Meet Tonye Cole; offspring of Patrick Cole; His wife is Sylvia Cole and his a father of …three children. He is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Sahara Group; a conglomerate which is present in over 13 countries and whose interests cover trading, storage, energy and power resources, aviation, farming and real estate.
From an office in 1996 which “was slightly bigger than a cupboard” to use the innovative man’s words, and the core business of trading excess fuel oil from the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries, the Sahara Group has expanded its tentacles to offices in Geneva, Switzerland -which actively trades in crude oil, gas oil, Jet A1, mogas and bitumen in global markets; Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, France, Singapore, Dubai and Brazil.
The success of this enterprise is simply astounding, more so because it is a 100% indigenous grown company, competing with established giants in the energy industry. This is a story of three young men who were determined to turn their perceived disadvantages, namely youth, and ‘Nigerianess’ into advantages.
Tonye Cole was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. He attended Corona School, Victoria Island and later King’s College, Lagos before proceeding to King’s School, Ely, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.
He is also an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil. An Architect, he worked in a Brazilian architectural firm Grupo Quartro SA in Goiania Brazil from 1990-92. He was involved in the design and implementation of the urban planning and city development of Palmas, the capital city of the newly created state of Tocantins in far-away South America.
In 2018 July, Tonye Cole gifts wife Sylvia a Mercedes SUV on their 23rd Wedding Anniversary, The CEO and co founder of Sahara Group, splashed some cash on buying his wife a brand new Mercedes SUV.
Tonye returned to Nigeria in 1993, and was quickly employed as the Director of Operations EMSA S.A., a Brazilian Civil Engineering Company- allegedly the 7th largest engineering firm in Brazil that was awarded a World Bank-financed water project valued at about $58m for the Lagos State Water Corporation-. To paraphrase the Bible, a man who is faithful in little, will be given even more, and a man who is diligent in another man’s business will be blessed with his; and vice versa.
In 2011, Tonye Cole launched the ‘NEHEMIAH PROJECT ‘, a project patterned after Nehemiah’s reputation as the rebuilder of Jerusalem. Tonye is doggedly positioned to empower and inspire Nigerian youths to discover, explore and realize their full potential. He is a frequent speaker at forums, meets and conferences