Richest man in Nigeria

10 Untold Lessons From The Richest Man in Nigeria

by Maryann Opatola

In every rich man’s story, there are always life lessons to learn. Sometimes, we get one or two take-homes from them, but many of these life lessons are untold. Some of the stories that portray these lessons are often twisted and falsely stated. This is why we will reveal untold lessons from the richest man in Nigeria in this article.

We will unveil who the wealthiest Nigerian man is, his life and success stories, and also the lessons you can learn from them. So relax, and follow through.

The Richest Man in Nigeria

The richest man in Nigeria is Aliko Dangote. He is known as a prominent Nigerian entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, business executive, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Dangote Group.

His company (Dangote) specializes in the manufacturing and exportation of cement and food commodities such as salt, maggie, rice, semolina, and spaghetti in Nigeria and other African countries. With a net worth of $15 billion, Dangote does not only maintain the status of the richest man in Nigeria alone but in Africa at large.

Diving into the background of Aliko Dangote, he was born on April 10th, 1957, into a wealthy Muslim family in Kano State in the northern part of Nigeria. His father’s name is Mohammed Dangote, while his mother’s, is Hajia Mariya Sanusi Dantata.

In 1955, his great-grandfather, Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, was the richest man in Africa. This portrays one fact: Aliko Dangote was never poor and subdued any myth of him rising from the gutters. 

Aliko Dangote’s educational background: he obtained his secondary education at Capital High School in Kano State, Nigeria. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in business studies and administration from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Afterwards, Dangote borrowed money from his uncle to start a business in 1977 in Lagos, Nigeria. That little business led to the Dangote company we know today.

Aliko Dangote is married with three children and lives in an expensive penthouse in Banana Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

A Few of Aliko Dangote’s Wins Over the Years 

Before 2013, the richest man in Africa was an Ethiopian, Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi. In the year 2013, Dangote overtook him by $2.6 billion. Forbes Magazine has ranked him as one of the 100th-richest people in the world and also the richest man in Africa.

In 2014, he was recorded as the 23rd richest man in the world.  

Aliko is a hardworking man who is determined and persistent. He has great leadership skills, and due to these qualities, he established the empire into a multi-billion dollar conglomerate in Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, the Republic of Benin, and other African countries.

In the early 1990s, the CBN management approved Dangote’s proposal; for the bank to permit his transport company to manage their caravan of staff buses. 

He has expanded his business to dominate the sugar market and become among the top suppliers of confectioneries and soft drinks. His company is mainly known for covering food processing and cement manufacturing. 

The company is now the largest manufacturing industry in Africa. In July 2012, Aliko Dangote built the facilities for his flour company on the large piece of land he bought from the Nigeria Port Authority in Apapa, Lagos State, Nigeria. 

Today, Aliko Dangote Company is the largest refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world, producing over 800,000 tons of sugar yearly. His company also exports sesame seeds, ginger, cashew nuts, cotton, and cocoa to several countries worldwide. Aliko Dangote is also an investor. He is known for investing in real estate, transport, textile, oil and gas, and banking. 

His company has been recorded as the highest employer of labour in Nigeria; it employs more than 11,000 people nationwide at a sweep. His business has diversified into telecommunications recently; he began with the build-up of fibre optics of 14,000 kilometres to supply the whole of Nigeria. This achievement led the federal government of Nigeria to honour him as the leading provider of employment in the Nigerian construction industry in January 2009.

Aliko Dangote is also known for being a great philanthropist, as explained in the first paragraph of this article. In 2014, Aliko Dangote donated over N150 million ($750,000) to stop the spread of Ebola in Nigeria.

He was the prominent sponsor of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s re-election as Nigeria’s President. Reports state that he gave out over N200 million to President Olusegun Obasanjo for his campaign funding. These large donations to members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) sparked controversy because of the highly publicized anti-corruption drives during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s second term as Nigeria’s President.

Aliko Dangote also contributed N200 million to the Presidential Library. In addition, he donated N50 million to the National Mosque under the aegis of “Friends of Obasanjo and Atiku.” 

In May 2010, a news channel, Daily Mirror in Great Britain, reported that Aliko Dangote was interested in buying a 16% stake in Premiership side Arsenal belonging to Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. Aliko Dangote denied the rumor after being confronted by Nigerian sports journalists.

In November 2011, Aliko Dangote was awarded the highest award in Nigeria, Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), by the former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.  

In May 2015, Aliko Dangote formally conveyed interest in purchasing the English football team Arsenal. He planned to fire the long-standing manager Arsene Wenger if he bought the club because of his claims that the manager had been a failure in Arsenal.

In 2014, Forbes Magazine named Aliko Dangote the African Personality of the Year. In 2013, Aliko Dangote, alongside six prominent Nigerians, was granted honorary citizenship of Arkansas State by Governor Mike Beebe, who proclaimed May 30th of every year as Nigeria Day in the United States of America. In 2015, Aliko Dangote won the Clinton Global Citizen Award in the United States of America.

Life Lessons to Pick From Dangote, the Richest Man in Nigeria 

  1. Discover your vision

Depicting Dangote’s life story, to become successful, you must discover your vision, and it must be clear. Dangote always had the dream of being in the business world. In one of his interviews, he said that even while at elementary school, he had started selling sugar cubes to his peers. This sparks the fact that his business activism had been there for a long time.

Due to his passion for business, he furthered his study in business studies and administration at the university. This explains that once you have a vision, you must plan and work towards its positivity. His life story also teaches us that, for a clear vision, you must follow your passion.

  1. Education is basic

These days, youths think education is a scam, which shouldn’t be because education is the basic key to success in life.

Don’t get exhausted from learning. Never quit learning. Dangote points to young people eager to finish their education and start a business. He clarified that owning a business is not all about acquiring a degree. It requires learning how to handle a business and deal with human resources. Management does not only need assets but also being equipped with the right skills to stand in front of your team and earn their respect. “Education is the pillar.”

Read also: Informal Education in Nigeria: An overview.

  1. Hardwork is key

In the richest man’s (Aliko Dangote’s) words, I quote, “I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me, but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work.

To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme. One of his guiding principles remains that you only go to bed once you have achieved something productive.

  1. Think big, become big

Aliko Dangote’s life portrays the “Think Big, Become Big” method of success. He started with cement production, and fast forward to today, he is in various commodities and dominating not just the Nigerian market but African markets. He always had the thoughts, and now he has become his thoughts.

  1. Focus on what’s core

For someone to become the richest man in Nigeria, and even as the richest black man, you know that focus is prominent. Dangote is where he is today because he is focused on achieving his goal. Thus, this explains that we need to focus to go far in our endeavors.

Read also: 5 ways to develop laser focus.  

  1. Your name is your most valuable asset

Aliko Dangote proves that building our brand with integrity and accountability speaks well of us; it becomes our valuable asset. He once said, “One competitive advantage I had when I ventured into manufacturing was my brand “Dangote,” which I diligently built in the course of my trading commodities. “

First, build your brand, and opportunities will come towards it.

  1. Consistency

Assuming Dangote at one point gave up because of the stress and pressure, he wouldn’t have been the richest man today. There were times Dangote felt like pausing, quitting, and times when he doubted. But in the midst of all this, he was still consistent, and millions of people have benefited from his consistency. Consistency pays off, but often in the long term.

And many youths seem often discouraged by long-term rewards. But with positive motivation, you can drive through it.

  1. Be a good listener

Dangote advises countless times that to succeed in anything; you have to have excellent listening skills. Talk less, listen more, and also enact change. We should listen to good advice from family and friends. We listened to the message the current business terrain sends across our political systems and the entire global culture. 

Listening gives you an insight into how to improve things and what to reduce. To attain the development of Africa, you must listen to podcasts and seminars from top-level people in the nation’s developing sector. This implies that whatever we aim for, we should listen to those with good experience.

  1. Engage in things within your capacity

Dangote’s life lessons teach us to try as much as possible only to do things according to our ability. Don’t complicate your life. Engage in things (business) that you understand. Doing only things within your available time and resources.

We need to have executable plans in place. Goals without timelines are like fantasies. Like taking a course, learning a skill, or attending a conference. These plans must be doable and realistic.

  1. Take risks and be innovative

Remember how Dangote proposed to the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow his transport company to take care of their fleet of vehicles? At that time, it must have been a risky proposal, but he did it anyway, and the result was a successful and worthy initiative that paid off. This confirms that when your imaginations are innovative, even if you lack resources, you can still predict future trends in the market and recommend something worth the investment.

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Final Words

Here’s a fun story Dangote once shared: when he started making lots of money, it didn’t feel true, so he went into the bank and withdrew a considerable amount of money, kept it in his house to feel the reality of his achievements. Funny right?

When we aim high, think big, and make our vision a reality, we may not feel it, especially when it’s a huge vision, like being the richest man in Nigeria and Africa.

The lessons learned from Dangote’s life account tell us that we can make the reality of whatever we visioning only if we start to work towards its achievements now.

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