Although Femi Otedola’s decision to divest his shares in Forte Oil came as a surprise to many Nigerians, it was more surprising that it was acquired by Nigerian company, Prudent Energy & Services Limited, owned by a Nigerian businessman and oil mogul. Prior to this news, the name Abdulwasiu Sowami, owner of Prudent Energy, was unknown to many Nigerians.
The name might not have rang a bell with some Nigerians, and the investing public at large, but Sowami is one of the leading energy figures who have been contributing immensely to the commercial activities of the country’s oil and gas industry.
It is not that Sowami is new in the oil and gas industry, or on the billionaire radar, but compared to many in the country’s billionaire circle who love the notoriety that big money brings, Sowami prefers to explore a quiet lifestyle.
Despite his intimidating wealth, the oil tycoon shies away from the limelight. However, with his new acquisition of Forte Oil, public interest has been piqued.
It is for this reason that Nairametrics is featuring him on our founder’s profile this week. Read on to learn more about this reclusive billionaire.
Education and career milestones
Sowami is a graduate of Sociology from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, and holds a Masters in Corporate Governance from Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom (UK). He is 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 held in various, companies. Sowami launched his career, with Besse Oil and Services Limited, later moving on to Cosmos Oil Limited, then to Ignite Energy Limited.
In the course of his career, he has cultivated relationships with the leadership of prominent international trading companies including Vitol, Shell Trading Rotterdam, Glencore, and BP Oil International Limited.
Sowami chairs Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited, a firm that facilitates finances for businesses, particularly Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are excluded from accessing financing from regular banks due to lack of collateral and property right. He also leads the operations of Prudent Energy & Services Limited, one of the local oil firms licensed to lift Nigerian crude.
His company, founded in 2004, prides itself as one of the leading players in petroleum marketing, marine logistics, and the oil sector consulting in the country. Presently, he has a depot in Oghara, Delta state and a lot of fueling trucks that delivers nationwide. He also has three vessels, two named after his late mother and wife.
A glance at Sowami’s Prudent Energy & Services Limited
Since its establishment, Sowami’s Prudent Energy & Sevices Limited has been exploring its core area of specialisation in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
With a 54 Million Litre fully automated ultra-modern petroleum products depot, a self-serving jetty, two marine vessels; MT Ashabi (29,005DWT) and MT Mosunmola (16,326DWT), the company has, within the short period of its establishment, grown to become one of the very few leading indigenous oil trading firms in the country.
Sowami’s acquisition of Forte Oil
A few years back, Otedola had embarked on a journey to transform a dying petroleum marketing business, African Petroleum Plc (formerly British Petroleum) into a leading integrated solutions provider with solid footprints in downstream petroleum marketing, upstream services, and power generation. Going by the company’s corporate journey, Forte Oil prides itself as a profit-making company that has built intrinsic value in the best interest of its shareholders and investors at large.
Sowami is advancing the pride of the company after acquiring Otedola’s 75 per cent stake. In view of Forte Oil’s new CEO, Olumide Adeosun’s interview with Nairametrics and other media executives, one can tell that the acquisition is a step towards new frontiers.
Oil subsidy scam
Some years ago, Sowami was fingered alongside other oil companies’ Chief Executives in a N24.6 billion subsidy scam. Prudent Energy at the time, was said to have been paid a disproportionately large amount of money based on a single importation of over 18 million litres of PMS.
In view of how the subsidy case faded away in the media space, Sowami must have made his way out of the debacle, to later become a powerhouse in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
In the last election campaign, the business magnate was said to be a financial backer of Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied People’s Movement, (APM) who contested for the gubernatorial seat in Ogun State.
He was said to have deployed massive funds, even outspending the immediate past governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun, who is a close friend of his. Unfortunately, he backed the wrong horse, as his candidate lost to Dapo Abiodun, the present Ogun State Governor.
In all of this, Sowami has neither confirmed nor disproved any of the news making the rounds at the time.
The native of Ogun State is said to be married with seven children and is a lover of football. Alhaji Wasiu, as he is popularly called by his staff and close relatives, is said to be in his late forties.