Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has dismissed reports of his being wooed by powerful close-knit, Northern power brokers, who call the shots in Aso Rock, to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Dangote, the president of the sprawling international business conglomerate, Dangote Group, said yesterday, that he “has no interest in politics, now or in the future,” and that he is “an entrepreneur and has his hands full already.”
The president of Dangote Group further stressed that he “has enough challenges to keep him busy,” and that he is “not a politician but a professional entrepreneur.”
When reminded that the current US President-elect Donald Trump is also a successful business mogul who never had experience in government, Dangote, who didn’t want to be drawn out on the matter, stated that “the Nigerian setting is different from the US setting.”
In further clarification, Mr. Anthony Chiejina, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Dangote Group, who spoke on behalf of Dangote, stated that, “As a professionally run organisation with the interest of its shareholders in mind, we don’t think politics is our priority.”
Chiejina, who stated that the shark-infested waters of Nigerian politics, strewn with banana peels, remain outside the participatory vision of his principal.
“He has enough challenges in business to keep him extremely busy,” Chiejina stated.
Members of the cabal running Aso Rock are no longer comfortable with Buhari’s performance and are worried that the North could lose the Presidency in 2019 if nothing was done urgently.
Leading members of the cabal are largely from Adamawa, Borno and Katsina States.
The high-stake game is borne out of the deep knowledge of the President’s health, which has fuelled speculations that Buhari may not run for a second term on health grounds.
Age is also not on his side. Born on December 17, 1942, President Buhari would be close to 77 years old by 2019.
Consequently, the North, which fought tooth and nail to retrieve power from the South, has started looking beyond Buhari.
Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, who, like the United States President-elect, Donald Trump, lacks any prior experience in government, has been fingered by the cabal as a worthy replacement for Buhari, come 2019.
But with his incisive rebuttal of such ambition, Dangote has firmly rested such permutations involving him ahead of 2019 – at least for now.