Mike Adenuga, one of Nigeria’s most successful entrepreneurs whose impact is being felt across the continent had a humble beginning.

Early life

Born on the 29th of April 1953, Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga was born into the family of Oloye Michael Agbolade Adenuga Snr. and Omoba Juliana Oyindamola Adenuga.

He studied at Ibadan Grammar School and attained his Higher School Certificate from the Comprehensive High School Aiyetoro, before leaving the country for his higher education.

He obtained his first degree in Business Administration from North Western Oklahoma State University and his MBA from Pace University, New York.

However, Adenuga credits his mother, who was also a business woman for his business mastery. Adenuga started hustling even when he was a student, he worked as a taxi driver in New York to pay for his university tuition. He also went into trading drinks and lace materials at a point in time.

Due to his hard work and labour, he made his first million in 1979 at the age of 26, and has not quit since then. He began to invest in various businesses over the years, accumulating his wealth to become one of the richest men in Africa.



Adenuga was able to foresee the prospects of the prosperous oil industry in Nigeria and began to apply for a license in the late ’80s.

Unfortunately it did not work out, not until a new policy was made by Professor Jubril Aminu, the Oil Minister during General Ibrahim Babangida’s government, permitting individuals to attempt oil exploitation and exploration.

He attained the drilling license in 1990 and began exploration with his new company, Consolidated Oil, in Ondo state.



The end of the 90s, saw the nation return to the democratic dispensation, and Adenuga predicted another potential in the telecommunication industry and obtained a conditional GSM license from the Federal Government in 1999.

It was revoked and he received a second one in 2004, when the government held another auction. With this license, he established Globacom in Nigeria. Globacom is now multinational and is now in other African countries like Benin republic, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire, with millions of subscribers.

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The telecom company is evaluated a main competitor to the great MTN group, and is still seeking licenses in other West African countries.

In May 2015, Mike Adenuga made an takeover bid and obtained the Ivorian mobile telecoms operator “Comium” in Cote d’Ivoire for $600m.

Debts and infamies

In 2006, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ransack the head offices of Globacom, Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB), and Conoil, and brought in Mike Adenuga for querying about a case of money laundering. Thereupon, he was incriminated and locked up for money laundering.

Thereafter, he left the country and went to reside in London for a while until late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s regime gave him a pardon, making his return to Nigeria possible.

In June 2016, new spread that Mike Adenuga was being sought for a joint debt of over $140.5 million by two foreign and one local company. It was announced in the news that his company Conoil had failed to pay debts owed to numerous creditors including the French oil giant, Total.

Bellbop, one of Adenuga’s company had an interim injunction stationed on it by the High Court in Lagos, after it also failed to pay the $9.4 million owed to the US oil and gas firm, Baker Hughes. Reports said some of the creditors were affected by the huge debts, that they had to close down some of their operations.

Since this was just a short time after the business mogul expanded his net worth by almost $5 billion, the infamy drew a lot of judgments.


Mike Adenuga performs his philanthropic actions through the Mike Adenuga Foundation, assisting people in Nigeria and other African countries.

He has obtained various recognitions including the African Entrepreneur of The Year at ATA in August 2007, Grand Commander Of The Order of Niger (GCON) in 2012, Companion of the Star of Ghana (CSG) in 2018, and was among the 100 prominent and Eminent Nigerians Centenary Awards in 2018, amongst others.

He was decorated with the insignia of a Commander of the Legion of Honor by President Emmanuel Macron of France in 2018.

He also wields a Yoruba Chieftaincy as the Otunba Apesin of the Ijebu clan. He holds stake in different companies in Nigeria including Stanbic IBTC Bank and Sterling Bank.

Mike Adenuga is currently worth $ 6.2billion as revealed by Forbes recent rating.


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