What those who rush after oil fail to realise is that there are other kinds of gold apart from black gold. Wars have been fought over the rights to control oil wells and supply routes. But the best type of resource is the one that doesn’t require a national army — and sometimes an international one — to maintain.
Billionaire businessman Abdulsamad Rabiu learned this lesson from an early business age and he has gone from strength to strength, putting it in practice, creating a multi-billion dollar empire out of sand. For what is cement but solidified sand?
Even when his fortunes took a nosedive following the tailspinning of the value of the Naira and the economic recession, Rabiu remained unbowed, unbent, and unbroken. He simply went to the drawing board and restrategised. His efforts borne fruits as he has shot back up the rich men’s leaderboard, finding himself tucked in nicely at number 3 just below the dynamic duo Dangote and Adenuga.
The BUA Group’s head honcho’s fortunes stand at a whopping $1.6 billion, following the merger of the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria with his privately-owned Kalambaina Cement company.
Not content with playing second fiddle to Dangote Cement, Rabiu has unveiled his Hail Mary — a plan to loosen his fellow northern billionaire’s stranglehold on that industry.
Construction is already ongoing on a new cement plant, the $450million Sokoto Kalambaina II plant, which will boost BUA Group’s cement production capacity by an astronomical 3 million metric tonnes. Coupled with the consolidation of the 6 million metric tonnes-producing Obu Cement Company, the total capacity will shoot up to 11 million MTTpa, enough for second place, just behind Dangote’s Cement empire.
Not to mention that BUA Cement also owns Edo Cement Company and BUA Cement Port Harcourt, which continue to operate as private companies, the ongoing consolidation has instantly transformed Rabiu into a force to reckon with in the economies of, not just Nigeria, but its dependent neighbours.
Through it all, Rabiu continues to maintain a humble mien. If he is a lion in the business world, he is a lamb in human relations. His humility is the stuff of legends, his generosity the foundation behind many a northern ballad and his commitment to principles of progress merely ensures his star continues to shine bright.