The third sequence of our Adenuga’s story continues……..
-At a point, he acted as a private middleman who got term-based oil contracts from the Nigerian government in the name of Tradoil & Crownway Enterprises while the UK-based Arcadia would handle the fuel cargoes. He also built military barracks (and the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna with Lt. General Ipoola Alani Akinrinade’s younger brother, Femi. Akinrinade, aformer Chief of Army Staff, was the General Officer Commanding, I Infantry Division, 1975-1979 at the time), supplied the armed forces and the police with weapons while also workingas a distributor for Coca Cola, Nigerian Breweries, Cadbury, Guinness and Continental Breweries. He was also a dealer for Peugeot Automobile of France. For him, it was to ‘go into anything that gives me profit.’
-With time, his fortune grew so amazingly that he was buoyant enough to sink over $100 million into his own oil prospecting and drilling company, the Consolidated Oil Company. This company, founded in 1990, is the very first indigenous Nigerian company to discover, drill and produce oil. And you know na, we are not talking of palm oil here….lol! Thus, his fortunes are based on atripod: telecommunications, oil & gas and banking. He is also into real estate, food manufacturing & processing (butter, cocoa cake and vegetable oil), domestic & international market activities and aviation (not many know he is the owner of Southern Airlines).
-Under the General Sani Abacha regime, his Communication Investment Limited (CIL) was given a conditional licence and frequencies to operate. The licence has earlier been given to the Chagouris of Lebanon. Obasanjo would later cancel all the approvals given to him by previous governments. But a relentless fighter that he is, he told his men:
“Let’s go into this thing. Let us forget going to court and all that. Let’s go under the new system and fight for the licence. We must fight with everything we have to get the licence.”
When he made a second deposit of $20 million for Globacom licence, many scoffed at him and he was told to stop chasing shadows. His brother, Demola says of those dark days:
“Mike lost $20 million, but he never lost hope. He never gave up hope. He kept hope alive; that is one thing about my brother: he is an eternal optimist. Something kept propelling him not to give up on the matter. He pursued it and he eventually got the licence.”
-For those who believe he is a proxy for IBB, sorry to burst your bubble. They’ve been friends since the 1980s and have remained so till date. Here is what the top-of-the-hill-residing, gap-toothed General has to say about the widespread rumour:
“We meet, we talk, like the good friends that we are. But I also have one policy that governs my relationship with friends that are very close to me. Whether it was M.K.O Abiola, whether it is Mike Adenuga, and probably five or so others, I don’t get involved in their businesses. You can go and ask them.”
The General went ahead to describe Mike Adenuga as a very loyal and reliable friend, and one who never forgets favours, unlike many who abandoned him when he left power in August 1993. He states:
“When I left office, a few of my friends honestly stood by me and I remain eternally grateful to them. Mike is one of them. Another man who doesn’t want his name mentioned any time I speak on this issue is one of them. What I like about them is this: they appreciate whatever little effort you did for them and so, they don’t abandon you. Some people will tell you, ‘ah, when I was in the office, a lot of people used to come to me, now I left office, you don’t find anybody.’ This is the Nigerian factor for you. But these characters remain close and I honestly remain grateful.”
-When his mother died, he gave her a most befitting burial in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State on 13th September, 2005. A carnival-like ceremony, it was stormed by former President Obasanjo who buzzed in in a helicopter (that man and effizy sha…lol!) and when he entered the church, no one else was allowed to come in except Titi Atiku Abubakar (wife of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and WOTCLEF Founder). Other guests: Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola. Governors of Lagos, Ogun, Taraba, Bauchi, Niger, Kaduna and Imo also gave a new definition to the Yoruba parlance of olowonshoreolowo (the wealthy always mingle with one another). Even IBB showed up at the wake-keeping. But the Awujale of Ijebuland, who is the Paramount Ruler of Ijebus was not able to attend because it is against the tradition for the Kabiyesi to lay his eyes on a corpse. His staff of office was placed on her hearse. Encased in a casket made of gold, Mama Adenuga was laid to rest in a marble grave.