The second-richest man in Nigeria, businessman Mike Adenuga makes most of his money in the mobile telecom and oil production industries, both on the investment and entrepreneurial side. With a net worth of $8 billion, Adenuga is the founder of one of Nigeria’s largest mobile phone networks and the oil exploration firm, Conoil Producing. He is 61 and credited with creating 6,080 jobs. Here are 12 things you didn’t know about Mike Adenuga.
1. He supports Nigerian athletes
After the Nigerian soccer team won the 2013 African Cup of Nations, Adenuga not only rewarded them with $1 million, but also gave the team’s coach $200,000 and offered to personally pay his salary when he considered leaving the league. Adenuga’s telecom company is a sponsor of the Nigerian premier league.
2. He has seven children
The mogul has seven children from several different women, some of whom work for his telecom company. Adenuga is known for having a polygamous lifestyle. He is married to Titi Joyce Adenuga.
3. He attended college in the U.S.
Adenuga studied business administration at Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University in New York.
4. He once drove a taxi
To earn some extra money during college, Adenuga drove a taxi and worked as a security guard at night. When he returned to Nigeria after earning his university degrees, he operated and worked in a small sawmill that he inherited from his father.
5. He struggled to get his license
His Global System for Mobile Communications License, that is. In 1999 Adenuga was issued a conditional license to operate Communications Investment Limited (CIL). Later the Nigerian government revoked the license and organized an auction for it. Four companies, including CIL, bid and won on the license and paid a $20 million deposit for the license. Unfortunately, CIL failed to pay the deposit on time, losing both the license and the deposit. Finally in 2002 Adenuga bid and won the license through his company Globacom Limited.
6. He first made a name for himself in construction
While still in his early 20s, Adenuga used his relationships with military personnel to land high-earning government construction contracts. In the 1980s and 1990s Adenuga sought out construction contracts with various sectors of the military to “build a diverse portfolio” according to TheAfricanMillionaire.com. Some believe that these relationships helped perpetuate Adenuga’s wealth, a belief that Adenuga hasn’t confirmed.
7. He founded a bank
Adenuga is the founder of Equitorial Trust Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Nigeria. At one point the bank grew to have 100 branches before being bought out by Serling Bank Plc., a financial services provider.
8. He’s been arrested
In 2009, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission detained Adenuga for money laundering. Following the event, Adenuga fled the country to live in London until he received a pardon. It’s suspected that Adenuga’s activities as a “political influence peddler” helped him get the pardon.
9. He has already purchased his grave
In 2013, Adenuga paid more than $1 million to secure his burial site. The site is in the modern Vaults and Garden Cemetery in Lagos, Nigeria, where many of the country’s affluent are buried.
10. He is philanthropic
In 2012 Adenuga donated around $3.4 million to the Bayelsa Flood Relief Fund. Governor Seriake Dickson made a personal visit to Adenuga to receive the donation. The Globacom founder’s check helped set up a post-flood management committee.
11. He lives on Banana Island
Adenuga lives in an estate worth an estimated $5 million-plus on Banana Island in Nigeria. The property contains eight duplexes, two watch towers, a mosque, a church, a multipurpose hall, a helipad and a yacht deck.
12. AncestryAdenuga is a descendant of a wealthy mid-19th-century trading family named Pariola. The Pariola family was successful in trading goods such as palm oil, stock fish, flour, and food products. Through the Pariola family, Adenuga is also related to royalty. The Adetona family, which has reigned over the ljebu Kingdom of Nigeria, also descends from the Pariolas.