When we talk entrepreneur extraordinaire, the likes of Michael Adenuga, the billionaire serial entrepreneur comes to mind in a quick flash. Here’s a man who has dominated whole sectors of the economy, created jobs for thousands and made a huge difference in the quality of life of the average citizen. Mike Adenuga’s star shines so bright, it is blinding!!!
Born on April 29, 1953, Michael Adeniyi Isola Adenuga, an Oyo State indigene had his Secondary education at the Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan, Oyo State, before proceeding to the North-Western University in Oklahoma and Pace University, New York, both in the United States where he studied Business Administration. As a student in America, Mike worked as a taxi driver and security guard to subsidize his education. He is reputed to have distinguished himself in the business of importation at the young age of 22 but evidently made his first fortune at the age of 26 in the 1970s by selling lace, and distributing soft drinks and other materials. Mike reputedly joined the big leagues when the military regime of former President Ibrahim Babangida gave him a contract to build an Army barracks. Mike became a millionaire before he was 30 and given his distinctive knack for assessing and overcoming challenges and his complete doggedness of purpose, Mike was on the fast-track to billionaire-dom.
The Mike Adenuga Group as his conglomerate came to be known attracted national attention as far back as 1991 when Consolidated Oil Limited one of his subsidiaries struck oil in commercial quantity. Far greater than this feat was the coming of Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest telecommunication’s network. Nigerians would probably remember Mike more for his timely intervention in the telecommunications arena, where he disrupted an oppressive monopoly with the historic introduction of Per Second Billing; the first time any network would pioneer such a revolutionary product. Indeed, the history of telecommunication in Nigeria and Africa as a whole cannot be written without Mike Adenuga featuring in a starring role. , Globacom in its first year of operation, became the fastest growing in Africa and the Middle East, with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic, Senegal, Gambia and Cote d’Ivorie. The conglomerate has masterminded the laying of an international submarine cable, Glo 1, which has gigantic capacity for Africa. ‘Glo-1 is the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria, and GLO is the first individual African company to embark on such a project. Glo-1 has the potential to provide high speed internet services, faster, more reliable and cheaper telecom services for the public. Glo-1 will potentially facilitate foreign investment and employment opportunities especially to Africans.The 9,800 km long cable originates from Bude in the UK and it is laid from this origin to Alpha Beach in Lagos, where it will have its Landing Station. Glo-1 will also improve teleconferencing, distance learning, disaster recovery and telemedicine among several other benefits for Nigerians and the people of West Africa.’ [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globacom].
Globacom is the biggest supporter of football in Africa and has raised the profile of football in Nigeria and Ghana with the sponsorship of the Premier Leagues and national football teams of the two countries. The company has so far spent an estimated sum of over N6 billion on Nigerian football. It has also transformed the annual CAF Awards and made it the most glamorous sports event on the continent. In gratitude, CAF awarded Mike, the Pillar of Football in Africa for his strong support for African Football at both national and continental levels. At the 2nd edition of the Glo-CAF Awards held in Ghana, former President John Kufour declared that Mike was Africa’s No. 1 Businessman for his promotion of the continent through his business empire. In 2009, Mike also strengthened a strategic partnership between Globacom and Manchester United. Among other things, Globacom sponsors young, talented and upcoming African footballers to the prestigious Manchester United Soccer Schools to hone their skills. Globacom is also the official telecoms partner of the club in Africa. And that is just his telecoms company.
Need we mention that Conoil Plc is one of the largest and most profitable oil marketing companies in Nigeria? Mike effectively overhauled the declining national asset when he bought the controlling shares in it and set on the path of success. Or is it the banks? Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) another subsidiary was one of the few banks that effortlessly met the N25b capital requirement during the 2005 banking consolidation exercise without going to the stock market. It only merged with Devcom Bank which was also owned by the conglomerate. It did however merge with Sterling Bank a few years later.
Mike also has a multi-billion dollar investment in real estate. These companies provide direct employment to thousands of workers and millions of others indirectly.
It comes as no great discovery then that Mike is the 2nd richest man in Nigeria, and is ranked 248th globally on the Forbes list of World billionaires, billionaires!!! He has an estimated net worth of $4.6 as at November 2012. Who knows how much more he has added to the coffers these past 2 months.
Honoured time and time again by the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the National Awards; as an Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and later with the award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). During Nigeria’ 50th anniversary celebration, Adenuga was one of the 50 per-eminent Nigerians who were conferred with the Special Golden Jubilee Independence Anniversary Awards by the Federal Government of Nigeria. In 2012, he received the country’s second highest national award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger.
Mike has won numerous other awards in recognition of his personal and business accomplishments among which is the African Telecoms Entrepreneur of the year for his courageous and rapid investment in the telecoms sector. In 2010, he was voted Nigeria’s Most Outstanding Business Personality in the last 50 Years via an online poll conducted by ThisDay; he polled 4272 votes to edge out the Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote who scored 4156. Founder of Diamond Bank, Mr. Pascal Dozie, polled 3316, Olorogun Michael Ibru got 3073 while the Chairman, First City Monument Bank, Otunba Subomi Balogun polled 2801. In 2009, Mike won the Silverbird Man of the Year Award, polling over 75% of the votes cast to edge out other eminent personalities such as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Foreign Affairs Minister, Odein Ajumogobia, and the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, among others.
His philanthropic pursuits led to the formation of the Mike Adenuga Foundation. Its mission is to reduce poverty by improving the potential for socioeconomic independence, and by contributing to healthy and productive lives of individuals and communities in Nigeria and other countries in Africa where the Mike Adenuga Group of companies undertake commercial activity.
One of the world’s wealthiest men, Dr. Adenuga governs what is generally regarded as one of the continent’s largest business empires comprising oil and gas, telecoms, aviation, banking and real estate. And to think he used to sell lace and soft drinks, of all things!!! No doubt, there is a mastermind of unquantifiable proportions behind that jovial, approachable mien.
Whatever your hands find to do…