Tonye Patrick Cole
Tonye Patrick Cole is the co-founder and former Group Executive Director of the Sahara Group, an energy conglomerate with operations spanning the entire energy chain in Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries to East Africa and beyond. He worked as an architect in Brazil and Nigeria before co-founding the Sahara Group in 1996. A man of strong religious convictions, his business successes spurred him on to undertake philanthropic efforts. He has a special corner in his heart for African youth, whom he inspires through his NGO, the Nehemiah Youth Empowerment Initiative. At one point, however, he realised that lasting structural change could not be effected except through political means. In 2018, therefore, he made a life-changing decision to pursue a career in politics. He resigned from all board and executive roles held in the Sahara Group to contest for the gubernatorial seat in his home state, Rivers. Mr Cole, an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Harvard Business School, is a Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford.