By EBERE WABARA
I have the conviction that no Nigerian – living or dead – has written about this especial birthday celebrator as much as I have unflinchingly done for exclusive and personal reasons since October 8, 2004 (Friday Back Page of this medium) and will continue to do so as long as I am in good health. I welcome any evidential contestation on this. Perhaps, the only person who could meet my unprecedentedness, marginally, in this particular communicative resolution, is Mr. Mike Awoyinfa, a good man in all accountabilities, followed by Otunba Dele Momodu (Bob Dee).
Anytime I write about Uncle Niyi, there is a superfluity of fresh insights and novel perspectives because there are 63 million things to talk about him! This explains the inexhaustiveness of literature on his humble personage – despite overflowing wealth, arising from global entrepreneurship.
It is obvious that our subject today has divine blessings, which explain why everything he touches prospers beyond prefatory imaginations. There is hardly anything he goes into, which does not flourish to unbelievable heights – some people wonder whether he has a magic wand that defies comprehension. His shadow continues to grow exponentially as if he has conquered his environment and now calls the tune in all facets of human existentialism. Only few men have such esoteric capacities.
We have transcended beyond the level where he could be associated with being a rare gem. Uncle Niyi has become an enigma of sorts. The issues and things about him exemplify uniqueness, as his own template for life may not necessarily work for others because there is an element of peculiarity to his own humanity that is almost inimitable. I declare there can never be another fellow like this man we are toasting today in our generation.
Our especial guest on this page today does not stop at dreaming, but actualises and achieves his heart’s desires. Anything that crosses his mind is pursued vigorously and passionately. His commitment to such quests is almost uncanny, as there is no failure in his profile. If it were possible, everyone would like to be in this man’s position, essentially because of the profundity of his life – not just on account of his bursting opulence. Uncle Niyi has done exceedingly well for himself, family and society.
The uncommon thing about this associational uncle of mine is that he is always breaking new grounds. There is no doubt that he has a lion’s heart that is enveloped in his massive physique. My uncle’s intimidating physicality seems to attune with his moneybags status even though there is no validity in such a relationship as size is not necessarily synonymous with affluence for pot-bellied “big men” (in Nigerian parlance).
I felicitate with Mr. Chairman on this epochal occasion of his 63rd birthday. Nothing has really changed, as this big uncle still looks as if he just marked 60 years! What this suggests is that by the time Mr. Glo is 70 years presently, he may still appear to be 60 years. It is not indicative of money, but God’s blessings. This is wishing you more blessings and power to your elbow, sir.
It gives me great joy to commemorate The Bull’s birthday because of what he means to my family, immediate and extended. I am a testimony of his love for people and a testamentary manifestation to his unparalleled philanthropy. I will not expatiate on this as I have resolved not to be unduly repetitive in my laudatory interventions, involving Mr. Chairman.
A golden-hearted man, who has touched innumerable lives in one way or another, his good works and compassion for humanity speak volumes of his person. For those who may not know, I am a beneficiary of Mr. Chairman’s illimitable and unparalleled generosity and philanthropy. It is my fervent prayer that God will continue to bless ‘The Bull’ beyond measure, empower him without comparison and make him continually relevant in the service of the less-privileged members of the less-privileges members of the society.
In all that he does, Mr. Chairman sets the pace – he does not like second position. This is why he brings quintessence to everything associated with him at whatever level and in all spheres of life. For him, it is either the best or nothing else. He cherishes hardwork, honesty and forthrightness. At 8 in the morning, Mr. Chairman is already in the office and will be there till past midnight and by the next day as early as 8.30 a.m., he is already holding a series of strategic meetings with top managers from some of his companies and business associates from across te world. There is no time for slothfulness. Every minute counts. Any of his employees who arrives late to scheduled or impromptu meetings must have another job waiting for him outside the Mike Adenuga Group! Otherwise, why would the person stroll in late to a meeting when Mr. Chairman is in a mid-way session with time-conscious staff?
Let me state that, having worked as a manager in two of the companies that constitute the Mike Adenuga Group amid occasional official meetings with him, I have the privilege, responsibility and great honour to especially celebrate the chairman and principal owner of Globacom, Nigeria’s leading telecommunications company, Dr. Michael Adeniyi Ishola Adenuga Jr. (GCON), today, on his 63rd Birthday. The choice of this soar-away medium for this particularly unique commemoration is informed by its excellent profile underscored by exclusivity of elitist professionalism among its genre of top-class journalism.
His reclusiveness, humility and philanthropic humanism are unparalleled in this part of the world where obscene display of wealth and class haughtiness is the crass second nature of moneybags. Dr. Adenuga’s economic nationalism and diplomacy are enough justifications for this celebratory interlude in the life of a man who is 99 percent self-made. There is nothing in his pedigree to explain his borderless and boundless affluence in supranational measures.
A highly detribalized Nigerian going by the ethnic configuration of thousands of humanity in his global conglomerate, this boardroom guru’s passion for quintessence in all departments of life hallmarks existential fanaticism that clearly domesticates survivalist responsibility. He does not subscribe to short-cuts. An oil executive and telecoms magnate whose triumphant attitudinal disposition to life is unimaginable, he goes for the summit with superlative anchorage. No half-measures in any circumstance. He believes nothing is impossible in this world. That is his philosophy of life. All challenges are surmountable hence he does not take impossibility for an answer. To him, everything is doable as long as you put your mind to it. That is his unimpeachable resolution!
Issuing from the above is his catalytic intervention in telephony that revolutionized speech chemistry in this part of the world. Prior to the advent of Glo Mobile, MTN had obfuscated its audiences with the declaration that per-second billing was unrealistic, unfeasible and unthinkable! It took the bullishness of this businessman to halt the gargantuan rip-off. He has helped Nigerians to remove the exploitative scales on their eyes and the commercial propaganda used to blur their sight and sensibilities.
The superfluity of his philanthropy, which transcends consanguinity, is such that he does not like seeing people suffering. There have been instances where he met less-privileged members of the society in sorry situations and had to intervene with alacrity in changing their lives. He does this without any class or other extraneous considerations. This economic wizard’s generosity is breathtaking.
Nothing makes this entrepreneurial whiz-kid happy as diligence, which explains the robustness of his passion for hard work by those privileged to be associated with his vast empire. Apart from the direct human capital in his international institutions, he has fertilized and watered innumerable private initiatives of people who have come his way over the years from all walks of life. His accommodative organisational capacity is unequalled in this part of the world. The declarations you digest here are factual beneficent attestations to this astute world-class business expert who has an uncommon penchant for transforming dormant businesses.
Overall, Dr. Adenuga, an unprecedented visionary symbol, has a profundity of energy, enthusiasm and empathy running in his veins. At times, those who know him closely wonder whether he would ever retire from economic activism. I have the conviction that his beneficiaries’ prayers for him have the propensity to keep him for a long time to come. Simply put, this man has affected and continues to affect uncountable lives, many of whom I know. He enjoys offering Nigerians and non-Nigerians limitless platforms particularly through the instrumentality of Globacom.
The writer does not know, yet, if there is anyone who can be compared to this multi-billionaire in terms of attitudinal disposition, philanthropic invaluableness, generation of novelties and success inclination. It seems, somehow, that there is divine manifestation in whatever he lays his hand upon which gives rise to Midas touch in all he does. He does not compromise excellence and goes for the best in anything at stake: there is this amazing consciousness about quality. His sagacity, mind fertility and business versatility are unequalled in our time.
Hypercritics of The Bull (Dr. Adenuga’s fond name at Ibadan Grammar School) accuse him of intellectual snobbery because he never suffers fools gladly. They allege that he carries on too confidently and depends essentially on his cerebral capability and capacity. He unapologetically believes, according to them, that nobody is superior to him, knowledge-wise. Nincompoops and fraudsters put him off.
Clearly, he is a generational anchor endowed with divine blessings. He personifies entrepreneurship strewn with benevolence. A gentleman who has mastered his environment by conquering all the latent constituents and elemental forces against all episodic odds, this investment captain remains an embodiment of industry, a beacon and blistering light in usually impossible tunnels and difficult terrains.
As you read this, his vast business empire keeps expanding, beyond bounds. The best is yet to come from this adept innovator, revolutionary extraordinaire and a generational statement.
This entrepreneurial colossus was born on April 29, 1953. The last of a family of five, Dr. Adenuga attended Ibadan Grammar School, Oyo State, and was further educated at North Western University, Alva, Oklahoma and Peace University, New York. An inspirational Adonis, highly imaginative and full of ideas, Dr. Adenuga’s sense of humour and experimental management of human capital and other productive resources are inimitable.
The second most popular thing most Nigerians know about ‘The Bull’ after Globacom is his sport gestural involvements, particularly football both locally and internationally. Of course, the Nigerian and Ghanaian Premier Leagues are equally being bankrolled by Globacom.
During my one-year stint in Globacom, as a public relations manager before crossing over to banking, I participated in the packaging of many CSR initiatives at the instance of the man we are celebrating today.
Beyond Nollywood actors and actresses and other entertainment celebrities, who are allegedly spoilt (to use a local context) by Dr. Adenuga, are other individuals who experience business re-engineering and transformation in all cases at the instance of this unrivalled benefactor. Many businessmen he had assisted through cash gifts and infrastructural renewal are today multi-millionaires in different fields. I know some of them country-wide having interacted with them closely in my capacity as the editor, among other managerial assignations, of our in-house magazine in his bank before Emir Sansui Lamido Sanusi, the former maverick governor of the CBN, ruptured everything! The point that needs to be underscored here is that this man has empowered – and is still uplifting – many Nigerians (and other nationals) who had the rare privilege of coming his way, strewn with unlimited potentialities. Everything, apart from resurrection, is possible with the one they fondly call ‘The Guru.’
This is my unapologetic brief (as advised by the editor of this newspaper!) contribution to the anniversary of the birth of this prodigious philanthropist of our time, a multi-billionaire by British standard, who is misunderstood by the minority and immeasurably appreciated by the majority of Nigerians, most especially because of the holistic revolution he wrought in telephony in this country.
Uncle Niyi – yes, on grounds of his avuncular disposition – happy birthday, sir. This is wishing Dr. Michael Adeniyi Ishola Adenuga, Jnr. GCON many happy returns of today. Mr. Chairman, as ‘The Bull’, I have the pleasure and rare privilege to offer you 63 more bulls at this particular auspicious event as God continues to pilot your ways! I await your clearance/authorisation/approval before I deliver them!