Inside The World Of Sahara Group MD, Tonye Cole.

It is one in a million occurrences that a young man would be given a contract worth billions of naira to execute and he would do the job without diverting the fund for personal use.

Honesty as a virtue is rare among today’s youths, because the youths lack discipline and they are in a hurry to make money without actually earning and working hard for it. It is no wonder, therefore, that integrity has been thrown out of the window in this generation.

In this edition, we celebrate Tonye Cole, the MD of Sahara Group. Tonye has had opportunities in the past to prove himself and he did just that, emerging as a man of profound integrity. With the help of his partners, he has built one of the biggest energy companies with over 30 branches in the world.

He has provided employment for a lot of youths and sent many to different fields of acquisition. Tonye Cole is currently a minister at the Redeemed Christian Church of God. He is that man who prefers sharing his birthday with school children from the slums as against dinning with the high and mighty in a presidential suite somewhere in the Bahamas.


Tonye Cole is husband to Slyvia Cole and father to three lovely children. He is a man with many parts. He was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he hails from but he was raised in a privileged home in Lagos state.

Although he was raised in that type of home in which money wasn’t a problem and even attended one of the best primary and secondary schools money could afford,this did not affect his humility.

Also his background didn’t make him to sit down and expect life to give him everything he needed. He knew early in life that he had to work hard and work true.

His creation, the Sahara Group, and its expansion is a living proof. Sahara Energy some what kicked off in a match box setting and has replicated to over 30 branches worldwide. Tonye schooled abroad but he did not forget his he roots. He is an architect who studied in the University of Lagos before proceeding to the University of Brasilia in Brazil.

Tonye Cole, after graduation, worked in a Brazilian architectural firm known as Grupo Quartro in Brazil. He was part of the team involved in the design and implementation of the urban planning and city development of Palmas, the capital city of the newly created state in South America. After returning to Nigeria in 1993, Tonye was employed as the Director of Operations in EMSA S.A., a Brazilian Civil Engineering
Company, said to be the 7th largest engineering firm in Brazil.

The company was awarded a World Bank-financed water project valued at about $58m for the Lagos State Water
Corporation which was a success.


Tonye is the Managing Director of Sahara Energy Resource Limited, a company that was co-founded in 1996 with his two friends, Tope Shonubi and Ade Odunsi. Sahara Energy started out as an oil and gas company whose core business at the time was to trade excess fuel oil from some places in the Niger delta refineries.

Sahara Energy later moved away from being a ‘middleman’ to become an established trading entity diversifying into storage depots and vessel ownership as well as building depots in strategic locations with a combined capacity of 55,000 metric tonnes and a fleet of five vessels moving products across West Africa.

Sahara Energy today is a major employer of labour with staff strength of over 300 people. Tonye Cole launched another project for his church known as the NEHEMIAH PROJECT. The project is to rebuild, just like that of Nehemiah’s in the bible.

Tonye Cole is the brain behind all the restructuring in Redemption camp. Tonye Cole is one of the sponsors of Monalisa Chinda’s Foundation, Slum2School. Slum2School foundation is a non- governmental organization for children living in slums to have access to good education and life. Tonye Cole’s mission statement any day is: one should promise less and give more.




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