Dangote And The Arewa Youths By SOC Okenwa

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Dangote Group, is the African richest man and one of the richest in the world. The business mogul made his money through dint of hardwork (or so we had thought before now). He wines and dines with Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings and Queens around the world. His colossal investments transcend international boundaries. To the best of our knowledge he is not haughty or been involved in any scandal associated with a pre-President Donald Trump for example. In the Forbes list of billionaires Dangote occupies an enviable position to the pride and glory of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. Making money decently is not a tea party!

As a man of money Dangote is not like the late Bashorun MKO Abiola who courted controversies and married many wives fathering countless children! Dangote is humble, patriotic and deeply religious. He is not known to be suffering from the rich-man complex or syndrome associated with many African billionaires and millionaires.

Millions of Nigerians are using Dangote products across ethnic or religious lines. Thousands earn a living through his companies’ employment opportunities. Someone once told me sometime ago that Dangote could have employed more Nigerians than the federal government and we laughed over it! Of course he is a great employer of labour.

Disciplined and munificent Dangote’s entrepreneurial ingenuity marks him out as a great man, a great Nigerian. When I was about to build a house in my village I remember going for his cement in up-town Ihiala, Anambra State, in 2005. According to those who know him better he has a great heart! But could be ruthless when it comes to business deals and interests.

Recently, however, the big man had innocuously waded into the social tension in the country arising mainly from the October 1 ultimatum given to the Igbos up north by the so-called Arewa youths to vacate the entire north for their various villages or towns in Igboland. Dangote, a man not known for megalomania or magniloquence, had dismissed the quit notice stressing that people should not engage or dignify same with any response. He had said: “Some fellows who have no relevance and values came out to issue a warning that Igbo should leave the North. I am surprised everybody started talking about this nonsense. Why are we talking about it? Obviously, in a place where there is a lot of joblessness, it is expected that this kind of jobless people would come out with all sorts of anger……We understand the reasons why they are angry, but, they cannot justify their action when they have decided not to work. They only issued the senseless warning to keep themselves relevant.”

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