies a chill pill

    • Berry Dakara

      November 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

      LOOOL @ looking for him and requesting him on FB

  24. I formerly known as Miss Anonymous

    November 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    True…Lagos is very expensive. He sounds like he knows what he’s doing.

  25. Wale

    November 4, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Funny thing is that i didn’t even look at at the picture until i started reading all the comments about how fine he is…. i love BN comments mehn. they make my day. As for those taking the comments too seriously, pple are just trynta have fun don’t come and go and die abeg lol

    • Anon

      November 5, 2013 at 10:56 am


    • jcsgrl

      November 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Wale no lie! How can you not look at the picture? Its the 1st humongous thing you see before reading article

    • Chei

      November 8, 2013 at 2:35 am

      lol, I did not even notice as well until I read the first comment. Women oh! Thank God I only have eyes for my husband. Went back to look and I still don’t get it.

  26. NNENNE

    November 5, 2013 at 5:15 am

    These comments are very relaxing.Thanks people.

  27. jcsgrl

    November 5, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    OH my days!!! ROFLMAO!!! Kai I have missed BN. Nurrin has changed. These comments are hilarious. Me sef I’m forwarding his picshur to a single friend. He decided to post his foto online so he’s fair game. Let the best chic win!

  28. unisex

    November 5, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Dear Lord, I love my Naija people, the comments are too die for. God Bless you all for your comments. I been rolling with laughter. Bella Naija it time to have a hook up or dating section ooo. This is your duty to your people.

  29. Cynthia

    November 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Abi o. I didn’t really look at the picture until I saw the 55 out of 65 comments that mentioned it. Not bad looking. But the odd power outage? Hmmm…we can not be living in the same Lagos.

  30. Non professional opinion

    November 6, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Ladies, you are doing excellent work in these comments. LWKMD!

  31. WomantoWomanCry

    November 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    oh boyy this guy is fineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.. see his set of teeth!

  32. Yinstic

    November 6, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I had mad crush on this guy in London, I use to see him in Canary Wharf , we enter the same bus from canary Wharf etc .. He is even hotter in person. So reading this article just bought back the memories. Thankful am married to a very hot mad. So its all good.

    Single ladies this guy is a correct catch o.. And until he is married he is legally single. Carry

  33. Yinstic

    November 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I had mad crush on this guy in London, I use to see him in Canary Wharf , we enter the same bus from canary Wharf etc .. He is even hotter in person. So reading this article just bought back the memories. Thankfully am married to a very hot man. So its all good.
    Single ladies this guy is a correct catch o.. And until he is married he is legally single. Carry

  34. sisi

    November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    the comments here are too much, just lool’ing here at work. You people will not get me in trouble.

  35. Newbie

    November 18, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Kai! You guys will not succeed in making my neighbours think I’m cuckoo, cos I’m laughing loud enough to wake ’em all!

  36. Interesting

    December 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I read this article with the idea of moving back to Lagos, at least considering it. I am pleased to see fellow nigerians like myself that was born and lived outside Nigeria promote the country in a positive way. It encourages and advises. Same the women (not all) but most are using the “move back to Nigeria” website as a dating site. And one more thing, whether in a relationship (with a girlfriend or wife), one should respect themselves not to try and break up something through someone else intervention. Karma….it exists

  37. OMA

    December 20, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I commented on this article in my bog… please check it out

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