Nigerian politician Arthur Nzeribe dies aged 83
Nigerian political leader and business tycoon Arthur Nzeribe has died.
Although details of his death remained unclear at the time of this report, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nzeribe would have been 84 as of November 2.
A NAN correspondent, who visited his lavish country house known as the “Haven of Peace”, located in the Egbuoma community in the Oguta local government area of Imo, reports that only a security was seen in the vicinity.
However, at his father’s compound in Umudei village in the same council area, a man, Justinian Nzeribe, who identified himself as the only surviving child of eight Nzeribe siblings, confirmed the death of the icon.
Mr Justinian said he received the sad news around 6am on Sunday.
“He was sick for years with a stroke.
“He was a simple man. Despite being awesome, he would always ask you not to bother.
“He was a champion of peace and an icon of my time, who left a lot of legacy behind him, both politically and in his lifestyle,” he said.
The traditional ruler of Oguta, HRM Eze Nnani Chinedu Nzeribe, as well as a political associate of the late icon and former deputy state governor, Mr Gerald Irona, said they would only speak after a official statement from family members.
Mr. Nzeribe was born in Oguta on November 2, 1938. His father, Oyimba Nzeribe, was a lawyer and former state councilor, and his grandfather, Akpati Nzeribe, bore the traditional title of Ogbuagu, Oshiji, Damanze Oyimba d’ Oguta.
His second wife is the sister of Hajia Asabe Yar’Adua, wife of the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, who was the brother of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Nzeribe lost his mother when he was a pupil in primary school, when his father left for Britain to study 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 got a job with Nigeria’s Port Authority (NPA) as a student engineer.
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.
In 1960, he was selling life insurance to black immigrants in Britain. Back in Nigeria in 1961, he was briefly employed by Shell, then for a few months as an air force cadet. Subsequently, he worked for Gulf Oil at the company’s Escravos plant.
Mr. Nzeribe soon left Gulf Oil and returned to London, where he opened Jeafan, a public relations firm, with a Ghanaian and two English associates.
The company has worked with a number of African diplomatic missions in London, including the Ghana High Commission.
The well-dressed and well-mannered Nzeribe was able to gain the trust of a few notable clients and through the Ghana Commission he met Kwame Nkrumah from Ghana and started working for him in public relations.
Mr. Nkrumah also introduced him to other African leaders.