Tonye Cole
Co‐Founder and Group Executive Director of Sahara Group


Tonye Patrick Cole is the Co-­‐Founder and Group Executive Director of Sahara Group, which is an energy conglomerate with a strong operating presence spanning the entire energy value chain in Nigeria to neighboring West African countries and past the African sphere to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The global operations of the Sahara Group comprises of 19 operating with over 650 employees. Mr. Cole and his partners have strategically managed the operating companies from incubation and have
successfully driven the company to an USD11billion annual revenue base. Tonye Cole is chiefly
responsible for the strategic expansion of businesses within the organization’s energy portfolio and is actively involved in the exploration of the upstream businesses in new frontier and emerging markets.

Tonye Cole also sits on the board of directors of three power companies in Nigeria, which spans across
the generation and distribution elements of the electricity value chain – this is by virtue of the
successfully implemented Power Sector reformation, which resulted in the unbundling, privatization and takeover of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria – the former state‐owned national power company.

The power companies within his directorial portfolio include Ikeja Electric, the largest power distribution company in Nigeria, with an energy delivered capacity of 5500 GWh; and a total generation capacity of 2,000MW which comprises the gasfired Egbin Power Plant, the largest power generating plant in Nigeria, with an installed capacity of 1,320MW; and First Independent Power Limited, which owns four power generating plants in Rivers State. The total acquired workforce strength adds up to 3,000 employees.

Tonye Cole is currently serving on the Board of Atlas Mara, a financial services holding company set to undertake the acquisition of target banks in Africa with the objective of becoming a leading financial services group in the continent. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Enactus Nigeria, an international nonprofit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.

In addition to founding and managing one of Nigeria’s largest energy conglomerates, he is also the founder of the Nehemiah Youth Empowerment Initiative, which is an NGO set up to empowerthe Nigerian youths in different parts of the country. Consequently, he is a “Brand Ambassador” for Nigeria, working to inspire youth to unlock the continent’s tremendous human potential. This is achieved by working closely with a good number of foundations in Nigeria (Africa 2.0, Rise Youth Foundation, Down Syndrome Foundation, Servant Leaders Foundation, Compassion Center for Physically Handicapped Children in Port Harcourt, Cheshire Home for the Disabled in Lagos, Slum2School Project and various orphanages).

Mr. Cole attended the University of Lagos where he gained his merit Honors in Architecture. He went on to Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil, where he obtained a further education in Foundation and Advanced courses in Portuguese Language.

Tonye Cole has delivered numerous papers on diverse topics such as Oil and Gas Dynamics, Sustainable
Energy, Youth Empowerment, Entrepreneurship and Capacity‐Building, Leadership, Change, Strategy, among others. He has also participated actively in various seminars, trainings and conferences till date.

Mr. Cole is happily married with 3 beautiful kids.

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