Leading businessman and Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has become the first largest individual donor to the University of Ibadan.
Dangote, who is Africa’s richest man, commissioned a donated a N300 million ultra-modern building he donated to the University of Ibadan (UI) School of Business at the Ajibode University extension in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
Speaking at the third Eminent Persons Business lecture and inauguration of complex named Aliko Dangote Complex, Dangote urged government to provide basic infrastructure to make the nation’s environment conducive for business.
He pledged his foundation would continue to prioritise education to raise entrepreneurs who would change the economy to lead growth and development.
The foremost industrialist told his audience, who comprised academia, students, royal fathers and businessmen, Nigeria had the potential to be among the most industrialised countries in the world but required the right policies to propel investors into taking the lead in the nation’s industrialisation drive.
Delivering his paper, titled: Industrialisation – Backward Integration as a Strategy for National Development: The Story of the Dangote Group, Dangote, whose lecture was delivered by the Group Executive Director of the Dangote Industries Limited, Ahmed Mansur, noted that for the nation to have industrial breakthrough, its leadership and people must have the political will, the courage and perseverance to succeed.
The foremost industrialist noted that backward integration is one of the fine policies of the government, which has helped Nigeria’s economy and in which he, as a private sector operator, had led the nation.
He said the policy could be replicated in other sectors of the economy.
Going by his experience as a leading cement producer using backward integration, the industrialist said there would be cost control as costs would be better managed all along the production process.
Citing instances of countries that have used backward integration to climb the industrial ladder’s key sectors, Dangote said: “Several countries have involved backward integration in some of their industries. Examples include Brazil, Ghana, Malaysia, Norway and Russia.
China and the United States of America (U.S.A) probably have the most vertically integrated firms, given their size and industrialisation focus.
“This typically starts with local content requirements for extractive industries and then includes consolidation across product value chains.
“Norway successfully managed the transition from a country with no direct capabilities in the oil and gas sector. On the discovery of oil in the late 1960s, it became a competitive producer of a variety of oil field services and equipment. Today, more than half of the capital inputs used in the sector are sourced locally, along with 80 per cent of the sector’s operational and maintenance inputs.
“Similarly, oil and gas firms operating in Brazil were awarded more points when tendering for contracts, if they demonstrated commitment to purchasing higher shares of goods and services from local Brazilian suppliers. Specific local content targets were set for onshore projects (70 per cent) and offshore projects in shallow (51 per cent) or deep (37 per cent) water.”
UI’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka thanked Dangote for donating the building.
The vice chancellor noted that by the donation, Dangote had become the first largest individual donor to the university.
The guest of honour and Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi urged youths to learn a from Dangote’s humble beginning to the industrial giant he had become.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner of Education, Prof. Joseph Adeniyi Olowofela, regretted that most youths did not cherish hard work but wanted to get rich quick.
He said: “We need a paradigm shift from the get-rich quickly at all cost to hard work that leads to wealth.”
The Director of UI School of Business, Prof. Nike Osofisan, said the institution owed Dangote a huge debt because the complex was more than a building.
She said: “The fully air-conditioned complex has nine lecture theatres, 10 lecturers’ offices, four executive directors’ offices, one canteen, 250 KVA dedicated transformer and male and female conveniences.”