By IKEDDY Isiguzo — PRINCE Arthur Eze, acclaimed billionaire, oil magnet, and whatever in-between, at 71, craves attention that does not align with a man who should be more circumspect in addressing the self-inflicting injuries his effort at relevance harvests. What does the Dunukofia Prince want?
Will he ever get it? Would he know if he gets it? Does it have anything to do with the dazzling fashion statements of Governor Willie Obiano whose recent knack for sassy dressing earns more headlines than the Prince’s botched attempt to peddle his influence in Abuja?
Obiano suspended 13 traditional rulers who made a trip to Abuja at the Prince’s instance. They were unable to see the President. Prince Eze had told them he had facilitated a meeting with the President for them.
There is nothing strange about the suspension. Muhammadu Buhari as military Head of State in 1984 suspended the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Ofala Okechukwu Okagbue, and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero for travelling to Israel without the Federal Government’s permission. The three monarch said they travelled for an agricultural project.
Prince Arthur Eze is miffed. Weeks after taking on former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim – who bloodied him with revelations that the serial anger Prince Eze had for him was over failed expectations that Anyim as Secretary to the Government of the Federation would funnel contracts to Prince Eze – the next target is his State Governor Willie Obiano.
“I’m not afraid of anybody. I have installed three African Presidents. One of them gave me oil blocks in his country. I have assisted in enthroning many governors in Nigeria,” the Prince said in his Dunukofia home. Thanks to the ever-presence of journalists around him, we can glean the workings of Prince Eze’s mind. It would seem many of us do not appreciate the spiral influence of Prince Eze even when it has spanned to the politics of making African Presidents.
We should applaud him. With the exception of MKO Abiola, who was known to have funded Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to capture power 34 years ago, we did not know that another Nigerian had upped the ante. The making off three Presidents, in a lcifetime, is no mean feat. It must hurt the Prince that he has been unsuccessful in installing a single Governor in native Anambra State.
“I have given a governorship candidate N10bn to assist him prosecute his election. I didn’t know the candidate from Adam. He just approached me and told me about himself and his people; I empathised with him and gave him the money,” Prince Eze said. One could deduce Prince Eze’s candidate failed, unlike the three African Presidents.
Could the Prince Arthur Eze be frustrated that his political successes abroad do not reflect in Anambra State?
“Obiano is just a small fry. Even this Obiano, I have given him financial assistance as a person and as a Governor several times. I have no personal problems with him. My grouse with him is that he is not doing the right things as a Governor,” he launched at the Governor, who about that time was dazing audiences with his ambitious fashion statement while receiving Femi Fani-Kayode.
Who has forgotten the Governor’s stunner at the closing ceremony of the Police Games, in Awka, earlier in the year? COVID-19 has not quarantined the Governor’s daring fashion in 2020.
Prince Eze pointed the cause of his annoyance in a different direction. “Many people are suffering under his government. He is not paying the traditional rulers in the State their five per cent entitlement from the Local Government allocation,” the Prince said. Did the suffering just start? Were the traditional rulers getting the allocation before now?
Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C-Don Adinuba, has responded with official position that state government officials have elected to maintain “dignified silence” on Prince Eze’s comments.
Will Prince Eze provoke the state government as Adinuba alleged “to start probing his abandoned contracts with the State because we have his dossier?”
Adinuba could not possibly be suggesting that Governor Obiano would ignore the abandoned contracts if Prince Eze stopped being meddlesome in the affairs of the State. Was he?
Prince Eze requires daily massages of his ego to attain relevance he crave in dosages not everyone is willing to give him. His appetite for recognition is insatiable. He has been at it for decades.
A warning to probe Prince Eze cannot stop his ceaseless strive for a space in the public sphere. Billions apart, Prince Eze is nothing without news around him, it seems any news would do.
Perhaps, Prince Eze would take the Obiano fashion challenge before Obiano exits office in March 2022 as the final revenge over a small fly that inconveniences his ears.