As a teenager, he began to work for his uncle, Sani Dangote and it was said of him that he served diligently. Sometime in 1977 and after his 20th birthday, he approached his uncle and master and told him about his plan to establish a business outfit which would trade in cement, sugar, rice, pasta, salt, cotton, millet, vegetable oil and other products. His uncle provided a loan of N500,000 but gave a caveat to Aliko to return the loan within a deadline of three-months(this was the practice at the time).
A few years earlier, the Benin Airport had been constructed. This served as one of his routes to the Niger-Delta or South-South area of Nigeria.
Benin, formerly known as the City of Blood was then experiencing a great revival through 39 year old Benson Andrew Idahosa, a Bini man, who was established as a young Christian in the Assemblies of God and now pastored the Church of God Mission. Idahosa who had recently returned from a missionary school in America had established strong links with a number of pastors such as Gordon Lindsay, Jim Bakker and T.L Osborn among others.
Of all the visits however, one specific visit in the late 1970s was very unique. T.L and Daisy Osborn had stayed late ministering at the Miracle Centre of Church of God Mission just opposite the Airport. They therefore went late to catch their flight to Lagos which was supposed to be a connecting flight from Johannesburg to France, England and then the USA.
By the time Idahosa took his guests to the airport, they were told that the last flight for the day was overbooked. Not one seat was available, the passengers had boarded and the flight about to take off.
Not only that, the jetliner had begun to taxi towards the runway. Benson Idahosa”s new mercedes sped towards the tarmac and screeched to a halt in front of the plane. Benson Idahosa came out and waved at the pilot frantically.