Resilience Amidst Rivalry: The Unseen Battle Between Dangote and BUA

Resilience Amidst Rivalry: The Unseen Battle Between Dangote and BUA

Fawaz Adebisi 

In the heart of Nigeria’s corporate landscape, a silent yet fierce battle has raged for decades. It’s not a clash of swords or armies, but a war of wills, resources, and business supremacy.

The contenders? Aliko Dangote, the industrial titan, and Abdulsamad Rabiu, the visionary behind BUA Group.

Their feud, veiled in corporate decorum, has shaped industries, tested resilience, and left an indelible mark on Nigeria’s business history.

The Genesis: Sugar, Cheques, and Court Orders

In the sweltering August of 1991, Nigeria grappled with a sugar scarcity. BUA Group, ever the innovator, had sugar stock available for sale.

Enter Aliko Dangote, the formidable force in the business world.

He approached BUA, seeking to buy sugar. But instead of crisp currency, he handed them a bounced Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria cheque.

The repercussions were swift—a court-ordered freezing of BUA’s assets. For three grueling months, BUA danced on the precipice of survival, their resilience tested by Dangote’s financial maneuver.

Land, Politics, and the Battle for Survival

Undeterred, BUA sought to expand its empire. They leased land from Usman Dantata for a sugar refinery project, approvals and payments in place.

But Dangote, ever the political influencer, pulled strings.

Former President Obasanjo revoked the lease, leaving BUA with a mere 24 hours to vacate the land.

Ironically, it was originally Dangote’s uncle’s property. BUA’s survival hung in the balance.

But fate intervened. BUA secured another piece of land, thanks to the generosity of their Chairman’s late father. This Lagos sugar refinery became their sanctuary, a testament to resilience.

As BUA flourished, Dangote’s traps only fueled their determination.

Cement Wars: Floating Terminals and Thwarted Deportations

The cement industry became the next battleground. BUA Group, granted licenses to expand Nigeria’s cement production, introduced an innovative approach—a floating cement factory.

Their application to dock the floating terminal in Lagos met resistance. Undeterred, they berthed the ship at their Port Harcourt terminal. But the drama escalated.

Orwell Brown, a Deputy Comptroller General and coincidentally Dangote’s staff’s older brother, orchestrated a sudden strike.

His aim? To deport BUA’s entire expatriate crew. The clash intensified, and BUA stood firm, their survival once again hanging in the balance.

Recent Rivalry: Accusations and Resolute Rebuttals

Fast forward to the present. A recent feud erupted between Dangote and BUA, shaking the very foundations of their corporate empires.

BUA Group, led by billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu, issued a resolute rebuttal to allegations made by Aliko Dangote.

Dismissing them as baseless, BUA characterized Dangote’s claims as “cheap attempts at blackmail.”

The conglomerate staunchly defended its integrity, revealing that Dangote allegedly orchestrated months of sponsored campaigns against them through third-party platforms.

The enduring animosity between the two industry giants came to the fore once again.

Mining Disputes and Sugar Wars

But what sparked this recent battle? Mining sites became the battleground. Dangote fiercely contested another mining dispute with BUA Cement.

BUA’s Chairman wrote an open letter to the President, accusing Dangote of illegally entering their mining areas to disrupt and sabotage operations at BUA’s Okpella cement plant.

Despite court orders restraining Dangote and the Ministry from claiming or moving to the site, the conflict escalated.

Their rivalry, a symphony of ambition and tenacity, echoes through the ages.

In the end, it’s not just about sugar, cement, or land—it’s about resilience. And in this quiet war, BUA stands tall, a phoenix rising from Dangote’s flames.


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