The Untold Story Of Nigerian Born African Youngest Billionaire Businessman, Igho Sanomi

The in this article captures the life and untold story of Igho Sanomi, a Nigerian who is the African youngest billionaire businessman.

  • His birth
  • What inspired him
  • How he started his first business
  • His many businesses
  • His philanthropic work
  • Awards
  • Future plans
  • Lessons for young Nigerians.

Photo of Sanomi

Wilbur Wright of Wright Brothers the inventors of aeroplane once said, “If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother and begin life in Ohio”. Well, Igho Sanomi did not begin his life in Ohio. As a matter of fact, he was not born in the United States of America. He was born in Africa, to be precise, in Agbor Kingdom located in Ika-South Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State of Nigeria. Igho Sonomi might have personally picked his father but destiny has bestowed him with a father who himself was an epitome of discipline, hard work, leadership, success and patriotism.

Sanomi's private jet
Sanomi’s private jet

His father, Late Dickens Ogheneruemu Patrick Sanomi, was a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in the Nigeria Police Force. He was also the Second National Vice-President of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU). AIG Dickens Ogheneruemu was reputed a lover of sports and had contributed immensely to the development of sports in Nigeria. In his younger days, he played football as a student of Urhobo College, Warri, Delta State, and also represented the Nigeria Police Force in the hurdles, triple jump and long jump. As a sports administrator, he had for over twenty years, been involved in sports development in the police, and he was credited with the discovery of Nigeria’s first Olympic Gold Medallist, Chioma Ajunwa, at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The Nigeria Police Games named the Gold Championship of the 2013 after him, as a mark of honour for his discovery, recruiting and nurturing of Chioma Ajunwa. Little wonder, he fell among the 46 departed officers of the Nigeria Police honoured for their gallant service to the nation’s police force.

Meanwhile, Igho Sanomi’s mother was also a good influence on him in his formative years. She was a nurse and medical entrepreneur from Osun State in South Western Nigeria. She was able to combine successfully domestic chores with her job as a nurse. Even more, she rubbed on the young Sanomi, entrepreneurship skills and by example, showed him how to be effective and efficient combining several activities.

Igho Charles Sanomi II was born on 17 May, 1975. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Geology and Mining at the University of Jos, Plateau State in Middle Belt.

Sanomi Igho in his private jet
Sanomi Igho in his private jet

Shortly after completing his Bachelor’s Degree, he ventured in the world of business. He quickly rose to become an Executive Director with Cosmos Oil Ag, an International oil trading company with its core business activities in Nigeria in the late 1990s. During this period, he developed trading operations for its fuel oil business by negotiating trade transactions for fuel oil exports from the Port Harcourt Refinery, Nigeria. Igho Sanomi went into partnership with an energy trading company based in Zug Switzerland; this partnership oversaw the importation of millions of ton of refined petroleum products and product exports to and from West Africa coast. Sanomi sits either as chairman, co-chairman or member of board of directors of various companies, which he either founded or co-founded.

He founded Televeras Group in 2004 in a bid to merge all his business activities. Televeras Group is a Nigerian energy trading company with a vision and drive to become “a leading Global Energy and Service Company”. The company has offices in London, Geneva, Cape Town, Ivory Coast, Abuja and Lagos. According to a report by Forbes, Igho Sanomi’s Televeras “trades over 100 million barrels of crude oil as well as several million tons of gasoline, LPG and jet fuel. In April 2012, Televeras acquired production sharing contracts (PSCs) for three offshore oil blocks in Ivory Coast. In June 2013, Televeras sold 65% stake in one of its Ivorian offshore upstream projects in Lukoil of Russia. Televeras also owns a stake in a power distribution firm in Nigeria.

Beyond business, Igho Sanomi has impacted thousands lives through his philanthropic gesture, the Dickens Sanomi Foundation, a charity organisation founded in 2011 by him and his siblings to commemorate the life of their late father, Dickens Sanomi. Also, the foundation organises annual essay competition for secondary school pupils and the foundation has in October 2012, rescued about 12,300 persons displaced by flood, which ravaged some communities in Delta State.

Sanomi Team

He was ranked as number one among “growing business leaders, successful entrepreneurs, investors, etc” by Choiseul 100 Africa. He has been nominated by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for a place on the new Nigeria-South Africa Business Council. He has been named by Forbes Magazine in 2007 as, “one of the new generation of young professionals in Nigeria who are establishing themselves as young leaders of the private sector business community”. He was described by the same magazine early in 2013 as one “Ten Young African Millionaires To Watch in 2013”. He also received the Africa’s Leadership Award and Africa’s Emerging Community Development Icon Award 2014 and granted Honorary Citizenship Of The State Of Georgia.

Igho is the founder of the Dickens Sanomi Foundation
Igho is the founder of the Dickens Sanomi Foundation

Igho Sanomi’s business empire keeps expanding by the day with current interests in oil, telecommunications, maritime, aviation and real estates. No doubts the future looks even brighter for the young Nigerian

The story of Igho Sanomi is that of persistence, determination and faith. He has joined the leagues of billionaires born in Nigeria and whose businesses started in Nigeria. Like the Africa’s richest man, Mr Alico Dangote, Igho Sanomi’s unwavering faith in his country and patriotism which culminate in his investment of several millions in different sectors of the country’s economy, is only a pointer that there are abundant opportunities in Nigeria. The land is indeed green. Young Nigerians need not to give up or lose hope. The future is bright!

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