The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards, a wise man once said.
Appearing on the TIME 100 list – a compilation of the 100 most influential people in the world – is an honour worth celebrating, as the widely-read and highly-regarded American magazine makes it clear that entrants are recognized for changing the world.
For Tony Elumelu, it was a double honour of sorts, as the piece written to celebrate him was by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
The Nigerian billionaire certainly knows a thing or two about the attributes of a reformer, which Elumelu undoubtedly is. The Heirs Holdings and UBA chairman has not only reached the zenith in Africa’s financial sector, he has left large footprints across other key sectors of Nigeria’s economy, including real estate and oil and gas.
However, what really sets Elumelu apart from his peers and contemporaries is his desire to help build and nurture Africa’s next generation of business leaders.
A philanthropist extraordinaire, his Tony Elumelu Foundation is the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship.
This much was acknowledged by Dangote, whose admiration for Elumelu is evident from the glowing tribute he paid to his fellow Nigerian industrialist in his entry for TIME.
According to Dangote, “Elumelu’s gritty grip underlines his charming, tenacious personality: a man who hardly backs down from any challenge.”
Describing Elumelu as “one of the most innovative and ambitious business leaders of his generation” despite modest beginnings, Dangote made sure to highlight Elumelu’s belief in “Africapitalism,” through which “he plays a leading role in the continent’s development through long-term investments, as well as entrepreneurship and regional connectivity.”
Elumelu is giving a voice of hope to millions of youths across Africa, continued Dangote who also noted that, “Having come so far, Tony still forges on, striking a fine balance between personal satisfaction and societal impact.”
There is no question that Tony Elumelu deserves to be recognized on the global stage for his contribution in identifying, mentoring and financing future African change agents. To be described in such glowing terms by one of the most impactful Africans alive has to be the icing on the cake.