He had his eyes set on a prize: a license to operate in Nigeria. But the opposition was fierce, the stakes were high, and his adversaries were many. When his application was rejected, the man knew he was up against forces that could make or break him. He turned to his vast network of contacts, using everything he had learned from decades in business and personal relationships, hoping for a breakthrough. The road ahead was filled with danger, and he was faced with accusations of bribery and underhanded tactics. But he refused to back down. As the tension mounted, he found himself at the centre of a deadly game of power and raw dogfighting. But with his unwavering determination and cunning, he navigated the treacherous landscape and emerged victorious. In the end, Mike Adenuga was granted a GSM license, and his company, Globacom, rose to become a dominant force in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.
Mike Adenuga, the Nigerian business magnate and founder of several corporations, has reached a major milestone: his 70th birthday. But this is no ordinary celebration. Adenuga’s life has been a remarkable journey of struggle, perseverance, and triumph. Born into a humble family in Ibadan, Nigeria, Adenuga is said to have started as a small business owner, venturing into the business world when he was barely out of his teens. Even though his first company, Consolidated Oil, became one of the biggest oil exploration firms in Nigeria, it was his foray into telecommunications that would make him a legend.
Despite his enormous wealth and success (Forbes named him Africa’s sixth richest man), Adenuga is known for his reclusive nature, avoiding the media spotlight and most social events. Unlike the modern-day tycoon, you will not find him reeling out life lessons on Twitter or playing with his grandchildren on Instagram. He hasn’t written a book nor given a lecture, as though telling the world that his life’s experience and his entrepreneurial journey is an MBA course by itself. Throughout his career, Adenuga has faced numerous challenges but has always risen to the occasion and built back better.
He is known for his sharp mind, strategic thinking, and unyielding determination, evidenced in his determination to establish the only 100% Nigerian-owned mobile telecoms company. He has built a business empire that spans multiple industries and has become a role model for entrepreneurs across Africa and beyond. One notable personal trait is his strong work ethic and hands-on approach to business, often involving himself in the day-to-day operations of his companies. He is also a risk-taker, willing to invest in ventures others consider too risky.
In addition to his business interests, Adenuga is a philanthropist, dedicating a significant portion of his wealth to social causes. His charitable work includes supporting healthcare initiatives and disaster relief efforts. He has also funded several scholarships for underprivileged students, believing education is the key to lifting people out of poverty. He has established the Mike Adenuga Foundation, whose primary mission is promoting social and economic independence among people. The foundation’s mission is focused on creating and supporting initiatives in various key areas such as sustainable resource management, improving infrastructure, educational opportunities, healthcare systems, and enhancing living conditions for African citizens.
These achievements have not gone unnoticed; he has received numerous awards and accolades. He holds Nigeria’s second-highest title of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON). Before being conferred with the GCON, he had earlier been awarded, at different times, the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). In 2017, he was conferred with The Companion of the Star of Ghana, the highest national award in Ghana. He bagged the “Chevalier la Legion d’Honneur” award that same year. In July 2018, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, elevated him to ‘Commander of the Legion of Honour’, France’s highest national honour.
Adenuga’s 70th birthday is an opportunity to celebrate his life and reflect on his impact on Nigeria and Africa. His entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, and philanthropic contributions continue to inspire many. As he continues to lead Globacom Nigeria and contribute to the betterment of his country and continent, we can only expect more great things from him in the years to come.