Aliko Dangote is number one on Forbes 2015 list of the 10 richest people in Africa but there’s one other Nigerian on that list, and that’s Mike Adenuga, the chairman of Glo.
The telecommunication magnate is from Ijebu Igbo in Ogun state and he’s the 7th richest man in Africa according to Forbes. But how has this benefited the people in his hometown?
Ijebu Igbo is hometown to many prominent Nigerians today. For instance, Akin Adesina, the former agriculture minister who’s currently president of the African Development Bank is from Ijebu Igbo but the town almost never benefits from this good fortune.
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The town’s the second largest in the state next to the capital Abeokuta, but is by far less developed than the capital. Illiteracy is prevalent; schools and hospitals lack basic facilities. There are only three banks in the whole town, and most people earn a low income.
Adenuga built a branch of his Equatorial Trust Bank in the town some years ago, but it closed after series of robberies and it’s been shut since then. Today the building is in weeds.
“That’s the only thing he’s built in the town here,” says a resident named Taiwo. “Then he also recently built a church in memory of his late father at the outskirts. That’s all. He’s done nothing to help develop Ijebu Igbo.”
Folashade, another indigene, tells Naij, “I expect a lot from a man of Adenuga’s calibre. He’s one of the richest people in Nigeria and one would think a man so wealthy would establish businesses here in his hometown to boost the economy and create jobs.
“One would expect that he’d set up scholarship programs for poor students and build schools and hospitals where people can get quality healthcare and education at a low cost. He can afford to do these things. He just doesn’t want to do them. He’s not a philanthropist at all.”
Taiwo says too, “We have many of them in Nigeria who are so rich and famous, but they do nothing to give back to their home community and help young people who’re coming up so that these young ones too can be successful like them. If it’s not going to promote their business or career interests, they’re not ready to do it, and that’s a bad thing.”
Folashade says, “The other day Akin Adesina was here to campaign for Goodluck Jonathan when he was agric minister. He just met some people here in Oke Sopen where his father’s house is and gave them some money. That’s not going to change anything or make this town better.
“Look at how poorly developed our town is. The state government has left this place to waste because we have no king to fight for us and because the governor Amosun is an Egba man and we are Ijebu people who didn’t vote for him in elections. But what about our own sons and daughters who’ve prospered all over Nigeria? They too have clearly neglected us, including Mike Adenuga.”