Controversial as Prince Arthur Eze has become in his bid to become the godfather of Anambra State, he knows what he’s doing, after all. Aware that his mission of taking a handful of traditional rulers from Anambra State on Wednesday, August 5, to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, with the sole purpose of spiting Governor Willie Obiano before President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, August 7, was not noble, he excluded his half-brother, Dr. Robert Eze, who is the monarch of Ukpo in Dunukofia Local Government Area.
Without meeting by President Buhari personally and now suspended by the Anambra State government, the 12 traditional rulers who went to Abuja lost out. Arthur Eze’s brother, a medical doctor, did not suffer any loss because he committed no offence. Why didn’t he join? He probably felt that the trip was not necessary. As expected, top monarchs as Professor Laz Ekwueme, winner of Nigeria’s highest honour for intellectual and artistic excellence, just like Professor Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike, and Agbogidi Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, an alumnus of Stanford and Columbia universities who used to be a director of Shell International in London, were not part of the trip. It is unimaginable that a group of traditional rulers, as the suspended 12, would arrogate to themselves the prerogative to represent the Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Council on the national scene.
President Buhari was not the one that received them eventually. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was not the official who gave them audience. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, was not the one also. The Presidency must have its reason for the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, to see the traditional rulers on Thursday, August 13. Prof. Gambari, 75, is a diplomat of international repute who not only represented Nigeria at the United Nations but also served the UN in different capacities. He adopted the policy well known to diplomats and so met Arthur Eze, together with his entourage. The visitors, eventually, in their speech, did not say anything critical of Governor Obiano, no doubt in recognition of his impressive record. They now settled for praising President Buhari for his work in Anambra State, like the reconstruction of failed federal roads in Anambra State, the building of the Second Niger Bridge and the completion of the Zik Mausoleum.
It is glaring that the Arthur Eze mission didn’t yield its result. Last Friday, for instance, the suspended traditional ruler of Alor in Idemili South Local Government Area, Igwe Mac-Anthony Okonkwo, was on the Anambra State Broadcasting Service apologising profusely to the Anambra people and the Traditional Rulers’ Council for being among those those who went to Abuja. The video, as expected, went viral.
Why has Arthur Eze brought the revered traditional institution to these depths? Just in a desperate bid to become the godfather of Anambra State! Why would anyone aspire to be called Anambra State godfather after the notoriety that the term has acquired in the state, when Senator Chris Ngige, as governor, dared the so-called godfathers? After the state’s liberation by Dr. Ngige on July 10, 2003, from the stranglehold of godfathers, it will be a tragic mistake for anyone to seek to be considered a godfather. Since the liberation, Anambra State has been witnessing fantastic growth and development up to this day. Therefore, our people can never, never tolerate a situation that will remind them of the dark days of godfatherism, let alone take them back to the days, which the locusts consumed.
People who know Arthur Eze should counsel him. He should emulate wealthier Nigerians like Femi Otedola, Mike Adenuga, Tony Elumelu and Aliko Dangote, who concentrate on their businesses, not attempting to be godfathers.
•Dr. Okemmadu, a medical doctor and writer, is based in Lagos