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A Toast to Globacom Chairman, Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr



By Michael Effiong


It is just like yesterday when Nigerians awoke to the birth Globacom, the only indigenous telecommunications company and national carrier-and 19 years after, it has become one of the most recognisable brands not only in Nigeria but on the continent of Africa and beyond.

The monumental success of Globacom can be attributed to the vision of the company’s chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr, GCON. Fondly called the Great Guru or most recently, the “Spirit Of Africa” as christened by our Publisher, Dele Momodu, Adenuga’s persona as a hard-working risk taker, towering symbol of enterprise, undisputed game changer and  someone with an unquenchable quest for excellence are all encapsulated in Globacom.

Globacom, like its Chairman entered the market in a bullish and bold way. The per second billing that the foreign-owned operators had said was impossible was implemented on day one. And with that audacious step, Globacom democratized the telecommunications industry and has catapulted him to the position of Nigeria’s richest billionaire by far.

Though Forbes Rich List will tell you other wise, Adenuga with his investments in oil & gas, telecommunications, financial services, construction real estate and more has no rival. But he likes it the way it is at the moment because he will never give out his financial data or details. He likes to keep us all guessing, while he is smiling to the bank every second!

But who really is Mike Adenuga? Adenuga is one of the very few humans in the world that is in a world of his own. He is comparable to no one-an enigmatic personality who is a typical Taurean: Tough as nails, audacious, patient and very reliable.

It is because of his zodiac sign that some call him The Bull. He has the insignia of the bull almost everywhere around him. Indeed, a bull is part of his personal crest. This is easily recognisable on all personal correspondences and envelopes. When you arrive Globacom’s Corporate Headquarters in Nigeria aptly named: Mike Adenuga Towers, you are welcome by an intimidating bronze bull sculpture, just like the famous charging bull that stands proudly on the famous Wall Street in New York. That is not all, the Headquarters of one his companies, Conoil in Marina, Lagos is called The Bull Plaza and golden bull sculptures are used to accentuate his new home in Banana Island, Ikoyi in Lagos.

His bullish nature is not only by pictures or sculptures, he breathes it, lives it and exhibits it in real life. Just like an ill prepared matador gets ripped, Adenuga, The Bull, usually crushes those who underestimate him or take him for granted.

He is a stickler for perfection who has zero tolerance for sloppiness or indolence, that is why the minutest of details in his operations interest him. He is not one of those arm-chair businessmen, he is hands-on and that always strives for nothing but the best, and his never-give-up attitude is exemplary.

Perhaps a good indication of his penchant for turning one’s travail to triumph was the birth of Globacom. With Globacom, he showed that failure is not final but an avenue to show your inner strength and strong will. For him, impossible is non existent.

The American owner of Orlando Magic basket ball team said ” The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants in life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe it is possible”

This point was also reaffirmed by Orison Swett Marden, Author and Founder of Success Magazine, who said “Great men have found no royal road to their triumph. It is always the old route by way of industry and perseverance”.

 His initial setback in the telecoms industry was enough to break any ordinary businessman, but not Adenuga. In 2001, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) announced that the nation was ready to auction Global System Mobil (GSM) licences and called for bids.

At the end of the process, four companies, including Adenuga’s Communications Investment Limited (CIL) were declared winners. Everyone was to make a mandatory payment of $20million (Twenty million dollars) as commitment and then pay $265million as licence fee in 14 days.

While Adenuga was in the process of making payment, his technical team discovered a problem. They found that his allocated frequency was in dispute.  He was now in dilemma, should he pay such a huge amount on a venture that is a subject of litigation or withdraw? The lion-hearted Adenuga decided to effect payment with a condition as any smart businessman would do to protect himself. To his chagrin, government announced that CIL failed to meet the payment deadline and the licence was revoked.

Mike Jituboh, Globacom’s Executive Director, Special Duties who was part of the CIL team during the 3-day auction recalled the painful incident in an interview with Technology Times of Nigeria.

According to him “A day after winning one of the three GSM licences, a CIL team led by Adenuga  (an evidence of his penchant for being hands-on and in the thick of action) headed for Paris for negotiations with BNP Paribas. After several days of protracted negotiations, agreements were reached on terms and conditions for a loan facility for $265million for paying the balance for the GSM licence. The deadline for payment was 5pm of February 9th, on that fateful day, all was set for a transfer by SWIFT instruction then word came in from our colleagues in Lagos that the frequecncy allocated to CIL was the same as the one hitherto allocated to Motophone, owned by the Chagoury’s. The later was in court to challenge the frequency’s withdrawal.

“With its assigned frequency under litigation and the deadline of payment almost elapsing, we had to decide whether or not to pay the huge sum of $265million. With no time left to resolve this knotty issue with the government, we decided to make payment with the condition that the money should be released after the government gives CIL indemnity to cover the possibility of Motophone’s winning its suit and retaining the litigious frequency”

“Consequently, payment of $265million was made by BNP Paribas before the deadline directly to the JP Morgan, New York designated account along with the aforementioned condition.

“As most Nigerians will recall the government rejected the condition and cancelled the CIL licence. The government refused all entreaties and the funds were eventually returned to BNP Paribas” This first hand account puts paid to the rumours that made the rounds at the time that CIL licence was cancelled because Adenuga did not have the funds to pay.

His elder brother, Otunba Ademola Adenuga had this to say about that setback ” Mike lost $20million but he never lost hope. He never gave up hope, that is one thing about my brother, he is an eternal optimist. Something kept propelling him not to give up on the matter”

And like the dogged fighter that he is, Adenuga took that upper firmly on the chin, brushed it aside and waited for another opportunity. And that opportunity soon came in August 2002.

The government decided to embark on another auction of licences, and interestingly, this was a bigger pie as it was about to sell the Second National Operator (SNO). The licence entitles the winner to operate a GSM, fixed wireless and more. The price was even lower $200million. Omnitel Nigeria Limited, AFZI (Telecommunications ) Limited and CIL now rechristened Globacom met the deadline-and it was only Globacom after paying the initial $20 that was able to pay the remaining $180 million and that was how Globacom was born.

Through Globacom, Adenuga is propagating his philosophies of life to the African continent. Glo has taught us to “Glo with Prride”, It has encouraged us to “Rule The World”, it has helped us to believe that opportunities for success on “Are Unlimited” and has reinforced the spirit of dedication by urging us all to start “Driving To Future” success.

Apart from spreading these messages of hope, it is an indigenous brand that elicits pride in all Africans for its top notch service and consistent innovation. Its contribution to sports, entertainmet and culture has been massive. Glo is it! Little wonder that Adenuga so believes in his brand that he sometimes personally voices commercials!

Despite his humongous success, some people still habour the long-worn story that he is fronting for some people. Those who are close to the Chairman laugh derisively at these set of people.

Those close to him have since confirmed that Adenuga is not a fan of partnership. The business guru is a one man riot squad who likes to be the main man and not part of an orchestra because he has his own set of rules.

All the business ventures he has been involved in, he reports to no one except God Almighty.

Yes, he loves God. He strongly believes in the God factor in the affairs of men and that is why as true Catholic, he goes almost everywhere with his chaplet, sometimes he is silent in prayers. He also has his own chapel at his expansive home.

He knows full well though that prayer alone is not the key and that is reason he is a workaholic. He has very little interests outside his business.

He is the sort of billionaire who loves his work. Like Rupert Murdoch, another hard work-loving fanatic said, Adenuga also believes that “Working is not a means to an end, it’s the end”. He has his own terms and time of doing things.

And that is why he chooses those around him carefully, he is someone who cherishes loyalty to the max and pays loyal workers handsomely. The work can be back-breaking, including putting in you all at odd hours but the reward for working close or for the guru is usually handsome.

Talking of reward, he is one of Nigeria’s most open-hearted and silent philanthropists. He is extremely generous and gives without much fanfare. His philanthropy budget is indescribable and touches so many lives.  He never forgets people who have been good to him. His official donations are now channeled through the Mike Adenuga Foundation.


And maybe because of this innate propensity to give, he steers clear of many people, he is not one of those we see at every social event. He is very private and strict about his security which we gathered was due to an incident many years back. Even at his company’s functions, it is no longer news that Adenuga will be absent. He has his own set of rules.

This not mean he does not create time to relax, he usually catches his fun with inner circle of family and friends. There they banter and share fund moments. As a connoisseur of fine wine and exotic spirits, they savour these beverages, munch on hors d’oeuvre and gourmet meals. It at occasions  like these that his joie de vivre becomes obvious.

To his children though, he is their dear doting dad. He, like his late sweet mother, Chief (Mrs) Oyindamola Adenuga, who was his business mentor, is firm but fair.

He always tries to show them the right path and now he has within the family, a chip of the old block, in his daughter, Mrs Bella Disu, who is is breaking barriers in the business world not only as Executive Vice Chairman of Globacom but sits atop the board of top companies including as non Executive Director at Construction giants, Julius Berger.

Mrs Disu once told Ovation in an exclusive interview that her father is very caring but firm. According to her when they were younger he encouraged them to play the piano, the family used to have carols at home during Christmas. “It used to be fun and the best piano player got good gifts” she reminisced.

Then she added “He has always said that he would never stand in our way if we are follwing the right path. He dotes on us so much more that other regular fathers would

Without any shadow of doubt, through Globacom, he has firmly planted his feet on the sands of time, and the world is proud of this prodigious son of Africa. We are all proud of his accomplishments and that is why as Globacom clocks 19, we raise a toast to the Chairman of Chairmen, Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr, GCON.

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Mambilla, Obasanjo & the Scapegoat Mentality




By Dr Olu Agunloye


In August 2022, Mr Simon Kolawole first released his widely circulated contract-statement: “Who will Love this Country?” as front page of the ThisDay Newspapers of 21 August 2022 and again in August 2023, acting on the instructions of a former Minister of Power. The contract-statement is misleading, false, and malicious. It is calculated to divert attention from the wrongdoings of some former Power Ministers and other Government officials in respect the Mambilla Power Project. In 2022, I ignored the write-up but now that the former President has reacted to the same article that he appeared not to have seen in 2022, I will give a measured response.

The Cable News story credited to Pa Obasanjo about the Mambilla Power Project gave me much concern not because they were incorrect, but because they were attributed to our Baba Agbalagba, broadly revered in Yorubaland and a former President of Nigeria. For me, as a thoroughbred Omoluabi of Yorubaland, I can only politely say with all due respect: Baba, ko ri be, sa. (meaning, Baba, that is not correct, sir). That’s so much response to our revered Baba Agbalagba.

But to Pa Obasanjo as the former president, I will give fuller response here, albeit politely and in a measured dose. I served under this great former President for four years (1999 – 2003) first, as Special Assistant to the Minister of Power and Steel, then to the Minister of Justice and Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (Uncle Bola Ige) and later, as Honourable Minister of Defence (Navy), then Honourable Minister of Power and Steel. I also worked closely under him from 2003 to 2007 as the Head of the National eGovernment Strategies, mainstreaming e-enabled techniques, and applications to tiers of Government at the Federal and State levels.

Let me start by reacting to Pa Obasanjo as former President who told the story to The Cable News of how a shrewd Animal Farm Manager General (AFMG) set an elaborate system in the farm under his watch to ensure that only rats, mice, and small rodents could wander past the robust farm fence, but rabbits, antelopes, and other bigger animals needed the AFMG to open special gates for them to go out. The story explained how the AFMG ran the farm with iron hands for eight years that all and sundry applauded him. Then, after twenty years, the AFMG realised that six big elephants had, without his knowing, passed through the rodent holes that he installed to block bigger animals. Pa Obasanjo also narrated how the AFMG, now in his retirement, became furious and desperately wished he had found out this negligence during his stewardship so that he could sack the Farm Assistant who let elephants escape through the rodent holes. I felt disappointed and ashamed to find that the Animal Farm Manager General was, indeed, our most revered Baba Agbalagba, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President himself. I still wonder if The Cable News reported him correctly.

In fact, I wish to say with all humility and respect that all the things credited to the former President in the extensive interview in The Cable News are not correct. Take for instance, The Cable News quoted Pa Obasanjo as saying: “…When I was in office, Leno Adesanya, the promoter of Sunrise Power, ran away from Nigeria. I would have jailed him.” This is far from being correct because Mr. Leno Adesanya was virtually always in the Aso Rock Villa during Chief Obasanjo’s presidency. As a matter of fact, the same president and Mr. Adesanya sat together on the high table in Aso Rock as Baba Oko and Baba Iyawo respectively at the wedding of the president’s son and Mr. Adesanya’s niece in 2002.

Let me briefly put the records straight on the Mambilla Power Project.
1. When the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, sent an emissary, in person of his close young associate who is a Labour Party (LP) Chieftain to me on 26 August 2023 to discuss the Mambilla Power Project, I knew the former president was getting pretty anxious. My last encounter with the former President was in late last year, 2022 and early this year (2023) when the former President was frantically persuading leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), of which I am the National Secretary, to team up with and support the then Presidential Candidate Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP). We declined and turned down the entreaties of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on behalf of the Labour Party, LP.
2. Seven days later, on the 3 September 2023, The Cable News reported an extensive interview,, granted by the former President titled: “I knew Buhari didn’t understand economics but didn’t know he was so reckless.” In this interview, the former president made misleading and incorrect statements on the Mambilla Power Project.
3. I have submitted a 53 paragraph, 14-page Statement backed with 15 Attachments in 82-page document as an affidavit to the courts in Nigeria and France in respect of the Mambilla Power Project to clear my name. In deference to Pa Obasanjo and as a mark of great respect to the former President, I have sent a copy of these documents through my lawyers to him to refreshen his memory.
4. The former president was not correct when he referred to the award to Sunrise simply as a $6 billion contract (that is, N800 billion in 2003) under his watch. In truth, it was a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract in which the FGN did not need to pay any amount to the contractor, Messrs Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (Sunrise). As a matter of fact, Sunrise has not been paid a single Naira or Dollar by the FGN from 2000 till date (14/9/23). Sunrise was to source for funds and execute the project with own funds. The investment of Sunrise to construct the Mambilla hydroelectric project up to completion stage to deliver electricity was adjudged at a maximum of $6 billion by four Ministers of Power and the former president (Chief Obasanjo) before I became Minister of Power. Sunrise was to recoup his investment from the sale of the generated electricity over a 30- to 40-year period at pre-determined tariffs, also agreed with FGN before May 2003.
5. I followed due process and got all necessary approvals for the BOT contract award to Sunrise on 22 May 2003 and there are records to show that the former President Obasanjo propelled the processes from the beginning in 2000 to the end in May 2003. In fact, Sunrise started Mambilla project three years before I became Minister of Power and had arranged meetings with Chinese Companies and Chinese President in China in which three Power Ministers and the then President Obasanjo attended between 2000 and 2002 before I was appointed Minister of Power. On the very day (28 Nov 2002), that I resumed office as Minister of Power, Pa Obasanjo himself, in a formal letter, handed me his presidential approval on the Sunrise proposal with an instruction that Sunrise be invited “for the final negotiations for the execution of the Mambilla Power Project.”

The following played out after I had ceased to be a minister from 29 May 2003. It turned out that (a) Between 2003 to 2007, President Obasanjo was attempting to invalidate the Sunrise May 2003 BOT contract on Mambilla Project; and (b) Between 2007 to 2015, the Yar’Adua and Jonathan presidencies recognised the Mambilla Project as a BOT contract validly awarded in May 2003, cancelled the component of it awarded as a procurement contract by President Obasanjo on the 28 May 2007 at $1.46 billion, and signed a fresh agreement on the Mambilla Hydropower Project in 2012 with Sunrise and (c) Between 2015 to 2023, the then President Buhari cancelled and re-awarded the Mambilla Power Project, and was making and breaching own Agreements with Sunrise. In all of these, spanning 20 (twenty) years, none of the Presidents (Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Malam Musa Yar’Adua, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan or Gen. Muhammadu Buhari) asked me or questioned me about issuing any unauthorised Mambilla contract. This is because all the Nigerian Presidents, including Chief Obasanjo, were aware that I did nothing wrong.

However, at a time after May 2003, the then President Obasanjo appeared to have changed his mind on the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model in which the private investor would provide own funds, a path that President Obasanjo and six Ministers of Power, three Ministers of Finance, two Ministers of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, and the Debt Management Office had pursued for four years. The former President then chose to embark on a new pathway in which Nigeria would execute the Mambilla Power Project by paying from Government own funds.

The former President decided, therefore, to break the Mambilla Hydropower Project into smaller components, like civil engineering works, hydraulic works, structural works etc. with the intention to award them as separate multiple contracts as Government procurements, on cash and carry basis, for which Nigerian Government would pay mobilisation fees and make other payments in stages to contractors. When one of the contractors, which got a component of the Mambilla project awarded by President Obasanjo as $1.46 billion procurement contract, presented its request for a $400 million mobilisation fees, President Yar’Adua scrutinised the contract and cancelled it in 2008 because of proven corruption on the part of officials who served under President Obasanjo between 2003 to 2007.

Dr. Agunloye awarded the Mambilla Power Project as a BOT at no cost to FGN, while the former President Obasanjo started to re-award the project as multiple procurement contracts at humongous costs to FGN and with associated corrupt practices which were uncovered by succeeding Presidents.

I awarded Mambilla Power Project as BOT at no cost to Nigeria. Former President Obasanjo awarded one component part of the same Mambilla project for $1.46 billion as procurement contract, former President Jonathan signed a 2012 General Project Execution Agreement and former President Buhari and his then Minister of Power, Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola awarded another component of the Mambilla Project at a whopping $5.8 billion payable by FGN in cash. The FGN awarded, re-awarded and cancelled contracts and Agreements at will and now must face the consequences at International Arbitration Courts. The result is that the Mambilla Hydropower Project has been stalled for yet another twenty years, and the former President (Chief Olusegun Obasanjo) and others are feeling greatly uneasy about the consequences. This is why the Simon Kolawole’s question, “Who will Love the Country?” should have been addressed to his (Kolawole’s) sponsors, not me.

Currently, some former and serving FGN officials are desperately attempting to “criminalise” the Mambilla Power Project by trying to make me the scapegoat with the sole aim to avoid consequent legal contractual obligations of the Government arising from breaches of agreements with Sunrise. This “criminalisation strategy” was inadvertently exposed by Mr Simon Kolawole. The Government officials are using State Apparatus to intimidate, harass and threaten me. The EFCC invited me on 16 May 2023, 20 (twenty) years after I had ceased to be Minister of Power and grilled me for over eight hours. The Investigating Officer confronted me with “issuing a contract of $6 billion to Sunrise without authority”. That was the very first time ever that anyone had questioned me about the Mambilla Power Project, and it was because of the criminalisation conspiracy by those who actually have committed against Nigeria. The EFCC threatened that they were in possession of my Bank Statements for the last 25 (twenty-five) years. I explained my innocence and made formal statements to the EFCC. I had also sent more documents and materials to the Commission and the court after. My lawyers have sued EFCC to stop harassing me and have challenged EFCC to make public my bank accounts and charged the commission to go to court if they have any case against me.

We see that as the FGN faces the resultant consequences of breaching agreements and cancelling contracts with impunity, some former and serving Government officials, perhaps including former President Obasanjo, now want to use me as a scapegoat-victim to cover up their inappropriate practices and to evade looming fines and damages at international arbitrations.

Dr. Olu Agunloye is a Former Minster of Power and Steel

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Tinubu Not First African Leader to Ring NASDAQ Closing Bell, Presidency Apologises




The Federal Government apologised on Friday for saying that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the first African President to ring the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotation System (NASDAQ) closing bell.

Tinubu’s spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, tendered an official apology on behalf of the presidency in a statement where he said the error was regretted.

President Tinubu rang the closing bell of NASDAQ on Wednesday alongside business leaders, including the Chairman of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu.

“We inadvertently referred to President Bola Tinubu as the first African leader to ring the bell at NASDAQ on Wednesday in New York, based on the information provided by a third-party event organiser,” Ngelale said.

“We have since found out that this information was/is incorrect, as a former African leader has indeed had the privilege. This error is sincerely regretted.”

It has been revealed that a former African leader had previously rung the bell at NASDAQ, debunking the earlier claim of Tinubu’s bell-ringing, which was perceived to be a historic achievement.

They argued that in 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, while Femi Otedola’s daughter, DJ Cuppy, rang the NYSE bell in 2019.

Contrary to the claim, the former President of Tanzania, Kikwete, First Ladies and Health Ministers rang the closing bell of NASDAQ in 2011, as announced by NASDAQ in a notification to the public dated 2011 with the title, “President Kikwete of Tanzania, First Ladies and Health Ministers, and Global Health Leaders to Ring The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell.’

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Shaibu Eats Humble Pie, Apologises to Obaseki, Says ‘I Missed My Gov’




Call it the eating of a humble pie, and you may not be wring as the embattled Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, apologised to Governor Godwin Obaseki amid a face-off between them.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday in Benin City, Mr Shaibu appealed to Governor Obaseki to forgive his “mistakes” for them to continue to work together, Channels TV reported.

“I use this medium to appeal to Mr Governor, if there is anything that I don’t know that I have done, please forgive me so that we can develop our state together,” he said.

“We have just one year to go. We have been the envy of the entire country. So, Mr Governor, if there is anything you feel that I have done, please I am sorry. I need us to work together to finish well and strong,” the deputy governor added.

When asked if he had resumed at his new office, Mr Shaibu said, “We have resumed but there is still a lot of work to be done there.

“There is no problem about it. The governor has asked us to go there. Like I have always tried to prove, I am a loyal servant and nothing has changed.

“I took a personal vow to support my governor and you can see my Catholic people are here. When I took a vow with God, nothing can change it and I wish that the relationship that we had will come back in the next few days and weeks.”

Mr Shaibu also said he has been missing the governor since their rift began, and expressed hope that God will “touch the governor’s heart” to forgive him.

“I mean well. If there is any mistake I have made as a human, it is not out of wickedness because I know I’m not wicked. I have a very clean heart.”

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