Africa’s richest man and foremost business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has disclosed that despite his wealth, he has no residential property outside Nigeria. Dangote, whose 2015 net worth was put at $21.6billion, according to Forbes, also revealed how the late Chief M. K. O. Abiola discouraged him from investing in the media. The business mogul stated this during an interactive meeting with senior media executives in Lagos at the weekend. He said:
“Somebody asked me, how many houses do you have abroad? I said, well, to tell you the good news, I don’t even have a nine-inch block outside Nigeria, and that is the truth; I don’t have a house anywhere abroad.”
Dangote also recalled a meeting with the late Abiola at his Ikeja, Lagos residence where the latter told him about the dangers of mixing media interests with other business interests. He said:
“I went to see Abiola and I said to him, you look a bit worried. And he said he could not sleep because of a publication…How many times will I be chasing reporters and running my business. Let me advise you, don’t go and do this newspaper business.”
MKO Abiola, before his death in 1998, owned the Radio Communications Nigeria and Concord Press (publishers of the defunct Concord Newspaper). Dangote did not, however, foreclose future investment in the media but said he was being cautious in view of his other business interests.
“You must think twice before going into it,” he said. When people realise that the paper is not balanced – you are always pro-government, it is a challenge. The worst tag a paper can have is to be marked a government paper.
The general feeling is that they are eating from the government. So that is why I run away from the media. I am not saying I won’t do it.”