Following Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga holds the position of Nigeria’s second wealthiest individual. He amassed his wealth through ventures in both the oil and telecommunications industries. His mobile network provider, Globacom, serves 55 million customers, making it Nigeria’s third-largest operator.
In the oil sector, his company, Conoil Producing, oversees operations in six oil blocks located in the Niger Delta. During his student years at Pace University in New York, where he earned an MBA, Adenuga supported himself by working as a taxi driver. He achieved his first million-dollar fortune at the young age of 26, primarily by selling lace fabrics and distributing soft drinks.
Notably private, Mike Adenuga is rarely seen at social events, earning him the reputation of being one of Nigeria’s most reclusive billionaires in contemporary times.
Early Life & Education
Born on April 29, 1953, Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jr. came from a family with business and educational backgrounds. His mother, Omoba Juliana Oyindamola Adenuga, was a respected Ijebu Igbo businesswoman, while his father, Oloye Michael Agbolade Adenuga Sr., worked as a schoolteacher.
Adenuga attended Ibadan Grammar School in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, for his secondary education and then pursued his Higher School Certificate (HSC) at Comprehensive High School in Aiyetoro. He worked as a taxi driver to finance his education and later obtained business administration degrees from both Pace University in New York and Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Mike Adenuga’s journey to wealth began when he made his first million dollars at the age of 26 through the sale of lace fabrics and the distribution of soft drinks. His path took a significant turn in 1990 when he acquired a drilling permit, leading to the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the shallow waters of southwest Ondo State in 1991. This marked the inception of Consolidated Oil, now known as Conoil, the first indigenous oil company to achieve this feat.
In 1999, Mike Adenuga secured a conditional GSM license. Despite its initial revocation, he received a new license in 2003 during a government auction. His telecom venture, Globacom, rapidly expanded and began challenging the MTN Group. It expanded its operations to Benin in 2008 and has since extended its reach to countries like Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, with plans for further expansion across West Africa. In August 2007, he received the African Entrepreneur of the Year (ATA) award at the inaugural African Telecoms Awards. Additionally, he holds stock in the Equitorial Trust Bank.
In May 2015, Adenuga made a buyout offer of $600 million to Comium Côte d’Ivoire, a mobile communications business in Côte d’Ivoire.
Mike Adenuga has been married twice and has eight children. His children are named Oyindamola, Babajide, Mike, Belinda, Abimbola, Eniola, Folashade, and Richard.
Honours and Titles
- Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger by the Nigerian government.
- Otunba Apesin of the Ijebu clan.
- Commander of the Legion of Honour by President Emmanuel Macron of France.
- Recognized as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019.
As of May 2022, Mike Adenuga is the second richest person in Nigeria, with a net worth estimated at $6.2 billion, according to Forbes. Aliko Dangote remains the wealthiest in Nigeria, with an estimated net worth of $13.9 billion.
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