Billionaire businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has answered critics who pilloried his planned bid to buy English Premier League club, Arsenal. Dangote, whose initial plot to buy Arsenal failed in 2010, had recently renewed the bid revealing that he planned to pay for a stake in the English club with proceeds from his oil refinery currently under construction.
But not a few Nigerians have condemned his plan arguing that he should have invested the money in his country’s football league. Speaking in an interview with Forbes, the 58-year-old business mogul believes that buying a Premier League team will help to raise the profile of Nigeria. “The issue is that if I buy all the Nigerian clubs, the Nigerian flags will continue to remain here,’ said Africa’s richest man.
“Buying Arsenal will take the Nigerian flag worldwide. “Just like whenever (Chelsea owner) Roman Abramovich is mentioned, the name of his country comes up. Everyone knows he’s Russian.”
Dangote is the majority shareholder in giant cement, flour and sugar companies and currently supplies 90 per cent of Nigeria’s 170million population. Five years ago, Dangote attempted to buy a small stake in Arsenal but was rebuffed. He tried to take over the 15 per cent owned by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith who eventually sold to Stan Kroenke.