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Glo-Getter: The World Celebrates Dr. Mike Adenuga @67

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Glo-Getter: The World Celebrates Dr. Mike Adenuga @67

Glo-Getter: The World Celebrates Dr. Mike Adenuga @67
April 29
16:09 2020

Though age 67 is not exactly a milestone age as it is ‘just’ three years away from the symbolic 70; what makes Dr. Mike Adenuga’s 67thbirthday momentous and remarkable is that every year of his life has been pockmarked by bewildering and humbling feats in business and philanthropy. As such, the outpouring of well-wishes and rousing tributes from all over the world may be staggering and unprecedented but not totally unanticipated because he has worked hard all his life for them, writes LANRE ALFRED.

Typical of the self-effacing nature of Dr. Mike Ishola Adenuga, GCON, CSG, CLH,  chairman of Globacom, glasses won’t be clinked in celebration of his 67th birthday today, April 29; neither would there be any related revelry. And despite the mutual love between him and France, which has seen him being garlanded with the highest national honour from the European nation, he would not let flow Bordeaux and Beaujolais and Bubbly. Adenuga covets no vanities. In fact, unlike many other billionaires; he demands no free verses, heroic couplets or ornamental rhymes to glorify his personage as a man. 

Aside the prevailing lockdown occasioned by the Corona-virus pandemic, Adenuga is known to prefer his own company; that of his kids and select associates. The situation will not be markedly different today. His predilection for privacy notwithstanding, Adenuga is one of the few Nigerians who still make the outside world believe that Nigeria is not all about negativity; who make being called a Nigerian worth its weight in gold and who is still accorded huge respect and renown across the world for his industry and integrity.

Hugely successful, yet, affectionately humble, ‘The Bull’ as he is widely known is one of those risk-taking individuals that struckout on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success to prosper themselves and their society. He has proved over time that if sent to Mars, he would still treat it as a stepping stone to Saturn – the quality of constant invention and self-improvement that has earned him worldwide acclaim and prosperity.

Adenuga does not believe in impossibilities. With just tenacity of purpose and a terrier devotion to his dreams, he bestrides, successfully, the gap between creativity and commerce.He started from the scratch, in fact, as a lowly paid taxi driver in the United States, but kept his nose to the grindstone and has turned many seemingly insignificant ideas into behemoth industries.The story of Globacom – how it has survived a myriad of odds including a hostile economy, harsh government policies and competition – remains his magnum opus.

As a successful businessman with interests in lucrative sectors of the economy including banking and oil and gas, Adenuga could have sat back, enjoying his vast wealth while the generality of Nigerians continued to groan under the billing regime of the two mobile operators, MTN and Econet Wireless (now Airtel) owned by South African and Zimbabwean businessmen respectively. But his patriotic proclivity and selflessness would not allow him. Instead of being discouraged by the unfortunate turn of events in 2001 when his Communications Investments Limited, CIL, was denied a licence on very spurious grounds and lost over $20m in the process, he was more motivated to give Nigerians mobile telephony at affordable rates. And this came to pass in 2004 when Globacom launched. 

With a boundary-shoving resolve to redefine the telecommunications sector and a vision to build the biggest and best network in Africa, he made good his resolve as Globacom crashed the price of SIM cards. Then, he introduced the Per Second Billing, which MTN and Econet had claimed was impossible for the Nigerian market. This move by Globacom would force them to also humbly introduce the PSB. Consequently, this began the revolution that eliminated mobile telephony as an exclusive preserve of the privileged and well heeled, turning it into a necessity for Nigerians of all ages from the North to the South and everywhere in between. One of the finest pillars of investment in Africa with multi billion dollars interests in telecommunications, oil, banking and real estate among others, Adenuga’s telecommunications investment footprint now spans across African countries

The Proudly Nigerian company with the wellbeing of Nigerians the core of its business principle has positively impacted on the lives of Nigerians; giving many uncut talents a platform to harness their talents through its reality television shows; while gifting hundreds of lucky subscribers life-changing prizes through its promos and providing direct and indirect employments to millions of Nigerians. In the intervening years, Globacom has made home-grown stars from the entertainment industry the faces (ambassadors) of its brand, while making them worth their popularity in affluence and influence. 

Unarguably, no other company has invested as much as Globacom in the development of sports in Nigeria especially football. Apart from its huge investment in the Nigerian football league, Globacom sponsors the Supporters’ Club to any part of the world where any of Nigeria’s national team is competing. Not forgetting that it had since taken up the sponsorship of the Confederation of Africa Footballer of the Year awards. 

In homage to his humanity and relentless strides at rewriting the African business narrative, the French government invested him with a Knight of the Legion of Honour (Chevalier de la Legion d Honneur), the highest French decoration and the most famous in the world in 2017. The only and first ever Nigerian that have so far received the award since inception, Adenuga was recognised and honoured for his “remarkable contribution to the development of the French-Nigerian relations and appreciation of the French culture.” 

Some years before, he had been decorated with Ghana’s highest civilian national honour, the Companion of the Star of Ghana (CSG). The then President of Ghana, John Mahama, said, “The award is in recognition of your unique and outstanding contribution to business enterprise both in Ghana and the continent of Africa at large. Through your creative business exertions, you have touched many lives in Ghana. You have provided employment for our teeming youth, artists, footballers and many more. I am particularly proud of you. This award is our way of saying a simple THANK YOU.” By the honour, Adenuga became the first Nigerian outside government to receive Ghana’s highest national honour.

Similarly, in 2012, he was decorated with the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON), Nigeria’s second highest national honour after the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) – which is specifically reserved for Nigerian Presidents and Heads of State. 

Thus, as Adenuga marks his 67th birthday in his preferred style; and for someone so blessed, an exemplar in business, a redoubtable achiever and one of Africa’s biggest philanthropists, no day in his life should go uncelebrated. 

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