By Michael Effiong
When the history book of Nigeria’s business elites is written, there is no shadow of doubt that many chapters will be reserved for Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jr.
The businness genuis who is simply called The Guru and who signs his name as MA Jnr clocks 65 today and The Boss is raising a a toast to this giant, this remarkable spirit of Africa that has dared to thread were others dread and has impacted the African continent with his entrepreneurial spirit.
Before Globacom, Adenuga whom many also call The Chairman was one of Nigeria’s silent billionaires, he was known but never seen. His Consolidated Oil was achieving remarkable feats in the oil and gas industry without any fanfare.
Then came Glo- and he became one of the most recognisable Nigerians alive. The reason was because Globacom, the first and only telecommunications brand wholly owned by a Nigerian, became a mega success in a very short space of time.
Glo introduced innovative products and delivered first-rate service and before long, Adenuga had taken this winning formula to other African Countries-Republic of Benin, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.
It also became the first indigenous company to lay an international submarine cable, Glo 1, which has gigantic capacity to Africa directly to Europe and America. The optic fibre cable provides excess bandwidth to all the cities connected to the cable, and has lead to a much faster and robust connectivity for voice, data and video.
Though Forbes will rate him as Nigeria’s second richest Man, many who should know have confirmed that Adenuga is the unchallenged richest man in Nigeria and Africa.
Adenuga has over the years learnt to mold his companies into major, if not dominant, players. In the oil and gas sector, Conoil Plc is one of the largest and most profitable oil marketing companies in Nigeria. Conoil Producing, the downstream arm of the conglomerate, made history by becoming the first Nigerian company to strike oil and produce it in commercial quantity in 1991. In banking, Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) was one of the few banks that effortlessly met the N25 billion 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 Adenuga, and later merged with Sterling Bank.
With his fortunes in oil and gas, real estate and the cash cow of telecommunications, it is doubtful if any Nigerian has his raw cash.It is difficult to access his earning because most of his wealth are not listed and held privately, it is not for nothing that The bullish bull has been on the Billionaires List for decades.
The taciturn man of vision, who has been described as an angel of mercy for his philanthropy and immense propensity to give ceaselessly, will certainly not be throwing a huge party today, but in the homes of many who have felt him, there will be abundant prayers and celebration.
Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr ‘s contribution to the business world has not only been recognised locally but he has also attained international acclaim.
In Nigeria, he holds the highest civilian honiour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) and in Ghana, he was awarded the highest civilan honour of Companion of the Star of Ghana (CSG).
According to President John Mahama who conferred the indefatigable businessman with the honour at a state ceremony ” You have touched many lives in Ghana.You have provided employment for our teeming youths, artists, footballers and many more.I am particularly proud of you.This award is our way of a saying a simply thank you”
The entrepreneur extraordinaire was also honoured with the award of Chavalier de la Legion d Honnuer, the highest National honour of France.
According to Bode Opeseitan who worked closely with The Chairman of Chairmen for many years, he is a remarkable boss.
Opeseitan in a tribute wrote ” He is the quintessential leader with an unimaginable capacity to ride above the storm of the past and reset his relationships with people when he felt the need to do so.
“Severally, he has recalled or reabsorbed former members of staff who left in the most dramatic circumstances. Some came back voluntarily while he himself reached out to others. For him, it is not about the sentiment but the value the individual has to offer.
Yet, there were exceptional instances when he reabsorbed people mainly because he pitied their prevailing circumstances. He epitomizes the deep Yoruba axiom that, “ti a o ba gbagbe oro ana, a o ni ri eni ba sere”, meaning that one needs to banish past disputes into distant memories in order to continually have people to play (or work) with.”
It is in order therefore to raise a toast to the remarkable business guru, Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr at 65