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How Globacom Boss, Mike Adenuga Escaped Death During Gideon Orkar’s Coup In 1990 + IBB’s Connection

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How Globacom Boss, Mike Adenuga Escaped Death During Gideon Orkar’s Coup In 1990 + IBB’s Connection


Had the coup attempt by Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar on April 22, 1990, seven days before Africa’s business mogul, Mike Adenuga celebrated his 37th birthday succeeded,  “The Bull” as we now know him might have been lost to the annals of history and the landmark strides of his Globacom communications and Conoil never come to be.

Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar

Chief Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jr, GCON is a Nigerian billionaire businessman, and the third richest person in Africa. His company Globacom is Nigeria’s second-largest telecom operator, which has a presence in Ghana and Benin.


Thirty years ago, Orkar had staged a violent coup against the five years government of General Ibrahim Babangida on April 22, 1990, purportedly “on behalf of the patriotic and well-meaning peoples of the Middle Belt and the southern parts” of Nigeria. 

Mike Adenuga – The Bull

Being a close ally of Babagida, a potential change of government puts Adenuga in harm’s way, so when martial music started blaring in April 1990, signifying the toppling of Babagida’s regime, a close friend in the person of Bayo Osiyemi, was the saving grace. Bayo was a former Chief Press Secretary to former Lagos State Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, and a friend to Adenuga.


In his autobiography – The Charming Prince in Journalism and Politics, Bayo narrated how he ferried the young Adenuga in a borrowed blue Volkswagen Beetle car onto exile. It is believed the closeness of Babangida and Adenuga must have triggered the rumour that the former Head of State is a major shareholder in Globacom.


In the book he wrote, ”I did not want to use my own car because it could be identified and that might complicate issues, so I opted for Titus’ vehicle which had a Press sticker and with which we could move around freely during such a period.


”Big and burly, Mike (Adenuga) had no choice than to squeeze himself into the rear seat of the two-door car while I sat in front with the owner who was at the wheels. ”


He noted in the autobiography published February 2020, that the escape was going well until the ran into a military roadblock by Ojo Cantonment on Badagry expressway.


”Fright seized Mike (Adenuga) at the sight of the gun-toting soldiers in combat fatigue but I assured him all would be well, so I asked Titus to turn left into Ojo town to take refuge in the home of a senior party man and a one-time commissioner on Jakande’s time, Mr Richard Ege, until the cost was clear for us to proceed on his escape to exile in England through the Seme border, ” he wrote in the book.


After the botched coup, Major Orkar and 41 other conspirators were convicted of treason and executed by firing squad on July 27, 1990 by the government of General Ibrahim Babangida.


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