When you check on Forbes list for wealthy Africans, you’ll see a lot of them. But while this is completely true, there is always a comma. Rich Africans, precisely Nigerians, rarely have a start-up in the tech industry. What is even rarer is a high percentage of wealth in anything outside of oil and manufacturing. Mr Adenuga breaks this chain by being the CEO of one of the leading telecoms companies in Africa. He is also the third richest African man. This means that he has managed to conquer one of the most difficult sectors in the region. Mike has gradually amassed wealth in oil and telecommunications. He also leads Nigeria’s second-largest internet service provider. So, it is obvious why Mike makes our worldwide list of rich, influential tech entrepreneurs.
Mike Adenuga is known all over Nigeria and Africa for his wealth and influence. And he is considered the pinnacle of a contemporary Nigerian success story. But little is considered beyond the fact that he is a telecoms giant. Throughout this article, I will explore the life of the well-known CEO of Globacom. I will discuss Mike Adenuga’s wealth: the small and large investments that make him one of Africa’s most rich, influential entrepreneurs.
The Rise of Mike Adenuga
Chief Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jr. was born in April, 1953 in the capital city of Ibadan, Oyo. Both of his parents were indigenous Yoruba people. His father, Mike Adenuga Sr. was simultaneously a school teacher and chieftaincy holder. His mother Mrs Juliana Adenuga was also of royal blood.
After his secondary education, he resumed part-time work as a taxi driver so as to adequately fund his college education. He majored in business administration at the North Western Oklahoma State University and went on to Pace University, New York for a second degree. He made his first million at 26 as a trader of textiles and soft-drinks and by 1990 he was able to legally drill for oil.
Why is Mike Adenuga So Rich?
Mike Adenuga probably has many other investments to attribute to his vast wealth. But his most profitable ventures are Globacom and Conoil.
Conoil: The Dawn of a Fruitful Tech Career
Mike unsurprisingly has a very substantial hand in the oil marketing and retail business. He bought himself into Conoil some thirty to forty years ago. And this was the investment decision that gave his career its initial traction. The chronicle started in 1991 when the oil company, then ‘consolidated oil’, made a very sweet discovery. Conoil was able to strike oil in the shallow waters of Ondo state, Nigeria. This made it the first Nigerian oil company to ascertain crude oil at a commercially viable rate in the country. Consolidated oil has since gone on to become one of the most patronised and well-regarded oil retailers in Nigeria. You can’t go that far without seeing at least one outlet by them.
Globacom: The Establishment and Expansion
Globacom (or GLO for short) started in 2003 as a privately funded venture. That means that Mike Adenuga was not only the CEO but also the CFO of Glo. The first attempt at Globacom was in 1999 when Chief Adenuga received his first government-issued GSM license. His license was revoked soon after and he had to wait another four years to get a new one. After a successful auction, Mike was finally able to start-up his own company.
Glo has gone on to make some of the most notable achievements in telecommunications and the world of tech as a whole. In 2011, Glo built a fibre-optic submarine cable, the Glo-1. This two-way high-speed connector ran from the UK to Nigeria under oceans. And Glo became the first successful telecoms institution to achieve such a daring feat. In 2015, Glo absorbed Comium, the popular Ivorian telecoms company for $600 million. With over 45 million subscribers as at 2018, and a big footprint in Africa, Glo just continues to expand daily. It still competes with fellow tech giant, MTN for the number one spot in the Nigerian telecoms industry.
What Mike Adenuga Has to Say
Chief Adenuga has had a number of pitfalls in his day. But these have all been very helpful in making him the powerful businessman that he is now. Mike Adenuga is one of our more charitable rich, influential entrepreneurs. He is a well-known philanthropist in the diaspora and has donated millions to the cause through his foundation. One such donation was a relief fund of N500 million which he willingly gave to help the victims of the Bayelsa flood in 2012.
The Mike Adenuga Foundation made another notable donation this year, when it handed out N1.5 billion to the Nigerian government. This money was allocated specifically to help battle the coronavirus after its re-emergence in late 2019. This giving man has been honoured with many titles during his day. In 2007, he received the premier award at the African Telecoms Awards. He was later made Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger in 2012 and more recently in 2018, the president of France decorated him honourably.
Although, his well blossomed entrepreneurship has not been without its fair share of losses. Between the years 2009 and 2016, Chief Adenuga has been involved in several scandals including fraud and corporate debt. But he has always managed to get back on his feet and prevail.
Relatable Career Quotes by Mike Adenuga
Chief Adenuga is not only one of the richest, influential tech savants in our country. He is also one of the most understandable. This is seeing as he resumed from humble beginnings but has still accumulated so much wealth. So, in case you were wondering if such a busy entrepreneur would have a thing or two to say to the boys, here goes:
- “The harder you work, the luckier you get”
- “Business doesn’t work well on its own, you have to boost market from one state to the other”
There are quite a few more quotes where that came from. Check them out here .
I hope you have been able to learn a few things about wealth accumulation from the honourable Mike Adenuga. If there is anything that you should know by now, it is to see an opportunity where there is seemingly very little. Another of our rich, influential entrepreneurs would like to share a few things with you. You can read about him here.