How Mike Adenuga made his money

The achievements of Mike Adenuga is not by accident, he is a man who believed in hard work; he climbed the ladder of success while working hard in every step he took until full success was achieved.  His ambitious life is a good testimony for all to see that there is no limitation to the level of greatness and financial success you can attain in life; it is the outcome of dedication and perseverance. That does not mean that all other people who have put in equally hard work and dedicated themselves to their business in one way or the other have all achieved financial success, some have a tale of woes to tell.

Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga widely known as Mike Adenuga was the son of Mr Oloye Adenuga , a teacher and Mrs Juliana Oyindamola Adenuga, a businesswoman from a royal background.  Mike Adenuga was born in Ibadan on the 29th of April, 1953. He is married to Joy Adenuga and has seven children.

Mike went to Ibadan Grammar School, Oyo State for his secondary education. He travelled to the United States of America in pursuit of his university education and completed his degree in Business administration in the North-Western Alva Oklahoma State University as well as Pace University, New York where he obtained a Master In Business Administration, MBA.

Adenuga, while he was a student in the university took up a job as a cab driver, and also worked as a security guard before returning to Nigeria. It all means either he partially or wholly sponsored himself in the University.

Business career progression

It will surprise you to know the business mogul called Mike Adenuga whom people see today as one of the richest people in Africa made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks. This is one of the traits of a ‘star’ business person because, for him, no job is so menial. Mike Adenuga is always searching for available and unexplored opportunities. He is a real entrepreneur. His friends nicknamed him ‘John Bull’ because of his insatiable desire to explore new opportunities.

Saw-mill and lace importation

Upon his return from America after his studies, he supported his mother’s sawmill business and eventually took over the business from her at the age of 26. Over time, opportunity called on him to become a lace dealer, he seized it, after an Austrian lace manufacturer convinced him on a flight from New York to Nigeria to invest in the business of lace material. He became an importer of lace materials and it is from this business he made his first millions.

Oil business

The oil business was the first big business Mike Adenuga went into that enhanced his net financial worth. Having good friends is good particularly those who help you in the way to success in life.  Mike Adenuga is lucky to have some of these friends in the military. He was awarded huge contracts to build military barracks and other military installations in Nigeria. Under the presidency of Ibrahim Babangida, former military head of state, he was awarded an oil exploration licence. Having the licence, he started Conoil Producing Limited, to produce and market petroleum products. The company then discovered crude oil in commercial quantity in Ondo State and explored it in full.

Soon afterwards, in 1990, he received a drilling licence and 1991 the company went into operation to extract crude oil and finally expanded to Delta State where it has up to six oil blocks. The company produced high-quality oil and has been environmental friendly in its oil operations.

Banking business

In 1990, he ventured into the banking sector and established the Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB), a fully indigenous bank. In 2011 the bank had grown to boast of 100 branches scattered up and down the country. Before then, in 2006, ETB had to merge with Devcon bank for consolidation purposes.  Soon after, the ETB was found to be distressed, prompting the Federal Government of Nigeria to bail out the bank and consequently took up a substantial percentage of the share capital.

Telecommunication business

Mike Adenuga hit his fortune jackpot in the telecommunication business. He was issued the second GSM licence in 2006 after the first licence issued in 1999 was revoked. He set up Globacom Limited and built a telecom company with a submarine cable linking Nigeria to the United Kingdom. Glo provides both GSM and internet services that are very reliable and at the same time cheap.

Glo took the bull by the horn when they introduced per second billings in Nigeria. Other operators quickly followed suit to avoid being left behind. Globacom also added other services such as mobile internet, mobile banking, vehicle tracking while it sponsored Blackberry (a mobile smartphone). It launched its services in the Republic of Benin in 2008 and continued to expand to other African countries. Today Globacom operates in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and the Republic of Benin. Research shows that Glo has about 43 million subscribers as well as the second-largest telecom company in NIgeria after MTN.


As you would expect, the second richest man in Nigeria is the owner of a massive, multi-billion estate with nine duplexes on Banana Island in Lagos. People say his estate is heaven on earth. He has the Mike Adenuga Towers located in Victoria Island, Lagos.


Mike Adenuga has received many awards, including the following:

  • African Entrepreneur of the year, 2007 at the first African Telecoms Awards (ATA)
  • Pillar of Football in Africa
  • Nigerian National Award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON
  • Special Golden Jubilee Independence Anniversary Award

Net worth

Mike Edenuga’s net worth has gone up fast, from $4.6 billion in 2012 to $5.3 billion in 2018.  Today Forbes puts the net worth of the 2nd richest Nigerian at $8.7 billion


Mike Adenuga ambitious life paid off. It pays to be dedicated, focused and above all honest.  It is not going to be my opinion, but at a glance to see for yourself who is Mike Adenuga.

Mike Adenuga at a Glance

  • Second wealthiest Nigerian, made his wealth from Telecom – Gloabacom and Oil production and marketing.
  • His GSM telephone network, Glo for short, is the second-largest mobile telephone network in Nigeria, with over 43 million subscribers. And his wealth is generated mainly from Globacom business
  • His oil-producing business, Conoil Producing has 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta
  • Mike Adenuga is a graduate, in addition to a second degree, MBA from Pace University in New York
  • He made his first million at the age of 26, importing lace materials, and distributing Nigerian Bottling company products.
  • He ventured into banking with the acquisition of Equatorial Trust Bank.

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Chris Okafor

Chris Okafor

Chief Chris Okafor is a marketing consultant and CEO of C. J. Marketing Academy, providing training services to the industry and educational services to the profession.
He produces study materials for the students studying for the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) examinations.
He also provides tutorial services for students writing the NIMN examinations

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