Born To Be A Solution 2
ALIKO DANGOTE: THE AFRICAN LEGEND!
“…for this purpose I was born and for this
purpose I have come into the world…’’
“Don’t find fault, find remedy.’’ –Henry Ford
Albert Einstein once said, ‘’it is not that I am so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.’’ Life is full of people that made impact by solving problems: Alexander Graham was the solution to communication barrier, he invented the telephone; Alexander Fleming was the solution to the raging pang of pneumonia, he invented penicillin; the Wright brothers were the solution to air travelling, they invented the airplane; Thomas Edison was the solution to physical darkness, he invented the light bulb. In solving the problem of physical darkness, it was once said; ‘’God said let there be light and there was Thomas Edison!’’; Nelson Mandela was the solution to apartheid in South Africa; Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. were the solution to racism in America; Mahatma Gandhi was the key to Indian freedom; Fela Kuti’s mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a solution to women’s suffrage in Nigeria. There was a time when women were not allowed to drive, vote or even bail any member of their family in Nigeria, but a woman stood against what she knew was wrong. We are all ‘solutions’ in God’s mind.
“Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.” – Norman Vincent Peale
William Henry “Bill” Gates III is an American business magnate, investor, computer programmer, inventor and philanthropist. Gates is the former CEO and chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company, which he co-founded with Paul Allen. He began to show interest in computer programming at the age of 13 at Lakeside school where he met his life-long friend and business partner, Paul Allen and the pair bonded through their common enthusiasm over computers. In 1970, at the age of 15, Bill Gates went into business with Paul; they developed “Traf-O-Data”, a computer program that provided a solution to monitor traffic patterns in Seattle which netted $20,000 for their efforts.
Gates enrolled at Harvard University but spent a lot of time using the school’s computer. In his sophomore year, Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems. He dropped out of Harvard after two years of being there, talking this decision over with his parents who supported him seeing his passion. In 1975, Gates and Allen formed a partnership they called micro-soft, a blend of “micro-computers” and “software” and started off on a shaky footing. Gates and Allen’s Microsoft BASIC was the key to Microsoft’s initial success and a solution to the world’s short-sightedness on the use of computers. In 1978, Microsoft headquarters moved to Washington, 23 years old Gates who was the head of the company had only 25 employees and Microsoft grossed $2.5million that year.
After working with IBM, Microsoft began experiencing rapid growth as they solved more problems. On November 10, 1983, Microsoft formally announced Microsoft windows with a graphical user interface and a multi-tasking environment for IBM users. Microsoft solved a major problem by making its software multi-tasking; people could do several things simultaneously which prevented time wastage. In 1990, Microsoft released windows 3.0 which gained strong third-party support and sold three-million copies in the first year alone. Over the years, Windows has been updated and improved greatly solving more problems each time it is updated.
In February 2014, Gates announced that he would be stepping down as the Chairman of Microsoft to move into the new position as technology adviser. Bill Gates indeed changed the world by advancing software technology and making software products user friendly. Bill Gates, who remained the world’s wealthiest man for several years is a philanthropist committed to giving 95% of his fortune to charity. It is not unusual that the man noted for solving most of the software problems in the world eventually became the richest. Money has a path; it will always flow to the direction where problems are solved. The world of today is more effective just by looking through Bill Gates’ windows!
‘’No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.’’-Voltaire
Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa said, ‘’every morning when I wake up, I make up my mind to solve as many problems, before returning home.’’ Dangote was passionate about solving problems and undoubtedly became the richest in Africa. Aliko Dangote, MFR, GCON, is a Nigerian business magnate with an estimated net worth of $18.6 billion USD as of June 2015. He was born in Kano on 10 April 1957 and was named ‘Aliko’ by his grandfather, Sanusi Dantata which means ‘the victorious one who defends humanity’. The late Alhaji Sanusi Alhassan Dantata provided him with the capital to start his own business, as was the practice then. He thus started business in Kano in 1977 trading in commodities and also building supplies. As a young teenager growing up, Aliko Dangote has always committed himself to doing business, selling packs of sweets in his secondary school days. He has a degree in Business from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, one of the oldest universities on earth. Aliko Dangote is a major employer of labour in Nigeria and among the top employers in West Africa, with a total workforce of about 11,000 workers. In Nigeria today, Dangote group with its dominance in the sugar market and refinery business is the main supplier (70% of the market) to the country’s soft drinks companies, breweries and confectioners. It is the largest refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually.
The real genius of Dangote is his ability to transform challenges into opportunities and opportunities into wealth. When other entrepreneurs termed the Nigerian environment unfavourable and uneconomical, Dangote surmounted the hurdle to open economical doors where hitherto there were walls. A man that met the need of a nation by revolutionizing the cement industry. In an era where there was a “mad rush” for embarking on construction of vast housing projects by governments and individuals, Dangote was able to decipher emerging industries based on people’s need. While people from all over the world were in Nigeria revelling in the gluttony and indulgence heralded by FESTAC 77, the young Dangote saw the opportunity to advance his business because of the massive construction going on in various parts of the country.
Though the Dangote Group was established as a small trading firm in 1977, today, it is a multi-trillion naira conglomerate with many of its operation in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Togo, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia. Dangote Group expanded to cover textiles, food processing, cement manufacturing, real estate, haulage and freight; the Dangote Group has moved from being a trading company to being the largest industrial group in Nigeria and includes: Dangote sugar refinery, Dangote cement and Dangote flour.
Dangote Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the group where yearly he spends millions for worthy causes such as contribution to educational and healthcare institutions, sinking of boreholes and giving of scholarships. In 2014, the Nigerian government said Dangote had donated 150 million naira to halt the spread of Ebola. In recognition of Aliko Dangote’s contribution to the growth of the Nigerian economy and his philanthropy, he has been conferred with several awards including the prestigious Zik- Award for Professional Leadership (1992) and the International Awards of Sir Ahmadu Bello. He was also conferred with the National Honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 2000 and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in 2005. On 14 November 2011, Dangote was awarded Nigeria’s second highest honour, the Grand commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) by the former president, Goodluck Jonathan and also named as the Forbes Africa Person of the year 2014.
Dangote is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 67th richest person in the world and the richest in Africa. He peaked on the list as the 23rd richest person in the world in 2014, and the richest man in Africa. Aliko Dangote was passionate about meeting the needs of a growing economy and eventually became the richest African. With his major investments and industries in Nigeria, he has saved several thousands of Nigerians from the pangs of unemployment being one of the major employers of labour. In an economy where many Nigerian find it easy to find faults and travel out; Dangote was resolute about the vast opportunities that abound in the Nigerian economy. Where many of his rich colleagues where lavishing their ‘wealth’ and ‘destiny’ in foreign lands, he alone with some resolute few stood behind to revolutionize what has now become Africa’s greatest economy. Dangote did not only believe in the Nigerian economy but also invested into it! Aliko Dangote was recently rated among the 100 most powerful people in the world by Forbes Magazine. He was listed at number 71 of a list containing Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Pope Francis and world leaders such as Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel. Apart from offering employment opportunities to elite graduates from different ethnic backgrounds, he reduces the level of crime by engaging youths who are school leavers in the area of transportation, product packaging, and security amidst others.
Steve Maraboli said, ‘’sometimes problems don’t require the solution to solve them, instead they require maturity to outgrow them.’’ The Nigerian youths should be a solution and not a problem in the contemporary Nigeria. Let us stop the ‘mad’ and ‘demented’ rush to foreign lands; let us proffer solutions to our national problems. To the Nigerian youths; I say, ‘’we are the solution that Nigeria is waiting for!’’
Gbenga Adebambo is the dean of schools at the Educational Advancement Centre (EAC), an author, youth specialist, international coach and the Editor-In-Chief of MAXIMUM IMPACT MAGAZINE. He is also the founder of the youth ministry called STOP ‘T’(Seeing Tomorrow’s Opportunities and Potentials Today), a ministry that is involved in discovering and nurturing hidden potentials in youths in order to equip them for tomorrow’s challenges, opportunities and responsibilities.