By Charles Obumneme
Controversial oil billionaire Prince Arthur Eze is making so much news of late. He has received some heavy knocks in some quarters for insisting that only God can make an Igbo president of Nigeria since the people are not united and do not like themselves. He equally got heavy flaks for trying to rebut the standing rotational governorship status in his native Anambra State.
There is a viral video of the diminutive money man being chauffeured in a much-advertised N3000 million Rolls Royce in a convoy of uncountable police courtiers. Prince Arthur Eze boasts at every turn of attracting the recently inaugurated Zone 13 of the Nigerian Police Force to his hometown of Ukpo in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State through his personal relationships with the powers-that-be.
It is when Prince Arthur Eze adds the extra bit of telling journalists that he is attracting facilities like the police zone because no industries are being built in Anambra State that he completely exposes himself as a truth-bender. Incidentally the rice he served his guests was Cosharis Rice, grown and packaged in Anambra State through the industry of Cosmas Maduka, the chairman of the Coscharis Group, with the support of the agricultural initiatives of Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
Unlike Prince Arthur who has not built even one cottage industry in Anambra State or anywhere in the world, Cosmas Maduka heeded the industrialization call and drive of Governor Obiano by setting up the humungous rice farm at Anaku in Ayamelum Local Government Area and the rice mill at Igbariam in Anambra East LGA.
In the words of Cosmas Maduka, “Coscharis Rice Processing Mill, Igbariam is a 120,000 MT modular ultra-modern Rice Mill and this is the first phase with 40,000MT/annum capacity. The processing mill has come to stay in order to improve the quality of life of ndi Anambra as well as the economy of the state and Nigeria in general. The next phase of 80,000MT/annum will come on stream before the end of next year.”
The commissioning of the Coscharis Rice Processing Mill took place on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 and was graced by Governor Obiano, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele and the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri.
It should be instructive to Prince Arthur Eze that the presence of Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State is in line with the fact that the popular Lake Rice of Lagos and Kebbi States owes a lot to the industry of Anambra State. Lake Rice is grown in Kebbi State and consumed in Lagos State but it is processed in Anambra State. Even as Lake Rice owes its name to La(Lagos) and Ke(Kebbi) it is actually being given birth to by the industry of Anambra State. Prince Arthur Eze needs to be educated on this truism so that he would not be wallowing in ignorance.
Some of the sources who spoke to me volunteered the information that the chickens being served in the oil magnate’s house are reared on Lynden Farms of the selfsame Anambra State, attracted by Gov Obiano. The fact that Prince Arthur Eze is not investing in his state does not mean that others are not.
In truth, Prince Arthur Eze is the least qualified person to talk about industrialization in Anambra State. People of Anambra State cannot forget that the state’s biggest industrial establishment, Premier Breweries in Onitsha, was done in when Prince Arthur Eze became the chairman of the board. Premier Breweries used to be the third biggest brewery in Nigeria, after Nigerian Breweries and Guinness, only to meet a pathetic demise upon the coming of Prince Arthur Eze as its chairman.
The antics of Prince Arthur Eze in Premier Breweries led to the hounding of the pacesetting CEO/MD Dan Oduah, a 1967 First Class Graduate of Geology and Geography, out of the enterprise. Dan Oduah equally had a Distinction in his MBA studies from the elite McGill University, Canada, cognate knowledge that he brought to bear on his work at Premier Breweries that shot the company into the stratosphere.
In putting Premier Breweries on the path of utter destruction Prince Arthur Eze hired one Mr. Okeke as the National Sales Manager simply because the fellow hails from his hometown of Ukpo. Prebedalism of course is the death of every enterprise. Against all good thinking, Okeke was promoted beyond his ken as the General Manager, Marketing. Death took over the company.
Prince Arthur Eze also extended his murky managerial ways to his role as the chairman of Orient Bank. He acted so irresponsibly that the then Central Bank Governor, Paul Ogwuma, handed down the directive that he should never ever serve on the board of any bank. Ruining Orient Bank remains one of the several dark spots on the career of Prince Arthur Eze.
Prince Arthur Eze likes to be addressed as Ozoigbondu (Saviour of the lives of Igbos) but he only earns his highs from fighting and destroying neighbouring towns like Abagana and Abbah through the use of his compromised policemen!
The point really is that one should not take Prince Arthur Eze seriously. He once threatened to commit suicide if the dictator General Sani Abacha did not succeed himself as the civilian president of Nigeria. Enough said about this man who supports only candidates that Anambra people reject at the polls. In the November 2017 gubernatorial vote, his candidate lost not just in Arthur Eze’s Dunukofia LGA but even in his hometown of Ukpo in spite of the billions of naira he spent. How unpopular can a man be among his own people?
- Obumneme wrote from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.