Bella ADENUGA-Disu Powering Ambition

Bella Adenuga-Disu could be enchantingly sweet. When she talks, her voice wafts like rose-fragrance waltzing in the wind. In such a blissful moment, the beautiful daughter of multibillionaire, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jnr., metamorphoses into a silhouette of delightful aplomb, captivating everyone with her charm, like an old minstrel delightfully pawing at her mandolin. But Bella is no minstrel nor does she feverishly paw at the strings of any mandolin; all she has is her charm and smile. If genius were genetic, then, it is no surprise that Bella has stepped fully into her father’s highflying entrepreneurial shoes, writes Lanre Alfred 

Bella Disu-Adenuga is ravishing in soul and physique. Thus it becomes really hard not to love her. She is the kind of daughter every father prays for. Book smart and business savvy. A cursory look at Bella shows why genius is the gene of the Adenuga clan. It seeps from one generation to the other, like the expensive but subtle fragrance worn by Kings and coveted by minions living close to royalty.

Being the daughter of a billionaire is enough fame already. When you are now the daughter of one of the richest black men in the world, the entire black race should literally worship the grounds that you tread. Men should bow and women should genuflect when you as much as look in their direction. If you were ostentatious, unruly and wild a la Paris Hilton, the world would wave it off as a non-issue; it comes with the terrain, they would say just to cover up for your excesses. But Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr’s daughters are not moulded like other billionaire’s kids. They are decent, somewhat Spartan in candour yet respectful.

These enviable traits, among others, manifest in their poise, gestures and spoken words. Consider Bella’s composure at Glo’s high-octane Classy ‘Twenty and Unlimited’ celebration recently. In her welcome address, the Executive Vice Chairman of Glo hailed the successes that have trailed the brand in the last 20 years, and appreciated Nigerians for their support towards what Glo has become, and still to become.

“We promised Nigerians the best in telecommunications, and we have done just that. At 20, we have a lot to be proud of. Our slogan, ‘Glo with pride’ definitely encapsulates our journey,” she said.

Bella, as she is fondly called, knows how to hold her ground, tame business rivals and avoid distractions capable of impeding the smooth roll of her exploits in every field of endeavour. Even as a billionaire’s daughter, Bella keeps a low-profile and avoids any form of scandal that can jeopardise her name and that of her family. She is one young lady who has matured more than her age.

Bella is unusual. She exudes the savvy of the ancients, the type of spunk that spurred medieval Amazons to dare and surpass exploits that were the exclusive preserve of men.  She glows from the inside out; every brilliant shade of her persona, from her enthralling felinity to her assertiveness, conveys a sphinx-like allure. The woman is a fire starter no doubt; a stunning equivalent of a contemporary superwoman. posh and intelligent. A renowned icon of female power on the business realm, Bella is a star, a pioneer and workhorse with monumental focus.

These towering traits have led in no small measure to her speedy rise up the entrepreneurial ladder of commerce and acclaim. Her meteoric rise, according to a lot of her friends and business associates, is actually worthy of her exertions and diligence in her patient, steady march along the path of ambition and entrepreneurship.

She was a precocious 14-year-old when she was admitted into the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has been at Globacom since 2004. Despite her father’s wealth and high profile job, she has a good head on her shoulders, shuns silver-spoon affectations, and even before her marriage in 2010, never dabbled in the debauchery prevalent among her peers. Bella, indeed, has put in the work and has earned everybody’s respect and love for her work ethic and effortless people-skills.

Indeed, she has evolved from a shy young lady learning the ropes in her father’s company into the shot-caller at Globacom as the Executive Vice Chairman. Globacom is the flagship brand in the Adenuga billion-dollar empire and Bella is the face.

In her role as executive vice chairman, she has been representing her father across the globe, at international business meetings, hobnobbing with global political and business leaders.

There is no gainsaying Bella exemplifies a totally modern yet timeless construct of audaciousness and femininity which manifests as a blend of dashing individuality, genius and noble pedigree. 

Yes, she is reputed to have inherited her dad’s back-breaking work ethic, saying, “We exchange work text messages at 3am.” No wonder she was honoured recently with the ‘Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ (the Order of Arts and Letters) usually given by the French government to recognise eminent artists and writers, and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The award is given at three levels: Commandeur (Commander), Officier (Officer), Chevalier (Knight). Bella got the Chevalier (Knight), which comes with a medallion worn on ribbon on the left breast, for having shown an abiding commitment to important social issues and her “significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.”

Aside Globacom and Abumet, Bella is also a director at construction giant Julius Berger Plc, where Adenuga has a controlling stake. She also owns Cobble-Stone Properties & Estates Limited, a property development and marketing company, which has a robust portfolio of residential and commercial properties in Nigeria, handled and oversaw from conception to execution the Mike Adenuga Alliance Française Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos. The latter project was inaugurated by the French President, Emmanuel Macron who commended Adenuga’s love for the arts and investment in the centre, and Bella’s endearing enterprise. The company, in 2019, unveiled a 10-storey high rise apartment complex called ‘Sisi Paris’ comprising 18 units of luxury serviced apartments; 9Nos 3-bedroom apartments with a 2-room BQ and nine 4-bedroom apartments. It also has an expansive 3-bedroom penthouse with a 2-room BQ and was officially launched Saturday. Paris is the name of her daughter.

It is often said that wisdom sprouts from pain, and that misery digs deep into a beleaguered soul, leaving within it, wide silvery nuggets. Simply put, the greater vicissitudes you face, the wiser you are expected to become. But this can’t be the only way the universe works. The world view of a boondocks resident, for instance, could pale in comparison with the acquired wisdom of a billionaire daughter, like Bella. Indeed, a ghetto younker, for all his or her fabled street cred may be found wanting in depth and native intelligence – whether on or off social media, her every action and statement could validate notions of inverse profundity. On the other hand, the ravishing daughter of Adenuga Jnr, cuts a remarkable portrait by her inspiring deeds and thoughts. Aside from her enviable exploits in philanthropy and the corporate business sector, Bella radiates an outward wisdom whose roots are innate

Bella Disu’s New Year message is chock-full of wisdom. It references gratitude and growth as a dividend of planning. It highlights discipline and resilience too.

Bella does not subscribe to the billionaire heiress archetype, thus she does not carry on like an entitled princess breezing through the world like a safe little haven where all her dreams automatically manifest and where all wrongs are automatically righted.

According to her, “Growing up, there was a plaque on my father’s desk that read, ‘Man does not plan to fail, Man fails to plan.’ Perhaps seeing this so often in my childhood ingrained planning in my subconscious. I always have a schedule, routine, and alarm. Some might think, ‘What’s the point? After all, so many external factors can alter our plans.’ While this is true, a good plan serves as a beacon to keep one on track with targets,” she said.

She has found that in moments of uncertainty, plans give her hope and a sense of control. “They’ve been a tool for success across all aspects of my life, and I adapt them as needed. This adaptability is a crucial part of my second theme for 2024 – resilience.

Bella, a confessed avid reader of several books on self-development, management and leadership makes a big case at every opportunity for the benefits of progressive knowledge-seeking.

For instance, in her 2024 message of hope to Nigerians, via Instagram, the billionaire heiress stated that, “From my readings and, indeed, my experience, resilience is an attribute that we must all develop. The tough times will come. As a dear friend counsels, ‘Our path in life is not linear. If we plot our graphs, they will have squiggly lines, peaks and troughs.’ Knowing this, we must prepare to get through tough times. I write this very much as a charge to you but also a reminder to myself. Yes, there are numerous sayings: ‘Tough times don’t last, tough people do,’ ‘It’s always darkest before dawn.’ Don’t get tired of them; add them to a list and remind yourself when necessary!”

Continuing she said, “I leave you with a quote from Dean Becker: More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails….It’s true in the Olympics and it’s true in the boardroom.

“As we take on 2024, ‘not greeing for anybody,’ a good plan and a resilient spirit will be of service!” said Bella.

“Happy New Year! Everything good, everything in life that you wish for yourself, a cornucopia of offerings, I wish for you and more this year!” she added.

There is no way anyone could dismiss Bella as just another entitled brat. Despite being a daughter to the multi-billionaire chairman of telecommunications giant, Globacom, she has chosen to venture beyond the comfort that her father’s fame and fortune offer her on a silver platter, expertly negotiating her way through a universe that has not always made space for women, charting her course and fearlessly taking up a conspicuous space for herself.

Inadvertently, the power and pull of her entrepreneurship attainments have made space for and inspired a new generation of young women who are willing to challenge their fears and achieve greatness.

Bella personifies the parable of the proverbial apple that doesn’t fall far from the tree. The daughter of Adenuga Jnr, whose entrepreneurial ingenuity and vision gifted Africa Globacom – to bridge the communication gap in the continent, portray and project Nigerians and Africans in good light and spur them to achieve their dreams – is gradually carving her name in the hall of fame of Nigeria’s industrial heroines and global corporate titans – making history every hour, page after page, volume after volume as if nature were holding up a monument to her exploits.

Aside from her remarkable exploits in the business world, Bella has made enviable forays into the humanitarian sector too, donating generously to noble causes. For instance, she is the founder and President of the Bella Disu Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, which seeks to help less-privileged children by providing them with education and employment skills.

She is also a promoter of the French language and culture through the Alliance Française Project at the Mike Adenuga Alliance Française Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos State.

Bella is listed as a “benefactor” of music by the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Wall of Fame for her contributions in encouraging a better environment for musical learning.

She is married to Jameel Disu, a venture capitalist, and they have three children.

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