Prince Arthur Eze, the CEO of Atlas Oranto Oil Exploration Firm, has carved his name in the business circle, not only in his native Nigeria but Africa and the world at large. He has however not allowed his quest to make fortunes becloud his efforts to transform the lives of ordinary Nigerians, especially in this period of recession in the country. OMONU YAX-NELSON writes.
When Chief Arthur Eze (Ozondiigbo) was awarded contract by Chief Jim Nwobodo in the early eighties to build the Anambra Broadcasting Service and Television studio in the then Old Anambra State which has been divided into Anambra and Enugu states of today, the contract which then was a major feat given to a little known personality in Arthur Eze saw him doing his utmost best to ensure that the awarded contract was completed. That unknown personae has since after the famed project, become one of the most recognizable personalities in not only Nigeria but Africa and the world at large this he did through dint of hard work. The vigour with which he used in ensuring the completion of projects he has undertaken is still the same vigour he has applied in his business life which has made him to be listed as one of the richest men in Africa. Forbes Magazine has listed him as the 8th richest man in Africa with a net worth of over 5 billion dollars.
Trained as a chemical Engineer at the California State University in the 70s, Chief Arthur Eze who is a prince in his native Ukpo community in Anambra state has grown in leaps and bounds establishing the Atlas Oranto Oil exploration Company which was incorporated in 1993 and has since its incorporation become the highest holder of oil exploration blocs in black Africa. His investments in the oil sector have seen him reduce the unemployment scourge in the continent making him one of the highest employers of labour in the continent. He has also become so powerful making friends with the high and mighty especially Presidents of various countries in the world. He is also connected to the government of Israel. I remember being a guest at the annual Offalla Festival at the sleepy town of Ukpo which came alive with guests from various parts of the world and will not fail to stress that I was hugely impressed by the array of very important guests including the son of a former Israeli Prime minister.
Chief Arthur Eze who ventured into the aviation sector in the 90s with his then famous Triax Airlines, made history as the first man to fly in his private jet at the upgraded Enugu International Airport under the administration of ex president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Prince Eze had achieved this feat by flying in his private jet from Europpe en route Senegal. Elated, the popular, humane and likeable business mogul who is also known as Arthur One Thousand by his close friends, said the landing of his private jet at the refurbished Enugu International Airport was a historic day for the people of the South East region who have long craved for such a gesture from the Federal Government.
The fact that Prince Arthur Eze whose elder brother is the Traditional Ruler of Ukpo Community in Anambra state has achieved so much in his life is not as celebrated as his philanthropism. If there is any Nigerian who has taken philanthropy to another height, Prince Arthur Eze the Ozoigbondu of Igboland surely counts as one. Yours truly was particularly touched by the case of a woman who delivered triplets and who this humane man touched her life by given her assistance to take care of her and the babies as well as start a new life. The lady, whose husband had earlier abandoned her because she had given birth to girls throughout, has since carried on with her life and is now contributing to the economy of the country. In this period of recession in the country, the likes of Prince Arthur Eze among others, have acted true to his title by helping out various families who have been acutely affected by the dwindling state of the economy. His famed philanthropy has seen him donating also to various causes including the famed donation of 12 million dollars to the Anglican Church Youth Development Centre in Otuoke Bayelsa state. He also showed his magnanimity to flood victims during the horrible flood of 2012 which ravaged a lot of homes in the country. This is not to talk about his educational support projects across the length and breadth of the country. His Maitama home has become a Mecca of sorts to a lot of underprivileged Nigerians from all works of life. Be it Christian or Muslim celebrations, northerner or southerner, politicians from across the aisles, Prince Arthur Eze does not discriminate. He is a true Nigerian who has the interest of the people at heart and does not shy away to touch and transform the lives of Nigerians.
So when leaders of Abagana community I his home state through one of its spoke persons called on the Inspector General of Police to charge the Ukpo born Prince for terrorism, Nigerians were united in their condemnation of the call stressing that it was most uncharitable to label a man who has shown patriotism and a strong proclivity for peace and development with such. As much as they consider the issue a communal issue between brothers, they did not fail to unite in urging the spokesman of the community and his supporters to withdraw the word ‘terrorist’ in qualifying Prince Arthur Eze.
Not afraid of controversies, he did court controversy in Abia state when in 2014 on the invitation of the then Governor of the state Theodore Orji he declared without mincing words that the state is stinking from Umuahia to Aba. His position which he made known while addressing the crowd that gathered at the event has been buttressed by the celebrated decay which the state is known for even today.
A lover of good life, great friends, exotic cars, jets and wine, Chief Arthuir Eze has also not failed in patronizing and encouraging Igbo artistes. From the highly famed Igbo musician the late Oliver De Coque, Emeka Morrocco and Flavour, he has also not relented in giving support to other acts across the country prompting Hausa, Yoruba and artistes from other parts of the country to sing his praises in their songs.
As our great country celebrates yet another year of Independence from the British colonialists, it is important that such a personality like Chief Prince Arthur Eze` who has done so much in impacting on the lives of his fellow country men and women is also celebrated.