4:34 pm - Wednesday December 12, 2018

‘I Am Ready to Buy ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB in England’-ALIKO Dangote, Africa’s Richest Billionaire …’Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo inspired me into Cement business’ *Lament: ‘Though twice divorced with three grown-up daughters, I Need a New BRIDE to call my wife’ * Immortalized mother, MARIYA after Dangote’s yacht, a 108-foot vessel at a whooping cost of $43million-INVESTIGATION BY ANNA ORIBADE, STAFF WRITER, LAGOS & GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF

‘I Am Ready to Buy ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB in England’-ALIKO Dangote, Africa’s Richest Billionaire
…’Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo inspired me into Cement business’
*Lament: ‘Though twice divorced with three grown-up daughters, I Need a New BRIDE to call my wife’
* Immortalized mother, MARIYA after Dangote’s yacht, a 108-foot vessel at a whooping cost of $43million-INVESTIGATION

BY ANNA ORIBADE, STAFF WRITER, LAGOS & GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF

HE’S A BILLIONAIRE. AN EXTREMELY VERY WEALTHY NIGERIAN BUSINESSMAN regarded in Forbes as ‘Africa’s Richest Billionaire’, by all standards being the Chief executive officer/President of Dangote Group of companies. ALIKO DANGOTE’S businesses span cement, sugar, yatch, football industries and other forms. He dines and wines with ‘who-and-who’ in the world.

In a recent interview on Financial Times, Africa’s richest man , Aliko Dangote, has revealed that at 61, he is not getting any younger, as he is willing to buy over Arsenal Football Club in England, “I love Arsenal and I will definitely go for it,” he says matter-of-factly, as though discussing the latest model of iPhone. He reckons it’s worth about $2bn. Long frustrated with the club’s decline under Arsène Wenger, the recently replaced manager, he says that as owner, 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.”

Of plans to get married, Dangote said:. “I’m not getting younger. Sixty years is no joke,” he says, “but it doesn’t make sense to go out and get somebody if you don’t have the time. Right now, things are really, really very busy, because we have the refinery, we have the petrochemicals, we have the fertiliser, we have the gas pipeline. With sweet talk like that, I think to myself, it can’t be long before he wins some lucky woman’s heart. “I need to calm down a bit.”
He made this revelation while speaking with David Piling in a Financial Times interview. Dangote revealed that his schedule is inhibiting romance.

The billionaire, who is twice divorced and has three grown-up daughters says he is on the lookout for a new bride. He however adds a caveat: “I’m not getting younger. Sixty years is no joke. But it doesn’t make sense to go out and get somebody if you don’t have the time. Right now, things are really, really very busy, because we have the refinery, we have the petrochemicals, we have the fertilizer, we have the gas pipeline.”

Investigation conducted by our correspondents confirmed that his Dangote’s yacht, a 108-foot vessel at a whooping cost of $43million was named MARIYA to immortalized his mother. It was styled after a boat owned by fellow Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola, though intriguingly Dangote had his built a few feet shorter.

He makes no secret of how he got his big break, one that transformed him from a wealthy man — and by all accounts a bit of a dilettante — into a business colossus whose interests straddle the continent. It happened one day not long after the election in 1999 of Olusegun Obasanjo, the former military leader who had embraced the country’s lurch to democracy by running for the presidency. Dangote contributed both to that campaign and to his subsequent re-election in 2003.

Of how Obasanjo inspired him into cement business, this billionaire businessman said: “Obasanjo called me very early in the morning and said, ‘Can we meet today?’ ” says Dangote, recalling the presidential summons. He wanted to know why Nigeria couldn’t produce cement, instead importing it by the boatload. Dangote told him it was more profitable to trade than to produce. Only if imports were restricted would it be worthwhile. Obasanjo agreed. Dangote has never looked back.

#Additional reports by Financial Times

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