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Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote didn’t profess eternal gratitude to ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu for helping him ‘set up’ US$20bn oil refinery

IN SHORT: In elections in Africa, as across the world, money makes a difference. Having infinite resources would give a candidate an edge. But a quote allegedly by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote backing the ruling party is unsupported by evidence.

Has Nigeria’s richest man said that the presidential candidate of the country’s ruling party was instrumental to a US$20 billion investment?

That’s the claim in the form of a quote circulating on Facebook in the country. 

The post reads: “‘ASIWAJU helped me to set up my $20bn refinery in Lagos. I will forever remain grateful to him’ ~ Aliko Dangote.”

“Asiwaju” is a name of respect given to Bola Tinubu, who is running for president on the ticket of the governing All Progressives Congress. It means “one who leads” in the Yoruba language widely spoken in Lagos state in southern Nigeria.

Nigeria will pick a president on 25 February 2023. 

Dangote, Africa’s richest man, is building a private refinery in the country’s biggest city and economic hub, Lagos.

Construction began in 2015. When complete it will have a capacity of processing 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The country is Africa’s largest oil exporter but due to a lack of refining capacity imports nearly all its fuel.

Tinubu governed the state of Lagos from 1999 to 2007, several years before the refinery’s construction started. 

The importance of the claim is that having the lasting gratitude – and financial support – of Dangote would give Tinubu a formidable financial war chest for campaigning.  

The same post appeared on Facebook here, here and here.

But did Dangote say this?


No evidence for quote

The Facebook post didn’t say where and when Dangote allegedly made this statement. We checked his refinery’s website to see if Tinubu is credited as a funder or supporter but didn’t find anything. 

Investors listed include major organisations such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and the African Development Bank

It is possible Tinubu, an influential politician, could have helped “set up” the refinery in one way or another. 

But there’s no evidence Dangote made this particular statement publicly. We found no media reporting of this, which would be unlikely if it were true because of the national profiles of the two men.

This is another fabricated quote intended to mislead the public as the election nears, part of a trend Africa Check has identified.

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