FOCUS

•Why Globacom boss elicits deafening tribute of interminable cheers

Dr. Mike Ishola Agbolade Adenuga’s story offers great lesson for all because it defangs too many of the prejudices and stereotypes that unfairly holds ambitious youth back. He has dispelled the idea that being ambitious is never a passport to success. He has also punctured the notion that being a world-class billionaire is somehow at odds with excellent citizenship of humanity. Contrary to what you might have read about him, Adenuga, is no overnight sensation. In fact, he achieved success the old-fashioned way: he earned it. He worked hard and stayed humble. Little wonder he is one of Africa’s most decorated and respected billionaire magnates, writes Lanre Alfred

mike-adenuga2Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr., GCON, COG, is in many ways a special man. Unlike too many of his peers in the billionaires’ circle, the Globacom chairman contradicts the principles and norms of ego-tripping. He parades himself as a mushroom on which the dew of heaven drops from time to time. Adenuga never draws attention to how rich he is neither does he function on the oxygen of his blooming renown, and that is a wonderful trait in a billionaire.

The telecoms magnate understands that humility is not a peculiar habit of self-effacement but rather an insipid trait like having an inaudible voice, a selfless respect for reality and one of the most difficult and central of all the virtues. Hence his capacity to humble himself before his contemporaries and lesser men.

Not a few people are awestruck by Adenuga’s humility. The billionaire tycoon cuts a different portrait of power, privilege and affluence, every time he prostrates or bows before his fellow men. But even as he defers to others, the Globacom boss soars in the estimation of fellow men.

It is always interesting to see him bow before a monarch, president, or any other bastion of culture and authority. And recently, he was at his humble best as he bowed before President Mahama of Ghana as the latter invested him with Ghana’s highest and most coveted honour, the Companion of the Star of Ghana (COG) – which insignia includes an 18-carat gold and the Coat of Arms of Ghana.
President Mahama presented the award to him before the main ceremony at the AICC. The award was celebrated all of the world. The founder of a chain of businesses, including telecommunications giant, Globacom, possesses assets valued at over $8 billion in Ghana alone.

No doubt, everybody lives in awe of Adenuga. Even the Ghanaian president stared in amazement as the billionaire mogul humbly bowed before him as he received his award. The Globacom chairman’s gesture apparently touched the heart of the Head of State who has seen too many men consumed by their ego and obscene riches in his lifetime.

mike-adenuga3Adenuga embodies a revolt against tiresome ego and false modesty. He also understands that false modesty is a learned affectation. It’s just like decals. As soon as the world shakes the falsely modest person against the wall, that appropriated reserve will drop off them. But humility comes from inside out. It says someone was here before me. I am hardly the best of my generation.
The philosophers tell us that money corrupts and billions of money corrupts absolutely. Adenuga lives as if his intimidating billions doesn’t get to him. He hasn’t tried to become anybody else’s idea of a billionaire. He has remained himself, with earnest grace, tenderness and sense of humour. Adenuga knows how to be a public creature without being separate from his values and self-respect.

His power lies largely in his self-awareness and wit.
Like all great men, he has a joke ready to deflect any jeer. And his tacit determination to be the bastion of hope, entrepreneurial success and inspiration for a generation invites and thwarts many a poisoned arrow – from his underperforming rivals. Adenuga’s true appeal, though, lies in his meekness and transparency. He is unflinchingly, unnervingly honest. He exposes, beneath all that bare skin, a multitude of traits as vivid and raw a portrait as we have seen and for this, the world ravenously embrace him. Adenuga’s unique lack of vanity inspires a lot of his contemporaries and underlings to consider that they may also be able to conduct themselves humbly and unpretentiously. This is not only impressive, it’s important.

These marvelous traits accompany him to his work. Thus Adenuga, like the proverbial bee, silently does his work in the hive, knowing that without humility all will be lost. But nothing is lost in the hive of the telecoms magnate. Year after year, the world plays host to his accomplishments, as it does to the cold draft that accompanies the drizzle in the harvest season.
It is not easy being humble and famous in Nigeria, particularly when you are billionaire magnate like Mike Adenuga. Every hour requires nimble leaps across the terrains and booby-traps of renown and verdant green of affluence.

Adenuga however, eases through the processes, like a practiced huntsman going for the kill, often with gratifying upshots. A chief executive, particularly one dealing with the highest of pressures, Adenuga relies on many things – Perspective and context. Strategic counsel. Courage of conviction. But perhaps chief among them is loyalty. And in a word, that describes the Globacom head honcho.

Adenuga is the best thing going for corporate Nigeria – in the telecoms sector to be precise. Call him what you want, but recognize him for what he is: a futuristic magnate cum problem solver. And an effective one at that. He’s soft-spoken, but driven by a fierce determination to bring progress to his beloved Nigeria and the African continent. It is no doubt a remarkable first for any individual to hold the two countries’ highest national honours. A strong and dedicated leader, he brings clarity of thought and purpose to his exploits and his subordinates’ work. He is also a good listener who comes to the table not with some preset notion of distrust but rather an open mind; he asks tough questions and tries to find solutions. Above all else, however, and beyond all doubt, Adenuga is loyal. He has been tireless in his outreach across the business terrain and philanthropic community.

In today’s climate, where people spend capital avoiding blame instead of finding common ground, the qualities he brings to industry are rare. That only makes loyalty like his more valuable.
Frequently likened to a champ and sometimes, a business genius, Adenuga naturally depicts the image of a modern day titan of industry. Having recorded a series of remarkable firsts in the highly competitive world of local and international commerce, there are no more worlds for Adenuga to conquer.

By his unusual exploits, Adenuga has charted a radical path to one of the world’s largest and most influential business organisations: Globacom. His leadership is authentic, and his focus on equality is nothing short of revolutionary, a clarion call for the world of philanthropy and an inspiration to fellow billionaires working for a more just and affectionate world.