Nigeria without Dangote? By Louis Odion, FNGE

The GDA (2nd Left) Mr. Joseph Okonma (L) Mr. Alistair Soyode of Ben TV, London (3rd L) Alhaji Aliko Dangote (In white Babanriga) Mr. Lanre Ijaola of Ben TV and a Guest during a presentation from Ben TV to Aliko Dangote in 2008
Listening to
Alhaji Aliko Dangote speak at a
colloquium held penultimate Tuesday in Lagos to mark Asiwaju’s 65th birthday, one could again not help feeling the
magnitude of the Nigerian tragedy inflicted by leadership deficit.
He did not feature in the original programme. But who is better qualified to
speak authoritatively at a ceremony where entrepreneurship is broached than
someone who started humbly as a merchant in his native Kano with loan from an uncle as capital and, forty years later, is
now rated the richest black man on earth?
Though impromptu, Dangote spoke with the depth and clarity of a professor. His
facility with statistics is remarkable indeed. His prescriptions: entrepreneurs
in Nigeria will do better with stable power supply on the one hand, and policy
consistency/coherence on the other.

A doer himself, he has walked the talk in the cement sector. From being world’s
second biggest importer of cement a decade ago, Dangote has helped his
fatherland achieve not just self-sufficiency in the commodity but also pushed
her to becoming a big cement exporter, thereby earning the much needed forex.

Aliko Dangote….The Nigerian Dream?

Obviously a pathfinder, Dangote has since shifted his
luminous lights towards crude refining. Denied in 2007 the custody of Port Harcourt Refinery he earlier
acquired with his friend, Femi Otedola, through privatization,
Dangote thereafter chose a more tortuous path to make the loudest statement.

Dangote Oil Refinery under construction

He is currently building from the scratch a brand refinery already rated Africa’s biggest with the capacity to refine a whopping 650,000 bpd and the largest single train of its kind in the world.
(The combined capacity of all Nigeria’s refineries is less than 450,000 bpd
with actual utilization today less than a miserly 10 percent, despite billions
of dollars splurged on them over the years in the name of

Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode

To pull this through, he has had to substantially tap international lenders to
raise a colossal $12b for the
The good news is that, just as we no longer waste forex on cement import, Dangote Refinery located in swampy Lekki, Lagos will, beginning from 2019, ensure that Nigeria no longer wastes forex on importation of petrol, diesel and
kerosene, thereby helping to conserving at least $10b yearly. That way, Dangote
would, at least, have helped end Nigeria’s
shame by lifting the old curse of “a
nation importing what it already

The Author, Louis Odion…Quite impressed with the Aliko Revolution

The emerging Dangote Refinery will not only save Nigeria N10b annually, it will also create 250,000 fresh jobs for Nigerians.
Already, fables and gossips are fast mushrooming around the gargantuan plant
currently under construction day and night. The most widespread being that it
occupies a land mass (2,200 hectares) that is six times the size of the upscale
Victoria Island in Lagos.
However, my own take-away is different. To power the humongous plant, Dangote
has had to build an independent power plant, just like he did for the Cement
factory in Obajana, Kogi State.
From records now made public, it costs him an average of $400,000 to build one mega watt. But wait for the figure often
quoted by the Federal Government for the same item – $2m!

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu….Dangote Spoke at his 65th birthday lecture

What makes it doubly tragic is that with $400,000,
Dangote delivers mega watt that
brings real electricity. Nigeria
squanders $2m to generate pitch darkness.
Under Obasanjo, not less than $16b, according to House of Reps reports in 2008, was spent on power projects. A
decade later, that colossal expenditure has not translated to a marked
improvement in energy generation. Fifty-six years after independence, power
generation still oscillates around 4,000
Mega Watt
Back in the 70s, a national committee chaired by Chief Olu Falae had
projected the nation’s energy need to be 10,000
mega watts
by 2000. Sadly, with a population of less than 100m in 1988,
official records indicated NEPA’s generation capacity was 4,000 mega watts.
When Obasanjo left office ten years ago, power generation had fallen to 3,000 mega watts. Ten
years later
, and with population now around 180 million, we are back to
generating 4,000 mega watts.
However, with $16b, Dangote would have produced mega watts
in excess of 6,000.
Is anyone still wondering why Nigeria
remains poor infra-structurally today despite hundreds of billions of dollars
received through oil sale and squandered in the last fifty years?.

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo….$16 billion Dollars lost to power generation under his 8 Years rule

On the mega watt alone, Aliko has,
perhaps unwittingly, exposed Nigeria’s culture of waste and systemic theft.
Entrepreneurs with depth and creativity like Aliko and Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr are few.

Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr…One of those who moves Nigeria economically

Theirs is real production and wealth-creation ultimately, not rent-seeking. In
their daily grind of turning raw materials to finished good, they send a clear
message that the country has no business with poverty; that much more could be
attained with far less. Indeed, if any progress has been made in the national
economy at all in the last decade, the credit substantially belongs to the
patriotic tenacity of a few like them.
All said, the new Lagos Refinery is a
monument to vision, courage and tenacity of one man – Aliko,

Aliko Dangote….His 60th birthday is next Monday April 10

whose 60th
birthday is, by the way, next Monday. There can’t be a better time to salute a Nigerian
patriot, a truly deserving Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).