Secret Things You Never Knew About Mike Adenuga – Part 2

We continue the Adenuga Secret stories here

-While studying in the 1970s, he had to survive and raise his school fees by working as a security man and a taxi driver, an extremely dangerous job for a blackman in the crime-Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. His curiosity in Nigeria where a little Mike tugged the steering wheel with drivers amused them, and they taught him how to drive. This, he made use of as a means of survival. If you are thinking he drove those shiny yellow New York cabs, you are wrong. He drove an unregistered jalopy and had to ply areas where the police would not harass him. It was as a taxi driver that he met a man named Dele Giwa, who was also surviving as a cab driver. Giwa would later be blown out of existence in 1986 by Nigeria’s first parcel bomb. As a student in America, Adenuga suffered and laboured for months as he was not getting a kobo from home. He knew the consequences, faced the challenges and triumphed. He might not have finished schooling without his extra efforts. Did I tell you that he also worked as a waiter and a mortuary attendant in the US? Yes, he did. And by the time he came back to Nigeria then, he was with a bushy beard.

-As a student in North Western Oklahoma State University, the school slogan was ‘Ride With Pride’, and he would later transform it to become ‘Glo With Pride’, when he launched Globacom.

-After graduating, he headed straight for Naija, and without wasting any time, started utilizing all he learnt. He did not seek any paid employment but took the risky road of entrepreneurship. He took over the management of the family’s small sawmill in Ogun State and was also selling removable car stereos at the same time as he had noticed the problem caused by the rampant theft of car stereos. Civil servants awash with the Udoji Commission salary raise were buying cars but thieves would do away with the car stereos. With Adenuga’s stereos, people could then park their cars, detach the stereos and go to bed. Simple. And he made cool cash. If you want to make money too, look around you, find a pressing problem and create a much-needed solution.

-By the age of 22, he had delved into the business of commodities, general merchandise, construction, importation (of mainly sawmill equipment, tomato paste, wines, beer and textile materials {especially lace} made in Austria). Why is my mischievous mind thinking that good fabrics and chilled beer are integral components of an Ijebu owambe parry? Anyways, just saying…lol!

-Believe it or not, there was a time when Adenuga was so reclusive that it was nearly impossible for you to see even his picture in the newspapers. He even hired consultants to blank him out of the media and the general public. His daughter, Bella, corroborates this:

“My dad has always been a kind of quiet person. It was Globacom that shot him into the limelight.”

-In one of his very rare interviews, he narrates how he met an Austrian businessman to Newswatch:
“I went on a trip to New York and when I was coming back, I missed my flight, being on British Airways, so I had to fly Swiss Air and I sat next to the owner of one of the biggest lace manufacturing factories in Austria. So, we were talking and he got me interested in importing laces, and all sorts of things.”
Okay, you know why Iyaniwura had to point that out to you? Learn to identify and utilize opportunities! Adenuga later reveals:
”The secret of my success is hard work, God’s blessings and luck.”

-By 26, Michael ‘Aneye Toto’ Ishola was already a millionaire. Now, chill. At this point, some critics will take him up saying that he became fabulously wealthy by benefiting from the close and cosy links he had with Nigerian military dictators. Well, that’s not a rumour. Babangida’s oil minister, Professor Jubril Aminu came up with a policy to grant licenses to individuals and encourage private sector participation in oil exploration and exploitation. Otunba was one of the first beneficiaries of the Petroleum Act (MKO Abiola of Summit Oil was another). Upon getting his oil bloc prospecting license (OPL 113), Adenuga went straight to work in the South Western Niger Delta Region and in less than a year on 24th December, 1991, he struck oil in the shallow (offshore) waters of Ondo State in his first oil well (named Bella-1) becoming the first indigenous oil firm to do so. Other Nigerians could not take the risk, and had sold off their licences to expatriates. An incorrigible risk taker, he had hired an oil rig for $5 million BUT he recruited only Nigerian oil specialists to do the job (he has always been a patriotic man). Since then, he has never looked back. The first seed money that he used to start business was given to him by his late mum. It was a modest sum but he used it judiciously. #Iyaniwura.

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