Let me affirm that I worked as a manager for about a decade in the Corporate Affairs Department of Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB)—which had a partnership that worked until it became an inevitable victim of a presidential third-term fiasco—and also Globacom. The bank subsequently became the lifeline of Sterling Bank PLC, the one-customer bank. ETB was solely owned by this entrepreneurial icon of our time. I fondly remember my name in ETB: ‘Chairman’s Boy’!
Issuing from this occupational background, all the avowals I make here should have depth and integrity. This intervention is devoid of irresponsibility and subjectivity of any shred.
Contrary to what Forbes magazine declares intermittently, some of us who have privileged engagement relationships at essentially managerial levels with The Bull have the conviction and strongly believe that the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jr., GCON, CSG, CdrLH, is the richest man in Africa on grounds of his illimitably exponential and expansive streams of onshore and offshore income some of which are unknown to jaundiced inquisitors. Just think about it: Conoil and Globacom alone are multi-billion-dollar investments exclusively powered by The Guru whose financial clairvoyance bewilders. Atypical of him, he will never engage anyone on this matter because of its holistic irrelevancy. Unlike some of those in Nigeria’s billionaire club who reside on Banana Island—the humongous edifice of one of them is a stone’s throw from Dr. Adenuga’s and yet owe their domestic staff, this unparalleled philanthropist “spoils” his own internal and external workers immeasurably. You know the mightiness of a great man from the way he treats those below him in all spheres of life. Consequentially, “Mr. Glo” pampers both his staff and non-staff interminably.
Another critical fact about our man in Nigeria’s highly tribal and complex environment is his extremely detribalized credential. He relates with people not on the basis of where they come from but strictly their competencies, capacities, intellectual depth, visions, aspirations and anticipatory passion for quintessence and success. Other factors are tangential to these indispensable elements.
Another fact is that Uncle Niyi is too withdrawn, a recluse and an inexplicable introvert who legendarily keeps to himself. Hardly does he attend functions irrespective of the organizers. Even his own sponsored continental mega events most times take place without his participation! The implication of this is that most people erroneously believe that he is damnably haughty! In contradistinction, this Adonis is amiable, compassionate, jovial, loving and caring. His humaneness and humility are unrivalled. The only challenge is his barricaded inaccessibility. Nobody goes to him for anything whatsoever. He sees those whom he needs to assist whenever he likes—no individual or group can stampede him or bump into his trajectory or rejig his schedules, processes and programmes no matter your status. In the same breath, letters or documents cannot be taken to him without his approval.
Still on facts: how many people know that some eminent Nigerians from multifarious backgrounds get regular mouth-watering life-salaries from this grandee? Who else does that on the African continent? Baba gifts multifariously (aristocratic vehicles, Romanesque houses, staggering amounts, etcetera) boundlessly in borderless proportions across the board. Testamentary declarations abound.
The preceding paragraph reminds me of the Mike Adenuga Foundation, which is ameliorating lives and soothing hopeless and hapless circumstances without concomitant mention of the alleviations. The time has come for the creation of public knowledge and massive access to this uncommon beneficence. It is worrisome that only a tangential fraction of our countrymen (and women!) know about this foundation that keeps working underground. Perhaps, a seasoned communicator should be employed to circulate this gestural satiety.
From factuality to cock-and-bull stories which thrive and appear believable once they have a purported link with this global benefactor whose conglomerate inimitability remains a topic for another day. All the yarns are never substantiated or empirically presented—they are all assumptions, suspicions and hasty conclusions based on spins by ubiquitous rumour-mongers/gossips—not “gossipers”, talking grammar! There is even a consensual belief that The Guru has supernatural powers such that he can hear everything and see everyone!
Our marketing communications team during our banking days went on a media visit to Ikeja axis and thereafter decided to visit a managing director in the area who at a point was the boss of one of us. After receiving us, the man gave us a moonlight tale of how his anonymous intimate friend got “brutalized” (not physically) in his institutional service to Chairman. The story-teller could not give us any circumstantial evidence of his yarn. That is how he will be spreading his hate-narrative all about town and ignoramuses will swallow it without making any inquisition.
As the editor of Equinews magazine, the in-house publication of Equitorial Trust Bank, I had the privilege of travelling to most parts of the country interviewing first-tier customers of the bank. When I went to Port Harcourt, one of the top clients of the bank coincidentally was Globacom’s biggest dealer in the city at the time. He complained bitterly that despite being one of the 10 topmost Globacom dealers in Nigeria, he had never met Chairman. As far as he was concerned, “the telecom per-second trailblazer did not care about such partnerships simply because of his outlandish opulence”, stressing that other operators were on a good stead in this regard!
There are many other reservations that cannot be listed here because of space constraint. In the circumstance, therefore, let us assume that there are toes The Great Guru must have bullishly crushed—not just stepped on! As a giant multi-billionaire by British standard, now is the time for The Bull to be at peace with all men by offering the olive branch and equally forgiving his offenders. This will continually add to his noble personage eternally. It is no condescension, but one of the hallmarks of great men that distinguish them.
Apart from business partners who crave to parley with the Globacom proprietor, a few editors of national newspapers and others keep harassing me that I should facilitate a one-off meeting with Baba to just exchange 30-minute pleasantries! So many other professionals are also desirous of holding fleeting sessions with our man for diverse reasons. Do they know the last time I met this messianic ‘cousin’ of mine? Can I now use this golden opportunity to plead with Nna mu ukwu to create a yearly transient moment for interaction with select members of my constituency—the media—and, perhaps, others. The widespread impact cannot be imagined.
There is equally the imperative need to have a reunion with estranged associates, ex-staff, contractors, suppliers, general business partners and nondescript clientele of the Mike Adenuga Group. The logistics may be complex, but the outcome will be invaluable. The reconciliatory essence is to evolve a multitudinous class of ambassadors for human and institutional generations of the Group beyond its currency. Obstreperous and disgruntled tribes of the above communities should be ignored.
As I round off this especial contribution, Bill Cosby has a message for my greatest benefactor: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
Please do not believe any of the fables, fairy-tales, moonlight stories, yarns, old wives’ tale you hear or read about Baba in yellowish publications—they are all concocted out of envy, jealousy, animosity, hatred, misconception, misperception and poverty-induced anger boosted by malarial affliction!
The multiplicative robustness of Dr. Adenuga’s philanthropic existentialism will be catalytically and clinically therapeutic in people’s minds eternally, all the marginal gossip notwithstanding.