When I lived in Ovim Abia State, The Young and Dangote were popular nicknames. The Young (after Young Shall Grow Motors) was named after a football club. Many young men were inspired by those businessmen. The connection was clear: as Bill Gates is to America, Dangote was to many in Nigeria, on entrepreneurial capitalism. Unfortunately for Dangote, many do not appreciate his excellence and I have called it the Dangote’s Burden.
The Burden is a scenario where no matter how hard you work, most will not give you credit because of perception. As I noted, in some years, Dangote raised more money than Nigeria’s total foreign direct investment. No governor of a state, including Lagos State, has raised more investment funds than him over the last 8 years. Yet, it is all innuendoes and insults for him. What can he do? He cannot do much because there is nothing else he needs to prove himself.
It is that burden that prevents some people from getting into public service. You might have made money in business. But the day you hold an office for one month, all that you have accomplished would now be linked to “corruption” because you have served in a government. To avoid that perception, most credible people just stay away.
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Let me tell you that I write it the way I see it. Dangote’s team did reach out after I wrote The Dangote System many months ago. They were not happy with some aspects of the ebook. They wanted me to visit Nigeria, and interview the businessman. I declined, reminding them that I do not need to interview anyone to write about the subject because my analyses are always based on public data.
I never break news, I focus on analyzing broken news and my hard conclusion is clear: Nigerians are becoming unnecessarily mean by not celebrating excellence when it is visible.
Nigeria is one of the few places where a decent effort will get you support. Many complain of lack of support because they have not demonstrated credibility to be believable. Accordingly, the government will not believe! There is a difference between I want to build this factory and need government support AND I have $50m to build this factory.
This is not like the discos which cooked books, claiming to have resources for distributing electricity only to get the licenses, and deliver darkness. Dangote walks the talk, and that is why the government can help because he delivers as promised.
Good People, please spare yourself the precious time of sending emails or inmails to explain what I do understand or not understand about Aliko Dangote. My core thesis remains that for any issue you may have with support the government gives to him, understand that he is not the only one getting help. If others getting help are utilizing the assistance from the government, the nation would be better today.
That said, this is not to say that Nigeria is a fair society. It is not. We do not promote meritocracy. But if you are to use merit, Dangote wins in his domain, just as others have won in banking where he failed. For that nation to rise, we must appreciate excellence and the spirit of risk taking.
As the Chairman of Tekedia Capital, we invest $$millions yearly into the Nigerian economy. In short, in the last 7 days, we invested in Zeeh, BoundlessPay, Vetsark, Byte, RoPay, Meekfi, Woka, etc. It is a big risk and when the harvest comes, some will call us privileged people. Nonsense.
If Dangote decides to go into toll gates and uses the collected funds to keep the roads working, people will forget that more than 5000 people have been tried and they failed in managing the toll gate funds. During Covid, the government shared billions of Naira with manufacturers at sub-6% interest rate: “President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said the Federal Government has disbursed a total of N100 billion to indigenous pharmaceutical companies”.
Peter Obi in Anambra state gave money to private schools. My point is this: the government supports those solving problems in its areas of interest. If you have $5 billion to build a seaport in Ibom, the Southsout states will possibly offer many concessions.