Billionaire Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Throughout last week, the Nigerian print media was awash with tributes in honour of the foremost entrepreneur, serial investor, audacious administrator, and boardroom maestro Otunba Mike Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga, who marked his 70th birthday on Saturday, April 29. For Otunba Adenuga, whose business interests span sectors like oil and gas, telecoms, aviation, construction, banking, and real estate, it is a celebration of success and optimism in business, uncommon management skills, and philanthropy.

To others, the billionaire businessman represents the triumph of indigenous entrepreneurship having demonstrated the capacity to match and sometimes surpass foreign competitors in business management. Each of his businesses in these sectors plays preeminent roles, helping to set the pace and contributing to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

Read More: A Special Tribute To An Irreplaceable Nigerian: Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi

Born into the family of Oloye Michael Adenuga (Snr) and Omoba Juliana (née Onashile, of Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State), Mike Adenuga was raised in humble but dignified circumstances. His father was a teacher, while his mother was a businesswoman from a royal lineage.

He attended Ibadan Grammar School in Oyo State. He got his Higher School Certificate from the Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro, Ogun State. He proceeded to Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and Pace University, both in the US, to bag degrees in Business Administration.

Otunba Adenuga’s other business interests include real estate, banking, and shipping. He is the owner of the Mike Adenuga Group, a conglomerate that has investments in several sectors of the Nigerian economy. He is also a philanthropist, known for his donations to various causes in Nigeria, including education and healthcare.

In 2003, Otunba Mike Adenuga founded Globacom, a telecommunications company that quickly became one of Nigeria’s largest mobile phone operators. Globacom has since expanded to other African countries, including Ghana and Benin. The company is known for its affordable call and data plans, which have helped to make mobile phones more accessible to millions of people in Nigeria and other African countries.

Otunba Adenuga’s entrepreneurial skills did not start with Globacom. He began to etch his name in the consciousness of Nigerians in 1990 when he responded to the challenge of the then-military administration to open the nation’s oil industry to indigenous operators to participate in a discretionary oil license bid round. The exercise produced 11 Nigerian businessmen, including Adenuga with oil licenses.

One year after the license round, Otunba Adenuga’s Consolidated Oil (now known as Conoil) was first among the 11 to hit oil and in commercial quantities. Conoil quickly validated the Federal Government’s thinking that Nigerians could play big in the oil and gas industry if given the opportunity.

Being a man with a Midas Touch, Otunba Adenuga, a majority shareholder in the construction giant, Julius Berger, has brought his foresightedness, business acumen, and his audacity on investment issues to bear at the construction firm. For instance, the company has successfully completed its first-ever N30 billion ($65.3 million) commercial paper issuance (CP issuance) in Nigeria’s fixed-income market.

Interestingly, his busy schedules and pressure to meet deadlines have not stopped the foremost philanthropist from attending to the needs of different categories of Nigerians. For instance, every year, the Mike Adenuga Foundation awards nearly $20.5 million in scholarships and aid to help students. Annually, they award undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. scholarships for female students offered in Africa, the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, and India.

Under his watch, his flagship company, Globacom was able to launch a payment service bank unit, MoneyMaster PSB, to foster financial inclusion. The telecommunication firm said the launch aimed to empower Nigerians by providing them with unlimited opportunities. To show for his uncommon leadership, Globacom was announced as the Most Popular Brand in the country for the year 2022. This announcement was made at the public presentation of the 2022 brand evaluation by Top 50 Brands Nigeria.

Otunba Adenuga’s love for sports was underscored by the unveiling of the current African, Commonwealth, and World 100m hurdles Champion, Tobi Amusan, as Globacom’s latest Brand Ambassador. The company explained that its decision to make Amusan its ambassador was not just to reward her for her sterling accomplishments, but also to promote the growth of sports in Nigeria and encourage the country’s teeming youths to aspire toward realizing their dreams by looking up to the new ambassador as a mentor.

From all indications, sports rank very high on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and investments of Globacom, including the full sponsorship of the CAF African Footballer of the Year awards. As a company ready to support excellence, Adenuga’s Globacom signed a sponsorship agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation thus becoming the official telecommunications partner and major sponsor of Nigerian national teams. Alongside this, it sponsors the Supporters’ Club in any part of the world where any of Nigeria’s national teams is competing.

Otunba Adenuga has a heart of gold and has impacted the lives of many people in positive ways. Stories of his kindheartedness are all over the media. He is rarely seen in public. He doesn’t dabble in politics, even his act of philanthropy is devoid of fanfare. However, beneficiaries of his kind gesture said Adenuga’s name is written in gold in their hearts.

DAWN Commission celebrates the audacious administrator, boardroom maestro and Africa’s most private billionaire Otunba Mike Adenuga as he joins the league of septuagenarians in Nigeria.

You are an Akikanju!

Source: This Day Newspaper, Africa Business Communities.

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