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Dangote: All that glitters isn’t gold

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In light of the trending topic on social media over the weekend, let me state that it’s obvious that the richest black person in the world, Aliko Dangote was deceived by appearance, not knowing that class isn’t all about appearance. Looks could be skin-deep.

What is also clear is that as far as you have the capacity to look polished and be in expensive places, Dangote may think you are classy, thereby easily giving you audience. I will narrate my experience with him later.

In life, when things are going smoothly for you, you may never know the minds of a lot of people. It’s if you are associated with something close to a scandal that you would get to know what a lot of people really think about you. No matter how little, they will make a mountain out of it.

There are different categories of people who had a thing or two to say about Dangote since his pictures surfaced on the internet a few days ago, courtesy of two cheap attention-seeking ladies.

While some are his detractors who have been looking for dirt on him for a very long time, some are only gossip mongers who are looking for interesting topics to discuss on social media.

Before this incident, it must have been really frustrating for gossip enthusiasts and those who are looking for dirt on successful people that someone of Dangote’s status is not an open-book. The fact that he has been scandal-free since he became famous for being extremely wealthy isn’t exciting to a lot of people.

Despite his status, he succeeded in keeping his personal affairs private. Dangote has had an air of mystery about him since he has been in the limelight. Prying eyes really want to know how he sleeps, what he eats and the kind of ladies he dates.

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When his pictures surfaced on social media a few days ago, it was the ‘gotcha’ moment for his detractors.

His critics are having fun as they are trying to make the most of it. Why do they do it? What makes a person take pleasure in the mockery of others? That’s an age-old question.

As long as people perceive you are successful or succeeding and you are without stain, they would pray that there is something scandalous about you someday.

There are those who are wired to get a kick out of someone else’s mistakes because it takes the attention off their own shortcomings. They’re happy that the ‘negative’ spotlight is on you because then they can hide their shortcomings or weaknesses in the dark. While everyone is focused on your shortcomings, they get to pretend for a short while that they are saints.

On the other hand are those who aren’t necessarily ‘bade belle’ but are just looking for things to gossip about. A gossipy person doesn’t care about what the topic is, provided it’s juicy. And topics don’t come bigger than Dangote.

Life is boring for a lot of people and a little scandal on others is a way to catch fun.

They, however, don’t want to be the ones at the receiving end of the jokes. It is always fun when it is others that are in the news.

It is like in secondary school when names of those who are caught breaking the rules are called out on the assembly ground, students enjoy it. In fact, a lot of students look forward to it every Monday. An assembly without ‘yawa’ news seems boring. That’s how it is on social media, especially Twitter. Some people are looking for interesting topics.

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As far as many observers are concerned, this is only mere ‘dirt’ on his shoulders that he should brush off easily and take necessary steps like other billionaires who love privacy to avoid a recurrence in the future. He should learn from this experience that class is not limited to looks whenever people approach him.

I remember I was telling a lady last week who mentioned two female celebrities as her role models that class isn’t by appearance. She said “they are classy,” and I told her that she is far classier than the ladies she’s talking about. Many of you are far classier than many ladies you look up to if only you know the meaning of class.

Before I continue with the matter at hand, let me talk about my experience with Dangote like I mentioned earlier.

In 2019, I met him at the VIP section of the venue of the GTBank Fashion Weekend. I gained easy access to him and introduced myself. As a human being, you can’t know everything no matter how rich and powerful you are. Only God is omniscient.

I had something very important to tell him concerning publicity. It’s only my brother I’ve told and he said “if Dangote hears it, there’s no way he wouldn’t love it.” The only thing is that he may not be happy with his media team or publicists.

I thought I had enough time with him. I decided to take a selfie first before sharing the idea with him.

Unfortunately, while taking the selfie, instead of facing the camera, he was distracted by the MD of GTBank, Segun Agbaje and Hajia Bola Shagaya who were chatting and laughing out loud. That’s why he’s smiling and looking the other way in the picture I took with him.

Dangote is oftentimes surrounded by prominent people. I saw billionaires (men and women) behaving like children around him. While I was trying to take a better picture, someone whispered something in his ear and he dashed out of the hall in the company of dignitaries and made his way to his BMW.

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Today he is the ‘butt’ of cruel jokes on social media due to some trashy people who had easy access to him simply because they were in posh places. I don’t blame them because trash is trash no matter how it looks. I blame him for falling for them. The idiomatic expression “don’t judge a book by its cover,” readily comes to mind here.

It is worth re-emphasizing that Dangote was deceived by appearance. Those ladies may look ‘classy’ but aren’t classy in the real sense word.

Wearing expensive clothes or being in expensive places doesn’t mean one is classy. There are a lot of ladies who aren’t as rich as those ladies who would be with Dangote and not betray his trust.

Social media has made it easy to notice red flags if you are observant. Are the people you are interacting with alright mentally? Are they persons who would do or say anything for fame? Do you reply to your DM simply because you see a picture of a beautiful lady who has good command of English?

The ladies who have awkward stuff in their bio like “I am a witch” and make insensitive remarks on Twitter don’t tweet from one room at Ajegunle or Mushin. Check them out. Many of them tweet from highbrow areas. Some of them could even be tweeting from Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

The bottom line is to be careful. Not all that glitters is gold.

Yusuf Mohammed is a Lagos based journalist.

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