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  Chief Michael Adenuga Jr., born on 29 April 1953, stands as a beacon of success in the Nigerian business landscape. With a net worth estimated at $6.2 billion as of May 2021, he holds the distinction of being the third richest person in Africa. Mike Adenuga’s journey to prominence is marked by resilience, innovation, and a commitment to excellence.
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Hailing from a modest background, Adenuga’s father, Oloye Michael Agbolade Adenuga Sr., was a schoolteacher, while his mother, Omoba Juliana Oyindamola Adenuga, brought the entrepreneurial spirit with her royal Ijebu descent. Adenuga, proud of his Yoruba heritage, received his secondary education at Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan, and Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro, where he funded his university education by working as a taxi driver. Adenuga’s academic pursuits took him to Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University, New York, where he earned degrees in Business Administration. His entrepreneurial journey began in 1979 at the age of 26 when he made his first million by selling lace and distributing soft drinks. This early success set the stage for what would become a remarkable career.

Entrepreneurial Stroy

In 1990, Mike Adenuga ventured into oil exploration, receiving a drilling license. His company, Consolidated Oil, struck oil in the shallow waters of Southwestern Ondo State in 1991, marking a historic moment as the first indigenous oil company to achieve commercial success. This achievement solidified Adenuga’s position as a pioneer in Nigeria’s oil industry.
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The telecommunications sector also bears the imprint of Adenuga’s visionary leadership. Despite challenges, including a revoked GSM license in 1999, he persevered and secured a second license in 2003 during a government auction. Today, his company Globacom stands as Nigeria’s second-largest telecom operator, with a significant presence in Ghana and Benin. Adenuga’s contributions extend beyond business success. In 2012, the Nigerian government recognized his achievements by conferring upon him the title of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger. He also holds a Yoruba tribal chieftaincy as the Otunba Apesin of the Ijebu clan, showcasing his connection to his cultural roots. International accolades further underscore Adenuga’s impact. In 2018, President Emmanuel Macron of France decorated him with the insignia of a Commander of the Legion of Honour, a testament to his global influence. His listing among the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019 solidifies his standing as a key figure on the continent.
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Final Thoughts

Adenuga’s story is not just one of financial success but a testament to the power of resilience, innovation, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact. His journey continues to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs across Africa and beyond.
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This article was first published on 26th January 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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