Members of a think thank allegedly set up by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to woo Alhaji Aliko Dangote to contest the 2019 Presidential elections, may have to look for another candidate as he has denied any plans to run for office.
Alhaji Dangote also said such rumours were meant to place him on a collision course with the President whom he regards as a father. Suffice to add that Aliko Dangote was one of the few businessmen who was with the President on the day election results were announced.
Here is Aliko Dangote on quote as reported by Daily Times
“I am an entrepreneur. My passion is to create jobs for Nigerians and not otherwise”,
“I am not interested in politics and this is authoritative. No member of any think tank committee has contacted me. People should stop dropping my name for the 2019 presidency.
“This whole thing is an attempt by people who do not like me. They are doing all these with a view to putting me on a collision course with President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party. They are people who are jealous of the successes I have so far recorded in business.
“My passion is for business development, provision of jobs and wealth creation, not politics. I have never shown interest in politics. I’m not interested in politics. I am not a politician. My passion has always been business and business.
“Buhari is like a father to me. Nobody should try to set me on a collision course with President Buhari. That will not work. I have high regard and respect for the President.
“For emphasis once again, I am not a politician. I can’t and won’t confront President Buhari. They should leave me out of any high wire politics and horse trading.
“I also seize this opportunity to warn name droppers to desist from their infamous act. They should stop using my name for politics. They should not set me on collision course with President Buhari and the government in power.
“By the time the ongoing Dangote refinery in Lagos and the sugar projects come on stream fully, there will be a great positive development and thousands of jobs created that will change the narrative in the country. That is my passion.”
Why the PDP would be interested in him
Politics in Nigeria is quite expensive and being Africa’s richest man, sponsoring a Presidential campaign will be something he can easily afford. Aliko’s wide network of contacts would give him an edge if he were to run for office. His position as one of the biggest employers of labour in the country also gives him access to virtually any arm of government.
The PDP, which has largely been a toothless opposition, will view Aliko Dangote as a portent Northern Candidate that can take on the still rising popularity of President Buhari in the electorate rich Northern Nigeria.
This by all means would have been a formidable opposition against President Buhari and the ruling APC Government.
Business above politics
Dangote’s swift denial of the rumour is not only timely but smart considering that he has so much at stake to lose than get embroiled in a political ambition that’s a bridge to nowhere. Africa’s richest man is currently involved in several projects worth billions of dollars, especially his refinery project in APC led, Lagos State and owns several other businesses across a spectrum of APC led states.
For example, Aliko Dangote’s largest business to date, Dangote Cement is located in Ibese, Ogun State, Obajana, Kogi State and Gboko, Benue State. These are all states with APC Governors. Dangote Sugar and Flourmills also have factories located in the Apapa area of Lagos State. NASCON, another of Dangote’s business interest is located in Oregun and Apapa in Lagos, it does have a Port Hacourt branch, a PDP led state.
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Up North, Aliko Dangote also has businesses spanning APC led states especially in Agriculture and trading. For example, Dangote tomato factory is located in kano, another APC led state government that is one of the President’s strong hold. Just a few weeks ago, AMCON reported that it was planning to sell the Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria, PAN, plant to a consortium of two states and Dangote Group. The plant is located in Kaduna State, led by a staunch Buhari Supporter, Mallam Nasir El Rufai.
Also to add that Aliko Dangote is a member and vice chairman of Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, a think tank of Private Sector business leaders tasked with making Nigeria a manufacturing hub for West Africa and diversify the economy from its over-dependence on oil.
It is not difficult to understand the sense of finality in his denial of having any presidential ambition. Leaving any rumour or insinuations that he is planning to run against the president without an unequivocal denial will have repercussions for his business interests.