A Solemn 61st Birthday for Aliko Dangote


Although he has every reason to shake his garment like the branches of the teak in spring and let his joy glow like the fireflies that light up the fields and quiet meadows, but the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, celebrated his 61st birthday quietly last Tuesday.

Typical of his self-effacing nature, when clocked 61, he didn’t roll out the drums in typical Nigerian big man fashion. His daughters, Halima and Fatima, joined other employees of his company to celebrate him at his office.

After all, the high-octane wedding he staged for his beloved daughter, Fatima, and her husband, Jamil Abubakar, is still a talk of the town. Even for his landmark 60thbirthday last year, the society did not quake in celebration of a high-achieving big man. But for miracle-working bankers, Herbert Wigwe, the MD of Access Bank, and his friend and brother, Aig Imoukhuede, who pulled all stops to host Dangote on his 60th birthday.

One thing you can never take away from Herbert and Aig is the fact that they appreciate their friends and stay by them. There is no gainsaying that Herbert and Aig believe so much in Dangote. They call him their mentor and they never shy from speaking glowingly about the Dangote Group boss. Herbert and Aig threw Dangote the party a day after the latter’s bosom friend, Femi Otedola, hosted him at his mansion in Ikoyi, Lagos. It was a great party too and an undeniable testament to the celebrant’s worth as a true man of the people. However, the seasons pass but Aliko remains grand, like the nurturing guardian whose tenderness and warmth blesses the land. In 61 years, he has blossomed into a man of affluence and integrity.

Sixty-one years may be a tiny fraction of time, yet he looms large across generations into eternity. The story of his exquisite manhood resonates with a pleasant peal. To his staff, family, friends, beneficiaries and other loved ones, his smiles have been their anchor, his shoulders their rampart of comfort. He lives to improve the lot of others, the underprivileged in particular.