Success is Not Accidental: My Encounter With the Billionaire Aliko Dangote

I read a few articles online about Aliko Dangote’s kind gesture to Archbishop Benson Idahosa in the early 90s.

The account expounded on how Aliko, who was a young business man, relatively unknown at that time, offered his seat in a fully booked flight to Lagos from Benin to one of the Archbishops’ guests. The account stated that the Archbishop prayed for Aliko and prophesied into his business. This was a thought provoking article.

I thought to myself that these are the kind of stories my Christian folks would like. I cannot confirm the veracity of this story. But let’s assume is it true. A question will naturally arise; was it only Aliko Dangote that the Archbishop pronounced such great words of blessing into his life during Archbishops lifetime? The answer will definitely be no! So where are the others?

My point is, it takes more than prayers or prophesies to make a great man or live a great life. It’s called prayer + hard work+ smart thinking +good interpersonal skill+ ability to unlearn and learn new things = fulfilled dreams

I was in an Emirate flight from Dubai to Lagos awhile back, and Aliko Dangote was boarding the same flight, I had walked up to him to exchange pleasantries and had a brief chat before boarding. I headed for the economy section, and he was off to the first-class cabin. About 4hours into the flight, virtually everyone in the economy section was either sleeping or watching movies. I took a walk to the back of the cabin to have a cup of coffee and while there I met with a popular Nigerian musician and we got talking. I mentioned to her that Aliko Dangote was in the same flight. She asked that I should take her to his cabin to say hello. I agreed, and we walked down the aisle towards the first-class section.

Behold Aliko Dangote was alone in that cabin, his study light was on, and he had lots of reports, study articles and books right on his table. He was so engrossed in his reading that he didn’t realize we were behind him. He looked up surprised and then he smiled, and we had a beautiful conversation.

This was also thought provoking to me. For many days I thought about that encounter. The billionaire was alone and engrossed in his work and study while many of us were either sleeping or watching movies. Even if a man acquires wealth by luck, it takes diligence and hard-work to increase and multiply the wealth.

As a nation we have basically been trained to believe that success comes to people as a result of luck or a mystical spiritual influence that cannot be exactly understood so we all pray for favour so that this spirit of money and prosperity can smile on us.

Religious leaders constitute part of the main problem. They make the people believe that the more they “speak and declare that they receive money miracle” then money comes to the people. I wonder many times how we got here as a nation. Many times, these religious groups bring Pastors from America who come in preaching the “speak it and have it gospel”. What does that even mean? America as a nation was built on hard work, intelligent thinking and diligence. People work morning shift, afternoon and night shift there. All round the clock they are working so hard. The nation was not built on “speak it and take it”, Dubai was not built on “speak it and take it” neither was Singapore. A new generation of deep thinkers and one with great analytical debt is rising and I am glad I am a part of that generation. Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. Success is not accidental.


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