Many people do not know that Otunba Mike Adenuga, plays big in Oil. The general assumption is that he plays big only in Telecom. No. He plays big in Oil. 30 years ago, Otunba Mike Adenuga (Jnr), the GLO Founder, didn’t have the foggiest idea of what it was like being a player in one of the world’s biggest business: Oil. But today, the high-flying international businessman has remained a major player in that league just as he is in Telecoms. He has remained a towering giant in that terrain. He has remained unarguably the biggest and the most successful indigenous players within that sector.
What sort of a person is he? He is difficult to predict. He is not the outgoing type. He is quite reserved. When he is in town, no one knows. He spends the greater part of his time behind the massive oak table in his study in his Lagos home. He has no time for frivolities. As a rule, he does not attend parties. He does not pay social calls. If he needs to reach out to anyone, his aides fix that.
With his huge TV set switched on to globe channels to enable him catch up with world events, he busies himself with a lot of paperwork which is often punctuated by intermittent phone calls. He presides over his far-flung empire that spans Telecoms, Banking, Oil and Gas. He sits atop a conglomerate that traverses several continents. He has big offices around the world in Houston, Texas; Mayfair, London and Lagos, Nigeria. His empire consists of the following companies: Glo, Worldspan Consult Nigeria Limited, Tradoil Ltd., London, Devcorn Merchant Bank, Equitorial Trust Bank, Consolidated Manufacturing (West Africa) Ltd., Consolidated Oil, Zug, Switzerland and Mayfair, London; Consolidated Business Machines, to mention only a few.
Apart from Telecoms, the one that also consumes his time is his Consolidated Oil company. Through the radio on his side table, he monitors developments on his Oil field, offshore. As many times as possible in a day, he constantly gets in touch with his rig. This is in addition to a situation report that lands on his table daily.
Dr Mike Adenuga is certainly an expert and a guru in the Oil & Gas Industry, particularly in the exploration/production and the crude Oil trading aspects. His ability to keep finding Oil is phenomenal. He is highly reputed to have a nose for smelling crude Oil and the ability to position his rig and drill Oil in the right closures. His knowledge of the industry is not visceral. He is quite at home with all the terminologies. He can also interpret seismic data, logs, and complex petrophysics data.
Yet, he was never a trained Oilman. His entry was fortuitous. It was a gamble that has paid off. 30 years ago, he led Consolidated Oil to prospect for crude Oil, thereby setting in motion the agenda that would help to increase Nigeria’s crude Oil reserve from 16 to about 20 billion barrels by 1995. He was one of the indigenous businessmen who got exploration blocks. That decision has paid off handsomely. For he enjoys, not only the privilege of being the first Nigerian to find recoverable Oil, he is the only Nigerian today producing Oil in commercial quantity from his Oil field offshore in the Niger Delta. Through his efforts, Nigeria’s oil output is at almost 2 million barrels a day, well over the country’s 1.86 million barrels a day, OPEC quota has been driven further upwards.
Apart from Oil, he also plays big in Telecoms. He is the Chairman of GLOBACOM, a member of the Mike Adenuga Group. He does not like noise. He does not like Publicity of any kind. It’s a philosophy he has. It is a Philosophy he cherishes. It’s a Philosophy he has kept for years. By nature, he likes it easy and cool. He is a man of peace. He likes to take things easy.
Many don’t know he likes Music. He likes old school music. He likes the music of the ’60s and ’70s. He likes Juju music. He likes the music of Evangelist Ebenezer Obey & KSA. When he wants to relax he listens to their evergreen songs. He is close to both Obey & KSA. He has direct access to them. He calls them from time to time. In the Entertainment world, he loves all the old school singers & actors. He is very supportive of them in his own little way. Many of them, he made Glo Ambassadors.
Otunba Mike Adenuga is an enigma. He is an unconventional man, who does unconventional things. He is not your regular rich man. He’s got Class & Style. He likes to be different. He loves to live a quiet and reserved lifestyle. he does not go out. He does not go to parties. He does not even attend functions staged by his company or family members. Whenever Glo holds an event, he rarely shows up. He has trusted aides. He has competent hands. He has a lot of expatriates working for him. His daughter, Bella, has effectively taken over the running of his group. In matters of policy, she takes all the critical decisions. They only go to him for 2nd opinion. He has great trusts in her. He properly groomed her. He made her pay her dues. Not only did she attend all the best schools, he got her involved in the day-to-day running of the family business. He made her understudy him. He personally supervised her for about a decade before letting her climb to the penthouse where decisions are taking. He has also trained his other children making them play crucial roles in his businesses. They have all come to understand him. For you to survive, around Otunba Mike Adenuga, you have to be smart, hardworking and straight forward. He likes brilliant people. He likes those who can think on their feet. He likes those who think the impossible is possible. He does not take No for an answer. He does not like to hear that something is impossible. He likes people with the Can-Do spirit. He himself is like that. He works round the clock. He is always thinking of the next possible business deal. He is always looking for the next deal to close. He was one of the businessmen who saw the role Data were going to play in our lives and went for a Telecoms Licence in the ’90s. Today, the rest is history. He is now the Grandmaster of Data.
Mike Adenuga is one of the Bigger Boys in the world of business. He knows the Game. He plays the game. He is adept at it. He knows the principle of winning. He has set his own rules. He has his own winning formula, which has worked for him over the last 40 years. Though he is from Ijebu Igbo, he was born and bred in Ibadan. He will always tell all who cares to listen that he is an Ibadan Boy. He is a product of Ibadan Grammar School. He has a breathtaking house in Ibadan. That is where he often stays when he needs to relax or unwind. Many often wonder whether he relaxes or not. Yes. He does. He has his circle of friends. They are all old, old friends. When he feels like partying, he will create his own party in his Banana Island Palace where he lives in Lagos. He can organise his own party in 24 hrs. He has a drinks person he uses. He has a caterer that handles catering. He has an event planner that plans such events. And for music, he can decide to call up Commander or KSA to come and entertain him and his friends.
They are usually about 15 of them, all rich old boys, men of means. If Mike & his friends want a different kind of flavour, he will invite Demola Olota & half of his band to come thrill them with old English tunes, like the Nat King Cole tunes, etc, while they talk about everything under the sun, from Business to Politics to global issues. That is Mike Adenugas idea of fun and partying. He does not take chances. He does not joke with his security. You can’t sit on top of the war chest he is sitting on and take security lightly.
His family members and friends have come to recognise and appreciate his principles. Some of them have been forced to imbibe his principles of no party, no lavish spending. They all try to be in his good books, because of the favour and support they will often get from him if he behaves properly. Depending on his mood he can shower them with big, fat, checks in 7 digits.
He is a simple man. Mostly, he wears well-tailored Ankara. And he is smart in them. He has a simple taste. His best food is still the simple Yoruba food that he grew up with. All he prays to God for is good health and longevity. And God has answered his prayers. He is healthy, vibrant and strong. Why God has blessed him is because he blesses others too. At the end of every month, he spends about N100 million on helping people, especially the aged. Till Baba Sala passed on, he placed the comedian on a monthly allowance. All he does is to wrote our cheques in the name of the recipient and you are expected to go to one specific bank where he owns controlling shares. Once you introduce yourself as coming to lodge The Chairman’s cheque, you will be given Kingly treatment. The only rule before accessing your monetary gift is that you must open an account with that particular bank. All of that will be done for you whilst you have a drink.
City People can authoritatively reveal that though Mike Adenuga is a great Philanthropist and one of the biggest spenders when it comes to helping other people, he does not like the recipients of his largesse to tell the world whatever kind of help he has rendered. Once he touches your life, you are made forever. But the Golden rule for you to keep getting more support from him is for you to keep mum.
What further makes him an enigma is that you cannot reach him. You can’t send him a message. You can’t drop him a letter. He operates from his house. He is the only one who can reach you. He only sees those he wants to see. Now, you can see why he does not celebrate birthdays. You can also see why he is not the party type.