Our Board of Trustees

Tonye Cole

Co-Founder/ Executive Director: Sahara Energy (Nigeria)

Tonye Cole was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on 11 January 1967. He attended Corona School, Victoria Island and later King’s College, Lagos before proceeding to King’s School, Ely, Cambridge shire, United Kingdom.

He is 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 up from scratch.

Amongst the projects he worked on in Palmas are the State Ministry of Justice HQ 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 7th largest engineering firm in Brazil that was awarded the World Bank-financed water projects for Lagos State Water Corporation. He was responsible for incorporating and setting up the Nigerian office, recruiting the local staff and managing the office. Tonye Cole is currently the Co-Founder/Executive Director of Sahara Energy.

Mrs Nike Ogunlesi

Founder/CEO: Ruff and Tumble (Nigeria)

Adenike Ogunlesi is the founder, CEO, and manufacturer of the Nigerian babies and kiddies clothing line called Ruff ‘n’ Tumble. An indigenous clothing company in Nigeria that specializes in children’s clothing, with a minimum of 15 stores spread across Nigeria currently.

She founded the brilliantly-named children’s clothing business and brand in 1996 in Lagos and It has being a success story ever since with exports along the West African coast, employing  over 200 people, and growing into two more clothing brands, named, NaijaBoysZ and Trendsetters.

She has built a reputation for being one of the best manufacturers of children’s clothing in Nigeria. Nike was featured in the Africa Open for Business documentary and was recognized as the Fate Foundation Model Entrepreneur in 2005. She is a mentor to Junior Achievement of Nigeria and the Fate Foundation.

Mr. Simon Kolawole

Former Editor, This Day Newspapers (Nigeria).

Founder/CEO, thecable.ng and Ideas Planet Ltd.

He is the founder and chief executive officer of Cable Newspaper Limited, publisher of TheCable, Nigeria’s Independent online newspaper and former Editor of THISDAY, arguably Nigeria’s most influential newspaper. He holds a B.Sc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos and a Master’s Degree in Governance and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK.

In January 2009, he was named among Africa’s Next Generation of Leaders by The Banker, a publication of the Financial Times of London.

Mr. Ituah ighodalo

Managing Partner: SIAO Financial Advisory Firm (Nigeria)

Ighodalo attended King’s College, Lagos before going to England to study and graduate with a B.Sc combined honours degree in Economics and Accounting in 1982 from the University of Hull, England, qualified as a Chartered Accountant in July 1986 and attended a Business Management Course at the Harvard Business School, Boston in 2011

Mr. Ighodalo trained and qualified as a professional with the firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers in 1986. He is a Fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (1994) and the Nigeria Institute of Taxation (2000). He is an Associate, Nigerian Institute of Management (ANIM) (1992) and the American Institute of Management (1993).

In 1987, he started his accounting practice, Ighodalo and Co, which merged with three other firms to form SIAO in 2005. Today, SIAO is a one-stop shop for financial advisory services and business assurance. The company has consulted for various clients at all levels, providing a broad range of services, including strategic planning, financial advisory, project evaluation, and financial systems design and upgrade. He is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the TIMELESS Media Group, Chairman Trinity Media and Films, Celebr8 Music Festival and producer Courage Center TV series.

Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr.

Director General: Nigerian Economic Summit Group

Former Minister of Information; Former Minister of Youth Development (Nigeria)                                                  

Frank Nweke was born on 18 September 1965. He obtained a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Zoology from the Federal University of Technology, Yola. Mr Nweke is an Edward S. Mason fellow and holds two Master’s degrees, in Public Policy and Public Administration from the prestigious Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, respectively.

He became a resident consultant to the Enugu State government on development planning and general public sector reforms in 1999. He was Coordinator of the Enugu State Community Development Programme (2000–2001). In June 2001 he was appointed as the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Enugu State, a position he held until June 2003.

In June 2003, he was appointed Federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Special Duties. He became Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, Special Duties and Youth Development in April, 2004. In July 2005, he was appointed Minister of Information and National Orientation, an office he occupied until May 2007.

Mr. Frank Nweke Jr is the current Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG); Nigeria’s most influential private sector led economic think tank and advocacy group.

Mr. Kachi Onubogu

Group Executive Director at Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group

Former Executive Director, Commercial for Promasidor Nigeria PLC

Kachi Onubogu is an experienced marketing and business development manager with cross functional and multinational working experience gained over 18years in the sales, marketing, finance and general management functions.

He has a first degree in Physics from University of Jos, Nigeria and an MBA from University of Pretoria. South Africa.

He is currently the Commercial Director at Promasidor Nigeria PLC.