Mike Adenuga: 7 Lessons in Never Giving Up
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Profiles - June 20, 2023

Mike Adenuga: 7 Lessons in Never Giving Up

Nigerian billionaire and entrepreneur, Mike Adenuga has become a source of inspiration and a role model for individuals aspiring to achieve success in their endeavors. His remarkable journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals facing challenges in pursuit of their dreams. 

 From facing failures and setbacks to building a diversified business empire, as well as becoming one of Africa’s wealthiest individuals, Adenuga’s life offers valuable lessons that can be applied to various aspects of life.  He never allowed adversity to dampen his spirit or hinder his pursuit of his goals. Instead, he emerged stronger, continually adapting to changing circumstances and demonstrating an unwavering commitment to his vision. In this article, we will delve into the ten key lessons we can learn from Mike Adenuga’s journey of never giving up.

Build resilience

Mike Adenuga’s resilience is evident in his ability to bounce back from setbacks and continue pursuing his goals. Despite facing financial difficulties and bureaucratic obstacles in the oil industry, that has to do with getting his license, he persevered, adapted his strategies, and eventually secured an oil exploration license. This example showcases his unwavering determination and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of resilience in overcoming challenges.

Another instance was the setback encountered by his company, Communications Investment Limited (CIL), when attempting to acquire the Mobile Communications (GSM) provisional licenses auctioned by the Nigerian government in 2001. Despite their efforts, CIL failed to secure the licenses due to purported financial shortcomings. However, Adenuga has vehemently refuted this claim and explicitly asserted that the license assigned to his company was entangled in legal disputes. He further clarified that although the necessary payments were made, the Nigerian government refused to acknowledge the conditions under which the payment was submitted.

Embrace failure

Embracing failure is a crucial lesson we can learn from Mike Adenuga’s journey. An instance that highlights this lesson is Adenuga’s early failures in his oil exploration firm Conoil (formerly Consolidated Oil Company). Despite encountering setbacks and financial challenges, he used these experiences as valuable learning opportunities. Rather than being discouraged, Adenuga adapted his strategies, refined his approach, and ventured into other industries such as telecommunications. This willingness to learn from failure and make necessary adjustments demonstrates the importance of embracing failure as a stepping stone to future success.


Persistence is a key lesson we can draw from Mike Adenuga’s life. His unwavering commitment to his goals is evident in several instances throughout his journey. One notable example is his persistence in establishing Globacom, a telecommunications company.

His tenacity in the face of adversity is persistence, even after losing a staggering $20 million mandatory deposit fee for the telecommunication license during his initial bid. Undeterred by this setback, he displayed remarkable resilience by making the same payments again just a year later in his pursuit of the Second National Operator (SNO) license. Despite the potential for such a setback to send most people into oblivion, Adenuga’s innate ability to persist and overcome challenges propelled him forward. As a testament to his perseverance, he was ultimately awarded the same license he had strived for.


Recognizing the potential of the telecommunications market, Adenuga adapted his focus and ventured into this rapidly growing industry. He leveraged his business acumen and resources to establish Globacom, which quickly gained prominence as a leading telecommunications company in Nigeria and beyond.

This adaptability allowed Adenuga to diversify his business interests and tap into a sector with immense growth potential. It showcases his willingness to embrace new industries, technologies, and market dynamics,

Building self confidence

Mike Adenuga’s sheer intelligence and confidence is the reason why his organisations still stands. He had the self-confidence to believe in his abilities and vision. Despite skepticism from others, he pursued his goal of providing affordable and reliable mobile services to Nigerians.

His self-confidence propelled him to invest significant resources and build a robust telecommunications network. This belief in himself and his vision paid off as Globacom became a major player in the industry, challenging the dominance of existing telecom companies.

Uphold your vision and strategy

Adenuga had a clear vision for his future and developed strategic plans to achieve it. He formulated a clear strategy to penetrate the telecommunications market by offering competitive pricing, expanding network coverage, and providing quality services.

Adenuga’s vision of providing affordable telecommunications services to the masses, combined with his strategic planning, enabled him to differentiate Globacom and cater to the needs of the African market. This vision and strategy were pivotal in the company’s growth and success.

Be determined

Adenuga displayed unwavering determination to succeed. He invested significant resources, relentlessly pursued his goals, and remained undeterred by challenges and skepticism. His determination paid off as Globacom emerged as a formidable telecommunications company, capturing a significant market share in Nigeria and expanding its operations across Africa.

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