Mike Adenuga is a business mogul from Nigeria, and the second wealthiest person in the country. He is the owner of Globacom which is Nigeria’s second-largest telecom operator which also has operators in Ghana and Benin.
He owns stakes in the Equitorial Trust Bank and the oil exploration firm Conoil (formerly Consolidated Oil Company). According to Forbes Magazine, the business tycoon has an estimated net worth of $10 billion as of 2016, making him the wealthiest Nigerian behind Aliko Dangote, as well as the second richest person in Africa.
Besides building his fortune in telecom and oil production, the tycoon owns real estate firm Proline Investments, which has hundreds of properties throughout Nigeria.
Mike Adenuga’s Early life and Education
Mike was born on 29 April 1953 in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria, to Oloye Michael Agbolade Adenuga Sr and Juliana Oyindamola Adenuga (née Onashile of Okesopin, Ijebu Igbo). His father was a school teacher and his mother a businesswoman of royal Ijebu descent.
Adenuga attended secondary school education at the Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan and Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro for his Higher School Certificate (HSC).
He then furthered his studies in New York, United States, getting an MBA from Pace University in New York, where he worked as a taxi driver to support himself.
He worked as a taxi driver to help fund his university education. He finished from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University, New York with degrees in Business Administration.
Mike returned to Nigeria and made his first fortune from selling lace and Coca-Cola. He later became friends with some Nigerian military bigwigs who awarded him profitable state contracts; which formed the basis of his wealth.
In 1990, he received a drilling license and in 1991, his Consolidated Oil struck oil in the shallow waters of Southwestern Ondo State, the first indigenous oil company to do so in commercial quantity.
Adenuga was issued a conditional GSM licence in 1999 which was later revoked. He got a second one when the government held another auction in 2003. His telecom company Globacom spread quickly and started challenging the giant MTN Group.
It launched services in Benin in 2008, and has continued its spread across Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, with more licences currently being prospected in other West African countries.
Mike Adenuga was awarded African Entrepreneur of The Year at the maiden African Telecoms Awards (ATA) on 15 August 2007.
Challenges And Controversies
In 2009, Mike Adenuga was kept in custody for money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. He relocated to London until the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua regime granted him a pardon. He now lives in Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos State Nigeria.
In May 2015, Mike Adenuga made a takeover bid to purchase Ivorian mobile telecoms operator Comium Côte d’Ivoire for $600 million.
In June 2016, reports alleged that Adenuga was being pursued for a combined debt of USD $140.5 million, after his company ConOil could not clear up debts owed to, among others, the French oil giant Total.
Bellbop, another company owned by Adenuga, has an interim injunction placed on it by the High Court in Lagos, after failed to pay USD $9.4 million it owed to the US oil and gas firm Baker Hughes.
Mike was in 2012 bestowed with Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (Nigeria)