Arthur Nzeribe Real Data
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 His wife of over 30 years, Dr. Tonia Ogbeyanu Ngozi Nzeribe (The Odaze of Illah in Delta state), is the sister of Hajia Asabe Shehu Musa 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.
He was a great man. He was a colourful politician. He was famous. But, Dr. Francis Arthur Nzeribe was controversy personified. As the curtain drew on his life few days ago, the nation may not feel any sense of loss because of his role in the ill-fated Third Republic. But, his family and townspeople will greatly miss him.
He was a Maverick, a warrior, a cunning political actor, a military apologist, and at the twilight of life, an isolate and a political rejectee.
He shown brilliantly as a business mogul, an investor who cannot be ignored, an arms dealer, a wealthy ‘wizard.’ He operated in two countries-Ghana and Nigeria-as a shrewd businessman and an uncommon strategist.
However, he had to contend with a fading influence towards the end. His acts were not worthy of emulation because he wrecked havoc on the system that permitted the mess.
He was already a household name in the Second Republic when he took the politics of Orlu District by storm. He projected himself as a fan of the Great Zik of Africa, Dr. Nnamidi Azikiwe, leader and presidential candidate of the defunct Peoples Democratic Party(NPP). He said he was prepared to make his private jet available to the Owelle of Onitsha. But, he later told reporters that he preferred his rival, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, for president.
His campaigns were electrifying. In fame, he was only second to Dr. Ozumba Mbadiwe, man of timber and calibre, caterpillar and bulldozer, who hailed from the same district.
He was colourful on the podium. “Aham bu Francis Arthur Nzeribe. Unu sim puta, aputalam,” his posters read, translated as “you asked me to come out and join politics. I have done that.”
His radio jingle in those days was: “Vote for progress, vote for prosperity, for Change 83, Arthur Nzeribe is the people’s choice.”
Nzeribe won his senatorial election, thereby becoming a force to reckon with in old Imo State. He was later disappointed when the coup plotters of 1983 sacked the civilian regime. He went back to his business.
In the Third Republic, he was a different person. Nzeribe devoted his time and energy to the anti-democratic project of scuttling the transition programme, which military President Ibrahim Babangida had designed to fail.
But, Nigerians, tired of military rule, decided to end the inglorious dictatorship by voting for the restoration of civil rule.
As Nigerians were warming up for the presidential poll, the Association for Better Nigeria (ABN), led by him, was working assiduously to truncate the democratic process.
It was evident that Chief Moshood Abiola of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) will defeat Alhaji Bashir Othman of the proscribed National Republican Convention (NRC). Armed with clear instructions by the military to derail the transition programme, he and his co-traveller, Abimbola Davies, swung into action, collating frictious signatures. The June 12 presidential poll, Nzeribe said, must not hold. He headed for the court. At midnight, a compromised judge gave a dubious verdict. The rest is history.
Nzeribe beat his chest as a stakeholder who should be wooed by Abiola, in the course of post-annulment consultations and mobilisation for de-annulment. He boasted that the Aare Ona Kankanfo must come to his kitchen to appease him.
As Abiola stormed his palatial residence at Oguta, he ran to his kitchen where the symbol of June 12 met him. They shook hands. It was a warm embrace between the deprived winner of the most historic and credible poll and one of his tormentors. The meeting never achieved anything.
Nzeribe was later to bounce back again as one of the pioneer senators of the Fourth Republic. He represented Orlu District for eight years. An experienced legislator, he was never a good example to non-ranking colleagues. Nzeribe was associated with many controversial moves on the floor of the hallowed chamber
Arthur Nzeribe was elected Senator for the Imo Orlu constituency in 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.
In August 2007 Nzeribe was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP. He died from an undisclosed ailment on 8 May 2022.
Arthur Nzeribe Net Worth
Arthur Nzeribe was one of the most influential and richest politicians during his time. It was reported that he bought his first Rolls Royce vehicle in 1961, at the age of 23. Nzeribe’s country home in Oguta, Imo State is called Heaven of Peace, an estate that contains multiple mansions.
As of 2018, Arthur Nzeribe is believed to be worth over 1.5 billion dollars.