Without a doubt, his name is not new to you if you are Nigerian. He’s not only the richest Nigerian, he’s the richest African and also the richest black man in the world with a net worth estimated by Forbes to be $12.8 billion as at October 2016.
The soft-spoken, private billionaire started his journey towards his fortune by trading in commodities. It wasn’t until he started to manufacture those same commodities in Nigeria and other parts of Africa that his wealth went stratospheric. You seldom hear him talk about himself or his wealth in public however, now that he is increasingly involved in philanthropy and appearing in pictures next to the likes of Bill Gates, he can’t keep a low profile as often as he would like.
From the events, speeches and interviews he has given over the years, I have compiled a list of 10 quotes that give you an insight into his values and his experience. Perhaps his words will inspire you towards making your first billion.
“The real thing about wealth, what will make you enjoy it and be happy that yes you are rich, is how many lives you can touch while you are alive.”
On manufacturing vs Trade
“Manufacture, don’t just trade. There is money in manufacturing even though it is capital intensive. To achieve a big breakthrough, I had to start manufacturing the same product I was trading on; which is commodities.”
On mixing play with hardwork
“I enjoy myself a lot but I derive more joy in working. I believe in hard work and one of my business success secrets is hard work. It’s hard to see a youth that will go to bed by 2am and wake up by 5am. I don’t rest until I achieve something.”
On being patient for success
“I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.”
On being reslient
“Endeavour to work as hard as possible to attain a new aim with each day that comes by. Don’t go to bed until you have achieved something productive.”
“We have actually never ever paid anybody any kickback at all. Never, never, honestly, honestly!”
On being ambitious
“If you don’t have ambition, you shouldn’t be alive.”
On fighting competition
“Don’t kill the competition. Competition is healthy for businesses. It keeps you the entrepreneur on your toes.”
On Nigeria’s potential as a country
“We have the best flat land, you can grow anything in the cheapest possible way. Turning Nigeria around is not really that difficult. Nigeria is really the best place to invest, it is one of the places to make money all over the world it (Nigeria) is the best kept secret actually in terms of investment.”