Mike Adenuga indelible footprints on Nigeria as he celebrates 71 today


Today, Monday, April 29, is the birthday of billionaire business mogul and founder of leading telecoms services provider, Globacom, Dr. Mike Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jr.


The highly revered and celebrated African business guru, role model and philanthropist extraordinaire was born into the noble family of late Pa Michael Agbolade Adenuga Sr and Ma Juliana Oyindamola, at the famous Adeoyo Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, exactly seventy one years ago.


Truth is that you can’t just talk about Dr. Adenuga without discussing and dissecting his large heart, which flows with unparalleled and unequalled generosity.


In fact, Dr. Adenuga’s milk of human kindness does not flow only in Nigeria, but across Africa and indeed, the rest of the world.


Otunba Adenuga’s philanthropy reverberates and quakes around the globe with uncountable testimonies from beneficiaries, both living and dead.


And unlike most billionaires, the chairman and founder of Conoil does not make noise or makes it a news item whenever he gives.


Amazingly, the brilliant billionaire with a very sound mind whose birthday many around the globe are celebrating today, just cherishes giving freely and wholeheartedly, without drawing any attention to himself.


He does it quietly and anonymously. In most cases, he doesn’t even know most of his lucky beneficiaries. What a large heart from a man with a golden heart flowing with compassion for his fellow humans!


Aside creating wealth and empowering humanity through his iconic brands like Glo and Conoil, another thing that thrills and gives Dr. Adenuga who is fondly called the Bull, extreme joy and fulfilment is the art and act of generosity laced with kindness.


It is often said by those very close to Dr. Adenuga that his generosity knows no bounds. It cuts across ethnicity and religion.


The amiable and immensely blessed man of means from Ijebu Igbo, in Ogun State, south west, Nigeria doesn’t know how to stop or say no when it comes to blessing and empowering humanity with his God-given wealth and resources.


The late boxing legend, Muhammed Ali captures succinctly Dr. Adenuga’s life of unstoppable generosity, charity and philanthropy in these immortal words: ‘’we can only be truly generous when we expect nothing in return.”


Amazingly, the Guru with the Midas touch simply gives without expecting anything from anyone in return. That is Dr. Adenuga for you. A selfless billionaire, who goes about doing good for humanity with his wealth.


It is also a known fact that for Dr. Adenuga, the undisputable pillar of prosperity and gem of generosity, giving is a special way of life, which he strictly adheres to religiously.


As I write this birthday tribute, I have never met Dr. Adenuga in my entire life (praying to meet him one-on-one, someday). But I have been touched by his generosity and magnanimous heart, even without him knowing me or any member of my family.


Little wonder our respected senior in the media profession, Otunba Dele Momodu calls Dr. Adenuga the ‘’Spirit of Africa.’’


Permit me to plead that we should further elevate that befitting and well deserved title to the ‘’Spirit of the Universe,’’ for he is truly a benevolent spirit that touches and blesses both known and unknown persons.


Sincerely speaking, great men like Otunba Adenuga are very, very scarce on the face of the earth. They are uncommon. Atypical. Out of the ordinary. You hardly find them in every epoch or aeon. They are specially created rare species that grace our planet once in a lifetime.


Many years ago, when I was still actively covering and reporting the Nigerian entertainment sector as a young journalist working with The Sun newspaper, a top and famous Nollywood star told me a story of how Adenuga’s Globacom changed her life for the better.


This leading actress was among the first set of Nollywood stars Glo engaged and paid hugely and handsomely as brand ambassadors.


The talented thespian told me she nearly fainted when she got the alert of her first payment from Glo, which were some cool millions of naira, in her account then.


Prior to that huge payment from Glo, she confessed to me that despite being one of the leading actresses of her era, she had never earned a million naira as professional fee from acting or any endorsement deal, despite acting for over a decade, until Dr. Adenuga’s Glo changed her life and story and instantly made her a multi-millionaire over night with millions to play and fondle with.


That is Otunba Adenuga for you. He does not give less and will also never settle for less.


In fact, this actress whose name I want to keep anonymous told me she finally ‘fainted’ when Glo renewed her contract the following year and doubled her endorsement fee, thus completely eradicating struggling and smiling from her life and career.


And she was not the only one that enjoyed this largesse cum empowerment package from Otunba Adenuga’s Glo. She told me the deal was for all the qualified Nollywood stars, both male and female signed on by Glo that period.


They all became instant millionaires thus putting an end to their lives of struggles and pains as Nollywood super stars.


Interestingly, this life changing endorsement deal from Glo, which is still running till date, has changed the fortunes of several celebrities within and outside tinsel town.


Meanwhile, it was when other telecoms brands saw the overwhelming success recorded with the Globacom brand ambassadors deal that they quickly followed suit.


Just like they did too, when Glo gave millions of suffering Nigerians the life saving per second billing offer, which they had hitherto told us repeatedly was not possible or attainable. Indeed, Nigerians are truly and happily Glo-wing with pride, courtesy of Dr. Adenuga and his visionary leadership skills, style and strategy.


Otunba Adenuga, unarguably one of the richest men in the world (not Africa, forget Forbes rating), has also brought similar life changing and transforming gestures he gave Nollywood stars to other aspects of our national lives, including music, sports, arts and culture, among others. The sole aim is to empower and impact lives positively, which he has been doing passionately for almost five decades and counting.


It’s no longer news that Dr. Adenuga’s Glo, Conoil and other brands from his stable employ and empower thousands of Nigerians and even foreigners, thus creating and redistributing wealth to aid the continued growth and sustainability of our nation’s economy.


With all sense of responsibility, if all billionaires or even ten percent of the world’s billionaires are like Otunba Adenuga, Nigeria, Africa and indeed the rest of the world would surely be a better place for all of us to live in and thrive without rancour, acrimony, fear or favour.


Dr. Adenuga’s legendary generosity further reminds me of the memorable words of Sir Winston Churchill, the iconic war-time hero, writer, orator and twice prime minister of the United Kingdom, who categorically and clearly stated: “we make a living by what we get, but we make a live by what we give.”


Again, I’m of the opinion that Dr. Adenuga’s greatness goes beyond what he has achieved in life in the last seventy one years. His greatness truly and clearly lies in what he has given out to humanity through his unending art and act of generosity cum extraordinary philanthropy.


Interestingly, this to me and many others within and outside our shores is definitely what stands out this unassuming national treasure and icon in the pantheon of great men nationally and globally.


Dr. Adenuga, who early this year was announced and named DAYLIGHT Online Newspaper Man of the Year, for his giant strides and invaluable contributions to our nation’s economy over the years, is undoubtedly one of the biggest players and investors in Nigeria and indeed, Africa’s telecoms sector.


Otunba Adenuga, one of the few and authentic national assets our country can boast of, is also hugely and actively involved in Nigeria’s banking, oil and gas sectors respectively. He was also the first Nigerian to strike oil in commercial quantity with his Conoil, in 1991.


Frankly speaking, you cannot talk about Nigeria’s economy and its growth without mentioning Dr. Mike Adenuga’s revered name, especially in the last four to five decades.


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