Mike Adenuga, one of Africa’s shrewdest businessmen and entrepreneurs, is Nigeria’s gift to the continent and the global business community. This much manifests through his unparalleled contribution to industry and academia. Just recently, he endowed the Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) Professorial Chair in Entrepreneurship Studies at the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre, University of Lagos, with immense benefits for the academic community, Lanre Alfred writes
Billionaire magnate, Mike Adenuga, makes his fortune work for humanity. His enterprise thrives where commerce rebirths thus unfurling into a sprawling empire that employs over one million Africans and expatriates.
Aside generating massive employment, his business interests provide unparalleled support for governments and communities on the African continent. As his business empire manifests as the stuff dreams are made of, his exploits give an industrial scent that blossoms through the odds.
The depth at which Adenuga thrives as a business strategist and colossus comprises his personal song, his exclusive canvas and the energetic thumbprint that he leaves upon the world.
This is why he is persistently on song. His influence spans the gamut of contemporary life; from business to sports, entertainment, politics and academia, Adenuga is constantly the thrust of studies and elevated discourse.
Just recently, the University of Lagos (UNILAG), in Akoka, Lagos, experienced the Globacom chairman’s golden touch as he endowed the Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr) Professorial Chair in Entrepreneurship Studies.
The chair was endowed by Adenuga to focus interest in research that supports enterprise creation and development in Nigeria.
The Director of the centre, Professor Sunday Abayomi Adebisi, will deliver the first Special Annual Lecture as Occupier of the Professorial Chair on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.
The lecture titled: ‘Revolutionising the Nigerian Economy to Create Decent Jobs and Sustainable Wealth: The Sole-Ladder, The Sole-Option and the Sole-Platform,’ will be delivered at the J.F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium.
Major players and stakeholders drawn from the private and public sectors are expected to attend the lecture which would address and proffer solutions to some of the identified dire challenges facing the society. Otunba Abimbola Ashiru, the ebullient Chairman of Odu’a Investment Company is a Special Guest of Honour.
The Special Annual Lecture series which is to be debuted by the first Chair Occupier and Professor of Entrepreneurship, Hub and Strategic Management, Professor Adebisi is part of the cardinal objectives of the Professorial Chair.
Many have marvelled over Adenuga’s secret strategy and staying power for remaining relevant across various spheres of human existence. To this end, not a few pundits have argued that if the enterprise titan is persistently celebrated, it is because he had paid his dues when it mattered most.
Adenuga appreciates the sun every morning because he has lived through the dark. Having braved and survived the rigour of starting a business and sustaining it through an era when Nigeria frustrated the ease of doing business, Adenuga emerged from the wilderness of enterprise as an entrepreneurial genius.
He commands the reins of the enterprise even as he strokes its secrets. It is almost magical; his capacity to fondle desire from a subtle nudge into a wild grope. A grope against the elements. Against reality. Few men are indeed gifted at such enterprise, like Adenuga.
Adenuga’s role in job creation has had a deep impact on millions of lives, locally and on a global scale.
There’s a common thread here. All of his projects are the kind of futuristic fantasies you would find in the heart of an ambitious youth. Yet Adenuga makes no secret of the fact that he was inspired by his passion to exploit his God-given talents and improve his immediate environment and humanity in general.
There is a lot to learn from Adenuga’s business culture. Globacom, for instance, has been heralded for its innovative data-driven design approach, which seeks to understand each customer and what they are looking for in a telecommunication experience. This way, the company tailors the experience to each customer and builds features that resonate with each user to make communication, exciting, safe and enjoyable.
His company learns from the innovations in personalising customer feedback and experience and applies it to how it personalizes daily experiences for its teeming customers. Over time, Adenuga has led his telecoms franchise beyond the cusp of making this a common practice into an era where it manifests as common practice.
We can also take learning from Adenuga’s innovation strategy as a whole — which has focused on transforming the telecommunication industry. His company, Globacom, is innovative even in its approach to customer service.
At work, in the boardroom, and beyond, his capacity for humane leadership is inspiring. Adenuga is not particularly interested in making more money to splurge on himself. At 70 years old, he has amassed a staggering fortune. Instead, what has consumed him recently is how to commit his fortune impactfully to the lives of society’s impoverished.
While it may be tempting to view his effort as a simple philanthropic exercise in transactional leadership, Adenuga’s charitable gestures show how a careful and humane use of affluence can transform something straightforward into a higher cause through servant leadership.
Over the years, Adenuga came to believe that his vast fortune could be put to use solving some of the world’s most challenging problems. Yet, while a leader’s total devotion to a cause greater than themselves lies at the heart of the concept of servant leadership, it is not always enough to persuade others to take action.
Effective servant leadership often employs fundamental negotiation skills to convince others – internal and external publics of his organisation – to come on board. This noble trait of Adenuga has established him as one of the most successful and respected entrepreneurs of all time. He is known for his long-term investment strategy that focuses on growing his companies with strong fundamentals and a knack for profitability.
Adenuga is also well known for his frugality and dedication to giving back to society through philanthropy. Additionally, Adenuga has a reputation for being honest and transparent in his business dealings, which has helped to earn him the respect of both investors and the general public.
There is an encouraging irony in the fact that the most successful capitalist of our times is not a ruthless raider or a flashy speculator but a patient long-term investor and patriot, who commits his genius and enterprise to fostering local industry and a sound, sustainable business empire.
Adenuga’s enterprise was spurred by an overriding ambition to make money but also by an overwhelming need to help the needy and remain positively rooted in his community.
He endeavours to uplift and provide through his platform, opportunities for Nigerians to thrive, whatever their calling. For instance, the company recently signed three top Nigerian music artists, Asake, Kizz Daniel, and Chike, as its brand ambassadors.
The company’s decision is aimed at showcasing these icons as role models for aspiring young Nigerians in a time when positive heroes and mentors are in short supply. This move not only supports the growth of music, Nollywood, and sports but also encourages youth to pursue their dreams by looking up to these ambassadors as mentors.
The unveiling ceremony took place at Globacom’s corporate headquarters, Mike Adenuga Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos, in celebration of the company’s 20th anniversary. Globacom believes in highlighting the potential of youth and enterprise and aims to inspire young people to achieve their goals through focus, passion, and dedication.
On Adenuga’s watch, Globacom is committed to promoting the entertainment sector, recognising its ability to showcase Nigeria to the world and transform lives. By appointing these stars as ambassadors, the company hopes to inspire a new generation of visionary young individuals who can overcome challenges and achieve more while retaining hope in the face of adversity.
For the latter, it offers a substantial source of income and exposure, allowing them to reach a broader audience and expand their fan base. This financial support can be instrumental in producing high-quality movies, music, music videos, and stage performances, ultimately raising the bar for creativity and production standards in the industry.
Furthermore, it creates synergies between the financial and entertainment sectors, driving innovation in both industries as they collaborate on innovative payment solutions, digital music distribution, and more. Overall, these partnerships are shaping the music industry by infusing it with new resources, technology, and opportunities for artists to thrive while offering companies a unique way to engage with their target audience.
On Adenuga’s watch, Globacom also thrives on peculiar strengths. And as they say: the strength of an enterprise subsists in its capacity to traverse unimaginable tracts in pursuit of phenomenal and unlikely payoffs. Globacom does this with unrivalled finesse. Thus its phenomenal growth over the years.
One thing Adenuga understood quite early was the dynamics of the African public and social spheres. For instance, he painstaking built a telecoms giant that asserted his genius and carved his niche in the public sphere by typically engaging consumers both in their active moments and during moments of downtime, when there is a lull in their affairs – that is, when they are moving between one point or activity and the next, and their attention is free for new inputs.
In the virtual realm, Adenuga’s Globacom engaged in real-time connections and dynamic execution while serving up any one of hundreds or thousands of variations of impactful messaging tailored to the consumer’s profile and, increasingly, location—within milliseconds.
As its targeting of its customers improved in the public sphere, it became less intrusive of it, in their estimation. More importantly, the telecoms giant created content, projects and initiatives that targeted the growth of its business public and subscribers. It made sure, for instance, that all of its messaging and corporate social responsibility projects align with the consumers’ experience at the moment they encounter the ad.
Adenuga created and sustained initiatives that helped people reach personal objectives. It integrated its business interests with a range of solutions for customers in every stratum of society.
And Nigeria is the major beneficiary.