Aliko Dangote Has Outsmarted the entire South-south Governors – By Solomon Etchie


“Alhaji Aliko Dangote has outsmarted us!! With one simple stroke of genius, he stole the show. He can never go wrong with the multiple investments he has in that one giant complex. He will not only produce enough refined petroleum products for our local consumption but…”

*Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote


We are truly living in an interesting time. The launch yesterday of Aliko Dangote Mega Refinery Complex brought to a head the shenanigans of the governors of the South-south region. It is quite a shame that a single man of vision has stolen the show from those we have elected to better our lots as a regional bloc.

The 6 South-south states of our Federation sit on top of our oil and gas wealth as a nation. During the tenure of the first crop of elected governors of the region, when we returned to this Democratic dispensation, a great move was kick-started by them to create a regional Commission called the BRACED COMMISSION.

BRACED stands for Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, and Delta! When this Commission was floated, l have a very high hope believing that a developmental Commission has finally been created to drive the economic activities of the entire South-south states. I was filled with high hope, thinking that BRACED will be the vehicle that will drive the economic integration of the region, through the process of pool funding.

With the coming together of these 6 super-rich states, a petrochemical complex similar to the one just created by Dangote in Lekki will be built in one of the states within the BRACED corridors, to harness the crude oil resources abundantly found under our soils.

Using crude oil as a field stock, all refined petroleum products will be produced and our nation will no longer depend on imported refined products. Running the complex as a thoroughly private business after establishment, more wealth can be created. With the availability of more funds, giant power plants can be built that will serve the entire South-south region thereby putting a stop to our dependency on the National power grid. Moving further, interstate rail lines can be built, connecting the 6 states of the South-south thereby easing the movement of goods and services within the regional corridor.

But one thing that is of utmost interest to me is polythene. Nigeria is a ravenous consumer of polythene. The only thermoplastic industry involved in the production of polyethylene raw material in the entire country is *Eleme Petrochemical* which have been sold to the Indians long ago. There is huge wealth in the production of Thermoplastic materials. I was once involved in the local production of polythene between 1996 to 2005. This probably exposed me to the huge market and what our nation is losing by importing more than 75% of the raw materials for our polythene production. Yes. 75% of domestic consumption came from foreign brands imported into our markets from abroad. I am not even sure then that our own local plant Eleme Petrochemical is able to meet up to 25% of our needs during the period l was referring to. I once quantify the quantities that we may be required in a day and multiplied that with the cost per bag then, what l had was such a staggering sum that whoever ventures into that business will end up controlling our nation and even surrounding nations!!!

Alhaji Aliko Dangote has outsmarted us!! With one simple stroke of genius, he stole the show. He can never go wrong with the multiple investments he has in that one giant complex. He will not only produce enough refined petroleum products for our local consumption, but he will also have enough for the international market, earning him needed foreign exchange. In addition, the polypropylene plant included in the giant complex will earn such great fortune that it is only time before he is declared the world’s richest man!!! Add the fertilizer plant and of course, the giant power plant incorporated into the complex.

Genuises are known for the vastness of their vision. Dangote has proven himself a great genius by carefully wrapping these separate industries in one full total package.

This is the opportunity our elected leaders are allowed to slip by. BRACED COMMISSION could not even kick-off, talkless of putting any viable structure to achieve anything. Chief James Ibori and his set of governors came, attempted, and actually set up BRACED and left. Chief Uduaghan and his set of governors came on board and did nothing to drive the process and it died in their hands. Dr. Okowa and his own set of governors are about to wind down a few days from now, and they are now witnessing what they might have done or achieved with a regional development agency like the BRACED COMMISSION!!!

Before their very eyes, a private investor in the person of Aliko Dangote came and stole the show from them. Today, Dangote has built a single Refinery capable of meeting all our refined petroleum needs!! Not just that. He has also built a fertilizer plant as well as a power plant that can serve almost the entire western region minus Lagos state!!! This is the power of foresight. Ideas rule the world, and Dangote once again had proven to us that once ideas meet resources, great wonders are performed!!!

As far back as 2008, even before Dangote conceived this idea, l have written a published article on this Petrochemical idea recommending the same to the BRACED COMMISSION in a Delta State government-sponsored newsprint media platform!! *Talking about the wailing of a prophet in the wilderness!!!* In addition, l can remember l have continuously hit on the possibility of the BRACED COMMISSION doing the feat, Dangote just pulled through the commissioning of his giant petrochemical complex in my numerous writeup!!!

Rounding up, l will suggest that it is not too late to rethink!! Our region needs to put on the thinking cap. Dangote has shown us that it is possible. By pooling resources together, the South-south States can still get it right. Even though time is running out, refined petroleum products are still in great demand. The power need of our great nation is still far from being attended to. The six states needed to be connected with modern rail lines to ease the cost of doing business. In fact, plastic, and polythene products are one thing the world is consuming in great abundance. Our regional leaders will be planning for the future if they should take it upon themselves to invest heavily in this area. Apart from creating employment, vast resources will be mined and used for the accelerated development of our region.

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