“Many are mad and many are roaming on social media.”
Chief Arthur Nzeribe, a multi millionaire, was born in Oguta, Imo State, on November 2, 1938. He held the title of Ogbuagu, among others chieftaincy titles. Ogbuagu is regarded as the highest traditional chieftaincy title in Oguta.
It is not for nothing that Nzeribe was called a maverick politician.
In 1983, he was said to have spent a whooping N12m to win a senatorial seat in Orlu on the platform of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP). That amount was the annual budget of many states put together then.
Ten years after, he became a prominent sponsor of the infamous Association for a Better Nigeria (ABN), which backed the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) military administration.
It was the ABN that campaigned and convinced IBB to annul the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged to be the fairest, freest and most transparent in the history of Nigeria, which was said to have been won by the late MKO Abiola.
Nzeibe was also referred to as the original evil genius in some quarters.
He got a scholarship from the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1958 to study Marine Engineering in England.
By 1960, he sold life insurance to black immigrants in Britain. At a point, he was said to have met Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana that year and started working for him in the area of public relations. He bought his first Rolls Royce car a year later.
In 1969, Nzeribe started the Fanz Organisation based in London, an organisation that dealt in heavy construction, arms, oil brokerage, publishing and property investment. It also engaged in business in the Middle East and the Gulf region. By 1979, Fanz had an annual trading turnover of £70 million.
In Nigeria, Nzeribe built Sentinel Assurance and other companies. His country home in Oguta is called Haven of Peace, a plush estate that has multiple mansions that still compete with anything you can get anywhere in the country.
The billionaire businessman was elected into the Senate in the Third Republic. He represented the Orlu senatorial zone in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003.
However, the tide turned against him in November 2002 when the then president of the Senate, Anyim Pius Anyim, suspended him indefinitely following an allegation of a N22m fraud. Nzeribe was said to be planning an impeachment motion against Anyim at the time.
Arthur Nzeribe’s power and influence further declined in April 2006, when the Orlu People’s Consultative Assembly, sponsored by the then Governor of Imo State, Chief Achike Udenwa, staged a “one-million-man march” to mobilise support for Nzeribe’s recall from the Senate.
In December 2006, Osita Izunaso defeated him during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election. However, in August 2007, Nzeribe was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP.
Since his defeat by Izunaso, with the assistance of Udenwa, Nzeribe disappeared from the public scene. That was before he became sick, a situation attributed to old age and a domestic accident he had in his country.
Political thugs allegedly working for the Rivers state governor, Mr Nyesom Wike have invaded the residence of former Rivers South-East Senator, Lee Maeba.
The house located at GRA, Phase 3 axis in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was invaded by thugs on Thursday morning.
Maeba is the chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council in the state.
A source said the hoodlums, allegedly loyal to Governor Wike, destroyed many cars, including an SUV, while occupants of the house including Senator Maeba’s relations fled the scene.
It was learnt that the hoodlums also shot indiscriminately and injured some occupants of the building during the attack.
“About 200 hoodlums loyal to Governor Wike attacked the residence of Senator Lee Maeba this morning. They destroyed vehicles and injured some occupants,” the source said.
Since Governor Wike lost the presidential ticket of the party to the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the party has been factionalised.
This followed allegations made by the governor that the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu manipulated the process to favour Atiku, a fellow northerner.
He subsequently asked Ayu to resign from office but the national chairman has refused to do so amid the attendant crisis in the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The Wike-led Rivers government earlier revoked the ownership of a landed property belonging to Maeba in Port Harcourt.
When contacted, DSP Grace Woyengikuro Iringe-Koko, spokesperson for the state police command said she wasn’t aware of the incident.
Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson-Okojie, caused a stir on the Internet when she openly declared her support for the All Progressives Congress and its candidates in the 2023 elections.
The actress had on Wednesday shared pictures of herself with the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announcing her membership as part of the APC women presidential campaign team.
Her husband, Odi Okojie, is also an APC candidate for the Esan North East/ South East federal constituency in Edo State.
Sharing the photos from the campaign, the actress wrote, “Earlier today, I joined His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the incredible women leaders that make up the APC ‘Women Presidential Campaign Team’ at the APC women Southwest Rally.
“As a woman, wife to an APC candidate @princeodiokojie and mother, I am confident in the APC plan for women which is in line with the 35% affirmative action for women.
“From the goodwill messages and conversations with the women leaders, I was opportuned to hear from the horse’s mouth and I have renewed hope and confidence in the good intentions, great plans and actions to follow for the women of Nigeria and for the people of Nigeria.”
Her post, however, did not go down well with many fans who took to Twitter to condemn the actress’ decision, making ‘Mercy Johnson’ one of the trending topics on Thursday.
A tweep, @odyloveth, said, “End Sars – Mercy Johnson will not talk. Flood in her state that half of her community people were dying, she was mute. Police brutality, she will not talk.
“Today Mercy Johnson is telling us that APC have plans for us in 2023. I blame those rating these celebrities.”
Advising the actress to focus only on her husband, @eseohe_k tweeted, “No one is saying Mercy Johnson shouldn’t support her husband’s political career. She should not just try to sell APC to us. Campaign for your husband alone. Talking about ‘as a woman, I’m confident in the APC plan for women’.”
However, some fans stated that the actress was free to support whoever she wanted to, as they justified her actions.
@isaacafrica_ said, “While I’m for Peter Obi, I wouldn’t expect Mercy Johnson to support a party other than her husband’s. It’s one of the reasons her marriage works.
“This isn’t about party affiliation. It’s about who’s working in the best interest of Nigerians. Why can’t she be light within APC?”
Another tweep, @mrlurvy, said, “Mercy Johnson’s husband is flying the flag of the APC in his constituency. But you expect Mercy to support another party right? So that she can get retweets and likes?
“Many are mad and many are roaming on social media.”
All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said he is ready to debate from morning till night.
Tinubu has been heavily criticised for staying away from interactive sessions attended by other presidential candidates.
His absence at ARISE Townhall on Sunday had created a stir as his critics said Tinubu might have stayed away because he could not withstand the rigor.
The main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had accused him of avoiding debates because he has nothing to tell Nigerians.
But addressing some young Nigerians in London, Tinubu said debate was not an issue.
“I am ready to debate with you from morning till night… and I’m speaking in London, not in Jigawa. It is great that you are alive to tell the story just giving the assurance never to give up… Broadband creation, energy that you talked about.. if they’ve taken our advice.. in the beginning of democracy in 1999, we brought in investment. My Deputy then is here.. and then so many other innovative things….,” he said.
Fielding a question from the audience at Chatham House in London on Monday, on why he snubbed debates, Tinubu said, “I see myself as a marketable individual. You want to use me to make money and I’m saying no.”
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