Nation Building

The Secret Behind Aliko Dangote’s Success

“You could easily say that hard work and perseverance go hand in hand with patience. We often hear people say patience is worth it, yet we don’t practice it. I did and look how well it worked out for me.” Aliko Dangote

Most of us admire Aliko Dangote because of his successful businesses and his net worth of $16.7 billion as the number one richest man in Africa, but only few go extra mile to discover how he got started with his business idea, his motives, and dreams, and also to know how he got to where he is today. Some are only interested in reading about Dangote group of companies and trade mark business news and do little to find out about the man behind the trade Mark we see in Nigeria and some of other African Countries. In this Article, I’m going to share with you the secret behind his success, how he got started and what motivates him to become who he is today. Also you will discover how his dreams of becoming successful as an entrepreneur began at his early stage back then in primary school in Kano State, the Northern part of Nigeria. He is a business magnate, investor, and most importantly, the owner of a mega successful business trade mark called Dangote Group.

Aliko Dangote (MFR, GCON) Biography

Dangote was born on 10th April, 1957 into the family of Mohammed Dangote (Father) and Mariya Sanusi Dantata (Mother) of Kano State, the Northern part of Nigeria. He’s the great-grandson of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the richest West African at the time of his death in 1955. Aliko Dangote was educated at the Sheikh Ali Kumasi Madrasa, later by Capital High School where he gained his Secondary School Certificate, in Kano State. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Business Studies and Administration from the University of Al-Azhar, Cairo, Egypt.

His Humble Beginning

“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets (candy) and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time” Says- Aliko Dangote

People will always think that why he became successful was because he came from a rich family, no; his idea about business was there even in his primary school education. He never wanted to do any other thing with his life; rather he continues to learn all he could about business and then built up from there. Back then, he was just a dream boy like every one of us but what made him exceptional was because of his enthusiastic and passionate about business and he gave it all he got. As his father passed away in 1965, at his early stage, his grandfather had to take over the responsibility of becoming his guardian. However, his story is still inspiring and motivating because not everyone from wealthy family can work hard to achieve personal accomplishments, and still have such business skills as a black man.

At the age of 21, He graduated from the Egyptian University called Al-Azhar University; it was after his entrepreneur began fully. After his graduation in Dangote he was able to convince his grandfather to lend him $2,500 to start up his business, which he promised to pay the money back after three years. When the money was given to him, he relocates to Lagos State, Nigeria where he started with is business as a young entrepreneur. He started his business with the importation of rice and sugar from Brazil and Thailand, and sells his goods to different parts of Nigeria. Few years later, his quickly reached high demand and became extremely profitable. Aliko Dangote as a smart guy with trustworthy personality, he paid back the money his grandfather lends to him in three months instead of three years he promised earlier on after starting his venture.

 He Established Some Good Connections
As a strong business man, he established and utilized some lots of connections and networking which made him to go beyond his own imaginations . Aliko Dangote went extra mile to meet others who are doing better than him and create his strong network of business and political connections with them. He built his own connections and strengthen by networking with others in the business world. He increased his corporate social responsibility, signing joint ventures and partnership deals, forming significant associations or affiliations, attending business conferences, making public donations, and paying courtesy visits to the big heads in the society. While doing so, his fortunes and business became popular in Nigeria and other African Countries –  it became and an opportunity for his business breakthrough because all these things helped to bring him to the limelight, however, paved way for opportunities. Almost all business successes were facilitated by one streak of luck or the other. Aliko Dangote had his own stroke when he secured a license to import cement.

The Dangote Group we all known today was established in 1977, the same year he decided to relocate to Lagos, in hopes of expanding the company. At first, Dangote Group was producing some Agricultural goods, as well as pasta, flour, and sugar. However, his little business became interesting for lots of people, and they started massively buying his goods that the Dangote Group produced. Today, this young man with great business idea has grown to become number billionaire in Nigeria and Africa as whole. Also, he has won the approval of government to established cement plants in different part of the country and some of other African countries. He is the number one sugar supplier in Nigeria and also has gained a very rich client base in every part of the country.

 He Went For Essential Commodities Everyone Needs
Essential commodities are one of the goods that make the most sales even in the midst of strong competitions. This is one of the ideas that enabled Aliko Dangote to hit his fortune. Based on his success story, it is best to trade in essential commodities, goods that satisfy the basic needs of life. This is because they are ever in steady demand all around the year. Dangote trades on essential commodities like Cement, Sugar, rice, pasta, salt, cotton, millet, cocoa, textile and vegetable oil. Look at your society and find out those commodities that cater for basic needs and if you keep other rules, you’re on your way to success.

Today his Dangote Group dominates the sugar market with his sugar refinery being the major supplier to 70% of the market. It also imports fish, rice, pasta, fertilizer and cement on a large scale. It exports cocoa, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, ginger and cotton to many countries. Dangote Group’s major investments include banking, textiles, real estate, gas and oil. With more than 11000 employees it is one of the biggest conglomerates in West Africa. Currently Dangote is looking into telecommunications; his present work includes building of fourteen thousand kilometers of optic cables in Nigeria. For all this work he was honored in 2009 as the largest provider of employment in the whole of Nigerian construction industry. In 2011 the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan awarded Dangote with Nigeria’s second highest honor the ‘Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger’

 He was Focused and Also Built Brand For Himself 
The need for focus in business can never be overemphasized. It is very vital as it is one of the forces that keep the businessman going up the ladder. He never force himself to do everything right at the beginning of his business ventures but his best. Such principle of doing his best in whatever he does helped him to get the best returns put at the end . He developed the best means in all area of his business where he could spread his resources into diverse channels because of his brand name. The major thing that helped Dangote was that he focused on his major area of competence. In addition to being focused is building an unbeatable brand in that area of specialization. Aliko Dangote so much believes in the power of branding that he built an unrivaled brand. Today, he’s into everything since his first brands paved the way for the upcoming businesses.

Some of Aliko Dangote’s Quotes

  • I enjoy myself a lot but I derive more joy in working. I believe in hard work and one of my business success secrets is hard work. It’s hard to see a youth that will go to bed by 2am and wake up by 5am. I don’t rest until I achieve something.
  • I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.
  • Endeavor to work as hard as possible to attain a new aim with each day that comes by. Don’t go to bed until you have achieved something productive.
  • Don’t kill the competition. Competition is healthy for businesses. It keeps you the entrepreneur on your toes.
  • Africa’s risks are mainly perceived and not real. Unfortunately for us in Africa we are not really very good at telling our own story. But things are changing and people are beginning to understand that things are going very, very well.
  • To succeed in business, you must build a brand and never destroy it. One competitive advantage I had when I ventured into manufacturing was my brand “Dangote,” which I diligently built in the course of my trading commodities.
  • Manufacture, don’t just trade. There is money in manufacturing even though it is capital intensive. To achieve a big breakthrough, I had to start manufacturing the same product I was trading on; which is commodities.
If you want to become an established successful businessman, your number one aim should never be money. It is true that money is very important and even indispensable but that should not be your end. If you make money your end, you may make it but you’ll hardly be established, you’ll possibly fade away with time. Dangote was bent on adding value to the life of people. If his aim was just money-making, he may have been satisfied with importing cement because he made fortune out of it. But in other to achieve his mission, Dangote had to go about establishing factories all over the country and even beyond, providing thousands of employment opportunities. Another very important business strategy that made Aliko Dangote what he is today is that he knows the way around a healthy competition. He used selling quality goods at more affordable prices than his competitors to gain a huge customer loyalty. This, however, requires some sacrifice. And you will only be able to pay this price if money is not your major aim.


Despite all this wealth and outstanding achievements as a businessman, Dangote remains as simple, hardworking, humble and cool headed as he was in the very beginning. He is the owner of the largest industrial business in Nigeria and the whole of West Africa providing bread and butter for thousands of families with his employment opportunities. He is the richest African, and in the world he’s an inspiration for the young minds who want to succeed as entrepreneurs.

Until Next Time, Live Exceptionally!!!

The Power of Partnership

Last year December I watched one of Akon’s documentary, a popular African/American R&B musician on You Tube titled “light up Africa”. During the interview, the interviewer asked him, what’s his purpose on initiating the “light up Africa” program? From his own words, He replied, the whole idea is promoting the belief and unity of African countries.  And you know as an African, I always felt our biggest and weakest link was the unity between us. We are always in such competition with each other that we didn’t realize that your gift and talent combined with my gift and talent can create gifts and talents for others, and then, before we can all benefit from it. So what we’re doing in Africa is to set an example. I can go off and do my thing and be good, be successful, be rich and have fun but we bring more to the overall picture, tomorrow future in Africa, when we come together and create opportunities like this.

Tracing this back to Nigeria where I’m coming from, we have great talented people all over the country, but we lack the art of partnership that would help us transform our talents into finished good for everyone to benefit. Everyone is just doing they own thing, thinking we’re all into competitions with each other. We haven’t learn that when two or more individuals of great talents partner with each other they will create an enabling environment for themselves and others too. We lack that unity, spirit of oneness, collaboration and the belief that will help us to create peaceful environment where partnership can co-exist among us. We’ve to start changing our mindset, and start partnering with each other to accomplish our goals faster and support in Nation building altogether. 

After watching the documentary, I had a total conscious transformation on my belief system about partnership and a rethink on how to changing my life through partnership with other people to live an Exceptional Life. I started seeing possibilities on what I can become through  once i make the conscious decision to out of my comfort zone to partner with others. I later asked myself; how can I possibly refine my gift, talent and ideas to use it and helps others? The answer to this question forced me to begin to see many best outlets to partner with other people and probably start up a blogging website to accomplish my personal development program goal. And since then,  I’ve gotten the inner conviction i needed to start doing something about my dreams and probably use it to freely to share my experience with the world. I asked myself, how could I reach out to people who needs my gift, talent, knowledge and skills and share my experience with them? The questions keep recurring on my subconscious mind. My answer to my hows forced me to talk to a friend about my idea on helping others grows consciously. I guess it was a great start though, sharing my dreams with an opened and honest friend.

The best advice and suggestion I could get from the friend who i discussed with about my intention was to designing a personal development blog website and share my experience, gift and talent with others. I never had any background knowledge on web design to start up with. I had to contact a friend who runs a web design business to register and host a domain name for me, and after hosting it last month, that’s how the Arts of Exceptional life came online. And the website was launched on 21st May, 2019 and within a space of one month and few days we’ve recorded 1,080 visitors and 1260 page viewers from different parts of the world as I’m writing this article. All these happened due strong partnership with people that have the skills, contacts and resources I needed to start up with. I couldn’t do it all alone because I lack some skills and talents but my partners brought out to help me to accomplished my goal. And since then, I’ve been getting positive feedback from people who had visited my website, how my work is helping them in their personal development.

The very best partnerships do not involve a lot of pomp and circumstance; they involve results the partners needed to accomplish their goals. The partners worth the time, energy and resources involved making it successful and they are committed to get their desire results while partnering. The toughest part of any good partnership is the relationship that happens after the execution of the goal. Being in the same strong, loyal, and dedicated partner is the true test of time. A true partnership always creates enough room for flexibility and commitment for those involved in the partnership art

Partnership with Purpose

This concept suggest that when two or more conscious individuals gets to an agreement to accomplish a common goal or task, the outcomes are always much better than when such task was accomplish by one person. The art of partnership is all about aligning oneself with other creative individuals to develop excellent outcomes. For you to move to the next level in your life, you must assess yourself thoroughly to know things you don’t do well as an individual and find people that will help you develop in that area and come out from such limitations. You don’t often need people to contribute much on things you know already but to contribute to build you up from things that are limiting your progress in life. Always be positive when partnering with others because your emotions will have effects on those you’re partnering with.

When you partner with others, you reduce your burdens. Those people helps you carry the load along side with you happily because they derive joy in seeing you become successful. They move in the same alignment with you and get you achieve a definite purpose. They serve a catalyst to speed up the rate at which you will achieve your goal. Being in partnership doesn’t mean that partners must have equal skills or talents. Thus, skill sets that differ but match are the best. One partner must be good with one type skill and another with different skill, but what makes them create partnership is because they have learned to align themselves with their different skills to achieve a definite purpose.  And learning from each other will help them in the long to succeed in whatever they task might be.

In partnering with others, you don’t need to partner with just anybody that won’t help you get to where you’re going in life. You’ve to be wise enough to choose your partners consciously to enable you get what you want from the partnership. Those partners must be contributing positively towards the goals both of you have set to accomplish. You don’t partner with everyone or even your friends but with those that will help you generate positive result in business and your personal life. You don’t partner with people that add nothing to your life. Never partner with zero partners or else, you will lose the resources, skills and contacts you’ve already.

 One of the best ways to grow your business is collaborating with other professionals to partner together to offer more to support your clients. Building a successful business relationship is the same as in our personal lives. It takes time, energy, efforts, hard work and dedication to develop a successful partnership with others. Timing is critical. If you wish to create a partnership that will produces results, you need to be committed in doing so. If you don’t have the time and energy to dedicate in creating a new partnership with someone, then it’s a good indicator that you aren’t really interested with that person, or the person is not a good match for you. That’s just okay. You must be selective with who you partner with and not pressure to please others. Not everyone worth your time and space to be around you.

In partnership, I’m not talking about business, money, and relationships with others, but I’m talking about ideas that will help individuals in the term to achieve a definite result that are better from what they have been getting in previous time. When you partner, you add contacts, skills, intellects or resources you don’t already have from your partners, because the main reason we partner with others is to add value to our lives. And those values could be contacts, skills, talents, wisdom and knowledge that we do not have already within us. We invite others to partner with us because within us we’re convinced that the new partnership with create new life and experience. It doesn’t mean that we’re not intelligent by partnering with others, but we need other people’s ideas to step up ours to enable us reach our goals faster.

Always conduct self examination to know the quality of your partnership and determine how to expand it to produce the desired result. When partnering with someone, take some minutes to ask yourself, these person I’m bringing into partnership with me, are they going to add any value into my life? Take some days to know the types of people you’re inviting to your life. Also check what they’re going to contribute into your life as you partner with them. Use this analogy to measure your relationship partner, business partners, job partners and career partners.

In partnership, no two people have the exact same role, again due to a different skill set each person will have a role suited to their strengths, and the same role needs to help each person work on their weaknesses. This role needs to be clear to the parties involved in the partnership. This is so that not only one partner is under pressure and under stress. The stress and pressures need to be shared between the partners, it wouldn’t be fair if only one partner does all the work, while the other partner does minimal and they both earn the same. The partner roles should be set right from the beginning of the partnership process.

 Exceptional partnerships act as a catalyst for each member to grow and succeed. It provides the space for each member to generate their own innovative ideas. Whenever a partnership suppresses the creative energy of its members and is rigid, it kills the spirit of innovation. This is why it is said that rigid structures collapse first. Wherever creativity flourishes there must flexibility. Each partner must adapt to work in any setting without complaint. Each must be flexible and yielding, knowing that all interventions to the partnership must come from a place of clarity creating harmony between partners. This is the type of environment that supports innovation, invention and success. 

It is essential for each partner to be completely in touch with the emotional state of the other partners, and always seek to raise it. Exceptional collaborations create an environment of positive morale. Each contributing person must be open and honest with all others regarding behaviors that aren’t working for the group, including their own, if it is bringing down the morale of the partnership.  Each partner is wise to pay attention to the silence and an empty space in the relationship because it is there the tone of the partnership is most clearly revealed. No collaborative effort can tolerate endless drama that clouds clear thinking and thwarts forward moving progress. Successful partnerships allow time for each member to engage in silent reflection, as each partner can see more clearly what is essential for themselves and others.

There must be alignment in partnership before it would become a successful one. It’s hard to work with people whose minds are else. Both partners must be aware of what each other want at the end of the partnership. In successful partnerships, there is an unceasing commitment to equality, diversity and flexibility. Each member leads by example, has a sense of personal freedom and an undying commitment to the goals at hand. Collaboration is built upon open and honest communication, direct and consistent interaction and the personal time to think things through. Each person understands their role in the relationship dynamic and what each must do to be successful. Each member is fully supported and encouraged by the partnership to fulfill all of their individual and collective goals. In this way a successful partnership is made up of strong individuals being supported in a collaborative and collective relationship dynamic where all are striving towards shared success.

 Do you have any idea on what we can partner together? If yes, fill free to contact me through my contact form let’s talk about it. I’m always open to learn and explore new ideas on how to get things done faster through partnership. Let’s partner together today and make the world a better place for ourselves and next generations.

Until Next Time, Live Exceptionally!

Building a Nation; Building a Nigeria of Your Choice

On every 29th May of every four years in Nigeria, we always have a new Democracy transition from old Government to a new elected Executive and Legislative into the new Government that will pilot the affairs of the country for the next four years. The citizens always believed that the new Government will be far much better than the old administrations, because the old Government couldn’t address the pressing issues and challenges of the country respectively. We expect the new government to perform magic and miracles that would change the existing problems and challenges of our Nation within a short period of time. We believed so hard in our heart the day of transition that our problems and needs are going to be met by the new Government once they resumed office the next day or few months as they took the oat of office.

Well all want a better Nigeria, a country where things like Fuel price, Electricity supply, Pipe borehole water, Good transportation network, Quality Education, Quality food supply, Housing, resounding communication medium and channels etc. would no longer be our pressing needs . A country we once dreamed at about having. A country where the citizens and those in authority are being treated with equal respect, and have  equal right without looking at where one is coming from or individual’s backgrounds . A country where there would be no witch-hunting, hatred, hates speech, insecurity, tribal war, religion indifference, and corruptions. A country other neighboring countries would admired to be like. A country where the entire citizen would be proud and ready to die for her country and make sure nothings happens to the integrity of their country. We all want a better Nigeria; Nigeria with great economy that attracts investors and good people of other countries. A new Nigeria, with Peace and Harmony to live in and see our children grow up in it.

We always wish and want a better Nigeria, but the question is, how can we build a new Nigeria of our choice and live in it? How can we get Nigeria working again? How can we get the right people to handle the affairs of this Nation? How can we create a country of our dreams? How can we believe in ourselves again and strive together to have a better Nigeria? How can we let go of our differences and starts making Nation building our priority each day of our lives? How can we eliminate the hatred we once have for each other? How can we help our government to build a better Nigeria? How can we change our view about Nigeria? Are we willing to have a new Nigeria that work perfectly to meet our needs no matter the part of the country we are coming from?

Bringing the questions of Nation building down to individuals; have you ever thought of having a better Nigeria? Have you ever think of living in a Nigeria of your dreams? What do you think it will take to make Nigeria a country you love most, like how Americans love and cherish their country? Have you ever think you have a role to play to make Nigeria better Nation?

Nation Building and a Better Nigeria Begins with You

Most often, people believe and have a mentality that Nation building is the responsibility of the Government alone, not knowing it’s for all . They never take it as part of their daily goals or something they could be part of in making the country better place for all to live. Such people sees the government responsible for every down fall of the country and claimed that the Government is not doing enough for her citizens. They transfer such negative beliefs system to their children which on the other hand, make such children believed that the Government owned them right to live a better life,yes! to an extent

Nation-building aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. Legitimate authority in modern national states is connected to popular rule, to majorities. Nation-building is the process through which these majorities are constructed.”

Nation builders are those members of a state who take the initiative to develop the national community through government programs, including military conscription and national content mass schooling.  Nation-building can involve the use of propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster social harmony and economic growth. According to Columbia University political scientist Andreas Wimmer, three factors tend to determine the success of nation-building over the long-run: “the early development of civil-society organizations, the rise of a state capable of providing public goods evenly across a territory, and the emergence of a shared medium of communication.

Nations just don’t happen by historical accident; rather they are built by men and women with vision and resolve. Nation-building is therefore the product of conscious statecraft, not happenstance.  Nation-building is always a work-in-progress; a dynamic process in constant need of nurturing and re-invention.  Nation-building never stops and true nation-builder never rest because all nations are constantly facing up to new challenges.

Above all else, however, nation-building is about building a common sense of purpose, a sense of shared destiny, a collective imagination of belonging.  Nation-building is therefore about building the tangible and intangible threads that hold a political entity together and gives it a sense of purpose.  Even in these days of globalization and rapid international flows of people and ideas, having a viable nation remains synonymous with achieving modernity.  It is about building the institutions and values which sustain the collective community in these modern times.

When I was very young, I benefited immensely from what was known in Africa, especially in Nigeria, as “The words of the elders.” I found my confidence in the company of men and women 20 or 30 years older than myself, who were well traveled and better educated. I learnt a lot from them and because of their wisdom, which came with age, now in my 30s, I owe it to the younger generation to learn how to share my knowledge or “words of wisdom from an elder,” with the hope of passing on the same torch to the next generation. For that reason, I accepted the invitation to create this website Arts of Exceptional Life to write and share weekly the knowledge and wisdom I’ve learned growing up as part of giving back to the world, which could also serve for Nation Building through Motivation and inspiration. It has been a rewarding experience and I hope to continue to write as long as I can use my hands and head to write and publish to my website.

Nigeria must recover from the decay of many decades and be rebuilt by the young one who have been well tutored by sheer experience not to repeat the mistake of the past leaders. It is very important to examine and reexamine the origin and the extent of the fracture that Nigeria is facing. It is also very important that we find young men and women that can begin the process of great Nation Building mindset that will take years to heal; far longer than the 2019 election.

Our Government is not strong enough to take proper care of itself talk less of taking care of the entire Nation, where most people in the country found it difficult to have a three square meal a day. Our present Government keep complaining and blaming about the past Government before them for the challenges we are facing in Nigeria today. They found it difficult to let go of the past and take full responsibility for the development of this country called Nigeria. My question to them is, how often would they lingered on things of the past or blamed the past Government?

Nation Building begins with you and I, nothing greatly will happen in this country unless we take the 100% responsibilities of building a better Nigeria we all desire and want. Instead of asking for what our country or the Government can do for us, let’s have a positive mindset to starts asking ourselves, what can we do for our country or the Government to make Nigeria a better place to live? It’s up to you and I to make a conscious decision today to start building a better Nigeria to enable us save our younger generation and unborn children.

The idea is this post was just my personal opinion, nothing more. I’m not a member of any political party or writes in favour of any group or individual. My heart desire is to have a better Nigeria we can all be proud, and i strongly believed it’s begins with Nation Building. Let’s build a better Nigeria together. Nigeria is the only country you and I have for now. Don’t give up on the country yet, it’s the only place you and i have to live in for now. It’s where we can comfortably called our home country. I also encouraged you to read one of my post titled Courage to Live Exceptional Life. God Bless Nigeria!

Until next time, Live Exceptionally!

A better you, a better Nigeria

“No matter who you are or where you may be, you can do something to change the world for the better.” – Dr. Edward L. Kramer

BUILDING a better Nigeria simply means building a better you. This is the first and greatest of steps toward building a better Nigeria. “The strength of a nation,” says Samuel Smiles “depends on the character of the people. Individual development is national development.” We all wish to wake up one morning and find that everything has changed. We all are looking for one big change that will make our country better forgetting the fact that we are the change we seek. As the Chinese proverb goes: “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” To defeat the corruption in our country is to begin by defeating the greed inside of us. …