In the league of Nigerian billionaires, one major attribute that stands ultra-wealthy businessman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. apart from the rest is that he seldom makes public appearance. For the mega billionaire, elusiveness is the word as he is an invincible man who always plays hard to get. There is a general knowledge that the billionaire hardly attends events, even his own ceremonies. But it appears there are exceptions to that decision.
As it’s often said, like father like son. But in the case of the Adenugas, it’s like dad, like daughter. Last week Friday, right on the same stage inside the Mike Adenuga Centre where her father was honoured with the Legion of Honour, French’s highest order of merit for military and civilians, established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, Bella Disu, Adenuga’s second daughter, was also honoured by the French to become one of the youngest recipients of the French National Honour. And unexpectedly, the billionaire stepped out after a long time to witness his beloved daughter, Bella receive the national honour of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters). Bella, who is the Executive Vice Chairman, Globacom, was awarded the honour for her great support for arts and culture. She was responsible for the coordination of the construction of the impressive Alliance Francaise Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, which has since been opened to the public.
Gabriel Attal, French State Secretary for Education and Youth Ministry, while conferring the honour on Bella, at a colourful ceremony held at the Centre, described her as one of the youngest recipients of the French national honour. He said the national honour is reserved for icons who have supported the sustenance and growth of French culture. The French Minister described the Mike Adenuga Centre as magnificent and the most beautiful of all Alliance Francaise centres in the world, while also describing the equipment, sound, lighting and technology at the Centre as first class.
He added that the project is a cultural revolution and thus commended Dr. Mike Adenuga for the excellent work done. “Who could have imagined that it was possible to build such a cultural centre in just a few months? We owe this exceptional project to you Chairman, who financed it, as much as to Bella who brought it to life,” Attal said.
Charles Courdent, Director, Alliance Francaise Lagos, also attested to the sterling qualities of Bella and said the Centre was so proud of her uncommon hardwork. Courdent added that the vision of Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga has been fully accomplished by his daughter on the project.
In her acceptance speech, Bella expressed gratitude to President Emmanuel Macron of France for the honour. She specially thanked her dad and also her mum, who was also present at the honour event. Bella also thanked her supportive husband, Mr. Jameel Disu, family, friends and all members of the Mike Adenuga Centre project team, particularly the director, who set an audacious vision for the Centre. She said the honour had shown her that when you are dedicated and passionate the reward would come sooner than imagined.
“It’s been a journey to this honour, but I have not come this far alone. I’d like to thank those who have made it easier for me to stand firm and stand strong on this stage. This award is as much for you. I’d like to thank my father, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr. Thank you, daddy, for your support and for the platform you have given me. Your magnanimity and heart for society continually inspires me.”
Bella, who also had her husband, Jameel beside her at the investiture, is an arts enthusiast, philanthropist and business executive with over 14 years of professional experience across industries. She is also the CEO of Cobblestone Properties, Director at Abumet Plc and non-executive director with Julius Berger. She has also been a distinctive benefactor of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) to encourage a better environment for musical learning.