By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor

Penultimate Friday, Chairman of Globacom, Otunba Mike Adenuga Jr, turned 69 years.

Since then,  the social media has been awash with messages of congratulation, from the low, high and mighty. 

It is not just because Adenuga is a billionaire; it might also not be because he’s a socialite – as a matter of fact, he does not seem to fancy celebrating his birthdays.

But, that day couldn’t just slip by on people because of the immense value the man behind the date creates in the lives of millions of Nigerians and indeed Africans.

Adenuga represents many things to many people. 

READ ALSO: Mike Adenuga @ 69: Salute to a man of the people

As  conveniently as he can be described as the triumph of African enterprise, symbolising  the African spirit of passion, unalloyed commitment, resilience and hard work,  he can also be called Nigeria’s data revolutionnaire, for the way his Glo1 submarine cable has given Nigeria, data autonomy. 

Born in Ibadan, in 1953,  into the family of Chief Mike Adenuga Snr. and Madam Oyindamola Adenuga, a successful trader and Yeyeoba of Ijebuland, he attended the famous Ibadan Grammar School, in Oyo State, Nigeria,  and studied Business Administration at Northwestern State University, Alva Oklahoma, in the United States. 

He also bagged a Masters degree at Pace University, New York, majoring in Business Administration with bias in Marketing.

Perhaps, that was the preparatory ground for a man who would later sell anything that others find difficult to market. 

Adenugar Jr is unarguably one of the most recognisable names on the African continent; sitting atop what is arguably one of the continent’s largest business empires, comprising oil and gas, telecoms, aviation, banking and real estate.

In each of these sectors, he has moulded his companies into major players. 

Oil industry revolution

In the oil and gas sector, for instance, Conoil Plc is known as one of the largest and most profitable oil marketing companies in Nigeria.     Conoil Producing, the downstream arm of the conglomerate, made history by becoming the first Nigerian company to strike oil and produce it in commercial quantity in 1991.

Banking Revolution

In banking, Adenuga’s Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) was one of the few banks that effortlessly met the N25b capital requirement during the 2005 banking consolidation exercise without going to the stock market. It only merged with Devcom Bank, another of his banks and later with Sterling Bank, to finally consolidate. 

Real Estate

Adenuga also has a multi-billion dollar investment in real estate. These companies provide direct employment to thousands of workers and millions of others indirectly.

Sports Revolution

He is also a strong sports philanthropist who has pumped well over  N9 billion in cash and kind on Nigerian football; helped in revolutionising Nigerian and Ghanaian football leagues and hosting Confederation of African Football, CAF Awards for many years. 

Telecoms Revolution

In telecoms, he is credited with the telecom revolution in Nigeria as his company, Globacom flagged off operations with Per Second Billing in 2003, crashing the high cost of SIM then to as low as N100 when competitors had consistently told Nigerians it was impossible.

This feat led to the company being the second largest operator in the country, in terms of number of subscribers connected.

Today, Globacom is known as one of the most innovative networks in Africa and has operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic, Senegal, Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire. 

Data Revolution

Adenuga was also to make another history in 2010 when he commissioned an international submarine cable, named Glo 1.

Recall that at the height of data revolution,  market dynamics changed. Voice revenues dipped. Those who invested in data-related businesses became the new millionaires and the cliche “data is the new oil”, “data is the air” systematically gained ground. 

Major   Over The Top, OTT carriers, and streaming service providers such as Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter among others, and, Multinational Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Akamai, Alibaba, among others, changed business preferences and set-up their presence closer to their customers. As a result, over 60 per cent of the capacities on most submarine cables worldwide are  utilized by them. 

Apparently, Adenuga felt that any forward looking country and or organisation must prioritise its businesses to target this segment of players. 

And, in walking his talk, Glo1 landed. Today, the cable has provided a solution to the long-standing problem of insufficient internet bandwidth for Africa and has led to a much faster and robust connectivity for voice, data and video, for Nigerians ever since. 

It has also mopped up businesses from these players as almost all of them have set up presence in Nigeria. 

Glo1’s footprint has seen it upgrade capacity from  90Gbps in 2010 to 290Gbps in December 2018 and  to 1Terabit in 2021. Today, it is touted to have scaled to over 2Terabit. 

Everything Adenuga touches turns to gold.  Yet, in spite of his towering achievements, he remains an epitome of modesty.

That is the more reason, even when he does not want it, people will continue to celebrate him on his birthday. 


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