Two of Nigeria’s foremost business tycoons, Femi Otedola and Aliko Dangote were among the glitterati of world soccer that hobnobbed with top shots of the game at the FIFA Best Awards in London on Monday.
Dangote and Otedola were at the historic ceremony on the invitation of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who explained why he invited both business moguls to grace the event.
Alongside oil baron Otedola, Dangote was conspicuous at the Awards, and both met with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the crème de la crème of world football in the British capital.
Dangote, who holds Nigeria’s second highest national honour (GCON) is the President of Dangote Group and is ranked as the richest person of African descent in the world.
A notable fan of Arsenal and potential owner of the London club, Dangote is reportedly worth over $15 billion.
The Dangote Group has interests in various commodities in Nigeria and other African countries.
“Alhaji Dangote is perhaps the biggest business brand in Africa, and one of Nigeria’s leading Ambassadors. I am very happy to be in a position to invite himself and Mr. Otedola to such an event of global stature and essence.
“As a nation, it is important that we continue to showcase our best brands in all fields. Doing this enhances the stock of our country globally. Alhaji Dangote and Mr. Otedola were happy to meet the world’s top governors of football and the football governors were also happy to meet them.
“Our objective as a Football Federation is to attain financial autonomy so that the Government can channel resources otherwise taken up by football into other critical sectors, and we believe that if we have persons like Dangote and Otedola partnering with Nigerian Football, we will get there faster.
“The NFF has invited Alhaji Dangote to a couple of matches previously, including the friendly match with England in London before the FIFA World Cup in Russia, but he was unable to attend. Now, we are discussing with him on a relationship with Nigerian Football and he is showing immense interest.
“Football has tremendous capacity to be self –sustaining and even contribute significantly to the national GDP. That is the station we are targeting at the moment.
“I also want to use this opportunity to appreciate our other sponsors and partners, Coca Cola, Zenith Bank, Nigeria Breweries PLC, NIKE, Cadbury PLC, WAPIC Insurance, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, TGI, 1XBET, Peak Milk, Payporte for making us to attain the present 65 per cent private sector –funding status.”