How A Nigerian Geographer Built A Business Worth Billions Of Dollars
Success comes down to two major things; dedication & effort, and every single person on earth controls both. Without dedication and effort, success is almost impossible, but when they’re both in the equation, amazing things happen in the lives of those who stay committed to them.
This is the story of Benedict Peters, an entrepreneur an oil magnate whose focus and determination helped him to chase and maximise the opportunities that presented themselves to him.
Here’s how he did it.
Early Life And Education Of Benedict Peters
Benedict Peters was born in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State, on the 5th of December, 1966, although his roots are from Onicha Oloma in Delta state. He attended Ekulu Primary School, Enugu, for his elementary education and Federal Government College Enugu.
He later proceeded to the University of Benin, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) Hons degree in Geography and Town Planning in 1989 at the age of 22.
His father retired from banking while he was still a student at the university, prompting the young Peters to develop entrepreneurial skills and work harder ahead of many of his contemporaries to be able to supplement his financial needs.
Journey To Entrepreneurship
Upon graduation, Benedict Peters started as a cross-country merchant with interests in agricultural produce. He began trading tomatoes and cocoa from Northern Nigeria to the south for local consumption. He also invested in new and used cars for sale, as well as real estate.
At different points, Benedict Peters turned down various job offers which had very promising careers and attractive incomes. One of which was a job offer by Union Bank, which was where he completed his compulsory Youth Service year.
Benedict Peters believed in having multiple sources of income and diversification. In the year 1999, he established Sigmund Communecci – a petroleum product supply and trading company. On October 12, 2000, the company secured a credit line of N250 million from City Express Bank with a 365-day repayment time frame.
Given the good turn out of the first loan, the company received other loans in hundreds of millions; ranging from 500 million Naira in 2002 from the same bank and another 350 million Naira in June 20 2002.
The successful repayment of the loans was proof of Peter’s business intellect, finance management and commitment.
Sigmund Communecci was rebranded in 2008 and was renamed Aiteo with eyes on phenomenal future growth and Aiteo’s strategic strides have contributed to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which was worth over US$4 billion to the economy of Nigeria.
In the 1990s, he was a co-founder of Ocean and Oil Limited, now known as Oando, a petroleum exploration and trading company.
The Start Of Aiteo Group
Aiteo Group has grown to be a grand establishment in the country. The company supplies the global market with oil and gas products while also executing oil exploration projects.
Since the company was created, it has been one of the most successful energy providers in Nigeria and is now considered a major player in the international oil industry.
Benedict Peters’ Aiteo Group, is one of the largest oil-producing firms in Nigeria. And Peters himself was estimated to have a net worth of US$2.7 billion as of the year 2014.
Benedict Peters’ Impact In Society
Benedict Peters is also known for his philanthropic initiatives. He has provided donations, grants, seed capital and much more to individuals and organisations.
In the year 2014, he founded the local society known as the Joseph Agro Foundation to provide relief to local farmers, aid their work and improve their standard of living.
His overall impacts have helped to reduce unemployment in the country.
Benedict Peters’ Awards And Recognition
“On August 5, 2014, at the Africa-US Leadership Awards dinner in Washington DC, Peters was one of four awardees of the Marquee Award for Global Business Excellence, hosted by the African Energy Association,” a non-profit organisation of experienced negotiators, advisers and high-level energy advocates. Leadership, a national newspaper based in Abuja, Nigeria named him “Leadership CEO of the Year” for championing a local content deal facilitating the management of local assets in the country.
Peters also received the Martin Luther King Jr. award on January 18, 2015, at an event held at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, Legacy Awards in the “Economic Empowerment” category.
He was also identified by BusinessDay Newspaper in Nigeria as one of the 50 Most Influential Nigerians in 2017.
In June 2018, Benedict Peters was named CEO of the Year by The Guardian (Nigeria) for the Oil and Gas sector.
To Sum It Up
The tenacity of purpose is supreme. Benedict Peters always knew what he wanted and went for it against all odds. He built strong relationships both in his business line and in the banking community, and always worked had to never disappoint those who trusted their finance or business opportunities to him.
His life is a great success story to emulate, and when you understand & are committed to great dedication and effort, you can attain great heights.