Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony was a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist who lived from 1907 to 1991. He came from nothing and became one of the richest men in Africa at the time. A major road in the heart of Lagos is named after him for his contributions to the growth and development of Lagos and Nigeria.
Mobolaji Bank Anthony was born on June 11, 1907, in the Kinshasa area of the Belgian Congo. His father, Alfred Bank Anthony, was from the Brazilian quarters on Lagos Island. His mother comes from the Olowogbowo family of Aleshinloye Williams. His parents work in business. At the time, his father ran a business called A.Bank Anthony and Sons Ltd., which was a funeral home.
Mobolaji started school at St. Peter’s School in Faji, Lagos. He later went to Methodist Boys High School, Ijebu Ode Grammar School, CMS Grammar School, and Baptist Academy, Lagos, among other secondary schools. In 1923, he started working as a junior clerk in the Post and Telegraphs Department’s correspondence section.
In 1931, he left and went into business. He went to Germany and England to learn how to make palm oil. Later, he started M.de Bank Brothers, a general merchant company that at first traded in palm oil and then started patenting medicines.
After neither of his businesses did well, he started bringing in watches, clocks, and fountain pens. Mobolaji is not the kind of person who would give up on business after a bad business experience. He has too much faith in himself. He is the kind of person who thinks that failure is just a way to get to the top.
At one point, he was the third biggest seller of fountain pens in Nigeria, after UAC and the United Trading Company. In the early 1930s, he was a part of the Lagos Youth Movement for a short time. At the start of World War II, when prices went up all over the country, Mobolaji’s business started to pick up. This was good for traders like Bank Anthony, who had a lot of goods in stock before prices went up.
During his business career, Anthony bought shares in a few companies. These included Weide Nigeria Limited, which sold fully disassembled electrical parts, Motor Parts Industries, an Italian partnership, a plywood business in Cross River State, and the Nigerian branch of May and Baker and Pressed Metal Works.
Through all of these business ventures, he got rich because of his many connections, his smarts, his willingness to keep going even when failure is his best friend, and his desire to leave a good legacy for the people who came after him. Today, he is praised for having the courage to put his name in gold.
Olamide Adeshigin, who later became known as Lady Bank Anthony, was married to Anthony. He was a member of a few social and business clubs in Lagos, such as the Lagos Race Club, the Metropolitan Club, the Yoruba Tennis Club, and the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce. He led the Federal Rehabilitation Appeal Board, which Yakubu Gowon set up to help Nigerians who had been hurt by the Civil War.
He was called the Baloro of Lagos, which means he was a chief.
Mobolaji Bank Anthony died at the age of 83 on May 26, 1991.