There is arguably no Nigerian of school age that has not heard the name, Aliko Dangote.
So it can safely be said that if a question were set on the name, the answers are likely to be all of the following: Aliko Dangote is a wealthy businessman. Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man. Aliko Dangote produces sugar, salt, pastries, cement, agro-allied products and he is building the largest independent refinery and petrochemical company in Lagos, the commercial nerve center of Nigeria. His is a Mr. as well.
No where would the answers touch on his state of origin, his religion, his party affiliations, or any honorific and professional title, all of which are the socio-political fault lines of our beloved Nigeria so enamored of by our ruling elite.
The real question is could this man have become what he is in a country where the best is always becoming hard to achieve even if the worst never happens. ?
Well, there may be many guesses, or answers as many of us are ready to give or admit on face value. Yet there is no denying the fact that all the answers would converge at the end on grounds of reputation and character. Where do you find the fragrant water lily, that beautiful and ornamental aquatic plant with cup-shaped floating white flowers that symbolizes eternity for the Buddhists? On top of a pond, muddled water. The rose, another flower with metaphysical symbolism grows among thorns.
Which is to say that Aliko Dangote is a finished product many of us are seeing and singing his praises today. He too has had his tests and trials, his battles, which could have stopped him on his way to where he is today. But he had prevailed.
Even so, it is easy to say, he is a beneficiary of family wealth and privileges. It is easy to say his pedigree opened the doors and walls usually placed against many others with similar aspiration to his. It is easy to say once he broke into the circle that moves and shakes Nigeria, up, up he went. We are looking at the same thing in a different way.
Why him? What is it that has made him rise above the ethnic, religious and sectarian fault lines of Nigerian politics? What leverage has he used to stay ahead of others in the same business and country with many frozen dreams and broken promises?
In a few, eye-opening words, spoken when business students paid him a courtesy visit some time ago, he said, ‘I have always wanted to sell things, to do things differently since childhood. If every one of us chose to do something in his area of expertise, we would all excel and help our community”. There you have it: Focus, self-esteem, vision, empathy and planning.
Without these, the family wealth, the opened doors and membership of exclusive caucuses would amount to nothing or at best to self and community sabotage as we have seen with the lives of many of our politicians and board room gurus in the sad and broken story of our beloved country today.
In understanding and assessing the achievement of a man, or woman, it is meet to find out whether his or her philosophy has made him or her strive to do some thing worthwhile and pursue ends that are desirable. Indeed if you want to know a happy man or woman find the direction he/ she has deployed his/her will power.
Aliko Dangote at 60 has done much more than that. And in a country in distraction mode most of the time, his achievements have made him a model of excellence and efficiency in patriotism, entrepreneurial investments and community service.
Dangote group is the most capitalized company in the stock exchange with investments that currently includes six projects that would create 250,000 jobs across the country. The ongoing refinery, petrochemical and fertilizer plant for example would not only create jobs across many fields but also fetch the country an estimated $15 billion dollars in foreign exchange and savings yearly!
Unlike some Nigerians who may claim to be richer than him but in actual fact exists in the air, Dangote can be seen and felt and sensed in concrete and realistic terms by Nigerians. His investments dot the commercial landscape of the country. By world standard Mr Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Dangote group is a successful man; he is a man of repute with a happy home and a good press.
On this occasion of his 6oth birthday anniversary, we at Thisage join his well-wishers friends and family members to congratulate him on this enviable milestone and to wish him many returns of the day.
We urge him to remain the Aliko Dangote we know and would always remember as one of our best and finest global brands and a source of inspiration to his compatriots in all walks of life.