By Chidi Nnadi, Editor, Sunday Sun
HE is like the elephant, though not in terms of size, but as one who could be described from so many angles. Though he stands out in politics, petroleum and aviation industries, he is king in the philanthropic arena. Indeed, Prince Arthur Eze, who turned 71 recently, has proved that one could rise from grass to grace. Today, he is living his life in service and help to humanity.
Prince Eze, fondly called ‘Arthur One Million, Eze n’Ukpo, Ozoigbondu, Prince of Africa,’ was born in Ukpo in Anambra State, where he had his elementary school education before travelling to California in 1974, to studied Mechanical and Chemical Engineering at California State University at Long Beach. While he was in the school, he honed his industrial skills.
In 1991, Prince Eze founded Atlas Oranto Petroleum, where he sits today as chairman. The company began oil exploration activities in West Africa and has since grown to be the largest holder of oil exploration blocks in Africa. It is said that Oranto’s two oil blocks alone are producing 100,000 barrels of crude oil each day just as it is said to own several producing and non-producing oil and gas assets across Nigeria, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea and the Gambia, as well as having to its credit about 21 oil and gas licences across sub-Saharan Africa.
In Nigeria’s politics, Prince Eze has encouraged the deepening of democracy by funding political parties, as well as sponsoring politicians he felt would serve their people well. Consequently, Nigerian politicians across regions hold him in high esteem. In the aviation industry, Prince Eze acquired some exquisite aircraft on lease on international routes. He made history when his private jet was the first plane to land at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from overseas on its commencement of international flight.
In the area of philanthropy, Prince Eze is second to none. At his three homes: Ukpo, Enugu and Abuja, the landmark to his houses is the line up of people who lurk around to either receive alms or get one favour or the other from him. This is in addition to his Prince Arthur Eze Foundation, which has given succour to so many Nigerians.
Specifically, in 2012, he donated $6.3-million to boost flood relief efforts in Nigeria, while donating also the sum of $12 million at a fundraising event to help fund the construction of an Anglican Church Youth Development Centre in Otuoke, Bayelsa State.