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Please join us in wishing Dr. Mike Adenuga a very happy 61st birthday, by posting your birthday greetings to him here in the comments!

Greetings from Well Wishers
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Dele Momodu
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me as I raise a toast to an African icon, business titan, managerial wizard and philanthropic legend, Dr Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Isola Adenuga, as he clocks 60 on Monday, April 29, 2013. He has done more than enough to justify each of those adjectives. On a personal note and as a journalist, I’ve had the rare opportunity of following the incredible story of this extremely gifted man for the past 22 years, the reason I’m qualified to be a self-appointed toastmaster today.

It is difficult to imagine that Adenuga was already a wealthy, accomplished man before he attained the age of 40. This obviously gave rise to all manner of speculations about his source of wealth and the perceived strength of those behind him. This riddle made me more determined to find out as much as possible about this man who seemed to have built an impregnable wall around himself and his activities. The more I dug into his life, the clearer I discovered that his talismanic weapon was no more than an almost manic addiction to work. He had a simple and straight forward mantra; no mountain is too difficult to climb. Dr. Adenuga’s success simply teaches the world about the virtues of hard work.

Adenuga’s management style was totally alien to our clime at the time. And it remains customised to him till this day. He cuts the image of a slave driver but he obviously drives himself even harder. He is not a General who goes to sleep while his troops keep vigil. He stays awake like a true Civilian-Field Marshall. The workaholic keeps everyone on their toes. His job is not for the faint-hearted. In his inimitable style, the legend is that he personally supervises the appointment of every member of his large workforce. This is a prodigious task at the very least, but one which immediately gives him an insight into every employee and leaves no one in doubt of who is in charge. He is clairvoyant enough to spot good talents and ready to tutor and take them through the drills and grills. It produces awesome results most of the time. Many have complained that he is a bully but surprisingly they never protest when he lavishes them with gifts. Many of those who have left his company often seek to come back after trying other bosses. It is difficult to find a man that generous but every soul must earn that generosity. And he extends his legendary toughness to even members of his family.

As a reporter chronicling the amazing lifestyles of newsmakers, I have grown totally and unrepentantly fond of many extraordinary Nigerians in my career, but Chief Moshood Abiola, Chief Abdul-Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi and Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr take the cake. They are my all-time heroes. I love them to bits for one simple reason. They shared an uncommon courage and the ability to conquer impossible challenges. While Abiola and Adenuga topped the Kilimanjaro of business, Gani headed for the Everest of Law and never stopped climbing. They dared to be different. And I learnt so much from my apprenticeship under them.

What fascinates me endlessly about Adenuga is his unique style of doing things. Everyone talks about his stupendous wealth but ignore the fact that his is a veritable case-study in what the power of vision and tenacity can produce. True, positive accidents do occur in the journey of man that may affect his fortune drastically; this is exactly not so in Adenuga’s case. There’s no doubt he’s made powerful friends along the way but he wasn’t the only one who did. Others have since disappeared from radar and crashed into total oblivion. Not many members of the privilegentsia made anything tangible from the opportunities bestowed on them by influential benefactors. Adenuga is just in a class of his own.

This could be linked to the truth that despite the fact that he was born into a comfortable family, he never took it for granted that he had to work to make it real big in life. He drove taxis as a student in the United States and started business since then by shipping commodities home from the proceeds of his sweat. He was a thorough-bread Ijebuman who knew how to turn riches into wealth. The Ijebu gene in him must have been speeding at full throttle. Like King Midas, everything he touched turned into gold. Making money for Adenuga is not just an art, it is a science. It entails meticulously setting out on a mission and making sure it is accomplished. The result is that Adenuga has since globalised his name without making any extra effort at throwing himself at people’s faces. This is why Forbes continues to underrate his humongous empire. My encounter with a Forbes agent in Africa says it all.

About two years ago, Mr Mfonobong Nsehe was conducting a research for Forbes magazine on Nigeria’s richest men and women and had called in for my opinion. I wasted no time in telling him of my reservations about the yardstick usually employed by publications like Forbes and Fortune in measuring riches. While it is okay to monitor and use publicly quoted companies and empires to judge and arrive at their Rich lists in those developed economies and far-flung places, such criteria would fall flat in Africa. Their Rich lists had become too academic and almost mechanical.

I told him that in Africa, you cannot call a chronic debtor a rich man. You cannot call a man who has gathered other people’s money to run a business a wealthy man. The rich man is that man whose personal fortune can be separated from what he owes as well as that of his business partners. On that note, the Forbes Rich list in Africa can’t be very accurate. There are many silent billionaires who have worked hard to achieve greatness but have chosen to remain understated. Adenuga is one of such people who never flaunt his wealth like less successful people do. He lets his works speak for him eloquently. Not many people could ever claim they’ve ever seen or met Adenuga in person. I love to describe him always as a spirit you don’t see but feel his impact all around.

Mfonobong Nsehe seemed to have bought into my analysis as reflected in the teaser he later published before the actual Forbes List for the year 2011 came out: “Nigerian Billionaire Mike Adenuga Might Be Africa’s Richest Man.” It was posted on the Forbes website on July 14, 2011. In my view, Adenuga has always been grossly under-estimated. Those who should know would boldly acknowledge that there are not many Adenugas in the world. His tentacles go far beyond Africa. Not many people in the world own his types of business concerns, almost single-handedly. Oil & Gas (upstream and downstream), Telecommunications (with combined subscriber base of over 30 million spreading across Nigeria, Benin Republic and Ghana), Banking (the last individually-owned till recently), Real Estate (in different parts of the world)… I’m sure there are other less visible investments globally.

While I understand and appreciate the frustrations that most reporters, local and foreign, always face over attempts to unravel the private life of Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr. (GCON), it should not be too difficult to correctly assess his conglomerate as Forbes itself has proven. The same magazine that limited its rating of Dr Adenuga to his stakes in Globacom still went on to disclose his much bigger companies that were not rated by its reporters. This can easily mislead researchers in the future who may wish to know and document some of Africa’s business icons.

Adenuga’s life is amazing. I wonder when he sleeps and how he enjoys the spectacular wealth it has pleased God to bestow on him. While friends and foes are busy gossiping about him, the gentleman is making his money per second. It does not even matter if you and I are fast asleep. Globacom never goes on vacation just the same way his petrol stations never fall into deep slumber or his oil well never cease pumping. He has carefully chosen to invest in products that everyone needs on a daily basis. He had the foresight to predict the volume business that telecoms could become in Africa by making it easily accessible and affordable for all. He demystified telecoms in Nigeria and extended his dare-devilry to other countries.

Dr. Adenuga has taught his mates that if your money is big enough, you must own your own bank or control its largest shares. While the so-called Nigerian mega-banks were moaning, groaning and agonising over the forced recapitalisation of financial institutions under the Obasanjo administration, he was the only bank owner who effortlessly merged his two banks, DEVCOM Merchant Bank and Equatorial Trust Bank and raised his N25 billion capital pronto. I had a raucous laugh when I read how Forbes wrote that Adenuga’s bank could not have been worth much. No bank in Nigeria is that small and certainly not a bank owned by the business octopus.

Dr. Adenuga operates on the philosophy that you must win all the time. For him, there is no excuse for failure. If you fail, you must continue to strive till you begin to thrive and succeed. It took longer than necessary for the Globacom take-off in Ghana because there were just too many obstacles to surmount. But he would rather be late than being rushed into doing a shoddy job. Nothing but the best must come from the stable of the man we all love to address as The Guru. When he eventually took off in Ghana, even Angels in heaven shouted Hallelujah, and gave him a standing ovation. It was sheer magic the day his network was switched on.

Dr. Adenuga is the Master of human development. He has built a superlative network of business opportunities for Nigerians at home and abroad. He’s easily the biggest employer of labour outside of government in Nigeria. His direct employees run into several thousands. His indirect contribution to the labour force is reflected in those ubiquitous kids running after your cars with telephone recharge cards day and night. You must also remember to add on those petrol station attendants selling petroleum at ConOil filling stations all over the country. He has clearly elevated the status of our artistes through generous endorsements and maximum exposure on international Media. Through Adenuga, our artists now appear like the authentic stars that they are.

Dr. Adenuga is the biggest investor in the development of sports in Africa today. He must take substantial credit for the recent victory of Nigeria at AFCON 2013 in South Africa. He was the benevolent man who resurrected the comatose Nigerian Football League, just like he has helped Ghanaian football to witness sporadic boom. Adenuga has raised the bar of entertainment as a profitable industry in Africa. He has been paying many artistes what was definitely beyond their dreams only ten years ago. His sponsorship of African Voices on CNN has also promoted the positive side of Africa; a continent that internationally used to be synonymous with famine, wars and diseases.

Dr. Adenuga is regarded as the most generous man in Africa today. While many businessmen would call press conferences before donating less than a hundred thousand dollars, he gives out millions every single day with a strict warning to the beneficiaries that “mum is the word.” His belief is that charity is a spiritual obligation that should never be a subject of media hype or vain-glorification. He has unobtrusively etched his name on the hearts of the young and old, the poor and the rich, in a manner that would be difficult to match.

Indeed, Dr. Adenuga is God’s work in progress. He deserves our prayers and warmest congratulations.

A toast to the Guru at 60…
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Kunle Famoriyo
I rejoice with you today my dear brother in this our month of April, as I also turned 60 on the 22nd. Since our days at Ebenezer Primary School, Oke-Ado Ibadan, God has always been faithful to you. The Almighty Father continue to direct you aright till date....I wish you many happy returns in good health, long life and adequate divine abundance. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Cheers!!!
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Chief Fassy Adetokunboh Yusuf
ON Monday, April 29, one of the legends of our time will clock 60 years. Expectedly, the media, especially the print will be agog with congratulatory messages to celebrate this unique Nigerian who has made a success of his socio-economic endeavours. Otunba Mike Ishola Adeniyi Adenuga (Jr.) has become a business colossus and the barometer for benchmarking the country’s economic and philanthropic landscape, and indeed, those of the West African sub-region.

A cerebral business mogul, Otunba Mike Adenuga’s entry into the economic arena became noticeable in the 1980’s and in quick succession he founded and nurtured Devcom Merchant Bank Limited, Equitorial Trust Bank Limited and Conoil Limited to enviable heights. The advent of the Global System for Mobile Communications (hitherto known as Groupe Special Mobile) in Nigeria saw the enigmatic Mike Adenuga (Jr.) floating what, to date, is the only indigenous and private telecommunications company, Globacom Limited to challenge the earlier three entrants - Zain (now Airtel), MTN, and NITEL. Ever since, the industry has never been the same as Globacom brought with it innovation, patriotism, and zeal yet to be matched by any other telecommunications company.

The auspicious event of Adenuga’s diamond birthday is a consequential and monumental moment to celebrate success, resilience, excellence, generosity and kindness, humility, optimism, patriotism, corporate social responsibility, and many more as exemplified and personified by this thoroughbred Ijebu.

How do we define or determine success? To paraphrase Bessie Stanley, to achieve success is to live well, to gain the respect of those around us, to fill our niche and accomplish our task, to leave the world better than it was met, to look for the best in others and give them the best one could, for one’s life to be an inspiration to others, and for one’s memory to be a benediction. The cumulation of all these points to the fact that Adenuga (Jr.) is a success story in every material sense.

A resilient entrepreneur, his achievement in life has been built on concrete personal achievement and damning the challenges of failure. No doubt, business has not been a bed of roses. He once made an attempt to acquire the moribund and defunct NITEL, but for some inexplicable reasons, this did not materialize. Re-strategizing, he launched Globacom, which introduced what was then said to be impossibility, the Per Second billing regime that has now become the vogue in the mobile telecommunications community.

According to Rick Pitino, ‘excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer,’ while Booker T. Washington, said that ‘excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. Adenuga (Jr.) is a man of rare and consummate excellence. He does not belong to the wasted or wasting generation. Rather, he dazzles us with his virtue and outstanding qualities, and above all, his commitment to achieve the best for his race.

Talking about his generosity reminds one of the quotation from Albert Pike that, ‘what we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; and what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.’ Equally true is the fact that ‘those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.’ These two statements exemplify the spirit of Adenuga (Jr.). He has done much for Nigeria and Africa. He has also brought fame, honour and prestige to the black race.

A leader among men, he has always avoided putting himself above others. To some, he is elusive or evasive, but those who know him attest to his uncommon humility and shyness. Humility, according to George Arliss ‘is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all the possible changes of life.’ The transformation of Adenuga (Jr.) to one of the richest men of our time can surely not have been achieved without a good dose of humility.

It is no gainsaying that ‘no pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit (Helen Keller).’ The achievements of Adenuga (Jr.) have been built on optimism - seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. His life is telling us that we can conquer our nightmares because of our dreams, and that there are possibilities in impossibilities. Indeed, it is possible to operate from a higher level of consciousness if and when we identify the opportunities in any good, bad and ugly environment. The dream in us will die if we are pessimistic.

A patriot of no mean order, his business empire attests to his commitment to and belief in the country. Directly and indirectly employing over 500,000 workers, he is a major stakeholder in the Nigerian project. The queuing into the philosophy of corporate social responsibility has been a great uniqueness of Mike Adenuga (Jr.). Every part of the country has benefitted from his tremendous spirit of giving to charity, sports, culture, education and many more.

Recently, he was conferred with the second highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON). He is the greatest ambassador of Ijebuland in the socio-economic sphere and an indefatigable Pillar of sports and youth development in Nigeria. Adenuga (Jr.) is an indomitable employer of labour and the economic generalissimo of our time.

On a personal level, after the Awujale of Ijebuland appointed me the Coordinator of the centuries’ old annual Ojude-Oba of Ijebuland some seven years ago, the involvement of his company, Globacom has changed the face of the festival. The festival, through the instrumentality of Adenuga (Jr.) has become a global event playing host to millions of people annually including Presidents, Governors, National and State legislators, diplomats and foreign tourists. He is undoubtedly, the foremost benefactor of our Ijebu’s cultural heritage - the Annual Ojude Oba Festival.

In conclusion, the diamond jubilee of the Otunba Apesin of Ijebuland, Mike Adenuga (Jr.), is indeed, a unique opportunity to salute his selfless and unwavering commitment to humanity and astonishing accomplishments in life. May his Diamond Jubilee usher in more grace to his glory as he continues to further manifest his destined greatness.

Happy Birthday to a quintessential and an amazing son of Ijebuland. May his mega vision, far-reaching mission and journey of purposive and selfless service to humanity continue to magnify.

•Chief Fassy Adetokunboh Yusuf, the Baagbimo of Ijebuland, lawyer, media scholar and management consultant, is former Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Culture.
May 02, 2013
Post By: General Ibrahim Babangida
Mike, truly you epitomize hard-work, perseverance, doggedness, humility, diligence and patriotism. The fact that you treasure the virtue of true friendship and loyalty to any cause you believe in gives you the cutting edge. I am eternally grateful for all the troubles you had to go through because of me in the hands of a regime that tried to derail our friendship and relationship.

Even when you came under severe pressure by that same regime which I helped to nurture, to blackmail me in order to hang me, you remained eternally loyal and steadfast. Only a businessman of character, sound upbringing and virtue could choose friendship instead of his economic empire. Only a man of delectable poise, with an open mind and fear of God would choose to sustain an age-long relationship instead of sacrificing same at the altar of avarice, greed and economic interest.

Such tribulations are prices we have to pay for true friendship. Your ability to remain focused in the face of pressure coupled with your capacity to identify and nurture talents is the reason why you are MIKE ADENUGA. There can never be another Mike Adenuga of your orientation.”
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Adewunmi Ibiyemi
Thank God for bringing to Nigeria, for the great things and helping hands you have given out to people. Deep from my heart and on behalf of my family i wish this great Icon, a man of repute many years of beautiful, sickness free and increasing family, long life and Prosperity.
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Olabode Ayoola
Forget how lengthy you've lived in this world.
Instead, look for the things that you've accomplished until now and how far that you can still to go!
I hope God will always be with you.
God bless and a warm happy 60th birthday to you!
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Gracebenamir
God bless you the people are commenting on your show that you will leave long,i bless you from today onward. Favor upon favor will be following you. I wish you more years ahead,you will leave long like Matusala. may your today be like tomorrow because tomorrow will never end
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Tanko Emmanuel Daji
SIR,today you are a year older,wiser,greater,higher and better in your life & various fields of endeavour and achievements.An ICON,RARE GEM,TRAILBRAZER indeed!Congratulations and Happy Birthday to you.Wishing you every best moments of lifetime,good health,long life and GOD'S Divine protection.
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Zemo Anthony
Happy Birthday to you, I Wish you God protection, God Blessing and God Favor upon your life and the life of your family members. May God continue to keep you, and protect you from your going out and your coming in. Have a lovely and a Successful Birthday. llnp.
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Orji Kalu
Kalu, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Oyekunle Oyewumi, described Adenuga as “one of the few courageous Nigerians with resilient spirit despite the numerous odds facing businesses in Nigeria.

Kalu said, “Our great Otunba has shown that with forthrightness and the never-say-die-Nigerian spirit, it is possible to achieve what many regard as the impossible.”
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Greg Billonaire De Sower
Here is wishing you a happy birthday.
May God satisfy you with length of blissful years ahead IJN. To the dreams of your heart, to the prayers on your lips, to every expectations and all you hope for & to the beautiful future ahead of you, I wish you supernatural accomplishment & divine favour always. Have fun & enjoy your day!



From Greg Billionaire De Sower.
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Sulaimon Ajiroba
Happy Birthday and Many Happy returns of the day in Success & Long Life In all your endevours
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Chike Ezeh
Happy birthday sir..may God continue to bless and keep you
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Segun Esan Timothy
60...70...80...90...100...Keep counting, Dr. Mike Adenuga, our amiable and invaluable Guru! Happy birthday, sir.
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Deola Omokeye
As your day is so shall your strength be,may you live long to enjoy the fruits of your labour,you are a truly an enigma with a giant strides at all facets of life,many happy returns to you at 60th.
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Meleki Michael Olusegun
AS YOU CELEBRATE YOUR BIRHTDAY TODAY, GOD SHALL CONTINUALLY BE YOUR STRENGHT.YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THE HEAD. HAPPY BIRTHDAY,SIR.
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Agha Agha Mba
T o one of the men I admire for uplifting our dear nation. I say,'' Happy Birthday to you'', sir.
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Femi Olaiya
You have bestrode our national business life like a colossus, you are an enigma, your business management practices have produced results that otherwise would have been thought unimaginable by most business management professors. No wonder they call you the bull! Happy birthday Dr Mike, and many happy returns!
Apr 30, 2013
Post By: Chinemerem Felix Michael
Sir, you add so much to other’s life in your own way to do everything, that’s why you’re wished every single good thing in your birthday, a new beginning.
You are really an unique personality, Everyone’s inspired by you. May you have many more years of happiness and success ahead. May you achieve everything that you wish for.Have an unforgettable day!
Apr 29, 2013
Post By: Titiloye Oyebanji
Happy birthday to a telecommunication giant who God had ordained to liberate Nigerians and all continents from telecom oppression and man-made inequality. Except you clock 200 years, you are going nowhere. Congratulations sir>
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