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Why Nigeria Needs More Abdulsamad Rabiu

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By Eric Elezuo

The spate of philanthropic gestures and honours trailing one of Nigeria’s celebrated philanthropists and mega industrialists, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, is to say the least, legendary.

During the week the leading businessman, who doubles as the Chairman of BUA Group, an umbrella body comprising sugar and fertilizer manufacturing industries among other business concerns, paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja. And true to type, Alhaji Rabiu exhibited the same stuff that has made him the toast of African entrepreneurship, when he made a whopping donation of N10 billion to the Nigeria Security Support Fund on behalf of his foundation, The Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa). The donation was geared towards providing security equipment, medical and other supplies, upgrade of health facilities and other infrastructure for families of those on the frontlines.

As a man of gratitude, his visit was to update the president and to thank him for creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, and also brief him on the strides BUA Group has made in the past few years.

It is on record that in the past seven years, BUA has built over 10 factories with two of the Group’s subsidiaries now amongst the top 10 largest publicly listed companies in Africa. It was therefore, not out of place to identify with the efforts of the Buhari administration in business and the security space.

Rabiu’s avalanche of successes, humanitarian endeavours and spread of business tentacles has bestowed on him the uncommon title of the highest employer of labour in his region, the Northwest of Nigeria, in addition to continually maintain his status as Nigeria’s second richest man.

Rabiu’s image as a great achiever looms large. Earlier in the month, he was honoured among other Nigerians by the Nigerien President, Mohammed Bazoum, with the “Order of Merit of Niger, Great Master of National Awards,” the highest honours of the country for his great strides in increasing understanding between the two nations and for acting as agent of social and economic development. This was to mark the country’s Independence Day.

But beyond honours and awards, Rabiu’s consistency in developing the Nigerian nation, especially his region, has always come to the fore.

In January 2022, he commissioned and opened a 3 million metric tonnes per annum BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4 Factory or 3MPTA BUA cement, line 4 cement plant, in Sokoto

Describing his efficiency, notable Nigerians, who attended the event, took turns to remark the importance of the industrialist, who on many occasions, has made the Forbes list of billionaires in the world, following his inclination to creating millionaires through the provision of veritable employment opportunities, with special focus on those of his northwest origin. Today, he is the fifth richest man in Africa, and the second richest man in Nigeria.

The BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4 was built to the following specifications: three million metric tonnes per annum capacity; 6,000 TPD ILC with the highest energy efficiency and latest pollution abating equipment; 48 MW dual fuel power Plant and so on. The Line 5 is already in the works and should be ready in the first quarter of 2023.

With an array of political, financial and entrepreneurial presence at the occasion, the person of Alhaji Samad and the importance of his BUA Group were brought to the fore and celebrated. Leading the fray of eulogies, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, could not hide his joy at the impact of the entrepreneurial giant, noting that he has remained the largest employer of labour in the northwest region of Nigeria.

He said: “I am pleased that through these investments, BUA Cement has created employment opportunities for our citizens. Today, BUA is the largest employer of labour in the North-West region.

“I always remind Nigerians that every region, indeed every state, in Nigeria sits on huge reserves of resources. For example, in this area, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara can boast of rice production, gold and other precious metals development and of course, heavy industries like cement manufacturing.

”As a government, we introduced policies and mechanisms to support such investments in a legal, ethical and inclusive manner.

”For example, we have the National Food Security Council on Food Security Matters and the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative to develop local artisanal gold mining and ensure health and safety of mining workers and protect the environment.

”We remain prepared to support serious investors to set up businesses that will take advantage of these opportunities through value addition so as to take advantage of the huge market here, as well as in the greater African region and the world at large.”

Recalling how he, as Head of State in 1985, was at the same location to commission the 2nd line of the facility, the president expressed quite a feeling of nostalgia.

”Today, almost 37 years later, to commission the fourth line is a very special day for me personally.

”As you all know, one of the key economic pillars of our administration has been to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This is necessary for job creation and indeed, for our economy and national security.

”In the past few weeks, I visited Ogun and Kaduna states where I observed many private sector investments in action. And today, I am here in Sokoto to commission this multi-billion Naira project.

”It is therefore very clear for all to see that our policies are working. Progress is gradually being made in all parts of the country,” he said.

Abdul Samad Rabiu is not one to rest on his oars as he had pledged to continue to be a leading light in propagation of entrepreneurial ideals, and coming to the rescue of small businesses as well as humanity, having so far invested over a billion dollars in the past four years.

He said: “In the past 6 years, we have completed 4 plants – two in Obu, Edo State and two in Sokoto (of which this Sokoto line 4 is the fourth) with BUA’s total production capacity now standing at 11.5 million tonnes with the completion of this plant.

”Next year, we intend to complete the construction of two new plants of 3 million metric tonnes each for which construction is ongoing – one in Edo and the other, here in Sokoto.”

That is the stuff AbdulSamad Rabiu is madse of.

Born on August 4, 1960, in Kano, to one of Nigeria’s foremost industrialists in the 1970s and 1980s, Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu, Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu CON is a perfect combination of many things in one.

It was in his native Kano that he kick started his academic pursuit, carousing through elementary education with ease as a gifted child, and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate. He was later admitted into the Federal Government College, Kano, where he had his secondary education, and gradually with honours.

With a combination of fate, brilliance and determination, Abdulsamad was catapulted to Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where he studiously studied Economics, and acquired his tertiary education before returning to Nigeria, all before his 24th birthday, to oversee his family business. He was that much sort after, and highly brilliant, and considered capable of holding fort for his father, who was being detained by the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari over matters concerning import duties.

In 1988, just after learning the ropes of entrepreneurial excellence, Abdul Samad Rabiu established BUA International Limited, for the sole purpose of commodity trading. The company followed after the footsteps of his father, and imported rice, edible oil, flour, and iron and steel.

In 1990, having exhibited the character worthy of a world class entrepreneur, and the ability to execute classical projects, Rabiu’s BUA was invited by the government, which owned Delta Steel Company to supply its raw materials in exchange for finished products. This provided a much-needed leverage for the young company, and consequently expanded further into steel, producing billets, importing iron ore, and constructing multiple rolling mills in Nigeria.

Rabiu’s dexterity showed further a few years later, when the company acquired Nigerian Oil Mills Limited, the largest edible oil processing company in Nigeria, and there erupted the company’s and BUA’s influence and care over the people in the provision of affordable edible oil. His passion to see people excel in comfort has continued to make him churn out one great tiding after another, and endearing him in the hearts of the generality of the public.

A man with a vision for tomorrow,  Rabiu, in 2005, started two flour-milling plants, in Lagos and in Kano, and by 2008, had broken an eight-year monopoly in the Nigerian sugar industry by commissioning the second-largest sugar refinery in sub-Saharan Africa. This was a feat only a bravest of hearts could wroth. As a result, in 2009 the company went on to acquire a controlling stake in a publicly-listed Cement Company in Northern Nigeria and began to construct a $900 million cement plant in Edo State, completing it in early 2015. Rabiu’s passion for expansion is unequalled.

BUA Group has since concentrated and excelled in manufacturing, infrastructure and agriculture and producing a revenue in excess of $2.5 billion. This is in addition to being the chairman of the Bank of Industry (BOI).

The Group, in 2019, announced plans to merge its privately owned Obu Cement with the publicly traded Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc (CCNN), to create Nigeria’s second largest cement producer thereby consolidating the grip on the cement market and breaking its monopolistic status.

It is worthy of note that Cement Company of Northern Nigeria PLC in which Rabiu owned more than 97% was producing two million metric tons of cement per annum (Mtpa) while Obu Cement has an annual production capacity of 6Mtpa. The move is in line with the company’s resolve to deepen the Nigerian capital markets and enhance the growth of the cement industry.

Rabiu’s expansion strides cannot be complete without a mention of his extraordinary philanthropic gestures.

In April 2020, he made a whopping donation towards the fight to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic presently ravaging the country.

In a letter dated April 24, 2020, he personally signed and addressed to The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the billionaire businessman, congratulated the duo of the Task Force and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for doing a good job while observing that much as so much has been done, there was still need to do a lot more, as the disease continued to make inroads into many parts of the country, especially Lagos and Kano states.

“I view with deep concern, the increased rate of spread of the Coronavirus, especially in Kano and Lagos states despite concerted collective efforts to curb the spread and effects of the virus in Nigeria,” he said.

With sincere reference to ‘what is going on, especially in Kano at the moment’ the philanthropist, who had earlier donated N1 billion to the private sector led CACOVID and other states, announced the release of another N3.3 billion ‘grant to the working group made up of the Presidential Task Force, NCDC and other stakeholders in equipping two existing permanent facilities in Kano and Lagos states’.

He said: “To this end, I am immediately committing and making available – through the Bua Foundation two grants of Two Billion Naira for the Kano-based intervention and One Billion Naira for Lagos State being the two epicentres of this virus in Nigeria.”

Rabiu also informed that “a sum of N300 million will also be made available immediately in cash to the Presidential Task Force to assist with logistical and operational activities of the taskforce. This grant is in addition to BUA’s earlier contributions to the private sector led CA-COVID coalition and donations to other states.”

Giving directive on how the funds will be spent, the BUA Foundation Chairman hinted that the “working Group will be expected to use resources at its disposal to ensure these facilities – to be determined by the Working Group – are fully equipped in the shortest possible time.”

He further revealed his trust in the working group to judiciously use the grant for the purposes meant, saying “I believe this will effectively help to expand the scope of interventions, ongoing research as well support already stretched medical cities dedicated to this fight.”

Rabiu’s BUA had in March through a confirmed funds transfer to the COVID-19 relief fund account with the Central Bank of Nigeria redeemed its pledge of N1billion ($2.6m) to the fight against COVID-19. In addition, the company also announced another donation of N300 million to Sokoto, Edo and Ogun States to assist in galvanizing a coordinated response and adequate preparedness in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in this states. The donations to Sokoto and Edo States were on behalf of its Cement subsidiary, BUA Cement which has its major operations in those states whilst Ogun was also selected as a beneficiary due to its proximity to Lagos which had been the epicenter of the virus in Nigeria.

In total, Rabiu and his group donated N4.6 billion to the fight against the dreaded pandemic in a addition to other incentives, making them the single highest donor as at date.

In 2021, Rabiu’s focus bestowed on him the grace of becoming the biggest gainer in shares. According to Forbes, which listed the billionaire among the four top billionaires in Africa for the year, “shares of his BUA Cement PLC, which listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in January 2020, doubled in value in the past year. That pushed Rabiu’s fortune up by an extraordinary 77%, to $5.5 billion. One thing to note: Rabiu and his son together own about 97% of the company, giving the company a tiny public float. The Nigerian Stock Exchange requires that either 20% or more of a company’s shares to be floated to the public, or that the floated shares are worth at least 20 billion naira — about $50 million — a paltry sum, to be sure. A spokesman for the Nigerian Stock Exchange told Forbes that BUA Cement meets the second requirement. (Forbes discounts the value of stakes when the public float of a company is less than 5%.)”

Rabiu has constantly used his BUA Foundation for his philanthropic activities. Some of them include the construction of a 7,000-square-meter paediatric ward at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and the construction of the Centre for Islamic Studies at Bayero University Kano amongst several others.

He is known to have signed several major deals with French companies in recent times, from Axens as technical partner to his new refinery, to a 300tn plasterboard factory deal with French construction giant St Gobain. He followed it up with listing a segment of his business empire on the Lagos Stock Exchange.

In June 2021 therefore, when French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated the France-Nigeria Business Council, a private sector initiative to enhance business relations between the two countries, Abdul Samad Rabiu, was appointed its inaugural President. He had earlier been appointed Chairman of the France Nigeria Investment Club. These appointments drew encomiums from high places including President Muhammadu Buhari.

Practically every woman’s dream, Abdul Samad is married to his beautiful wife, and they are blessed with children, among whom are Isyaku Rabiu, Junaid Rabiu, Rukkayah Rania Rabiu and Khadijah Rabiu. He has 42 siblings including Nafiu Rabiu and Rabiu Rabiu, the chairman of IRS Airlines.

Samad’s fortunes improved as follows giving him the leverage to start the year 2022 on a high note:

  • BUA Foods’ shares jumped more than 10% from N40 ($0.0968) to N44 ($0.1065) as of press time, Jan. 6.
  • The company’s market capitalisation increased to N792 billion ($1.92 billion), as Rabiu’s fortune also increased from $5.3 billion to $7.2 billion.

He added a whopping $1.9 billion to his networth, bringing his total fortune to $7.2 billion.

Rabiu’s abilities are compared only with the best. He is a force to reckon with in the field of enterprise and human capacity building. He is quite a gift to Nigeria, and the world.

His contributions to the development of Nigeria are worth emulating, and so we are happy to identify with your giagantic strides. Congratulations sir!

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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