Ordinarily, it is advised that respect is accorded to individuals who have managed to achieve some success in any meaningful endeavour, more so when such success came in the world of business, where it is expected that it takes more than a mere flash of luck, but some dedicated work, creativity and a great measure of discipline.
However, in Nigeria, many multibillionaires didn’t need any of those qualities, especially in the ignominious days of the military, when all you needed was a good word put across on your behalf to the military head of state or someone calling the shots within the barracks. Little wonder, most of those who made their money during the military era find it difficult to leave politics alone. That’s because they need political patronage to sustain their “ill-gotten wealth”.
Go around working democracies and you would hardly find businessmen getting so neck-deep in partisan politics. Most of them simply make do with being financiers of some political parties, while others donate whatever they can to the major Parties and concentrate on their businesses without allowing themselves to be drawn into the slimy game of partisan politics. This is mostly because these individuals can thrive in their businesses with or without political support.
In Nigeria, we have wealthy men who made their money from some decent work and investments and who are neither afraid of the government persecuting them, because they have nothing to hide or the government failing to patronise them because they deal in tangible goods and services that can be sold to individuals and other organisations without government patronage. But you see those individuals who hanker after every government in power and who do everything possible to influence the outcome of their local elections, they are more corrupt than the usual politicians and most of them are the reasons our infrastructure is poor because they access funds for these contracts and refuse to execute them.
Prince Arthur Eze is a typical African “money miss road”. He is one of those whose understanding of wealth is to use same to harass and intimidate the people instead of putting such wealth to the service of the people. While we have individuals like Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault and even our own Aliko Dangote investing in projects that could make the world a better place, through sponsorship of programs in health, space and other educational research.
Arthur Eze is best known for using his wealth to imprison his relatives, grab people’s lands and attempt to buy off the Anambra State government house through many efforts to plant his stooges. Of course, he couldn’t have his way in the eight years that Peter Obi held sway, because while the soft-spoken incoming President would not sanction any attempt to ridicule anyone or frustrate people’s genuine investments he would also not allow public funds to be accessed by those who only know how to drink the best champagne and squander money in other frivolities.
Like his ilk living in the past, Arthur Eze is on a frolic to political oblivion, because he has let the train of power leave him behind. And I tell you, that is in Nigeria’s interest. It is rumoured that he was blackmailed into making the ludicrous statement that Peter Obi is on his own, as a precondition to be awarded some small contracts by Soludo, but if this is true, it would actually be very demeaning to a man who is acclaimed to be a multibillionaire. It means that even with all his wealth and acclaimed contacts, he is still a very poor man.
Businessmen are known for being visionary people and great risk-takers. No real businessman would categorically say that a dream is impossible. That is why you see Elon Musk, Richard Branson and other real entrepreneurs who made their money through ideas, investing in Mars tourism; building hotels on Mars and developing transportation to space, while some lousy louts who are only wealthy through corrupt patronage from government sit down somewhere and talk categorically about who wouldn’t win elections and who would win in eight years to come. Nothing can be sillier.
Peter Obi is coming in as Nigeria’s next President not on the platform of Igbo or Southeast presidency but on the basis of competence, integrity and being the best among all the candidates in the race at the moment.
If Arthur Eze N’Ukpo had the slightest regard for the well-being of this country, he would have joined other patriots from different parts of this country to ensure that Peter Obi is elected President. Fortunately, the Ukpo Prince has chosen this time in his life to make himself irrelevant in the political scheme of things, and I can only wish him a happy retirement and pray he enjoys his wealth in peace and never comes to bother the next President with proposals for contracts that will never be executed.
By Onwuasoanya FCC Jones