The Federal Republic of Nigeria has over time earned the proud label of home to the world`s richest black men. One of the fine gentlemen that`s responsible for this tag is the very low profile yet very high profit Chief Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jnr who at 6.5 billion dollars follows the famed Aliko Dangote as Nigeria`s second richest man and also the world`s second richest black person. Like Dangote, lower profile Mike is an embodiment of the African dream and in this article Paya is delving into his life and times just so the world is reminded that Africa is a place where anything can be achieved.
The gallant son of Naija was born on 29th April, 1953 to the Oloye (Chief) Michael Agbolade Adenuga Snr and Omoba (Princess) Juliana Oyindamola Adenuga and received his secondary education from Ibadan Grammar school in the Oyo state then attained his Higher School Certificate from Comprehensive High School Aiyetero in Ogun state. He would later move to the United States for his university education where he would graduate from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma with a Bachelor`s degree in business administration and then Pace University in New York for a Master`s in the same subject with a focus on marketing. He is said to have worked as a taxi driver to help fund his University education.
Adenuga made his first million from selling lace and distributing soft drinks at 26 in 1979. In 1990 he received a drilling license and in 1991 his consolidated oil company struck oil in the shallow waters of southwestern Ondo state, being the first indigenous oil company to do so in commercial quantity and now operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta. His telecom company Globacom launched services in Benin in 2008 and has continued its` spread across Ghana and Cote d`Ivoire with more licenses being prospected in other West African countries. It is currently the second largest network operator in Nigeria after MTN with over 46 million subscribers. The brand Glo was ranked the fourth most admired African brand in the 2018 ranking of brands in Africa by Brand Africa, an independent Non-Profit Organization committed to promoting business excellence on the continent.
Chief Mike owns extensive real estate holdings many being in some of Nigeria`s most expensive neighborhoods as well as high end properties in Abuja, London, Dubai and the US. His corporate headquarters – The Mike Adenuga towers, is a landmark 13 storey skyscraper with about 11,482 square meters of office space, a helicopter landing pad and a unique gold-colored glass canopy of which the external façade is complemented by a gold on granite finishing with the front having a gold-plated bull sculpture. The bull is the Globacom Chairman`s personal totem and is most visible at night when the installed revolving multi-color light beams on the building. His home in Banana Island which is Nigeria`s most expensive neighborhood is a collection of nine luxury duplexes sitting on 3 hectares of land and at 8 billion Naira is the most expensive private residence in Nigeria and by implication Africa. Within this mega-mansion are two watch towers, a multipurpose hall that can sit 200 people, a Church, Mosque, car park, indoor swimming pool, helipad and a private pier for his yacht and boats. He is reported to have two private jets – a bombardier Global 5000 and a Dassault Falcon 7x as well as multiple series of crazy expensive cars.
He has been married twice, his first wife was Adefolake Emilia with whom he has six children namely Adetutu Oyindamola Emilia, Eniola `EnnyBoy`, Folashade `ShadyGirl`, Adeniyi `NiyiBoy`, Prince Michael `Bobo` Babajide, Tunde `Paddy` Abolade and Abimbola Beenu. His second wife is Titi Joyce with whom he has Belinda `Bella` Olubunmi Ajoke.
For all his commercial success, Adenuga has never forgotten his people and is always committed to their advancement and cultural promotion. He holds a Yoruba tribal chieftaincy as the Otunba Apesin of Ijebuland in which role he has restored the annual Ojude Oba festival to showcase the rich cultural heritage of his land and has donated humongous sums of money for the promotion of African cultures.
Very few men have had the privilege of being awarded the highest civilian honors in three separate sovereign states and Mike Adenuga is one of them. In 2012, he was made Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and in 2016 Companion of the Star of Ghana by President John Dramani Mahama. He is also one of really few Africans to have been decorated with France`s insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honour which was done by President Emmanuel Macron of France in 2018. The University of Ibadan and the Ogun State University both made it a point to honor him too with honorary doctorates and he was cited as one of the top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019.
What a man!