An era ends as maverick politician, Arthur Nzeribe, passes

The late Arthur Nzeribe (Ogbuagu, Oshiji Damanze Oyimba of Oguta) Rest in peace.

Marverick politician and Association for Better Nigeria, ABN, leader in the ill-fated Nigeria’s Third Republic, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, is dead.

He was 83 years old.

Nzeribe reportedly died on Sunday morning, according to a report by Sahara Reporters.

Although THE CONCLAVE reports that Nzeribe had been sick for several months, confined to the wheel chair and in near vegetative state, Sahara Reporters quoted a source that confirmed that the once-influencial politician was declared dead at a foreign hospital following an undisclosed ailment.

“He died this morning in a hospital abroad. The family will soon release a statement,” the source was quoted to have said.

In 2017, the photograph of ageing and possibly sick Nzeribe, sitting languidly, with medics around him went viral on social media.

He was elected a Senator to represent Orlu first in 1999 but in November 2002, the then-Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim suspended Nzeribe indefinitely over an allegation of N22 million fraud.

Also, in April 2006, the Orlu People’s Consultative Assembly, sponsored by the then Governor of Imo State, Achike Udenwa, staged what it called a “One million march” to drum support for Nzeribe’s recall from the Senate.

Due to popular demand, in December 2006, Nzeribe was defeated by Osita Izunaso during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries for the 2007 Senatorial election.

In a swift riposte on Sunday, a former Politics Correspondent for The Guardian and now an associate professor of Diasporic Communication at the Bza University, Abuja, Abiodun Adeniyi, recalled Nzeribe’s memorable thoughts.

In a WhatsApp group chat, Dr Adeniyi provided some of Nzeribe’s thoughts, to wit: “I don’t always watch television. I like to listen to my thoughts, to converse with my soul, which is why I am philosophical, and you can frequently read my lips”

“I live in hotels. It suits my lifestyle. I became a billionaire at 27, with properties all over the world, so I can afford it”

“I am peace loving, and I like democracy, contrary to what people think. You however bring out the other side of me when you try to ignore me. That’s the worst crime you can commit against me and I will fight it to the end, no matter the outcome”

Dr Adeniyi said: “The above are some memorable thoughts I heard from the late controversial politician in interactions, through interviews, engagements at the legislature, etc. He can hardly be forgotten. May he rest in peace.”

● Read a detailed biography of Nzeribe by Wikipedia below:

Nzeribe, a multi-billionaire investment mogul, was born in Oguta, Imo State on 2 November 1938. His father, Oyimba Nzeribe, was a lawyer and former state counsel, and his grandfather, Akpati Nzeribe, held the traditional title of Ogbuagu, Oshiji, Damanze Oyimba of Oguta.[citation needed] His second wife is the sister of Hajia Asabe Yar’Adua, wife of the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, who was brother of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Nzeribe lost his mother when he was a primary school student, while his father was away in Great Britain studying law. His care was taken over by Catholic priests who were involved in furthering his education. He attended Bishop Shanahan College, Orlu and Holy Ghost College, Owerri. In 1957, he traveled to Lagos where he obtained employment with Nigeria’s port authority as an engineering cadet, and a year later, he received a scholarship from the NPA to study marine engineering. He took courses at Portsmouth College of Technology and later attended Chesterfield College of Technology in England. By 1960 he was selling life insurance to black immigrants in Britain. Returning to Nigeria in 1961 he was briefly an employee of Shell, then for a few months an Air Force cadet. Thereafter, he worked for Gulf Oil at the firm’s Escravos facility.

Nzeribe soon left Gulf Oil and returned to London, where he opened Jeafan, a public relations firm, with one Ghanaian and two English partners. The firm worked with a number of African diplomatic missions in London including the Ghana High Commission. The well dressed and mannered Nzeribe was able to gain the confidence of a few notable clients.

Through the Ghana Commission, he met Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and started to work for him in public relations. Nkrumah also introduced him to other African leaders. In 1966, when the National Liberation Council (NLC) overthrew Nkrumah, Nzeribe and Jeafan briefly lost influence in Ghana but the NLC leadership soon turned to Jeafan to help improve the public image of their administration. Nzeribe developed a working relationship with Joseph Arthur Ankrah, head of the liberation council, but when Ankrah left office in April 1969, Nzeribe lost influence in Ghana.

In 1969, Nzeribe started up the Fanz Organization based in London, dealing in heavy construction, arms, oil brokerage, publishing and property investment, with much business in the Middle East and Gulf states. By 1979, Fanz had an annual trading turnover of £70 million. He is believed to be worth over 1.5 billion dollars as of 2018. In Nigeria, Nzeribe built up Sentinel Assurance and other companies. His country home in Oguta is called Heaven of Peace, an estate that contains multiple mansions. In 1983, he spent N12m to win a Senatorial seat in Orlu. Ten years later, he was a prominent supporter of the Association for a Better Nigeria, which backed General Ibrahim Babangida.

● June 12 Election Annulment

On June 10, 1993, Nzeribe tried to stop the election, relying on a court order which his group, Association for Better Nigeria (ABN), got from a midnight ruling from late Justice Bassey Ikpeme of Abuja High Court. ABN was known to be pro-Babangida.

● Senate career

Arthur Nzeribe was elected Senator for the Imo Orlu constituency 1999 and was reelected in 2003. In November 2002, Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim indefinitely suspended Senator Nzeribe due to an allegation of a N22 million fraud. Nzeribe was said to be planning an impeachment motion against Anyim.

In April 2006, the Orlu People’s Consultative Assembly, sponsored by the governor of Imo state Achike Udenwa, staged what it called “One million March” to drum up support for Nzeribe’s recall from the Senate. In the December 2006 PDP primaries for the 2007 Senatorial candidates, he was defeated by Osita Izunaso.

● Later career

In August 2007 Nzeribe was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP.

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here