Fellowship Year: 2009
Nationality: Nigeria
Job Title: Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Organisation: Petralon Energy


Job Title: Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Organisation: Petralon Energy

Professional History: Ahonsi is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Petralon Energy. Aside from his role at the company and his other business interests, he has also been appointed Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Exchange, the youngest chairman in the history of the Exchange. Previously, he was a director on the board. The Nigerian Exchange was incorporated and reconstituted to carry on the principal activities of the Nigerian Stock Exchange following its demutualisation last year.

Petralon Energy is an upstream oil and gas company he founded in 2014. It now has a net oil production of over 3,000 barrels per day. He has interests that include Rio Luxco 1 S.à r.l., a Luxembourg incorporated holding company and Wellington Investments B.V.I, through which he manages principal equity investments. He also started The Ahonsi & Sophia Foundation, through which he engages in his philanthropic pursuits.

Ahonsi is also pursuing involvement in the creative space, primarily film production and talent development, and in sports development in Nigeria. Ahonsi has more than a decade of investment banking and project finance experience across Europe and Africa, during which time he has transacted more than USD $3 billion worth of cross-border and local currency financings, working for organisations such as Citibank and Standard Bank. At these institutions he rose tothe position of director, before branching out in 2011 to create and then run businesses of his own.

On secondment from Standard Bank, Ahonsi had stints in the Nigerian public sector at both federal and state levels. As Special Adviser to the then Minister of Finance in 2006 to 2007, he was part of the team that successfully achieved Nigeria’s exit from the London and Paris Club group of creditors. And for a two-year secondment between 2009 and 2011, he served in his home state as Commissioner of Budget, Planning and Economic Development in Edo State. As chairman of the multilateral agency funding committee, he rebuilt the state’s relationship with the multilateral donor community including World Bank, UNICEF, USAID, UNDP, and Swedish International Development Agency. This played a pivotal role in securing budget support for Edo state from the World Bank.

Since then he has created or invested in various sectors across the finance, real estate, private equity, fintech and energy sectors. Before he founded Petralon, Ahonsi was a founding executive of First Hydrocarbon Nigeria, where he served as Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director. In this role, he led the company’s financing of its acquisition of OML 26 from the Shell JV for $147.5 million and three years later helped oversee the sale of the company for a value seven times greater for the initial investors.

Academic and professional credentials: MSc in Investment Banking and Finance from the ISMA centre in Reading
England BA (Hons.) in Economics from the University of Sussex in England
Intermediate French language certification from Eurocentre in France



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The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.