It would be appropriate to say that the self-effacing billionaire oil mogul, Abdulwasiu Sowami has mastered the skill of hitting right at the bull’s eyes. Until 2019, he was relatively unknown as a player in the oil and gas sector. But his status changed the moment his oil firm, Prudent Energy, acquired humongous shares in the then Forte Oil Plc used to be owned by energy tycoon, Mr. Femi Otedola. The then chairman of Forte Oil had divested and sold his 75 per cent direct and indirect shareholdings in the oil firm to Sowami’s Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited in a transaction reported to worth N65 billion. That phenomenal transaction was to thrust Sowami into the spotlight as he and his team are breathing a new lease of life into Forte Oil now Ardova Plc. But despite the present reality of the Nigeria fiscal cliff and the volatility of the oil and gas industry, the Ogun State-born oilman has put all his skills into play to weather the storm and focus on the next phase of Ardova’s growth; increasing volumes, diversifying business operations, widening distribution networks and extracting potential synergies with partners. After succeeding in buying off Otedola’s prime investment, Sowami is now eyeing another gigantic oil firm owned by a billionaire. His Ardova has opened discussion with Enyo Retail —one of the newest and fastest growing retail and supply companies in the downstream sector with billionaire magnate Babatunde Tijanni Folawiyo as chairman— for a possible acquisition. Enyo —a technologically driven player currently operating over 90 stations across the country, attending to over 100,000 retail customers daily across 15 states of Nigeria— is presently run by Abayomi Awobokun as the Managing Director.
Meanwhile, Ardova as a big player in the energy ecosystem operates a network of 450 retail outlets spread across the country with major petroleum storage installations at both Apapa (Lagos State) and Onne (Rivers State). And with the planned acquisition of Enyo Retails —expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021— it hopes to further increase its share of the market. However, Sowami, though said to have spent over 20 years in the oil and gas industry and highly revered among his peers because of his intelligence coupled with his keen ability to take calculated risk, which puts him ahead of his competitors, not many believe the businessman is really up for the game. But in spite of those initial challenges, he’s gradually emerging as the sheikh of Nigeria’s oil business.
Sowami is a graduate of Sociology from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, and holds a Master’s in Corporate Governance from Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom (UK). An associate Member of the Institute of Directors, his robust industrial knowledge and experience in the country’s oil and gas sector spans over two decades owing to the leadership positions he had held in various companies. Sowami launched his career with Besse Oil and Services Limited and later moved on to Cosmos Oil Limited before he set up Ignite Energy Limited.