BY BAMIDELE FAMOOFO
President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has been hailed as a foremost entrepreneur whose laudable interventions in the agricultural sector in Nigeria should be applauded and emulated by others.
Many Nigerian University Vice Chancellors, under the auspices of Committee of Vice-Chancellors who were at the Dangote Fertiliser plant on a familiarisation visit over the weekend, marveled at the huge financial resources invested in the Plant.
The university heads unanimously agreed that Dangote should be specially recognised for his contribution to the agricultural revolution in Nigeria, through his fertiliser project.
Secretary of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria, Yakubu Ochefu, said all Nigeria needed for real growth and development in all sectors of the economy was just to have five of Aliko Dangotes.
He urged other Nigerian billionaires to take a cue from Dangote and invest heavily in manufacturing, to significantly reduce the high unemployment rate among the youth and ameliorate the sufferings of many Nigerians.
According to him, “We decided to come and see organisation wellness and resilience in action, and we know that Aliko is one of the most resilient entrepreneurs this country has ever produced, so, it is important to come and have a feel of that action.
“We came to see how one man’s dream and vision and big picture can translate into something like this and I can say that this visit has exceeded all our expectations because nothing you see on television or even read in Newspapers can match the reality when you come here physically and see this massive edifice and process in place.
“Dangote is an enigma and like I said earlier, if we have five of his types across Nigeria or across Africa, this country and continent will be a different story entirely. We are truly very proud of him.”
Speaking after the tour of the Fertiliser Plant, Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nnenna Oti described the Plant as impressive and lauded the synergy between Lagos State Government and Aliko Dangote, a man from Kano State, describing the union as what Nigeria should really represent.
She said, “This plant is quite impressive. We wish we had more Nigerians who are investing in our country, creating opportunities and solving real problems as well as giving back to society as Aliko Dangote is doing.
“What is more impressive is that somebody from a different part of the county has enough confidence in another part of the country and there is this synergy between the different elements, the cooperation from the Lagos State Government and a man from Kano, this is the Nigeria of my dreams.”
Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University, also expressed satisfaction at the operations in the factory, noting that the 3 million tonnes of granulated Urea factory would go a long way in solving the food problems in Nigeria.
She said, “This trip to Dangote Fertiliser has been awesome. …when the president said that there was going to be a state of emergency against poverty; we now know that Dangote is contributing enormously to the growth of the nation, to the availability of food security, through the provision of fertiliser, which is an important component in crop and food production.
“I am very impressed. This factory is enormous, huge funds have gone into it and it will have a positive effect on the nation’s economy. The likes of Aliko Dangote are rare, and Nigeria should be thankful for having a bold man that is always willing to take huge risks, in our midst.”
In the same vein, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos, Tanko Ishaya, urged the Federal Government to specially recognise Aliko Dangote, as he has braved the odds to provide a real solution to one of the key problems facing the country: food security.
He said, “We have all gone round the factory and I must confess that this is a fantastic environment, and we want to congratulate the President of Dangote Group for having that vision and for implementing the vision.”
Recall that the Dangote Urea Fertiliser plant was built to tap into Nigeria’s demand for fertiliser, a critical component of achieving food sufficiency for Africa’s most populous country.
The Fertiliser plant is manufacturing 3 million metric tonnes of urea per annum, with a view to reducing the nation’s fertiliser imports, and generating over $400m annual foreign exchange from export to Africa countries.
Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Fertiliser Limited, Vishawajit Sinha, revealed that the Plant which has the capacity to turn out more than 4,500 tonnes of urea per day will conveniently meet the local demand and even produce for exports.
According to him, “We have the capacity to turn out 4,500 tonnes of Urea every day…this is a bulk application fertiliser…each crop in Nigeria or globally will require Nitrogen and this is a rich fertiliser, having 46 per cent nitrogen…The company has the capacity to meet local demand and export to African countries.”
The plant, which is the largest granulated Urea fertiliser complex in Africa, occupies 500 hectares of land, was built at a cost of $2.5 Billion, and is expected to drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country through employment opportunities.
The plant is expected to generate new jobs with top quality fertiliser being available and in sufficient quantities for the farmers.