Buhari, Naira, Reasons Dangote Shunned Jonathan’s Fund-Raising Dinner
A noticeable absence from the People’s Democratic Party Fund Raising Dinner held on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 presidential election was Aliko Dangote.
Dangote, 57, who was said to be outside the country on the day of the event, was represented by Mr. Joseph Makanju. Surprisingly, he did not leave any donation at the launch in which about N21.27 Billion was raised through donations from businessmen, multinational organisations, governors’ forum, interest groups and individuals.
Dangote’s representative, Mr Makanju, had said at the event that his principal only left a verbal promise that he would personally see the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’Azu to “give his support” upon his return, which is actually non-committal.
This was surprising, if not shocking to President Jonathan and his campaign team led by Prof. Jerry Gana. The Africa’s richest man and 23rd richest person in the world, with a net worth of $21.3 Billion, was the Chief Fund Raiser at the event and was put on notice long before the event date. They had reasoned that he could have sent a cheque through his representative, if he had actually wanted to do so.
Dangote, it should be recalled, donated millions of dollars to the campaign of President Jonathan in the run-up to his 2011 presidential elections. He also donated over N200 Million to former president Olusegun Obasanjo for his re-election bid in 2003.
Facts have now emerged why the Aliko Dangote shunned the People’s Democratic Party Fund Raising Dinner. A source very close to the business magnet revealed to XCLUSIVE Magazine that Dangote had already given his personal assurance to Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidential candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) that he has his support, although he did not make any cash promise to the former head of state. It is one of the reasons, according to our insider source, Dangote had “politely” avoided Jonathan’s event as he did not want to give the impression that he was on both sides of the presidential candidates.
But there is another reason, a more important reason. The reliable source told XCLUSIVE Magazine authoritatively that the Chairman of the Dangote Group is not “happy” with President Jonathan regarding the devaluation of the naira, the fall out of which is the recent $7.8 Billion wiped-out of the Dangote cement shares, according to Forbes, bringing his net worth down from $25 Billion to $17.2 Billion.
On 2 November 2014, a few weeks before the Central Bank of Nigeria got the go-ahead from the President to vote for the devaluation of the naira, which it did on 25 November, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Dangote cement, Mr Devakumar Edwin, announced huge cuts in the price of Dangote cement, pegging Dangote 32.5 cement grade at N1,000 per 50kg bag and the 42.5 higher grade at N1,150 per bag.
Edwin had said at the time that the price cut was to support the Nigerian economy struggling with the free fall of oil price at the international market.
“We recognize the need for an increased rapid response to the huge infrastructure and housing deficit in the country, and one of the ways of addressing the issue is bringing the price of building materials down to much more affordable levels especially cement which is within our control
“This is as part of our own contribution to the transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan administration and the attainment of key milestones in the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.
The management of Dangote Cement did not envisage that Naira devaluation was been contemplated by CBN, as the governor of CBN had persistently denied that the Naira would not be devalued to stem the tide of the Nigeria economy already on a free fall as a result of rapid fall in oil prices. The eventual devaluation of the Naira had not only undermined Dangote’s good intention with the price cut of cement, but also put his entire cement business at risk.
This reliable source told XCLUSIVE Magazine with air of certainty that President Jonathan would not be receiving a kobo of financial support for his re-election from Aliko Dangote.
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