Mike Adenuga, oil baron, bank executive, and telecoms magnate, is, quite literally, larger than life — at least to newly arrived visitors to Ghana, who face huge billboards carrying the likeness of the founder of Globacom, Mr Adenuga’s expanding mobile network as they make their way into Accra.
Mike Adenuga has shrugged off speculation that his wealth is built on relations he enjoyed with Nigeria’s military rulers in the late 1980s and early 1990s to build a diverse portfolio and a substantial personal fortune. His relationship with the government has not been without its moments of difficulty. He found himself under investigation in 2006 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). After being arrested for two days, Mr Adenuga then spent several months out of the country.
Friends insist that Mike Adenuga was the victim of a political battle between Vice President Atiku Abubakar and then president Obasanjo, with whom Mr Adenuga had also enjoyed good relations. Government investigators claimed there were separate issues relating to the payment of contractors and allegations of tax evasion. Like Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga has shown an ability to take opportunities presented and create genuine companies with real capacity.
According to Encomium magazine, Mike Adenuga’s net worth is $6 billion.
Interestingly, Forbes Magazine’s billionaire lists fail to include Mike Adenuga because Forbes bases individuals’ net worths on the quoted and verified values of companies and individual shares the individuals own. Given that a lot of Nigerian billionaires’ assets include privately-held companies, Forbes’ estimates should be regarded as minimum net worth estimates.
For instance, Mike Adenuga has only one listed company, Conoil, despite his known vast business interests. In fact, most of Mike Adenuga’s wealth, including his ownership in Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB), is outside the stock market. Mike Adenuga is arguably the richest man in Nigeria. He has interests in real estate in Nigeria and around the globe, with property all over Western Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
According to reports, Globacom has signed a multi-billion dollar network expansion contract with Alcatel-Lucent for its Nigerian operations to cope with the projected growth of its customer base. The new contract will expand the telecoms giant’s capacity from the existing 25 million subscribers to 45 million. Adenuga’s most ambitious project is by far the construction of a $1 billion undersea fibre optic cable, Glo-1, to link Africa with the rest of the world. The aim, according to Globacom, is to ensure that telecommunication services reach the people of Africa at the most affordable rates. Therefore, as long as Adenuga’s wealth is outside of the stock market, he will not be listed in Forbes; even though, he might in fact be Nigeria’s richest man!
Born on April 29, 1953, Mike Adenuga got his secondary school education at the Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan. Mike Adenuga studied Business Administration at Northewestern University, in Oklahoma, and Pace University, in New York.
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