Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Dr Chris Ngige on Wednesday described the Anambra business mogul, Prince Arthur Eze, as a fair weather politician.
By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Editor
He berated the businessman for casting aspersions on him over his advice that the 12 traditional rulers suspended by the Anambra State Government should be relocated from their communities to avert breach of peace.
Described Eze as ‘a fair weather politician,’ who befriends “any government in power,” and uses his wealth to intimidate, oppress and brutalise the downtrodden, the minister his attacks on him were unwarranted.
Governor Willie Obiano had sanctioned the monarchs for travelling out of the state, without clearance, while accompanying Eze to Aso Villa on what they tagged: “a thank you visit to Mr. President” for his infrastructural development of the Southeast and dividends of democracy to Igbos.
Ngige, who maintained that Eze’s attacks on him were indecorous, said :“Arthur Eze is a fair weather politician, a political turncoat and an apostle and Commander-in-Chief of members of “any government in power,” (AGIP) in Nigeria.
The minister said in a statement by his media aide, Emmanuel Nzomiwu, that as a former governor and an elder in the state, he had only advised the Anambra State Government to relocate the traditional rulers out of their domain for administrative and security reasons.
He said following their suspension from office, the monarchs ceased to perform the functions of their offices, adding that they should not be allowed to be visiting or threatening those carrying out their functions by still visiting the office, whether it is in the palace or elsewhere.
Ngige said:“Much more importantly, those suspended traditional rulers have started experiencing violent protests, demonstrations and calls for their outright dethronement in their respective communities of Abacha (Idemili North LG), Alor (Idemili South LG), Aguleri Enugu Otu and Mkpu Nando-Otu Aguleri, both in Anambra East LG as well as in many other places, thereby raising security concerns.
“These two reasons are very compelling and serious enough for the Anambra State Government to relocate these persons, especially the one from Ngige’s community, Alor, who was never crowned by the community abinitio but was imposed by the Anambra State Government of Peter Obi on the Alor community as a retaliation and punitive action for their loss of the 2011 senatorial election to Ngige, who defeated and trounced their candidate.”
Ngige emphasised that he never pushed for the banishment of Arthur Eze, an act which would have run against the tenets of the 1999 constitution, as amended.
“But, this does not derogate from the fact that Senator Ngige had said that from the facts- video clips-in the media and in the public domain, Eze had engaged in an act of sabotage, against the government and people of Anambra State.
“Arthur Eze had sabotaged the Anambra State Government by gathering a group of disgruntled persons, some gullible and even non recognized traditional rulers for ‘a thank you visit’ on behalf of the South East when in actual fact, no traditional ruler from Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia and Imo states, was in his motley gathering of Ezes.
“The Chairman of Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers was not there; same with the Chairman of the South East council of Traditional Rulers. He also neither involved nor informed South East federal ministers, not to talk of those from Anambra State, even out of courtesy.”
Ngige maintained that Eze should be sanctioned for sabotage, aiding and abetting those traditional rulers to travel out of their kingdom without appropriate clearance from the Anambra State Government, an action for which all of them have pleaded guilty and apologized to the Governor.
The minister denied the claim that he lived in FESTAC before Eze rented a decent apartment for him in Lagos and helped him change his Volkswagen car.
“In 1980 he was already living in comfort in the 1004 Estate, National Assembly Wing, Victoria Island, having been moved from his temporary accommodation in the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island where he stayed when he arrived in Lagos as a youth corps medical doctor.
According to the statement, “Rather, it was Prince Arthur Eze who had been a family friend since 1967 that relocated from his elder brother’s house in Kirikiri to squat with him (Senator Ngige), he(Arthur) having come back from the USA in 1979 and doing the petty trading, buying and selling trips (Afia attack) to London, in the United Kingdom.”
“The Minister had a hand in growing Arthur’s petty business in the early eighties, from his buying and selling of T-shirts, ladies pants and Bra, to VHS cassette business, even as he provided him and his young trading associates with shelter and food whenever they returned from business trips from London into Lagos. He equally introduced him to many VIPs from where his business metamorphosed from supply of VHS Cassettes to NTA and Anambra TV to construction of TV Stations in the 80’s.