by SANNI ADEBAYO
The great Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde said “success is science, if you have the conditions, you get the results. No doubt, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr, the business mogul mastered the conditions earlier in life and held steadfastly on to it, getting results all through.
Adenuga’s trajectory right from his twenties has been a success story, starting from when he was an importer, to contractor and later an entrepreneur par excellence. By this time next week, Dr. Michael Ishola Adenuga, GCON will be 70 years old. 70 years of great accomplishments and outstanding successes. 70 hearty cheers to a reticent billionaire.
From the age of 26 when he made his first million running family business, Dr Mike Adenuga aka Guru made his first million at the age of 26 when many of his peers were finding their depth and since then it has been an achievement –filled journey all the way. From twenties to his thirties, he gradually stabilised the family business and transitioned quietly to the league of the nation’s top entrepreneurs
He founded the Equatorial Trust Bank and Devcom Merchant Bank before the age of 40. His weapon is his 100 percent commitment and focus which has seen him nurturing all his businesses cutting across all sectors of the economy to utmost success.
His journey started from Ibadan Grammar School, in Oyo State, Nigeria, from where he moved to Northwestern State University, Oklahoma, in the United States where he obtained first degree, followed by a Master’s degree in Business Administration at Pace University, New York. It was after his American experience that he came back home and his entrepreneurial journey commenced.
Having successfully developed the family business in his twenties, he conquered the banking sector in his thirties and by early forties he had successfully made a unique incursion into the nation’s oil industry with Conoil. At 50, the Guru founded Globacom, with people, power, possibilities as its strap line before Glo with pride later replaced it. He thus became the only indigenous investor to secure the GSM licence powerfully in the nation’s telecommunication industry.
The Olusegun Obasanjo’ s Government in 2001 licensed three GSM network operators, including MTN, Airtel which later became Econet /Vmobile/Celtel/Zain/and presently Airtel and also MTel. It was in 2002 that Glo Mobile, was licensed as the fourth operator and the country’s second National Carrier. Etisalat, a Mubadala Development Company became the country’s fifth while in 2007 when the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) introduced the unified licensing regime.
In 2001, Dr Adenuga ‘s Communications Investments Limited (CIL) also bided for a licence but was not successful. The company lost $20m. It later got the bigger national carrier package, Globacom, the only indigenous GSM Company operating in the country, with an outstanding record of achievements over the years.
Globacom rolled out services in August, 2003 with a mission to change the paradigm through innovative services in the country. It has demonstrated its commitment to creating value with its products and services, and empowerment of millions of Nigerians in the last 20 years
Starting with per second which hitherto was said to be impossible, Glo under the leadership and guidance of Dr Adenuga entered the market with delightful products and services, alongside the elusive per second billing package, thus forcing other networks to follow suit to the delight of millions of Nigerians. The other networks which had been operating for two years before Glo were completely outwitted with Glo making what they called impossible a possibility.
Glo will be 20 by August this year and it has been a journey filled with great accomplishments. It has been two decades of outstanding firsts in the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry. It has remained the innovative network, in spite of rolling out its services two years after other networks have started operations. It recorded first in many areas including championing per second billing, first to implement 2.5 G network in Nigeria, first to implement 3g Network in Nigeria, first to offer 4 G LTE, first to offer Blackberry solutions in Nigeria and first to launch of submarine cable (GLO 1) which provides efficient and fast broadband internet services.
Glo remains a leader in the nation’s telecommunications industry. Presently it has over fifty million subscribers cutting across multinational corporations, decision makers in the public and private sector, students, artisans and those in rural communities connected to the network and enjoying access to high quality products and affordable telecom services,
Through Adenuga, a man that cannot stop giving out, Glo has remained a socially responsible entity. It has massively supported the Nigeria movie industry (Nollywood) and in Ghana (Ghollywood) with notable actors and actresses chosen as Glo Ambassadors. This move and many others had empowered African arts and culture. The sponsorship of several cultural festivals in its areas of operation is another aspect of its Corporate Social Responsibilities which has resonated with the people. In addition to these are countless donations and support by Dr. Adenuga in different parts of the country, thus empowering Nigerians in different areas of human endeavour.
Globacom’s support has been outstanding. In Nigeria and Ghana, the company sponsored the national teams for many years as well as the League. The Supporters’ Clubs in both countries are also not left out. It is also remarkable that Glo sponsored the annual CAF Awards, which celebrates the best footballers and administrators in Africa, (male and female) for a decade. A period in which the profile of the award changed from a mere event to that of a major global sporting gala, attracting top personalities from different parts of the world.
It is also on record that ten years ago, THE GURU rewarded the Super Eagles who won the African Cup of Nations in South Africa with a whopping $1million and many more.
It was generally estimated that Adenuga spent over 25 billion to date to support sports in Nigeria since 2002.
Attesting to Dr. Adenuga’s massive contributions to the development of sports in Nigeria, former Sports Minister, late Bala Ka’oje said, “National Telecommunications Company, Globacom’s Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga spent over N3 billion to sponsor the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the then Nigeria Premier League”. It is generally estimated that he has contributed close to N30 billion to support the nation’s sports.
His other notable contributions include Golf tournaments known as Glo Golf Tour West Africa which offered millions of naira to winners. There were also different editions of the Glo Marathon with outstanding prizes for winners. Dr. Adenuga also established the Glo Soccer Academy which trained young footballers to kick-start their career in professional football. The finalists of the academy were trained in Dubai Soccer Academy and Manchester United Academy respectively.
Ten years ago, Globacom started the sponsorship of English Premier League live matches on Supersport, thus giving footballers in Nigeria and other parts of Africa the opportunity to watch live football matches and also follow their football clubs all through the season. The sponsorship of the matches is still running in 2023. A decade of live transmission of EPL.
Also in 2022, the Guru pulled another fast one when he signed a business contract in Paris between Globacom, and Eutelsat, the French Satellite conglomerate. Many communities across the country without access to internet links will benefit immensely from VSAT/Satellite-based internet service and Satellite-based community Wifi internet service, courtesy of Globacom. Another masterstroke from philanthropist par excellence.
On occasion of your 70th Birthday I wish you many more years ahead , in good health and filled with abundant blessings of God and like President Buhari said last year on your 69th Birthday, “I commend Chief Michael Adenuga’s nationalistic and patriotic position of always putting Nigeria first in his investment options, expanding opportunities for employment and business in banking, telecoms, oil and more recently focusing on empowering younger generation in entrepreneurship”., may God continue to enlarge your coast.
Happy Platinum Birthday to the cheerful giver and the nation’s number 1 philanthropist.