By Okey Muogbo
Benedict Peters has become reasonably popular in Nigeria, not because he is a billionaire but because his own billions have been deployed to the betterment of a segment of the Nigerian society that has become endangered due to societal neglect
the youths and in particular sportsmen and women.
Mr Peters is the Nigerian Billionaire owner of AITEO Group, an Oil and Gas Company, the largest indigenous company in that sector. But it is not the impact of the Company in the oil industry that benefits the youths of the country and the continent, it is the commitment and love Mr Peters has for promotion of sports in the continent.
It is clear now that God used the Onicha Olona-born billionaire to breathe life back
into Sports in Nigeria. Before the Aiteo sponsorship deals, the Federation Cup, popularly called the Nigerian Challenge Cup was almost dead. The National League was there but seriously struggling because of problems associated with sponsorship.
Foreign companies operating in Nigeria that had shown interest in the sponsorship had usually withdrawn after one or two years, leaving the Nigerian Football Association/Federation struggling to get a replacement. But the arrival of Benedict Peters and his Aiteo into Sports sponsorship changed everything. Not only
has he and his Company been consistent, he has even taken it to international level by sponsoring the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Annual Awards.
That is why today, Aiteo has not only become a household name in Nigeria but even in Africa. With NFF, Peters oversees a sponsorship deal catering for the national team, coaches and technical crew, and yet another for the country’s FA Cup. As a matter of fact, the FA Cup is now renamed Aiteo Cup.
Without this sponsorship deals, Nigerian Football development would have been worse
than what it is now as Government funding for Football has continued to be inadequate.
Mr Peters is not the the richest man in Nigeria. No, accord- ing to Wikipedia, “as of Novem- ber 2014, he had an estimated net worth of US$2.7 billion. Peters is ranked by Ventures Africa as the 17th richest person in Africa and the 7th richest person in Nigeria.” But the kindhearted billionaire knows what is needed to assist the youths of the country.
Early life and development Peters hails from Onicha Olona in Delta state and was born in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State to a banker and a homemaker. He attended Ekulu Primary School, Enugu; and Federal Government College Enugu, after which he proceeded to University of Benin, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) Hons degree in Geography and Town Planning.
Career Peters began his career in the oil and gas industry in the early 1990s, working with the founders of Ocean and Oil, the entity now known as Oando Nigeria Plc, Adewale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo and Onajite Okoloko. He moved to MRS Oil Nigeria PLC as Group Executive Director, ending as its Managing Director, before leaving in 1999 to establish Sigmund Communecci.
In February 2008, Peters founded the Aiteo group (Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited), the successor entity to Sigmund Communecci.
The company owns one of the largest petroleum tank farms in Nigeria with facilities in excess of over 250 million litres on over 100,000 square meters of landmass. It also owns and operates the Abonnema Storage Terminal.
In 2014, Aiteo acquired a controlling stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 and the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) in the Eastern Niger Delta from Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
According to Wood Mackenzie, “OML 29 is a large block located in the southeastern Niger Delta. It contains 11 oil and gas fields”. “The 983-square-kilometre OML 29,
onshore in the Niger Delta region, is the site of Nigeria’s firstever commercial discovery”, in 1956 at the Oloibiri Oilfield.
Peters is also rapidly diversifying with his founding of Aiteo Power, of which he is chairman. He leads the Aiteo Consortium and EMA Consortium which has won separate bids to acquire three power generating compa- nies and is set to build a 100,000 barrel refinery in oil-rich Warri in
Delta State. In April 2017, Aiteo Group announced the signing of a fiveyear partnership agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation worth an estimated N2.9b.
In the capacity of Official Optimum Partner of the NFF, Aiteo’s support funded the salaries of Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr and coaches of all NFF’s national teams.
Peters told the media that “Aiteo Group is as passionate about leadership as Nigerians are about football, so we are proud to be working together with the
NFF and its coaching staff to reach a shared goal of a more prosperous Nigeria.”
Awards On August 5, 2014 in Washington DC, Peters was one of four recipients of the Marquee Award for Global Business Excellence at the Africa-US Leadership Awards dinner, hosted by African Energy Association, “a non-profit organization of experienced ne- gotiators, advisors and high-level energy advocates”. Leadership, an
Abuja-based national newspaper, named him the “Leadership CEO of the Year 2014” for championing a local content deal facilitating a greater capacity to manage oil assets in his native country, Nigeria. On 18 January 2015, Peters was given the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Legacy Awards in the “Economic Empowerment” category in an event held in Washington, DC’s Willard Hotel. Benedict Peters was listed among the 50 Most Influential Nigerians in 2017 by BusinessDay Newspaper in Nigeria.
In June 2018, he was also named by The Guardian (Nigeria) as Oil and Gas CEO of the Year.
(materials sourced from Wikipedia)