Koko Zaria is a 53-year-old Nigerian actor, producer, and millionaire entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $1.5 million. He is famous for being featured in Yoruba films such as Atunida, Kesari, Omogara, and Eyan Re. Also, he is the former deputy chairman of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos Chapter, and Deputy State Treasurer of Lagos State Parks and Garage.
Zaria, whose real name is Alhaji Ganiyu Ayinde is not be a conventional actor and his story is that of grass to grace. He had minimal level of education and later worked with road transport. With consistency and hard work, he rose through the ranks and became one of the strongest forces in NURTW. He is now regarded as one of the most successful and richest Agbero (roadman/area boy) in Nigeria.
Summary of Koko Zaria’s Biography
- Full name: Alhaji Ganiyu Ayinde Oyedepo
- Nickname: Koko Zaria, American Boy, Zagarzar
- Gender: Male
- Date of birth: 20 May 1970
- Koko Zaria’s Age: 53 years old
- Ethnicity: Yoruba
- Nationality: Nigerian
- Zodiac Sign: Taurus
- Sexual Orientation: Straight
- Religion: Christianity
- Marital Status: Married
- Koko Zaria’s Wives: Oyindamola Ajoke Olope (first wife), and Awele Odita Blessing (baby mama and alleged second wife)
- Koko Zaria’s Children: Kaosara Omodolapo Ayinde (daughters), Leeyah Ayinde (daughter), Isabella Ayinde (daughter) and Ryan Khaleed (Son), Jayden and Kayden (twin boys)
- Koko Zaria’s Parents: Mr & Mrs Oyedepo
- Siblings: Faridat Okikiola Olanrewaju and Kafilat Folashade.
- Koko Zaria’s Height in Inches: 5 feet 10 inches
- His Height in Centimetres: 178 cm
- Weight: 80kg (ave. weight)
- Koko Zaria’s Net worth: $1.5 million (Estimated)
- Famous for: NURTW executive, Hotelier, Acting, Production
- Koko Zaria’s Instagram: Kokozaria_americaboy
- Twitter: @kokozaria
- Facebook: Koko Zaria
How Old Is Koko Zaria and Where Is He From?
Koko Zaria is 53 years old. He was born Ganiyu Ayinde Oyedepo on 20 May 1970 in Lagos, Nigeria, however he is an indigene of Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State.
At some point in his life, Koko Zaria, also known as Zargarza, lived and made a home for himself in the Northern region of Nigeria, precisely in Zaria, Kaduna State.
His father, whose name is not known, was the older brother of David Oyedepo, pastor and founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide (aka Winner’s Chapel). Both of Koko Zaria’s parents are deceased while his only other immediate family members he acknowledges as as his siblings are his sisters, Faridat Okikiola Olanrewaju and Kafilat Folashade.
Looking into his educational pursuit, Koko did not attend the best of schools nor was he fluent in English. The only known formal education he has had is attending a particular school at Aroloya in Lagos State. However, this has not deterred him from achieving his dreams, traveling to different English-speaking countries, and having a thriving social life among the elites.
Koko Zaria’s Real Name and How He Got His Nickname
Koko Zaria’s real name is Alhaji Ganiyu Ayinde Oyedepo. He got the name, Koko Zaria, during his time as a mechanic in Lagos State. While working as an engine turner, many of his colleagues bore the same name ‘Ayinde’ as he did. This led to the need for all those bearing the name to be differentiated thereby giving each of them something peculiar to their lives and personality.
Ganiyu Ayinde Oyedepo was called “Ayinde Zaria” because of his time in the Northern parts of the country and his frequent need to visit the area when he was agitated. Soon enough, the name stuck with him.
The name Koko, on the other hand, was gotten from incessant duels he seemed to have with the people around him. After most of the fights, his opponents will be spotted carrying bumps on their heads or other parts of their bodies sustained majorly from the punches he threw. MC Oluomo subsequently coined the names together and began calling him as such.
Other Alias Koko Zaria Goes By
Koko Zaria is not the only nickname Ganiyu goes by. Tayo Sindodo, a Nollywood actress and producer also coined a nickname known as “Zagarza” which he eventually named his hotel after. The name was given to him because he dressed up like a foreigner.
American Boy is also one of Koko Zaria’s numerous aliases. He was given the nickname when he was younger and was involved in more youthful things like wearing earrings, carrying a plaited hairstyle, and playing football while driving a white Opel car. To many, it seemed like a foreigner’s attitude, so they dubbed him American Boy.
Koko Zaria Began His Career as a Machinist and a Mechanic
Like most people who grew up in humble backgrounds, Koko Zaria had to work many menial jobs to live and go by. While living in Oshodi in Lagos state, he learned his first job as a machinist, specifically in the area of turning engines. Subsequently, he expanded to become a mechanic in 1983/1984 when he was between the ages of 13 to 14.
However, this did not satisfy him so within a short while he went into trading clothes at Oluwole Car Park located on Lagos Island by Balogun Market.
Koko Zaria Rose to Fame in 1991 After He Joined NURTW
1991 was the year Koko Zaria joined the Union of Road Transport Workers. According to the Kwara State native, his father was adamantly against his ambition to join and become one of the generally acclaimed Agbero boys instead of going to school to study law.
It took the interference of Brig. Gen. David Bamigboye, the first Governor of Kwara State who was at the time good friends with Koko Zaria’s father, for him to be allowed to chase his dream in transport business.
Over time, Koko and MC Oluomo met and through hard work and being strong-willed, they became chairman and deputy chairman of the NURTW Lagos chapter.
In 2022, MC Oluomo, also known as Musiliu Akinsanya, was sacked by the national leadership of the NURTW invariably dissolving the Lagos cabinet and bringing a close to Koko Zaria’s tenure. He was later appointed the Deputy State Treasurer of Lagos State Parks and Garage in 2022.
A Look at Koko Zaria’s Career as an Actor and a Producer
Taking his professional career a notch higher, Koko Zaria joined the Yoruba movie industry as far back as 2016 and has featured in movies like Atunida, directed by Sir Muyideen Ayinde. The movie featured stars Kiki Bakare, Bolanle Ninalowo, and Jumoke Odetola.
Other movies he has acted in are Kesari, Omogara, and Eyan Re with actors in the industry such as Alabi Pasuma, Lateef Adedimeji, Kemi Afolabi, Adebayo Salami, Murphy Afolabi, and Adunni Ade.
As a producer, The American Boy has produced two movies called Koko Zaria and Omo Oshodi. Recently, he announced an upcoming project involving him playing a character in an English Nollywood movie alongside Zubby Michael.
List of Koko Zaria’s Films
- Koko Zaria Part 1 and 2
- Eyan Re
He Owns a Hotel
In November 2020, Koko Zaria announced the opening of his 42-room hotel, Zargarza Hotel & Suites. The hotel is made up of 14 suites, 26 regular rooms, and 2 standard-sized rooms as well as a 500-sitter event hall.
It also boasts a lounge, bar, restaurant, and a standard-sized swimming pool which took him about 5 years to complete. The hotel is located in Koko Zaria’s native land, Kwara State.
How Much is Koko Zaria Worth?
Koko Zaria’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million. He amassed most of his wealth from businesses he has been involved in over the years like real estate, tax collections from commercial road users, hotel and hospitality business, acting, and production. He is also a brand ambassador and promoter of businesses one of which is the Oosa Bitters drink.
Not only does Koko Zaria own his own transport company called Ise Motors, but he has also delved into politics and is not embarrassed to show his strong support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Nigeria President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact fortune he has earned through the different careers he has ventured into, his earliest job as a mechanic may have fetched him over ₦50,000 per annum.
While he had other jobs in between, he is most notable for his job with NURTW. Since road transport is one of the biggest contributors to Lagos State’s wealth, it is evident that his salary per annum could have been over ₦500,000 in his earliest days, and his fortune may have run into millions while he was serving as a deputy and later treasurer.
Needless to say, his business as a hotelier and real estate investor is another major contributor to his wealth. For all we know, one of the businesses where its monetary value continues to increase is real estate and Koko Zaria has tapped into its wealth, which contributes to his $1.5 million net worth.
Sources of Koko Zaria’s $1.5M Net Worth
- Machinist and a Mechanic
- He is a hotelier
- Real estate
- His time as the deputy chairman of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos Chapter
- He is also the Deputy State Treasurer of Lagos State Parks and Garage
- The 53-year-old Koko earns from movies as an actor and producer
- He is a serial entrepreneur and politician
Koko Zaria’s Cars and Houses
The cliche, ‘cars are a rich man’s plaything’ is not farfetched in the case of Koko Zaria. Over the years, he has proven to be a lover of cars and seems to change them often as well as an advocate of a luxurious lifestyle.
So far, he has been seen with several cars ranging from
- A Porsche
- Mercedes Benz C350 4Matic
- Honda Accord Sedan
- 2014 Lexus RX 350 among others
All these cars cost millions and they give a glimpse into Koko’s net worth and wealth.
Apart from this, Zaria is also a homeowner. He made waves in June 2023 when showcased his newly finished Lagos mansion to the public. There are also thoughts that the he may also have a mansion in Kwara State.
Koko Zaria’s Wives and Children
Family life for Koko Zaria involves two wives and four children. He has been married to his first wife, Oyindamola Ajoke Kudirat Olope, for over 15 years now and they have four children together, including two daughters, Leeyah Adyfemi Ayinde, born on 23 September 2006, and Isabella, born on 28 December 2013.
In 2018, Koko Zaria’s wife, Oyindamola, gave birth to twins but shortly lost them to the cold hands of death. As fate would have it, the family welcomed a new set of twin boys, Jayden and Kayden in December 2022.
Awele Odita is the allegedly estranged “second wife” and baby mama of Alhaji Ganiyu Ayinde. She is a Nollywood actress from Delta State and a graduate of Mass Communication from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Ogun State. She was born on 16 July and is the founder and CEO of Zanic LLC Cosmetics.
Rumors of their relationship began as far back as 2015 but apparently, both actors denied the claims till Awele fell pregnant.
Other Children that Koko Zaria Has
With Koko Zaria, Awele Odita shares only one son, Ryan Khalid Ayinde Oyedepo, born on 27 March 2017 in the United States of America. Presently, the couple seem to have parted ways although sources believe that the actress became fed up with being strung along by the actor without properly getting married to her.
Besides the children he has with his two wives, Koko Zaria also had his first child, Kaosara Omodolapo Ayinde who was born on 30 August 2000 out of wedlock. Kaosara, however, recently had a fall out with her father and took to social media to bash him over his lack of care for her wellbeing. Her mother remains unknown to the public.