Adenuga, the bull and his hat-tricks
By Seun Johnson
Since he made his audacious entry into the Nigerian telecommunications industry with GLO 20 years ago, Chief Mike Adenuga, Chairman of Globacom Nigeria Limited, has continued to roar like a lion in the business space, breaking new grounds and taking the world by storm. With his profound business acumen and deep entrepreneurial intellect, Adenuga’s mien in the telecom landscape consistently appeals to the man on the street. He also remains in the frontline with a flowery flag of success.
As a testament to his uncommon trajectory, grand conquest and audacious dominion over daunting odds that beset the business environment, this entrepreneurial pugilist recently returned to his previous position on the Forbe’s list as second- richest businessman in Nigeria, with a net-worth valued at 7.4billion dollars.
The revelation of his recent financial standing, which came six months after it was initially reported that Adenuga’s net-worth has suffered a decline to 3.6billion dollar, jolted the Nigerian business space like a thunderstorm.
In June 2023, the damning report surfaced on the Magazine publication that Adenuga had been demoted on the billionaire businessmen ranking. For an average businessman, that would have deflated his morale to push further, stretch beyond the horizon and re-write the story regardless of the length of operation in the industry. But not for Adenuga, a multi-billionaire investor who has always been fortified with personal courage and tenacity in the midst of fiery battles.
In a record of six months, the Bull as he is fondly called, negotiated and navigated the bumpy, bendy and undulating business terrains, and dared to roar where angels fear to whisper, to set the record straight which has now culminated in his dramatic return to the no 2 position on the Forbe’s list.
Adenuga is not just a successful entrepreneur, he is also a cerebral, courageous, industrious and consistent advocate for public good who leverages his brand to instill sanity and promote robust competition in the African telecommunications industry.
Born in April 1953, Chief Mike Adenuga, GCON is an alumnus of Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University, New York, where he acquired degrees in Business Administration. In 1979, precisely at the age of 26, the young industrialist made his first million through the sales of lace and distribution of soft drinks.
He joined the big boys who dabbled into telecoms following the revolution that hit the industry in 2002. In 2003, the Apesin of Ijebu land got a license to found Global Communications after the revocation of the conditional GSM license issued to him in 1999. By August 29, 2003, GLO, a multinational telecoms company began a full operation in Nigeria. In 2011, it became the first telecommunication company to build an $800 million high-capacity fibre-optic cable known as Glo-1, a submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria. It is the first successful submarine cable from the UK to Nigeria.
In June 2018, the company recorded over 3,500 employees worldwide and by December that year, the Adenuga-owned telecom giant had boasted of over 45million subscribers, making it the second largest network operator in Nigeria. Other countries where it is operating include Ghana, Republic of Benin and Cote di Voire.
However, not many people know that this 70-year old business tycoon is also a big player in the oil sector, just as he is in telecoms. Before diving into telecoms, Adenuga was the leading light in the downstream sector. He owns Con Oil, which has filling stations across Nigeria. Without acquiring a formal training in the oil sector, he took a huge risk that eventually paid off.
In 1991, he had Consolidated Oil prospect for Crude Oil, thereby setting in motion the agenda that consequently helped to increase Nigeria’s crude oil reserve from 16 billion barrels to about 20 by 1995. He was one of the indigenous businessmen who got exploration blocks. That decision has put him ahead of his contemporaries as he enjoys the privilege of being the first Nigerian to find recoverable oil and also emerged the only Nigerian who produces oil in commercial quantity from his oil field offshore in the Niger Delta.
In 2012, Adenuga was made Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger by the Nigerian government. In 2018, he was decorated with the insignia of a Commander of the Legion of Honour by President Emmanuel Macron of France. In 2019, he was listed as one of the top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine.
In words and in deed, Adenuga unarguably remains a living inspiration, an intrepid business general whose accomplishments and greatness cannot be diminished by the haunting spectre of economic turbulence.