Farouk Martins Aresa @oomoaresa
Dangote became the richest man in Africa by being smart, enterprising, and influencing
Any Party In Power. He met money at home as one of those sons of Dantata, one of the
richest men in Nigeria. Dangote turned millions into billions by being well educated and
exposed to the intricacies of politics and the business world. Though each time he was
approached to go into politics, he shied away. Why would he join a party when he could
control any of them from a distance?
This is a man that spent some of his life abroad, studied and participated in their
business process and even got burnt. He withdrew back into Nigerian business which
he was more familiar with, to increase the wealth and fortune of the Dantata families.
Having got to the point of becoming a billionaire and the richest Blackman in the world,
we can all agree that this is an accomplishment of enormous value worthy of respect
and praise he is getting today.
Unfortunately, he wants to explore the world Market again. This time putting much more
money than any black man at stake, made solely in Africa. Dangote needs not be
reminded of the uphill battle he faces as a Blackman in the world of international
business and markets. Especially, European and American markets that are rigged in
favor of the privileged big boys. There was this Nigerian on 60 Minutes some years ago
that made a huge bet and won big on the Wall Street Stock Market. They refused to pay
up, based on the excuse that his financial leverage or backing was not solid.
Well, Dangote is not only bankable, he is also a billionaire with enough smart and
intelligence to make it even bigger by opening offices in Europe and America. If that is
all it takes, Dangote may become the biggest African abroad since Musa Kanka Musa
and the Queen of Sheba, the richest humans on Earth of all time. He knows the risk he
faces but sometimes most rich black folks get a little complacent in Europe and America
thinking they can play by the same rules.
Unfortunately, if all it takes is African riches and intelligence, Africa would be ruling the
world and not be the face of poverty today. In that case, it is incomprehensible why a
man with so much equity would fall into the same trap that doomed the dreams of many
Africans overseas. While it may be true that some of us may exaggerate the vestiges
and repercussion of discrimination, only a naive Blackman would not be prepared for it.
Those of us that have witnessed the biggest and most successful black men and
woman pulled down for various reasons also point to those still doing well without the
same form of harassment faced by other successful Africans, African/Americans or
African Europeans. Indeed, any African that wants to be successful would not allow the
difficulties of facing discrimination to stop him.
Yet, no Blackman or Black woman has succeeded better than Dangote outside Africa.
price for success involve many sacrifices many Africans are willing to pay. The
problem is when you get to a stage when you think nobody can touch you. Some
Africans even think they are protected by all the rules and laws that protect white folks.
It is a big mistake that have spelt their downfall. After all, most of us think that since we
have paid our dues with blood and sweat, we should be free like anyone else.
This is how African children in Diaspora feel growing up thinking they have as much
right as their white friends. We have to be factual without damaging their confidence:
the system isolates them for discipline even if they are not doing anything different from
their white friends right from the day they enter kindergarten to when they finish college
and join the workforce. Discrimination against blacks is real throughout. But children
have an inmate view of fairness and younger folks, a stronger view of right and wrong.
So, what do you need to tell a grown man like Dangote that he does not already know?
Complacency! It catches up with us when we least expect it. The message to young
black males from the personal encounters of Four Star General Colin Powell (Pre. Bush
Secretary of State) with the Police in America until they realize his statute and pay their
respect: is to remain calm and expect some indignities. Mark Foreman, the policeman
during O.J Simpson trial said any black man driving a Cadillac without a three-piece suit
was a suspect.
These facts are necessary to drive home the point that no black man or woman no
matter how highly placed, would get the same treatment in business as the privileged
white boys in control of every nook and corner of transactions especially in high places
that control European and American wealth. The game has never changed in hundreds
of years. While there is more transparency, odds against Africans has never vanished!
The first observation Dangote would notice is the difference between the African
Billionaire on regular business visits and the African Billionaire hustling for more
business opportunities to take them by storm or sneakily like European explorers. Even
highly recognizable personalities like Oprah and the new black Princess of England with
a new baby called derogatory name, would tell you their stories. There is no place on
earth more comfortable for a rich black man or woman than Africa. Olohun!
It is so easy to forget the treatment you get outside Africa if you have returned home;
only to visit Europe, America and Asia once a while or regularly on business trips. Even
then, the demeaning treatments from Immigration and Custom would make you wonder
if you are really “all that” or worth the trouble. Suspicion of money laundering, cash in
diplomatic bags and in the planes, with or without personal knowledge of African head
of states, has eroded any benefit of doubt accorded to African diplomats or billionaires.
More troublesome, it has lent credence to the suspicion of every black doing very well.
Those with foreign passports are not exempted from shabby treatment based on the
color of their skin. We can blame drug and human trafficking but those heinous crimes
are easily committed by the big white boys than Africans. Africans are not the only ones
committing crimes but more of their innocent people suffer ignoble treatment as a result. It is
one of those penalties you take into consideration when traveling abroad.
Nevertheless, Dangote is a grown experienced man that has made a great deal of money in
African countries. It would be a cold day in hell if Dangote returned to Africa with nothing after
being dispossessed by the big white boys he decided to play with. When they see a rich African,
they see gold, diamond, uranium, cobalt, etc. as an opportunity to make a killing. He might
become another prodigal African son that lost his hard-earned money abroad!
Biko Dangote, think about Black Walls Street of the Tulsa Race Massacre where the city’s black
district of Greenwood was considered one of the most affluent African American communities
in the United States for the early part of the 20th century.