By Chux Odoh
Africa’s Richest man Aliko Dangote sat in an interview with FinancialTimes where he revealed a lot about his personal life, daily routine, habits, business goals and his impression about the Nigerian political space.
Here are 10 things the billionaire (ranked 100th in the world) revealed in the interview:
His Boat, The Mariya, Is Named After His Mother
Dangote’s has a 108 feat yacht — named Mariya, after his mother — of rumoured to cost about $43m. It was styled after a boat owned by fellow Nigerian billionaire and pal, Femi Otedola, though Dangote had his built a few feet shorter.
Aliko Is Still A Hopeful Bachelor
Dangote has been married twice with 3 daughters. However, at 61, the billionaire hasn’t given up on true love and hope to find it someday. But for now, his business route still takes a huge chunk of his time.
He Answers His Phone 100 Times Daily
Dangote takes more calls than an average Nigerian front desk Assistant in a day. Who would have guessed that with the very busy schedule, The billionaire still answers his calls, taking over 100 calls per day? Dangote revealed that Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair once told him, “The world is not going to fall apart if you don’t answer your phone.’ That’s the price to pay when you have to be on top of business perhaps.
He Fasts At Least Once Every Week
Dangote has imbibed the habit of fasting at least once a week. According to what he told Pilling “it helps to clean your system”.
Dangote Cement London In The Works
Dangote plans to expand his cement business to London, perhaps by the end of this year and has already appointed independent directors — including Cherie Blair the wife of his good friend and former Uk Prime Minister Tony Blair.
He Got His Big Break in 1999 Though The Support Of President Obasanjo
Dangote also tells Pilling about how President Obasanjo contributed to the expansion of his cement business in 1999. According to him, the president at that time wanted to know He wanted to know why Nigeria couldn’t produce cement, rather than relying on import. His response to the then president was that it was more profitable to trade than to produce but only if imports were restricted would it be worthwhile. The government soon restricted the importation of cement and Dangote capitalized on it.
98 per cent of Nigeria’s Milk Consumption Is Imported
In case you didn’t know, Dangote has just revealed to you that almost all the milk consumed in Nigeria is imported. This The Kano-born billionaire is not happy about. “What Nigeria needs is to produce locally what we can produce locally. Nigeria still imports vegetable oil, which makes no sense. Nigeria still imports 4.9m tonnes of wheat, which does not make sense,” the $14-billion-man said. “Nigeria still imports 97 or 98 per cent of the milk that we consume”.
Dangote further recommends that the government needs to bring out a draconian policy to stop people importing milk, just like they did with cement.”
$6bn Of His Own money Has So Far Gone Into The building Of His Refinery
Dangote revealed that his refinery project has so far gulped $6 billion of his own personal funds. Perhaps that’s the reason he hasn’t been able to launch a strong bid to buy Arsenal football club, a dream that is so dear to his heart.
Daily Output of The Dangote Refinery
With a refining capacity of 650,000 barrels of oil a day when completed, Dangote aims to produce every drop of petrol Nigeria needs.
He Revealed What He Will Do When He Eventually Buys Arsenal Football Club
Dangote has never hidden his intention to buy the elite English club, a team he dearly and passionately supports. If that ever happens, the billionaire just like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich says he would involve himself in rebuilding the team — “chipping in my own advice”, as he puts it. “When I buy it, I have to bring it up to the expectations of our supporters,” he told Palling.
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