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Dangote Sets Another Trend For the Nigerian Elite to Follow

By on October 8, 2012

President Goodluck Jonathan (l) with Alhaji Aliko Dangote

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, undoubtedly has many of his fellow billionaire friends and colleagues green with envy. He is one of the few Nigerians who can boast of having worked hard to accumulate his immense fortune. He is often derided due to close relationships with political leaders, however all serious-minded business people have to curry the favour of the ruling elite in order to ensure that their daily bread is buttered. That is a phenom anywhere in the world. To his credit, however, he is not known to be a pen robber, or a man that mortgages the lives of future generations for a few easy billion bucks here and there.

The institution of corruption is not a building where Dangote has pitched his tent, and that is a lot more than we can say for many of Nigeria’s other billionaires. Perhaps this is why Dangote is so distinguished from his peers, in terms of wealth and achievement. The only other billionaire that comes close is Michael Adenuga, but this story is not about wealth. On the contrary it is with what the wealthy decide to do with their wealth.

Many young middle-class Nigerians are accustomed to seeing what the ruling elite and those close to them do with their money. IT is either the construction of grand mansions, acquisition of the latest wonders on wheels, acquisition of the hottest female undergraduates or acquisition of the most bottles of champagne at the night clubs. For many years, this is how many of Nigeria’s instant billionaires have lived their lives, the only time they give is either through money laundering  at the churches or if their undergraduate babe needs a new smartphone, weave-on or maybe even a car.

If you look closely at the waterways of Ikoyi, you may see a distressed billionaire or two ferrying undergraduate girls in skimpy garments up and down the shoreline in a mega-yacht, seemingly without a care in the world as the country burns or floods, whatever the case may be.

After all the news of man’s inhumanity to man, the general public was treated to yesterday due to events in Aluu, Rivers State, it came as a wave of fresh air, the news of Dangote’s generosity to flood victims in Kogi.

Corporate Social Responsibility has never been better executed in the history of Corporate Nigeria. Obajana Cement plant is located in Kogi and is reputed to be one of the world’s largest. The plant employs directly and indirectly more than 20,000 Nigerians.
In a rare show of empathy and friendliness to the masses, Dangote donated N 430 million to indigenes of kogi who were displaced and otherwise affected by the floods.

The Dangote Foundation provided N50 million in food relief, N150 million in cash. Also, N230 million was earmarked as SME loans for women at N10,000 per woman to revitalize their businesses. 23,000 women are potential beneficiaries.

Although it is government’s constitutional responsibility to take care of natural disaster victims, and even to prevent such disasters from occuring in the first place, Dangote still lent  a helping hand.

He said, “Obviously, the government alone cannot shoulder this onerous responsibility of bringing relief to the victims. The private sector and public-spirited individuals should join hands with the government to assist the victims of this national disaster that has ravaged about 21 states of the federation.”

He said this irregardless of the fact that it took years of government corruption and embezzlement at federal, state and local levels to sink Nigeria to a new low of flood disaster.

Nigeria’s elite are always in search of the next new trend and are always struggling to outdo each other, well perhaps they should try and emulate worthy causes such as that which Dangote has started.

Just this morning, we learned that the TY Danjuma Foundation has also provided relief materials to the flood victims in Kogi. Nigeria is in need of more heroes to step up and correct the failures of our leaders past.