Tonye-Cole-SaharaTonye is a “Brand Ambassador” for Nigeria and believes in the tremendous human potential that lies “locked” within the country and has devoted himself to unlocking this potential. Tonye was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria and attended King’s School, Ely, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom. He is also an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil.

A merit honours graduate of Architecture, Tonye Cole worked as an architect for frontline Brazilian architectural firm Grupo Quartro SA in Goiania Brazil (’90-92) where 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. The city of Palmas was designed as a ‘green fields’ project and built from scratch.

Amongst the projects he worked on in Palmas are the State Ministry of Justice Headquarters and the City Hall.

Upon his return to Nigeria, Tonye Cole was recruited in 1993 as the Director of Operations EMSA S.A., a Brazilian civil engineering company, the seventh largest engineering firm in Brazil that was awarded World Bank-financed water projects for Lagos State Water Corporation. He was responsible for incorporating, setting up and managing the Nigerian office, and led the recruitment of local staff. Tonye Cole is currently the Executive Director of Sahara Energy and is the Co-founder and Group Chief Executive of Sahara Group. He is chiefly responsible for the strategic expansion of businesses within the organization’s energy portfolio and is actively involved in the exploration of up-stream opportunities in new frontier and emerging markets.

In addition to running one of Nigeria’s largest oil and gas conglomerates, Tonye Cole spends a good deal of his time speaking to business audiences and students in the country; as well as mentoring high fliers in the organization.